Most pets will require emergency medical care at least once in their lifetime, and pet owners facing emergency situations will want to be able to provide the life-saving medical treatments their pets need. Medical costs can quickly climb—are you prepared with the funds to pay for potentially costly care?

Only a fraction of pet owners include a pet emergency fund in their monthly budget. Emergency examinations fees, diagnostic testing, treatments, and surgical procedures can become costly. Many pet owners face these costs with empty pockets and are forced to make hard decisions. Some will pick and choose which tests and treatments they can afford. Others will opt for second- or third-tier care options because they cannot pay for the best option offered. Still others will reluctantly choose euthanasia to humanely end their pet’s suffering because they cannot afford treatment at all. Pet insurance allows you to focus on your pet’s recovery instead of worrying about money.

Common pet emergencies

Pets experience a variety of traumatic injuries, chronic diseases, and sudden ailments. Common emergency conditions that pet insurance can help pay for include:

  • Car accidents — Emergency hospitals see pets that have been hit by cars every day. The massive trauma of being hit by a car, or possibly run over by a tire, can cause traumatic internal injuries.
  • Fractures — Accidents and injuries commonly cause broken bones. Fractures require diagnostic X-rays, and surgery, casts, or splints to set the broken bones. Frequent check-ups and bandage changes are often part of the long-term care, causing medical costs to pile up.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) — Similar to slipped discs that humans experience, IVDD can cause sudden paralysis. The treatment for severe cases is immediate surgery to remove pressure from the spinal cord, along with lengthy hospitalization and intensive care.
  • Cranial cruciate tear — The equivalent to an ACL tear, a cranial cruciate injury causes immediate pain and lameness. Surgical repair is needed in order for your pet to walk on the affected leg again.
  • Intestinal obstruction — Dogs and cats are known to eat things that are off-limits. Solid objects that are swallowed can easily become lodged in the stomach or intestines, causing life-threatening obstructions. Immediate surgical removal of the offending object is the only option that will allow your pet to recover.
  • Heart disease — When the heart stops working well, life-long treatment is started to provide the best quality and duration of life possible. Frequent diagnostic testing, check-ups, and monthly medication refills can quickly add up.
  • Cancer — Dogs and cats can develop many forms of cancer. Regardless of the type, a cancer diagnosis involves extensive medical tests and long-term treatment.

As you can see, the cost of optimal medical care can quickly escalate. Don’t put yourself or your pet into a situation that requires you to choose whether you can afford treatment. Purchase a pet insurance plan to guarantee the best care.

Choosing the right plan for your pet

A quick internet search will reveal a list of pet insurance providers, with multiple plans available from each. How do you know which plan to choose? Consider these points:

  • What is the monthly—or yearly—premium? Premiums will vary depending on what services are included.
  • Will the deductible increase after a claim is filed?
  • What is the annual deductible, or out-of-pocket cost, that must be met before the plan will cover bills? Does the plan have an annual deductible, or does it apply to each claim?
  • What percentage of costs will be covered after the deductible is met? Plans cover anywhere from 25–90 percent of remaining costs.
  • Are you able to choose what veterinarian you visit, or will you have to choose from a list of approved providers?
  • What services are covered? Some plans cover wellness visits and preventive care, such as vaccines and dental cleanings, whereas others cover emergency care only.
  • Can your pet become too old to be covered by the policy?
  • What conditions are covered? Some plans may not cover hereditary conditions, chronic illnesses, and congenital diseases. Pre-existing conditions that are present before you purchase a plan will likely not be covered.
  • How will claims be covered? Will bills be paid directly or will you pay the bill then submit a claim for reimbursement?

Thoroughly research each company you are considering and the various plans available. Read customer reviews to learn about the experiences other pet owners have had. Make sure the company you choose has superior customer service—when you’re dealing with a pet emergency, a service team should reduce your anxiety, not add to it.

When to purchase a plan

You will get the most benefit from a plan that is purchased when your pet is young. Puppies and kittens get themselves into all types of precarious situations. Having insurance will provide comfort if your pup gobbles down something strange or your kitten starts acting sick. Having insurance coverage can also mean that your pet gets medical care sooner—you’ll be more likely to bring your pet in to see our veterinary team at the first signs of illness if you know treatment will be covered.

Have an adult pet that’s not insured? It’s not too late! Choose a plan today to ensure future emergencies are covered.

Questions about pet insurance? Contact us!