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Many pet owners are concerned by the rising cost of pet health care, which is partially the result of advances in veterinary medicine. Some are looking to pet health care insurance as one way to cope. The chances that you'll be making a claim on your pet insurance are higher than the chances of you claiming on your homeowners or auto policy as 1 in 3 pets require an unplanned visit to the vet.

Caring for any pet is always more expensive than simply purchasing the animal. Once the animal is purchased there are feed bills, routine health bills, and the dreaded accidents, injuries and diseases to be cared for. The routine expenses, such as feeding and regularly scheduled health visits are easy enough to put into a monthly budget.

If you want to have access to more care than you think you could afford through a monthly budget for accidents, pet health insurance makes very good sense. If you are more likely to treat all major injuries or diseases of your dog by having it put to sleep, dog health insurance isn’t going to be a smart investment.

Plans are available that mimic an HMO for people – leaving the pet owner to pay a co-pay on all covered services, and offering some coverage for all veterinary care. Like any other health insurance plan, the more conditions to be covered the more the plan will cost.

A major difference between care plans for cats and dogs is that while cats are often susceptible for long debilitating illnesses, and as such the better health care plans for them will cover treatment for FIV and the like, dogs are both less likely to contract such diseases, and when they do come down with a chronic condition, they are less susceptible to treatment, so many canine health plans don’t offer coverage for things like hip displaysia, or other common canine conditions.

Policies vary widely from company to company, so you definitely need to research and shop around to find the right policy for you and your pet. In general, coverage can include surgical procedures, illnesses, disease, x-rays, and even office visits. Some companies offer additional coverage for yearly exams, vaccines and spay/neuter surgeries.

Preventative care for your pet is just as beneficial as preventive care for yourself. You should schedule routine examinations of your pet with a veterinarian. One of the most important things your vet will take care of is vaccinations which are preventative medicine for all types of diseases. While some worms that pets contract are easy to eliminate, heartworms are often a death sentence.

Most policies exclude pre-existing conditions and many exclude hereditary conditions, which purebred cats and dogs are more likely to have, or limit coverage for older animals.

Here are some questions to ask the insurance company:
Are my claim payments based on my vet bill or the benefits?
Are drug and dental coverage included?
Will my premium go up over time, as I file claims, or my pet gets older?
How will I be reimbursed? Do I pay the vet and then submit the bill?
Does the plan cover chronic or recurring conditions?
What are the financial limits of coverage? How are they applied?

If your pet is advanced in years, in poor health, or if you do not want to subject the animal to a major surgical procedure, insurance may not be a worthwhile investment. Some pet owners facing an animal's serious illness or injury will choose to euthanize for financial reasons.

Pet Travel Insurance is becoming a popular concept. Pet owners don’t have to undergo the hassle of canceling their travel trip for the sake of taking care of their pet. This type of insurance provides a comprehensive coverage and ensures that you don’t have to be worried about spending a huge sum of money in the process and at the same time your pet is given due care.

Pets give us love, bring so much joy into our lives. Pet health insurance can give you the peace of mind that funds are ready when you have an emergency. Health insurance for your pet isn’t going to solve all possible problems, but it does increase one’s options when it comes time for treatment.

As for whether the insurance is a good idea for you and your pet, that’s something only you can decide: What value do you place on your dog’s companionship and life?

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