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Protecting The Smallest Member Of Your Family: A Step-By-Step Guide To Pet Insurance
Let�s face it � Fido and Fluffy are an important part of your family. Do you want to have to assign a dollar value to them if they become sick or injured?
That may well be the case if you don�t have pet health insurance. Rising veterinary costs mean that pet owners can pay hundreds � and even thousands � of dollars for their pets� health problems. As the bills stack up, uninsured pet owners must determine how much they are willing to spend on their animal friend. It can be a heartbreaking decision to make.
Much like insurance for health, cars and homes, pet insurance helps people put a little money away now to avoid a major payout later. Coverage and cost vary, so it�s important to thoroughly research the options if you decide to insure your pet.
When people decide to get a pet, they often don�t consider how they will deal with the inevitable unexpected illnesses or accidents. Keeping a pet indoors by no means eliminates all the hazards. They can still swallow foreign objects, ingest a poison or injure themselves. As well, living indoors does not make a pet immune to disease and infection � particularly those that are common to their breed. Pets with access to the outdoors have even more opportunities to pick up a disease or get hurt.
Don�t have a dog or cat? Insurance companies are starting to offer plans that meet the needs of a variety of pet owners. Some now offer coverage for birds and exotic animals.
Not all owners are good candidates for pet insurance, however. Pet insurance is ideal for owners who deeply love their pets and are willing to spend a significant amount of money to keep them healthy and extend their life. They buy their cherished companions the best food and care they can afford, sometimes even putting their pets� needs before their own. For this type of owner, pet insurance can be a smart investment that can prevent considerable costs and bring peace of mind.
Pet insurance is not a good investment for owners who don�t have a strong emotional tie to their pet. Owners who would rather have their pets euthanized than spend money on vet bills are not good candidates for pet insurance.
Step two: Decide What Type of Coverage You Want
Most pet owners will weigh two main considerations when shopping for pet insurance: budget and coverage. Peace of mind can also be an important factor, but far more difficult to quantify.
Pet health insurance is still relatively new in the United States and Canada, so the options available are fewer than for other forms of insurance. That said, North American pet owners can choose from a variety of coverage choices, ranging from injury/accident-only to all-inclusive.
As with all insurance products, the cost of pet insurance increases as the coverage improves. As a pet owner, you must decide what is the right balance between affordability and the care you want for your pet.
When choosing pet insurance coverage, first consider what kind of insurance customer you are. Do you prefer all-inclusive coverage that pays for everything from routine checkups and vaccinations to accidents and chronic illnesses, or are you comfortable with a lesser degree of coverage that just kicks in during emergencies? Perhaps you prefer a flexible plan that offers discounts on a wide range of services, from veterinary care to training. This decision will lay the groundwork for your final choice.
Some issues to consider:
Payment options for pet insurance include flat fees or deductibles and/or co-payments. Not surprisingly, plans with lower monthly premiums come with higher deductibles and/or larger co-payments.
Some issues to consider:
Step three: Choose an Insurer
You�ve determined what you can afford to spend and the amount of pet insurance coverage you want.
Before selecting an insurer, here are some final considerations:
Your responsibility as a pet owner doesn't end with food, shelter and affection. Pet health insurance can give the smallest member of your family a longer and healthier life � and provide you with more time to enjoy the unconditional love it so willingly offers to you.
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