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Your dog is part of your family, so it is only natural to think about how you will pay for his medical care. In doing so, you may have come across pet insurance. Many companies offer coverage for household pets. However, they vary in factors like cost, coverage, and limitations.

Besides policy specifics, you will need to examine your household budget to see if insurance is a good choice. The following five questions can help jumpstart the analysis to see if your pup should have his own health insurance policy.

1. What Do the Premiums Cost?

This is a great place to start when looking at pet insurance. After all, if you can’t afford the extra monthly cost, you may want to wait before buying a policy. Pet insurance can range from a couple of hundred dollars per year to thousands, depending on several factors. Companies use advanced insurtech to calculate premiums based on factors such as your pet’s age, sex, breed and any health conditions he has.

Looking at premiums is great, but you also have to consider deductibles and copayments. Yep, buying pet insurance is a lot like shopping for your own. Compare out-of-pocket costs when looking at the premium quotes you get to see if insurance makes sense.

2. What Services Are Covered?

That leads to the next question you’ll need to ask, which concerns what services are covered by each policy. For example, do you want coverage for emergencies only, or are you also looking for a plan that pays for routine office visits and immunizations? The answers to that will help steer you toward the right plan.

Keep in mind that there is a wide range of policy choices, and some providers may have more extensive options than others.

3. How Would I Pay for Care in an Emergency?

Another aspect of pet parenting is preparing for an emergency. If your pet is involved in an accident, eats something off-limits, or has another type of medical emergency, the vet bills will quickly add up. If you aren’t prepared to handle thousands of dollars for emergency surgery, you might want to invest in a good emergency pet insurance policy.

Most of these cover a percentage of bills for accidents and injuries. Often, they will not pay for routine care or chronic illness management. However, they tend to cost significantly less than other plans and could be a solid choice to avoid unexpectedly large vet bills.

4. Does My Vet Take Direct Insurance Payments?

If you are shopping for plans that cover routine veterinary care, you might want to look for an insurance company that makes payments directly to your vet. This usually requires an agreement between both parties, so talk to your regular vet about any insurance providers they recommend. If she doesn’t accept insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket and then wait for reimbursement.

5. Does My Pet Have Any Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?

A pet with pre-existing medical conditions can be more complicated to insure. The good news is that he can almost always get coverage. However, on the flip side, that plan will most likely not pay for any care related to the previously diagnosed illness.

So, if you want a plan for annual exams or maintenance visits, you may struggle to find a plan. However, finding a policy offering emergency and accident coverage for your fur baby will be much easier.

Pet insurance can help you budget for your dog’s medical care; however, shopping for it can be confusing. Asking questions about the type of coverage you want, how you plan to pay for it and care, and your pet’s health can help you decide if pet insurance is worth the cost.

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