Pet Insurance: Is It Worth It?

The cost of veterinary care can be through the roof. But is pet insurance always a better deal?
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Pet Insurance Basics

This country has gone to the dogs -- not to mention cats, reptiles, fish, and yes, even ferrets. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, more than 69 million households include pets, and when the time comes to fight for Fido's life, pet lovers are ready to put up their dukes -- and dollars. Hence, the newest trend in the multibillion-dollar pet industry: pet insurance.

But according to a recent report, less than 1 percent of the 136 million dogs and cats in the U.S. are covered. With insurance costing an average of $25 per month, savvy pet lovers could avoid the emotional strain of what vets call "economic euthanasia." So why aren't all pet owners signed up?

The Bare Bones

As with human health insurance, pet owners enroll in a plan, usually online, paying a monthly rate based on a quote that varies according to the owner's state of residence, coverage plan, and pet breed. Then, when you need to use the insurance, you pay 100 percent of the vet bill directly out of pocket, fill out a claim form (with the help of your licensed veterinarian), and mail it in to your insurance provider for reimbursement, typically 80 percent of the total cost.

Continued on page 2:  Coverage and Costs


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