As pet owners, one of our top priorities is ensuring our furry friends stay happy and healthy for a long time. But what happens when your new puppy gets into that bag of chocolate or your elderly cat shows signs of kidney disease? Emergency visits to the vet can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars and long-term treatment for serious illnesses can add up quickly. Planning ahead for these emergencies can ensure that that nothing stops you from giving your pet live-saving treatment it deserves.

On average, pet parents spend $611 per year per pet on healthcare related expenses and when a pet has a chronic condition, that increases to an average of $935 per year per pet. (survey completed by And, these prices are only increasing each year. Pet insurance is a great way to help cover some of these expected and unexpected expenses and keep more money in your wallet!

Like human health insurance, pet insurance has deductibles, premiums, and varying levels of coverage. Plans typically start around $20/month for basic coverage, which covers a certain percent of exams and treatments for emergencies and some illnesses. Upgraded or premium plans often cover dental, behavioral issues, alternative therapies, prescription food, and microchipping. Coverage for preventative care, such as wellness exams and vaccines, is typically offered for an additional charge.

Other things to watch out for when shopping around include annual coverage limits, pre-existing condition restrictions, age restrictions, mandatory exams and vaccines, and waiting periods before you can receive coverage for certain illnesses. Some companies offer discounts for multiple pets or bundling with other types of insurance.

Every plan is different, and you may need to request several online quotes before you find the provider that is right for you. So where do you start when looking for pet insurance? Believe it or not, many people insurance companies (home, auto, etc.) realize how important pets are and are now offering pet insurance as an add-on benefit. Contacting your insurance agent is a great place to start. A simple online search can also produce many potential referrals for pet insurance.

We always hope that our dog and cat will never need immediate medical attention, but if that time does come, having pet insurance can lessen the stress by knowing your pet is getting the best care without draining your bank account.