Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Pets

Font Size

Pet Medical Insurance

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Pet Health Insurance Plan

What are the pluses of covering my pet?

With a good coverage plan, you will be less likely to face substantial veterinary bills, of course. Also, your pet may be healthier if you are more likely to take advantage of wellness checkups.

"It brings someone else's wallet to the table,” says Klingborg, “particularly when you are facing an emergency situation.” Many animals are euthanized, he says, because owners simply can't pay a large or unexpected vet bill.

Is pet insurance really worth it?

The answer hinges on a lot of factors, including personal finances and your own comfort with financial risks, say Tait and Klingborg. “I think it is a matter of personal risk tolerance, as the decision is with most other forms of insurance,” Tait says. Those with high risk tolerance may look at the premiums and decide not to spend the money. They could put the amount of the premium into savings and prepare that way for future health care expenses.

But animal owners with low risk tolerance may see the insurance as a way to reduce that risk, especially if they have pets that may be prone to expensive health problems. For some, Klingborg say, having the insurance takes some of the uncertainty out of the future. “We can’t predict the future,’’ he says, "and insurance is there to help individuals when the unexpected happens to them.” Having the insurance, he says, might make the difference between saving an animal and having to make the painful decision to euthanize it.

But from a purely financial point of view, some experts contend that pet insurance premiums may not be wise for all animal owners. In a review published in Consumer Reports, experts advised readers not to buy the insurance for managing checkup costs alone and advised owners with older animals to consider affordable accident-and-illness policies (rather than more comprehensive plans) or to deposit the cost of premiums into an interest-bearing account instead.

Are there other ways to pay for costly for medical emergencies?

If you're faced with a large bill, some veterinarians offer payment plans, sometimes at low interest, Sullivan says.

Another option is to ask if your veterinarian works with a pet-care financing company. Many of these offer low-interest or no-interest plans if the balances are paid within a specified number of months, typically 3 to 18.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Reviewed on March 02, 2011

Today on WebMD

Puppy digging hole
Are you putting your pet at risk?
Cat looking at fish
Things we can learn from our pets.
dog and kitten
27 ways pets help your health.
Get the facts about prevention.
Woman holding puppy
Sad dog and guacamole
Siamese cat eating from bowl
cat on couch
Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
Kitten playing
Orange cat nuzzling woman
German shephard reading a book