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How To Plan For Emergencies: Pet Insurance and Pet Savings Accounts

Posted December 20, 2014 in Cat Checkups & Preventive Care

Kurt and Jax

For more from Dr. Ruth MacPete, find her on Facebook or at

Advances in veterinary medicine have led to newer and better treatments. Unfortunately, veterinary care can be costly and inaccessible to many pet parents. How can you provide the best care for your pets without breaking the bank?

The answer is to plan ahead. Unless you have the means and discipline to set aside a savings account for pet emergencies, pet insurance is a great way to plan for unforseen accidents and illnesses. It’s ironic that people insure their cars, homes, and jewelry but few pet parents insure their beloved pets. 

As a veterinarian, I frequently witness the hardships pet parents encounter when their beloved pets become ill. Not only do they face the stress of dealing with their pet’s illness, pet parents have the added stress of dealing with the cost of their pet’s care.  Many people are forced to make decisions based on the cost of the medical care. If you’ve had a pet long enough, you realize that, unfortunately, accidents happen, and I don’t just mean the kind you have to clean up from the floor. Our adorable pets have a knack for finding trouble whereever they go. They swallow things, get into poisons, run away from home, or get into a fights. Even under the watchful care of their pet parents, accidents happen and it is our responsibility as pet parents to anticipate and prepare for the unexpected. Pet insurance is an easy way to plan for those unforseen events. 

There are currently many different pet insurance companies in the US. Pet insurance works by reimbursing pet parents for covered medical expenses. Unlike HMO’s for people, these companies allow you to chose any veterinarian. You are responsible for paying your bill and then submitting a claim form. The deductible, reimbursement amount, and coverage depends upon the company and specific policy you choose. Some plans offer basic coverage which covers only accidents, while others provide more comprehensive coverage which covers medical illness such as kidney disease, bladder infections, and even cancer. There are additional riders that provide additional coverage, and even wellness care plans to cover routine care. Monthly premiums can be as low as $10 per month for basic coverage or up to $50-75 per month for more comprehensive plans. There are many options to chose from so do your

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.