6 Tips for Pet Parents Considering Pet Insurance
Taking good care of your pets will help put them on a path to a healthy life, but you can't always see the bumps in the road. As with humans, certain surgeries and treatment plans can be very expensive to pay for if your pet isn't covered. Insuring your pet can help protect your finances in case of something unexpected, such as an accident or a disease. Below are six tips for pet parents to think about when considering pet insurance.

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For Pet Parents Considering Pet Insurance

6 Tips for Pet Parents Considering Pet Insurance

PET INSURANCE SAVES YOU TIME AND MONEY
Taking good care of your pets will help put them on a path to a healthy life, but you can't always see the bumps in the road. In fact, one in three pets will require unexpected veterinary care each year, and every six seconds, a pet parent is faced with a vet bill for more than $1,000. And it isn't just older dogs and cats, either. Claims data from Petplan pet insurance shows that dogs under the age of one are actually 2.5 times more likely than older dogs to have an unexpected visit to the vet. And these days, there are more lifesaving diagnostics and treatments available to our pets than ever – like MRIs, hip replacement surgery and chemotherapy. But with new advancements come rising costs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the cost of veterinary care has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Pet insurance can help keep your budget intact when you're faced with big bills.

DON'T WAIT TO THE LAST MINUTE TO INSURE YOUR PET
The number one reason people cite for not purchasing a pet insurance policy is they “didn't get around to it." Oftentimes, pet parents will wait until their pet is already injured or ailing before looking into pet insurance. The truth is, the best time to protect your pet is now. Insuring pets when they are young and healthy ensures that any accidents, illnesses and injuries will be covered, with no concern about pre-existing conditions.

THE LOWEST PREMIUM DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN THE BEST VALUE
Some policies have low monthly premiums, but when you look a little closer, the coverage they afford you is limited. Before buying a policy, you'll want to know a few important things: Will it cover chronic conditions for the life of your pet? Will a condition be deemed pre-existing once the policy is renewed for an additional year? Will the policy cover treatments your vet recommends, like MRIs, chemotherapy or hip replacement surgery, even if it is for a genetic condition? Make sure you won't be left high and dry when faced with a big bill for a condition typical to your pet's breed. Some companies may claim to cover things like hereditary conditions or cancer, but when you read the fine print, you find that they are not included in your standard plan. In many cases, you'll need to purchase additional coverage, and even then there may be additional waiting periods or restrictions. When comparing pet insurance providers, make sure that your monthly premium includes full coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions as standard.

COMPLETE COVERAGE INCLUDES SPECIALIST AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Pet insurance allows you to take your veterinarian's advice in pursuing the best possible course of treatment available to your pet without worrying about cost. Today many veterinarians look to both Western and complementary therapies to treat a condition or disease. Make sure the insurer you choose covers fees for specialist and referral veterinary treatment, including cardiology, dermatology, orthopedics and oncology (cancer treatments), as well as alternative treatments like acupuncture, hydrotherapy or chiropractic treatment. Be careful to select an insurer that offers full coverage for these treatments as standard, rather than limiting coverage for these treatments or requiring you to purchase add-on coverage.

"WELLNESS" PLANS AREN'T INSURANCE
Most pet parents can easily budget for regular veterinary expenses like wellness visits, vaccines and monthly preventatives. It's the unexpected vet visit for such things as chronic and acute conditions that can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in vet bills. Many wellness plans offer coverage for the expected treatment at the expense of the unexpected ones, which can leave pet parents high and dry when they, and their pets, need coverage the most.

SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING BEFORE YOU BUY
Once you've narrowed your search down to a few choices, check to see what other pet parents think of those companies before you buy. A good resource is PetInsuranceReview.com, an independent site that lets pet parents post reviews of their experiences with each of the pet insurance providers, as well as give the insurer a rating (from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). Of all the insurers, Petplan pet insurance has been rated No. 1 for customer satisfaction since 2008. See how Petplan compares to your other options.