By Frances Wilkerson, DVM
There are alternatives to pet insurance for those who don't want to use pet insurance or for those who can't afford the premiums. These alternatives can also be used to help cover the remaining medical costs in situations where pet insurance coverage is limited due to old age limitations or pre-existing conditions.
1. Financing Through Credit
Credit financing helps spread the costs out over time. Credit can also be used to cover your veterinary bill while you wait for reimbursement from the pet insurance company.
Types of credit financing:
a. You can set aside a personal credit card for veterinary expenses.
b. You can use financing programs specific to veterinary care such as Chase Health Advance, Care Credit and Citi Health Card.
c. You can ask your veterinarian if they will work out a payment plan with you as they may have an in house payment plan available.
Before applying to any credit financing program, make sure you understand all terms and conditions, including interest rates, payment requirements, and what happens if you miss a payment.
2. Financial Assistance Programs
These are programs financed by grants and private donations to help those in financial need pay for their veterinary costs. Each program has its own requirements and guidelines.
United Animal Nation provides a list of organizations/programs by breed, disease, and state.
3. Set up a Savings Plan
Setting up a savings plan for unexpected, catastrophic events can be difficult, but setting up a savings plan for expected events like vaccinations, heartworm testing, and annual exams is not only possible but practical.
4. Pet Assure
Pet Assure is a discount program providing a 25 percent discount on veterinary services. In order to receive the discount the veterinarians and retailers must be in Pet Assure's network. For complete terms and conditions, visit the Pet Assure website.
Dr. Wilkerson is the author of Pet-Insurance-University.com. Her goal is to help pet owners make informed decisions regarding pet insurance. She believes that everyone can make great decisions when given good, reliable information.