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Smart ways to buy pet insurance

If you want to get the most benefit from your coverage, you'll want to choose your plan, provider and timing carefully. Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you own a dog or cat, buying pet insurance may be something to consider. Much like human health insurance plans, these can help offset or even fully cover any unexpected medical bills, surgeries or treatments your pet may need. In some cases, they cover preventative care, too.

Just be aware: Not all pet insurance policies are equal. If you want to get the most benefit from your coverage, you'll want to choose your plan, provider and timing carefully. Use this guide to learn more about buying pet insurance — and how to do it right.

If you're considering pet insurance then start by getting a free price quote online now.

Smart ways to buy pet insurance

1. Buy it when your pet is young

The younger your pet is, the less you'll pay for insurance coverage. So insuring them while they're still a pup or kitten? That could save you a good amount of money. 

Additionally, some pet insurers have age caps on their policies, so you may have trouble finding coverage once your pet turns 10 (or older).

Another perk to buying insurance young is that you can ensure any accidents are covered while your pet is still learning and growing. If your puppy swallows something he's not supposed to or your cat escapes and is injured, having insurance would keep you from footing a large medical bill for treatment.

2. Buy it when your pet is healthy

Don't wait until your pet has many health conditions to get insurance. Not only will this cost you a higher premium, but those conditions (and the treatments for them) might not be covered. 

Many pet insurance providers refuse to cover pre-existing conditions, except in rare circumstances. If you want to make sure your pet's future health conditions are covered, getting insurance now — before they develop any — is critical.

3. Buy it when you're on a budget

It sounds counterintuitive, but buying insurance when you're strapped for cash is probably the best time to do it. Just think: If your pet was suddenly injured or diagnosed with a serious illness, would you have the funds to handle the large medical bill the treatment comes with? Would you have to put the charges on a costly, high-interest credit card? If so, paying $20 per month for insurance is probably a wise investment.

Start with a free price quote online now so you know exactly what to expect.

4. Buy it after you've shopped providers

Every provider offers different plans, coverages and premiums, so shopping around is vital if you want to get the best deal. Try to get quotes from at least three different insurers, and compare them each on coverage and costs. 

You should also take into account any discounts the insurers provide. Some companies offer premium reductions if you pay in full, are a military service member, are a senior or you bundle your coverage with other types of policies. These can save you quite a bit on your premiums. 

Use the table below to start comparing providers and policies.

Consider your savings

If you're not sure whether pet insurance is the right move for your furry friend, consider the state of your savings account. Would you have enough to cover an emergency or injury if your pet were hurt? If not, a small monthly insurance premium may be worth it for peace of mind.

Not sure if you could afford it? Get a free price quote online now and find out.

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