(ANGIE'S LIST) - Most pet owners will do anything for their furry friends, but when animals get injured or sick the price tag can be overwhelming. That's why more Americans are now turning to wellness plans or health insurance for their pets. Just as you research your own health plan, pet owners should do a little homework when shopping for pet insurance or wellness plans.
Angie Hicks of Angie's List says just as you would research your own health plan, pet owners should do a little homework when shopping for pet insurance or wellness plans.
"When shopping for pet insurance the first thing you should do is talk to your vet," says Hicks. "Talk to them about what kind of conditions your pet may develop later in life and understand what policies will be the most appropriate for it. Also, understand the complete costs. Understand what the deductible is, what the premiums are so that you understand the full picture."
Deductibles can vary greatly depending on your pet's species, breed and age. Some companies will not offer coverage for pets over a certain age, some pre-existing conditions or some breed-specific genetic ailments.
Veterinarian, Dr. Kurt Phillips says "I always tell people that if you know your insurance policy and you know what the fine print is and you know what the rules are, there shouldn't be any surprises."
Philips also recommends insuring pets as early as possible. He says "people get used to the monthly premiums in a younger pet, that's always the best. Then they just know that this is a $40 a month payment that I'm going to make for the life of my pet." He also adds, "The beauty of getting in on one of these plans early is that a lot of these plans, the premiums never change for the life of the pet. So, as they age and get nine, ten years of age, the companies are not increasing their monthly premiums."
Angie's List also suggest asking about discounts on monthly premiums or fees for multiple pets. Be sure to start a file for your pet. Use it for all receipts and insurance paperwork so you can stay on top of your claims and make sure you're maximizing your investment in the plan or policy.
Regardless of whether you insure your pet, prevention is worth a pound of cure. Angie offers the following tips to keep your pet healthy:
- Experts recommend biannual vet visits for most pets.
- Experts recommend you feed your pet two meals a day. Work with your veterinarian to determine the right food and correct portions for your pet.
- Regular grooming deters the buildup of dirt and oil that can lead to secondary infections.