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Alternatives to Pet Health Insurance

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Most pets live long healthy lives and nothing ever happens beyond a routine vaccination, so many pet-owners are still wary about committing to a pet health insurance policy. There are many alternatives to pet health insurance that you can research and find.  There are pet credit-cards to be used only for the vet, interest-earning bank accounts, wellness programs at many vet offices or animal hospitals and discount pet programs. All of these can save you money on costs associated with the health of your pet.
  • Open a savings account for your pet: This way, money you deposit will earn interest plus the funds will be available to you when it comes time for your pet’s annual vaccinations, routine check-ups, food, grooming accessories and even unforeseen medical bills if they should arise.  Even a small deposit of $20 per month would add $240 to your account per year.  That’s certainly enough for routine vet care.  And the left-over amounts will continue to earn interest.
  • Look into the newest pet care discount programs: Pet Assure offers a 25% discount on vet visits, routine check-ups, shots, elective procedures, spaying and neutering as long as you choose a vet or animal hospital in the network, sort of like a human HMO for your pet.  There are no annual usage limitations or restrictions on breeds of dogs or cats, age limits, pre-existing health conditions and there are no deductibles. Plus, you’ll also receive discounts of up to 50% on pet products at retailers nationwide and services like groomers, dog obedience schools and boarding kennels.  There’s even a 24/7 lost pet recovery system and you’ll be provided with a unique tag for your pet. Pet Assure charges $99 per year or $9.95 monthly for one pet and offers other plans for multiple pets. Visit their website at www.petassure.com for more information.
  • Apply for a credit card:  Use this card only for veterinary expenses and emergencies.  There are also veterinary credit cards called CareCredit which you can apply for through your vet at the time of the visit. They will pay your vet fees and establish a re-payment plan for you and the vet. Ask about it next time you visit your vet’s office.
  • Ask you veterinarian’s office if they offer prepaid pet care:  If you’re a regular client, the office may offer you a large discount if you pay for yearly check-ups, shots and dental care up front. Other providers may offer discounts on all veterinary care.

As always, the best place to find alternatives to pet insurance is your veterinarian. Also, search around online and ask all your friends how they handle their pets’ expenses.

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