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How to Find the Right Insurance for Your Pet

Today a pet is more than a pet. It's a member of the family. For that reason, no one wants to think about a beloved pet getting hurt or sick, but just as with a family member, it can happen.

Fortunately, there are many lifesaving treatments available for pets. However, as veterinary care advances, it’s also becoming very expensive. Pet medical care rivals what's available to humans in complexity and cost. For example, an MRI, a diagnostic tool once reserved for humans is available for pets, as well as radiation, chemotherapy and physical therapy.

So, if you are considering pet insurance here are some questions to ask as you explore the options that are best for your pet

  • Do I pay first, and then get reimbursed? Unlike almost all human insurance, most likely you will need to pay your dog's medical bill at the vet's office, and then get reimbursed by your pet insurance company. This is something you should ask about when getting insurance quotes.
  • Can I use any vet, or a network of providers? This is the same as for your own health insurance. So, if you have a favorite vet for your pet make sure he or she is in the insurance network.
  • How much is the deductible? This is something you will want to ask about. Also, see if there's a limit on the number of claims or visits you can make in a year (or during the life of the policy).
  • Does the insurance plan end when my dog reaches a certain age? Many policies are designed only for young, relatively healthy dogs. You may need a different policy entirely for an older dog or one with a chronic condition.
  • Is there a cap on coverage? That is something you should check. It can be as low as $2,000 or 10 times as high, but find out before you sign.
  • How long is the policy in effect? Usually, pet policies are year-long and are renewable only with the company's approval. Most companies won't count illnesses that were treated during the previous coverage period as pre-existing conditions, but you'll want to be sure. Also, keep in mind that your dog may not qualify because of age.