Sullivan County

Pet insurance gains popularity

BLUFF CITY, Tenn. - A trip to the veterinary hospital can be very expensive. That's why some animal lovers are turning to pet insurance for help.

One of the first things you should do is check to see if your vet accepts medical insurance.  

Then, the experts say you should shop around and find the right insurance policy for your pet. 

"Make sure you have an easy to understand plan. This is critical. If the plan is hard to understand, they're probably not going to pay you either, because it will be very difficult for you to file, so look for a simple plan; for example, 90-10 payout, no limits.  That's simple.  That's easy," said Dr. Kate Zimmerman, a local veterinarian.

Dr. Zimmerman also recommends avoiding paying for preventive care. "Preventive care riders are almost universally a waste of money," said Zimmerman. "When you're prepaying them, you end up paying a little more. So look at pet insurance for major accident, major illness."

Here are some other tips:

1. Make sure the company is licensed in your state
2. Pick and easy to understand plan
3. Be careful about "total claim per year" maximums (pick one with unlimited coverage, or maximums of at least $10-$20,000)
4. Avoid HMOs that limit choice of provider options
5. Be careful about your deductible and how it is applied -- per incident or per year (if it's per incident, you could pay your deductible multiple times in a year)
6. Plans that include the option for direct payment to your veterinarian for large vet bills are best



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