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Should I Insure My Pet?

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Many people view health insurance for pets as comparable to insurance against bubonic plague, but for pet owners who have a tendency to rack up hefty vet bills, pet insurance has some appeal. 

Is pet insurance a worthy investment? Not for everyone. Coverage can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 over the average pet's lifetime. In the case of a generally healthy animal, you'll never spend that much at the vet. But for many, pet insurance can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in pet care costs.

Good candidates for pet insurance include breeds that are prone to certain illnesses and conditions. Are your pets susceptible to any breed-specific ailments, such as hip dysplasia, cancer, skin allergies, ocular problems, etc?How old is your pet? Keep in mind that some policies won't cover animals over a certain age (depending on the breed, health, and other factors), and if they do, they're likely to charge higher premiums, the older the pet is. Find out if your rates will increase as your pet ages.

Let it be known that veterinary science is making some impressive strides in the realm of technology. Advanced treatments and sophisticated equipment that are available to humans are, more and more, becoming available to animals as well. Just a few years ago, it was unheard of for some of these treatments to be applicable to veterinary medicine. While it's wonderful that we have these options, not all of us can afford to pay for it outright.

If you're one of those people who would pull out all the stops to save your pet, even if it meant expensive radiation therapy or a kidney transplant, you're probably better off purchasing pet insurance than going into debt. Determine whether you need it based on your situation, the overall health of your pet(s), and the extent to which you can afford to pay for pet care.

It's not easy to assign a dollar value to your pet's quality of life, but if you're thinking of getting a pet, make sure you can afford it --and this will vary from pet to pet. If you can't afford the potentially high cost of caring for an animal, the best insurance is not to get the animal until you're in a position to meet its needs.