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24–27 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

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All About Pet Insurance

Pet health insurance is just that: a health insurance policy for your pet. But what does pet health insurance cover? How does it work? Does it cover pre-existing conditions or ongoing treatment? If you're considering pet insurance, be sure you know what you're getting for your money and that you fully understand how the reimbursement process works and what the coverage limits are.

  • Pet insurance works differently from most human health insurance policies. Instead of paying a co-pay, you typically pay the vet bill and file a claim for reimbursement. Certain insurance plans such as those offered through vet hospital chains, may offer a co-pay system, but the disadvantage of these proprietary plans is that you cannot get reimbursement for care outside of that veterinary hospital chain.

  • Most pet insurance policies cover routine and emergency vet visits, medications, X-rays, and lab tests. For routine vaccinations, you'll have to buy an add-on. Pet insurance typically covers at least the majority of costs associated with more advanced diagnostic tests such as CT or MRI scans as well. However, no pet insurance plan will cover pre-existing conditions, so if your kitten already has a chronic disorder, be aware that the insurance will not cover treatment of that condition.

  • If your kitten is of a breed known to be at risk for certain health problems, don't expect your pet insurance to cover the costs of treatment.

  • Pet insurance premiums increase with your cat's age because older cats are more likely to get sick and need specialized treatment or ongoing care. However, be aware that pet insurance companies may cover treatment in the first year of an illness but not after that. Most pet insurance carriers offer a multiple-pet discount, so you can save 5 to 10 percent by registering two or more animals.

  • Pet insurance can make it possible to pay for expensive lifesaving surgery or treatment if your cat is injured or becomes ill. However, be sure to shop around and be sure what your policy covers and does not cover.

  • Take the time to consider how much your kitten's routine health care costs (and how much that routine care will cost as she gets older) and determine how cost-effective it is for you to take out a policy. You may also want to talk to your vet and see what he or she knows about pet insurance and how it's worked for his or her clients.

An alternative, if you'd rather not pay those premiums, is to open a bank account where you save money for your kitten's routine care and any possible emergencies that come up. And if you can't afford to do either, don't feel guilty. Life is what it is, and not every cat owner has the extra income to do either of these things. The vast majority of cats live long lives without any bank-breaking crises Ultimately it's up to you whether you want to buy pet insurance.

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