For better, for worse, in sickness, and health. This is a familiar marriage vow declared between humans. However, we know that most pet owners also extend this vow to their beloved pets.

When it comes to our furry companions, many people will spend whatever it takes to give their pets the best medical care possible, since they are considered members of the family. Unfortunately, we have also seen many pets given up and rendered homeless when a medical condition is diagnosed, leaving owners devastated by the cost of treatment that they cannot afford.

Buying pet insurance is both an economic and an emotional decision that needs to be based on your personal financial situation and what you’re willing to pay for peace of mind.

Making the decision to purchase pet insurance requires the same consideration as any other elective insurance weighing the pros and cons, and short of having a crystal ball, anticipating that it will be money well spent because you’re covered, in the event of injury, sickness, or routine care.

In lieu of purchasing pet insurance, an alternative might be to take the dollar amount of the monthly pet insurance premium and create a savings account, which you contribute to each week or month, as a pet care fund. If you have the discipline and ability to do this, even $10 a month can accrue enough to potentially cover your dog’s heartworm preventative each year! This example is used intentionally, since dogs who contract heartworm disease require treatment that will cost well over $1,000 in order to save your dog’s life.

Mostly Mutts is not recommending that you purchase pet insurance. However, here is some advice on questions to ask, as you review the many policies offered by companies selling this type of insurance. You may also want to ask your vet for advice and they may offer their own proprietary pet plan as well.

  • Is there a physical exam required to get coverage?
  • Is there a waiting period?
  • What percentage of the bill do they pay after the deductible?
  • Are payments capped in any way?
  • Are there co-pays?
  • Does the plan cover preexisting conditions?
  • Does the plan cover congenital or hereditary conditions?
  • What about chronic or recurring medical problems?
  • Can you choose any vet or animal hospital?
  • Are prescription drugs covered?
  • Are you covered if you travel with your pet?

Here’s a great video produced by Consumer Reports Magazine, which shares additional information to guide you on considering pet insurance.

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