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Pet Health Insurance: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Good: Many options now exist that make the cost of insuring your pet's health quite affordable. Policies range from less than $300 to over $600 per year.
The Bad: You usually get what you pay for! Policies that promise the world for peanuts and seem too good to be true almost certainly are. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help pets.
The Good: At this time, pet health insurance companies don't restrict your choice of veterinarians or try to dictate what you can spend on services.
The Bad: Many companies severely limit what conditions they cover or how much they will reimburse. First example: One major company won't cover any condition it deems genetic or congenital in nature. Second example: Another company will pay for a lifelong condition the year it is diagnosed, but excludes it the following years. Third example: Another company another limits the payment per illness to only $500. READ THE FINE PRINT!
The Good: You don't have to shop around for a veterinarian who "accepts" your policy. Virtually any national company will cover you for service done by any licensed veterinarian. (Plus, most veterinarians don't charge for helping submit your claim.)
The Bad: You have to pay the veterinary and hospital fees up front and then seek reimbursement from your insurer.
The Good: Having the right policy could make the difference in a life-and-death decision. If you enroll your pet at a young age, it's possible to have coverage that lasts your pet's entire life.
The Bad: If you wait until a condition is already diagnosed, or "forget" to renew on time, you probably won't be covered.
The Ugly: Insurance companies are in business to make money. Many companies have come and gone over the years - emphasis on "gone." Those that make it are the ones that make the most money. Those that offer the best "deal" may mean well, but not be able to live up to their promises when you really need them. As in every contract, read the fine print and research the company before you send money!