Pet Insurance Can Take the Bite Out of Veterinary Bills

puppy and kittens sleepingOften times, when picking out the perfect puppy, or deciding which feline you favor, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the adorableness of your future pet, that you don’t think about the associated costs. Aside from the food, vaccinations, toys and accessories a furry companion requires, illnesses and injuries can make for painful dents in the finances if there’s no money in the budget.

Just like for human patients, broken bones, surgeries, long-term medications, special dietary requirements, emergencies and/or accidents can amount to a lot of money needed to get and keep our pets healthy. Even so-called “free” dogs or cats never are, because for those lucky enough to avoid serious injuries or illness, being a responsible pet owner still dictates regular shots, wellness exams and teeth cleanings — and none of THAT is free.

That’s why pet insurance might be something to consider. There are many different options for insuring a pet’s medical care, but not many people know about them, evidenced by the fact that less than 10 percent of pet owners carry pet insurance, according to Consumer Reports.

Whether pet insurance makes sense for you depends on several things, including the availability of a savings account for unplanned trips to the vet (or a willingness to take on the debt of expensive procedures,) and the breed and general overall health of your pet. If using a breeder, find out about any health issues your pet’s parents may have had to give you an idea of possible future expenses. Talking to your veterinarian can also be helpful. Pet care professionals should know if your type of pet is prone to hip problems (Labrador retriever,) back issues (Dachsund,) or certain cancers (many cat breeds.)

Like human health insurance, you never know if you’re going to need a certain coverage until you do, and by then, a “pre-existing” condition clause might eliminate a lot of options. But also like people policies, pet coverage plans can offer a lot of peace of mind for those who don’t want to risk having to get rid of their pet or put it to sleep because they can’t afford to treat it. Monthly payments range from $10 to more than $100, and can include X-rays, MRIs, surgical procedures and ongoing care. Some policies have wellness or dental add-ons and most require you to pay the bill up front and will reimburse you afterward.

Farmers now offers pet insurance from Pets Best. Pets Best is providing special pricing for Farmers customers by giving current clients a 5% discount when purchasing pet insurance through Pets Best. Plans are offered beginning at $19 a month and can cover many aspects of your animal’s health with coverage ranging from accidents, illness and optional coverage for routine care.

It’s hard to put a price tag on your pet’s health. After all, they are part of our families!

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