Is pet health insurance worth it? Here’s what to know before you buy it.

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This Article reprinted with permission of nerdwallet,

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You might be thinking of adding a furry friend to the family during the holidays. And you’ll be in good company: According to the 2021-2022 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of American households own a pet.

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As cute as pets are, they are a financial commitment. APPA says Americans spent $103.6 billion on their pets in 2020 alone.

Some expenses, such as food and shelter, are estimated. But if your new puppy or kitten gets sick or injured, an unexpected medical bill could derail your budget. For more Americans, pet insurance offers peace of mind.

veterinary care cost
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Medical issues are almost inevitable for pets, and costs are likely to add up, says Kristen Lynch, executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, or Nefia.

“The fact that there is constant innovation in the medical care of pets – just as there is for humans – means that the cost of those innovations will continue to rise.”

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According to APPA, dog owners spend an average of $242 on routine visits and $458 on surgical visits. The cost to cat owners is slightly less, at $178 for routine visits and $201 for surgical visits.

“I would say that at least half of the clients I come in contact with are concerned about money,” Dr. TB Thompson, a Phoenix-based veterinarian at Natural Pets Headquarters, said in an email. “When pets run into a complex, life-threatening medical problem, the costs add up quickly.”

How pet insurance can reduce surprising bills

Pet insurance won’t reimburse you every penny you spend at the vet, but it can help prevent you from getting slapped with an expensive bill.

The policy will usually cover 70% to 90% of your costs once you have paid Discount, which can range from $0 to $1,000 or more.

“Consider buy pet insurance Unless you can easily fund to treat a pet emergency that costs $2,500 and up,” Thompson says.

there are some types pet insurance plan, Comprehensive plans, the strongest, help cover the cost of care due to accidents, illnesses and surgeries, as well as vaccinations and diagnostic tests. Accident and illness coverage helps pay for emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, and medications, while accident-only policies help cover expenses after an accident. Some insurers also offer wellness plans, which take care of certain tests, exams, vaccinations, and preventive treatments.

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Getting the Best Deal on Pet Insurance

While pet insurance may prevent you from dipping into your savings to pay the vet bill, it is an additional cost.

According to NAPHIA, the average cost of an accident and illness policy is $594 per year for dogs and $342 for cats. For an accident-only policy, you can pay $218 for dogs and $134 for cats.

Premiums are based on several factors, including:

As a new pet owner, many of these factors are out of your control. But there are some things you can do to score a lower premium.

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In Lynch’s view, some pet insurance is better than none.

“People avoid taking their pets to the vet because they are afraid of what those costs will be,” she says. “I think pet insurance gives us the ability to say ‘yes’ to decisions when we’re emotionally, stressed, and financially bound about other things.”

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Katia Irvasi writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]

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