Ask Andy: Pet insurance

(WMC-TV) - Taking a pet to the vet for a checkup is pretty routine, and more pet owners are treating their loved ones when they get cancer or other illnesses.

This kind of care is not cheap.  Chemotherapy, MRIs and surgeries could cost thousands of dollars.  Veterinarians also said there are many unexpected accidents.

"We had a dog in here that got struck by a deer and caused a rupture in the flank area," said Dr. Daniel Stearns.  "They took it to one place and they were quoted $2,000 to repair it."

Pet insurance would have covered about 80 percent of that, which is why Dr. Stearns recommends it to his patients.

Pet insurance is also not that expensive.  You can buy it for as low as $20 a month for a cat to $25 a month for a dog, depending on the coverage you want.

The insurance does have its limits.  The policies usually have deductibles and caps on how much can be paid out in a given year.  Pre-existing problems and hereditary defects, like hip dysplasia in certain breeds, are often excluded.

Older pets also means you will pay more.  Some insurers do not write policies for dogs over the age of nine.

Some insurers will not cover routine shots.  It must be stipulated in their literature that they will.  Covering routine things such as that will cost extra.

When comparison shopping for policies online, keep in mind that the rules are not always spelled out, so call the insurers for specifics.

Last month, California lawmakers approved a bill requiring transparency in pet insurance coverage.

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