It's not something we like to think about but medical emergencies can happen at any time. It's never a good time for something like this to happen but it's even worse when we are faced with veterinary bills that break the bank.
In recent years veterinary medicine has become very sophisticated using high end diagnostic tools such as CAT scans, MRIs and ultrasound. Drug costs and extensive therapies can also be prohibitive.
Serious illness or injury resulting in long stays at the vets can add up fast. Do you have a plan in place to cover the costs that you may incur?
Do you have an emergency fund already established or do you have the discipline to put away money each month toward such a fund? Some people feel that pet health insurance is just a forced savings program and if you just put the money you would be paying in premiums towards your own savings account it would work out to the same thing.
However, if you don't already have a substantial amount on hand you may not have had enough time to save before there is a crisis. With a pet insurance policy you would be covered right away.
Many policies will cover your Aussie for illness, foreign body ingestion (that may require surgery to remove), car accidents, broken bones, poisoning, cuts, burns and allergic reactions (insect bites/stings).
Some will even help with other emergencies such as if your dog goes lost or missing and you have to pay for advertising or offer a reward.
There are various plans available. Some only cover for accidents or accident and illness, others depend on the age of your dog. You can get coverage for puppies at about 8 weeks of age. Check to see if your policy covers hereditary illnesses, some of which can result in life-long costs.
Owner: Jan Lutz, Photo: Mary Collier
This cute guy is Griffey when he was a puppy.
The earlier you can join and get pet health insurance the better as insurance generally doesn't cover for pre-existing problems.
My advise is to carefully evaluate various programs and read the fine print. Find one that suits your needs and your budget. In some cases you may qualify for a discount. For example if you enroll more than one pet, if your pet is a guide dog or therapy pet, if you are disabled and you have a medical service pet.
Consider whether the policy will allow you to go to your vet or if they require you to see only certain vets. Be aware of what restrictions your policy has to avoid suprises later.
You can get a free quote from pet insurance providers. You can easily get an idea of what the premiums would be and the conditions that are covered by their plan.
In North America, less than 1% of all pets are insured, European levels of insured pets range from 12% to 50%. This is surprising as it is estimated that North American pet owners now spend over $10 billion a year on healthcare for their pets.
One in three pets will need emergency veterinary treatment every year.
Two out of every three pets experience a significant health problem during their lifetime.
Pet health insurance is something we don't like to think about but wish we had once it's too late. Take the time to address this issue whether it's by finding a pet insurance provider or by creating your own emergency fund so you will have peace of mind and not have to worry about costs in a time of crisis.
And for our readers who live in Australia and are looking for Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans...
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