Why pet insurance is so important

Veterinary care can be very costly, whether it's for illnesses, accidents or emergencies. Many pet owners do not realize that just as they might purchase medical insurance for themselves, insurance plans exist for pets too. These plans vary from one company to another, but the main purpose of pet insurance is to make health care for your pet more affordable, and make nasty surprises less of a shock.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance, like any kind of medical insurance, is simply a way for pet owners to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses for veterinary bills. By purchasing a pet insurance plan, you will be expected to pay a monthly or annual fee in exchange for receiving reimbursement for some of your pet's veterinary expenses.

The amount of coverage and type of services covered will vary according to each plan, but most pet insurance plans may reimburse you for as much as 90% of your veterinary costs. If you plan to have your pet spayed or neutered, or if you want to protect yourself in the event that your pet requires surgery, pet insurance can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket costs for these services.

What does pet insurance cover?

Every pet insurance plan is different, so in order to determine what kind of coverage you can get you will need to get a quote from the individual company. Some pet insurance plans are called "wellness plans" and only cover certain services but may offer discounts on other services.

Traditional insurance plans, however, may reimburse up to 90% of the cost for all covered services up to an annual or lifetime limit. The amount of coverage a pet insurance plan offers depends largely on the premium - the lower the premium, the higher your out-of-pocket costs are going to be. Plans with higher premiums tend to offer more coverage and make your out-of-pocket costs lower.

Some plans only cover routine veterinary services but many offer coverage for accident-related care as well. As is true of medical insurance for humans, most plans do not cover pre-existing conditions or congenital conditions.

What you should know about pet insurance

While many pet owners get along just fine without pet insurance, purchasing a pet insurance plan can give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is covered if an accident should happen.

For example, if your dog gets hit by a car and requires extensive surgery, you could be faced with the difficult decision of whether to do the surgery or not if you don't have a pet insurance plan.

Veterinary surgery can easily cost hundreds or thousands of pounds, an expense many pet owners cannot afford at short notice - pet insurance helps to reduce these costs and may even cover the service entirely.

When shopping for pet insurance, be prepared to provide some basic information about your pet. The company will need to know the breed and age of your pet and may also ask you questions about the it's health. It's important to choose the right pet insurance according to both your pet's and your requirements.

Remember to get pet insurance quotes from more than one supplier. Their policies will differ, so be sure to compare pet insurance policies.

Before you purchase a plan, think about what kind of coverage you want - do you want help paying routine vet bills or do you simply want to protect your pet in the event of an accident? Shop around and compare several plans to be sure you pick the one that is right for you and for your pet. Once you have purchased your pet insurance plan you can rest assured that your pet will receive the veterinary care he requires when he or she needs it most.