Why You Need Pet Insurance Before the Winter

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  • Veterinary care bills can be expensive.
  • Cold weather brings with it the danger of slipping on ice and frostbite.
  • Your pets are also at risk from your holiday decor and visitors to your home who may not know your routine -- or what your pet can or cannot eat.

There are more hazards for your dog and cat right now.

Chances are, if you have pets, you love them like family, and the holiday season is a great time to be thankful for them. Personally, I'm happy to have my three cats -- they bring me so much joy. While we love our pets, we probably don't love the money they cost us in the form of food, toys, and especially veterinary care. The good news is that for a set cost per month, you can buy a pet insurance policy that can help you cover some of those medical costs.

Pet insurance coverage is available in a few different flavors. There are policies out there that can help defray the cost of routine and preventive care, like wellness visits, annual shots, and flea and tick treatments. Where pet insurance really shines, though, is in reimbursing pet owners for accidents, illnesses, and major medical care for their animals.

While pet owner reimbursement for veterinary bills is a more common practice among pet insurers, you can also find some that will pay your vet directly, saving you from whipping out your credit card on the spot in the vet's office.

If you've been considering pet insurance and just trying to decide when to buy a policy, right now is a good time to move on it. Why? Winter can be dangerous for your pets, due to a number of hazards that just aren't as common during the rest of the year. Here are some examples.

Cold weather

Some people love the cold and snow -- I am not one of them. But as a human, I have the ability to bundle up in warm clothing (and complain). Your pets have fewer options to cope, and it's important to be on the lookout for hypothermia and frostbite during the winter. Paw pads and ear tips can be particularly susceptible parts of your pet's body, so ensure they aren't outside for any longer than necessary in extreme temperatures. Your pet can also be at risk from slipping accidents on ice and snow, so take care during those winter walks. Plus, some health conditions can cause even more discomfort to your pets in cold weather, such as osteoarthritis in older pets. If your pet suffers from a cold weather–related health condition, you'll be glad you have pet insurance.


Many people travel for the holidays, often bringing along their dogs. But being in unfamiliar surroundings can bring the possibility of more accidents. If your puppy joins you for the New Year's Eve celebration at your parents', and they haven't puppy-proofed their home, you could end up facing a big bill if the puppy chews up and swallows something dangerous. And if you've taken a family road trip and wind up in a car accident, your pet could be injured. While some auto insurance policies cover a driver's pets, not all do.

Visitors to your home

Conversely, having family and friends over during the holiday season can pose a danger to your pets, too. Maybe your cousin unknowingly feeds your dog onions or another food that's poisonous to canines, and you have to rush to the vet. If you have family members staying with you who don't know your routine, they could also inadvertently let out the dog or cat, and the risk of injury to them (say, due to being hit by a car) increases exponentially.

Holiday plants

Finally, winter is a time when many people display lovely plants in their homes, such as holly and mistletoe. If you've got a curious cat who likes to chew on plants, they could be at risk of illness or worse by consuming holiday plants.

I hate to say it, but even your Christmas tree can pose a danger to dogs and cats alike. It's a tall, not-always-entirely-stable structure complete with fragile ornaments (often made of glass), tinsel, ribbon, and lights plugged into your wall. It pays to be cautious with the holiday fixtures you bring into your home, and consider getting a pet insurance policy in place before going all in on holiday decorating.

Winter can be a time of love and caring (not to mention excellent food), but it can be an especially risky time for your pets (and your wallet, as a result). If you've been waiting for a sign to buy a pet insurance policy from a reputable insurer, this is it -- before winter is in full force.

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