Pet Insurance – What Other Options do You Have?

Pet Insurance – What Other Options do You Have?

For almost every pet owner out there, a time will come when an unexpected illness or accident will arise.

Often, the medical costs involved are somewhat manageable – either using a credit card, or by having some wiggle room in the bank account. However, there are many times that the severity of issue requires more money than had ever been planned for and without pet insurance, it is possible that care is not an option at this time and the pet will either be surrendered to an animal rescue, or more commonly- euthanized.

So, for a pet owner without pet insurance coverage – what other options are available?

Firstly, there is the old stand-by – the Credit Card. Generally this is one of the big three – VISA, MasterCard or AMEX. Nearly all Veterinary practices accept them and they are often readily available.

The Second option is a medical credit card (such as ….)that is offered strictly for pet medical expenses. It is wise to have these cards approved before a serious incident arises (as the veterinary clinic or hospital will often need to begin treatment immediately and thus require proof of ability to pay). These pet card companies can however, process cards after hours and on weekends provided they have sufficient information from the applicant for approval.

The Third option is a separate “fund” or account that has been set aside for pet emergency costs. Many pet owners instead of signing up to a Pet Insurance Plan with a monthly withdrawal, will have a similar amount put into a separate fund to be used for their pets medical care. This is a great option if money has been accumulating for a while since most pet insurance plans require a deductable be paid anyways, and, it will save the high interest cost accrued buy using a credit card.

A Forth option is that of in-house financing. This is where the veterinary hospital sets up a payment plan for the costs of treatment and care. Usually there will be a substantial down payment required, then the rest of the amount owing will be divided into payments to be paid weekly, bi-weekly or monthly by check or automatic withdrawal from your bank account.

The Fifth option, which most likely will not be available on extremely short notice, is a loan from a bank or credit company. A personal loan will most likely be more “financially friendly” in terms of payment options and interest, but again, not usually accessible during evening and weekends when the banks/ loan agencies are closed or have limited access to your credit information for approval.

And finally, the Sixth option is that of borrowing from family or friends. This option can be used in several ways. One, is that a parent, or sibling or child or friend can place the initial amount on their credit card, or bring in a payment to get treatment started. Two, they may also simply offer themselves as a guarantor (co-signer of a loan)  This then gives you time to get an alternate plan in motion to obtain the remaining funds to pay off the amounts owed to everyone.

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