Benefits of getting insurance for your pets

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you have a pet then you know caring for your animal can get expensive. Pet insurance could save you money and mean the difference between life and death for your animal.

Dr. Angela Ivey, a veterinarian with the Richmond SPCA says caring for pets is not a cheap task.

"With nothing going wrong and not including your food, you are looking at easily $500 out of pocket for your basic care," she said.

If you need a procedure, that number skyrockets. She says, "Cancer treatments now may range up into the 10's of thousands of dollars and pets live so much longer that everything is available to them now."

If you adopt a pet from the Richmond SPCA you'll get a free 30 day trial insurance policy. Dr. Ivey recommends all pet owners have one. They can range from $20 to $80 a month. Ivey says it's a small amount when it comes to keeping your pet healthy and alive.

"You just never know what may be a pre-existing condition that might not show up for a couple of years," she said. "You might not know what dog may get lose at the dog park, get hit by a car and it's just so expensive that most people can't afford the optimal care."

There are dozens of polices and Dr. Ivey admits they can be confusing. The key is finding a fit for your furry companion. And keep in mind they are a bit different from human policies.

"You actually pay a deductible then the insurance company will actually pay up to 80 or 90 percent of the bill but you pay your vet yourself and you are reimbursed so that is a big difference," she said.

In some cases, you can negotiate and get the insurance company to pay first. Bottom line, you have to do lots of research and make sure you understand the policy -- time that should be well worth it for your four-legged friend.

Dr. Ivey adds only about one to two percent of pet owners in America have insurance. She says this may be due to the confusion and lack of transparency in many pet policies.

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