Health insurance for your pet could save you thousands of dollars

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An increasing number of pet owners are buying insurance to protect their best four-legged friends. (Fantastic Insurance Austin)

An increasing number of pet owners are buying insurance to protect their best four-legged friends.

According to experts, $ 50 a month could save you thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and could even make the difference between life and death.

"So, this little guy called Frodo, he was named after the Lord of the Rings," said dog owner Angie Garcia.

Garcia is one of many parents who will do everything for their four-legged family members, but the cost of owning an animal can be added, especially in an emergency. "My dog ​​was suffering from kidney disease and the surgery was costing around $ 4,000," Garcia said.

According to the ASPCA, homeowners spend about $ 700 a year for their pets. If you add an emergency trip to the vet, this price tag can skyrocket. "We spent thousands last year," said the owner of the animal, Rita Hersey.

Hersey felt the shock on his wallet first hand when his dog needed an unexpected surgery. "She had to be operated on both knees last summer – it was either she or she could not do anything anymore," Hersey said.

Pet insurance companies say that a policy would help cover the costs of such a situation. "This covers everything that is unexpected, from bee stings to cancer," said Rob Jackson, CEO of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.

Jackson said the interest in the pet insurance market is growing exponentially. "It makes sense for people who want to make sure their four-legged family member enjoys the same protection as their two-legged family member," Jackson said.

Hersey is one of those who have learned the hard way that a policy could make the difference between life and death. "It has become very complicated and very expensive. We had to let her go at 5 years old. We would have liked to have insurance so we will be ready for this time, "Hersey said.

Today, the pet health insurance sector is breaking records. According to the North American Pet Health Association, more than 2 million pets were insured in 2017. This represents an increase of 17% over the previous year.

"It's certainly very helpful when pets have pet insurance, which avoids the stress and the burden of what it's going to cost," said veterinarian Laura Saunders.

Saunders is a veterinarian at the Firehouse Animal Center in Westlake. She treated an 8-week-old bull terrier who had many health problems early in life. "The owners had taken out insurance with Trupanion and it was nice because they were able to go ahead and get surgery," Saunders said.

"Like any other insurance, you never know what could happen," said T.J. Houk with Trupanion.

According to Houk, average premiums range from $ 40 to $ 60 per month, depending on race and place of residence. The cost of care will be very different from New York to Boise.

Houk explained that there is often a misconception that puppies are healthy and do not need coverage, but experts say it's exactly the opposite. "I've had a few puppies that have eaten things that they should not have and foreign body surgery can cost many thousands of dollars," Saunders said.

According to her experience, Ms. Saunders said that insurance could save up to 90% for pet parents for major surgical procedures and emergency visits, but it is important to read the fine print and get coverage quickly because diets do not usually cover pre-existing conditions.