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When it comes to auto or homeowners insurance, most people understand the basic benefits and when they should get it. But what about pet insurance? Many debate whether it makes more sense to pay a monthly premium on the chance that something bad might happen to their pet or just save money in case of an emergency. Below are some of the top reasons to consider pet insurance.
Pet insurance can save you money in the long run
"Pet care is expensive. We [often] use the same products as in human medicine," says veterinarian Bart Iaia, who runs the Renton West Veterinary Hospital near Seattle. "Orthopedic surgery or cancer or a trauma case can set you back thousands."
Without pet insurance, veterinarian bills can be pricey. An office visit to Iaia’s practice typically costs between $70 and $150, and that doesn't even include routine treatments or tests. The bills add up quickly if there's something wrong. Even if your pet never gets sick, he adds, "cats swallow objects all the time" and emergency surgery isn't cheap.
Having pet insurance can help mitigate these costs – and maybe even help save your pet’s life.
Pet insurance could result in improved care
Iaia says insurance makes his job easier. "I can run the tests that I need to give a more accurate and timely diagnosis," he says. That means faster treatment for your pet and more options for families.” Although owners say they don't care about cost, their resolve often fades when they see the size of the bill. Insurance allows them to consider all the approaches.
Insuring your pet could give you peace of mind
This could be the biggest advantage of all, according to Kristen Lynch, executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. People who purchase policies are helping to ensure they'll be able to care for their pets if their four-legged companion falls ill.
How to buy pet insurance
You can start by researching pet coverage and getting a pet insurance quote online. You may also want to speak to your veterinarian. Since they're pet experts, they can talk about your animal, its condition, any concerns that may be associated with its breed and any other potential problems. The discussion can help you look for a policy that best addresses those issues.
Iaia recommends investing in insurance when your pet is young, because it's easier to insure and you're less likely to deal with exclusions or riders for pre-existing conditions.
Choosing the right pet insurance
As with health insurance for humans, pet insurance can come at different levels including:
Wellness: A good bet for younger pets, the least expensive level covers the basics, including routine wellness visits and vaccinations.
Major: This pricier option may offer set levels of coverage for a variety of needs including prescriptions, chronic conditions and surgery and even some hereditary conditions. It also covers accidents.
Some companies may also offer a high-end plan, which combines the benefits of major medical and wellness plans.
Once you've made the decision, purchasing is relatively easy, Lynch says. All you have to do is fill out a few forms. You don't even have to take your pet in for an exam. That's simpler than getting homeowners insurance - which brings Lynch back to the original point.
"When I buy house insurance, I don't expect a return," she says. "I didn't buy my pet as an investment. I don't expect to recoup the money that I spent on treats. I just want to enjoy my pet without worrying."
Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan covers injury, illness and preventive care in a single plan, with 90% reimbursement on eligible veterinary expenses. To learn more about Nationwide’s pet insurance policies, visit PetInsurance.com today.