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Pet Health Insurance: How To Cover Medical Expenses For Your Dog Or Cat

08/17/2012 12:00 pm ET | Updated Aug 17, 2012

Robert Bashore’s dogs cornered a muskrat in the backyard of his Lansing, Mich., home. The muskrat won, and Nathan, a 5-year-old dachshund, fared the worst in that heated battle. Puncture wounds required a trip to the emergency vet — and an $800 bill. VPI Pet Insurance, a subsidiary of Nationwide, reimbursed Bashore for nearly half that amount.

“Get [insurance] as early in the dog’s life as possible,” says Bashore, who insured Nathan the muskrat hunter (right) before he was 1 year old. “If that’s not possible, still get it knowing that there may be some exclusions based on the dog’s health history.”

Whether you have a newly rescued cat or a pack of muskrat-hating pooches, pet insurance can help save money on veterinary care. While far less complicated than insurance for people, finding the right plan can still be a difficult process. Here are a few things to consider before selecting insurance for your pet.

Pet Insurance Options

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