Questions to Ask When Buying Dog Insurance

As veterinary dog care becomes more sophisticated, the cost also increases.

Posted: Fri Jul 18 00:00:00 PDT 2003

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More and more, pet owners are facing the decision of whether to invest in pet insurance. Dr. Carol McConnell, veterinary services manager of Veterinary Pet Insurance, offered these questions to ask yourself and potential insurers when you consider purchasing pet insurance:

1. What is your pet's age? The best time to purchase a policy is when a pet is young.

2. Is your breed prone to medical conditions?  While policy prices are not based specifically on breed, known hereditary conditions can exclude your pet from qualifying for coverage.

3. Is your pet already sick? Insurers often exclude pets from coverage if they have a preexisting condition. Ask your insurer if they will cover your pet if the condition has been cured.

4. What is your pet's lifestyle? Active, outdoor pets are at higher risk and Dr. McConnell encourages owners to invest in insurance.

5. How much money do you have for your pet's health care? Pet insurance is one way to put money away for your pet's needs.

6. Is the insurance company licensed in your state? Check to ensure that your provider is licensed by the Department of Insurance and regulated in your state.

7. Does your insurance company allow you to choose your veterinarian? As with human medical insurance, some companies mandate that you visit one of a limited number of veterinary clinics. If choosing your veterinarian is important to you, look for a policy with more options.

8. What is covered? Many policies protect owners from unexpected future medical problems, but find out how many conditions are included. McConnell said that VPI covers 6,400 medical problems from broken bones to cancer.

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