A good starting point is to ask the experts in your area for the names of reputable insurance companies. A veterinarian, pet trainer, breeder or even a local pet store owner are all good resources for this information. Once you have a list of potential insurers, seek additional information about these companies on the internet. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is one good resource for information including an overall rating and an industry comparison. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) is the oldest pet insurer and has about 71% of the U.S. pet insurance market. Other notable companies include American Kennel Club (AKC) pet insurance and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) pet insurance.

Insurance companies either pay a percentage of your veterinary bill or they pay a fixed amount based on a benefit schedule. The benefit schedule is uniform across the U.S. so it does not take into consideration the cost of living in different areas. An owner in California is probably going to be charged more than someone in Kansas for the same service.

The optimal insurance package covers the conditions or injuries most likely to affect your pet. Your veterinarian will know the types of ailments that pets in your area are most susceptible as well as those common in that breed. Other considerations include the stage in your pet’s life (young pets have different health concerns than older pets), whether your pet lives indoors or outdoors (outdoor pets are more susceptible to accidents), and how well you know your pet’s history (the previous living circumstances of an adopted pet may be unknown).

Deciding whether to buy insurance can be a challenge. Get off on the right foot and make make choosing pet insurance an easier decision.

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