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As everyone knows, access to health insurance is the talk of the nation right now. Insurance is a necessity in this country. What many don't realize is that insurance isn't just for people; it's for pets, too. Many companies are now offering health insurance plans for pets that can cover anything from basic check-ups to the most advanced surgeries and treatments.

So why would a pet need health insurance? If you own a pet, you know the expenses involved. Routine check-ups can easily cost $50 out-of-pocket. Preventative bloodwork will cost you extra. Urinalysis will cost you. Vaccinations will cost you. . All of these routine expenses can amount to literally hundreds of dollars a year, and this is assuming your pet is healthy! It's wise to put away money in a savings account to plan for these expenses, but sometimes we don't follow up on our good intentions. Often this lack of available funds leads to the pet going to the vet less often for routine care, and serious conditions may go unnoticed.

Speaking from experience, unexpected illness in a pet can cost a small fortune. When our cat Gabe came down with a serious UTI and struvite crystals, we were caught totally off-guard. In between medications, urinalysis, catheterization, a hospital stay, and follow-up visits, this little incident cost our family well over $1000. We didn't have the money for the treatment at the time, but if we didn't act immediately Gabe would certainly die within a day or two. What did we do? It went on the credit card. We hadn't expected any of our pets to come down with a life-threatening condition! Our poor planning led to a fully recovered cat and a hefty credit card balance.
Photo Credit: Pasado Safe Haven

This is where pet insurance comes in. It seems that modern Americans in general are lousy at saving money. It's just not in our nature, and given the economy it's not entirely practical for many families. Pet insurance can be the answer for these types of people. Just like regular health insurance, you pay the monthly, quarterly or yearly premium and sometimes a co-pay for services. It simply becomes another necessary expense in your budget, instead of something you "probably should set aside money for." By securing insurance for your pet, you ensure that you will be able to provide for your pet when the need arises (and trust me, it will!) and you won't be forced to run up your credit card bills or take out a second mortgage.

If you are one of those "someday" people with unfulfilled good intentions of saving money for your pet's needs, enrolling your pet in pet insurance is both responsible and practical. Adding another monthly expense is obviously not desirable, but the monthly premium and peace of mind will be far better in the long run than the high interest rates and never-ending payments financing an emergency surgery will present. Pet ownership is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Pets feel pain, have needs, and experience emotions; it's up to us as their caregivers to give them the best we are able to provide. Pet insurance can take our good intentions and turn them into positive, responsible action.

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