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As veterinary medicine makes leaps in treatment possibilities -- CNN reports chemotherapy, heart surgery, and MRIs becoming common for animals -- the potential blow to your emergency funds when your pet gets sick can be comparably intense. To take the sting out of big-ticket procedures -- and smaller routine ones -- there’s pet insurance.
But is it right for your four-legged friend? Consider this: Accidents happen even to young, perfectly healthy pets, so the decision to insure early is all on you. But if your pet is older, sickly (but not currently sick), accident-prone, or has frequent access to dangerous areas (the outside, the street, places with aggressive animals), then insurance might be right for you.
Healthy pets can be insured at several policy levels ranging from $5 to $30 dollars a month, dogs typically more expensive to cover than cats. Unfortunately, as with humans, most insurance companies will not pay for pre-existing conditions, and older animals are provided limited service and/or will incur higher premiums.
To help you determine whether insurance is a cost-effective option for you, ask potential insurers about premium increases with age, chronic condition coverage, and drug and dental coverage, as well as their payment plans. Finally, if you find that you wouldn’t subject your pet to a serious surgical procedure in the first place, you may not need insurance at all.