Danville, VA - When it comes to healthcare, one member of the family often goes overlooked: your pet.Doctors say medical coverage could save you thousands in veterinary fees down the road.
A recent study shows 40% of people in the U.K. have coverage for their pets, compared to only 1% of Americans, but that could be changing.
Dr. Jeff Smith has seen an increase of insured animals over the past 10 years, and he says it can be very beneficial when injuries and emergency surgeries can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 out of pocket.
It's easiest to get insurance for animals when they are young and healthy, but those who benefit most are older pets who may require more frequent vet visits.
Top companies, like TruePanion and VPI, offer simple coverage plans online, and even Nationwide offers a way for policyholders to incorporate pets.
With most policies averaging about $30 a month, Smith says it might be worth looking into in order to keep your pet healthy without breaking the bank.
"Conditions like arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease - it can cover a lot of the more expensive conditions, and that is what we see. As they get older, their medical care tends to get a little more expensive, " Smith said.
The insurance companies check your pet's medical history before offering coverage, and they will not cover certain pre-existing conditions, just like human insurance.