Buying Pet Insurance for the First Time? 3 Tips to Get Started

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  • Pet insurance is an important thing to have, as it could spare you from catastrophic veterinary bills.
  • If you've never purchased pet insurance before, here are some things to keep in mind as you explore your options.
  • It's a good idea to ask your employer about discounts and shop around for quotes from different insurers.

Keep these in mind as you take steps to secure coverage for your pet.

You'll often hear that pet insurance is a rip-off. Between costly premiums and the number of things these policies won't cover, you might assume there's no sense in purchasing insurance for your pet.

But actually, pet insurance could end up being a financial lifeline if your animal is injured or gets seriously ill, to the point where they need thousands of dollars in medical treatment. And so it's a good idea to put insurance in place to prevent a situation where you're suddenly on the hook for alarmingly expensive bills.

Now if you've never owned a pet before, or have never purchased insurance for one, putting a policy in place can seem daunting. Here's how to go about the process without breaking a sweat.

1. See if your employer offers any special discounts

Just as some employers offer perks like discounted cell phone plans and gym memberships, so too do some companies offer discounted pet insurance as a workplace benefit. Take a look at your employee manual and see if pet insurance is listed as a perk you're entitled to (or ask your benefits person if discounted insurance is on the table). You may be eligible for a quality plan at a much lower price than what it would normally cost.

2. Shop around with different insurance companies

Just as each auto insurance company and homeowners insurance company charges its own premium rate, so too do pet insurers determine their costs individually. It's a good idea to shop around for pet insurance quotes before committing to a single company. You may find that one company offers much better rates than another. Or, you may find two pet insurance companies that charge similar rates, but one of them offers much better coverage for your money.

3. Figure out if you need the highest-tier plan or not

Pet insurance tends to come in different tiers. Often, you can pay more money each month for a more comprehensive plan with better benefits, or less money for a plan that won't pick up the tab for the same number of services.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which sort of plan you want. If you'd rather pay more upfront and have fewer financial surprises, then it could pay to opt for a higher-tiered plan. But if you'd rather save your money as you go, then sticking to a lower-tiered plan isn't necessarily a poor choice.

That said, if you're going to purchase a lower-tier plan, one thing you may want to do is take the money you're not spending on a higher-cost plan and put it into your savings account. That way, if you encounter pet care bills down the line that your insurance won't cover, you'll have a means of paying for them without having to stress or risk taking on debt.

Putting pet insurance in place early on is an essential move anyone who brings home an animal should make. Use these tips to narrow down your choices and find the plan that's right for you.

Our Research Expert

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