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Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.

 When's the Best Time to Buy Pet Insurance?

When is the best time to get pet insurance? The sooner the better. Illnesses and injuries can occur at any time, so it's best to be prepared.

Couple with their kitten

When it comes to insuring your pet, the sooner you can get coverage for your dog or cat, the better. Veterinarian care is expensive. In fact, every six seconds, a pet owner is presented with a veterinarian bill that is $1,000 or more, according to NBC News. And that is why waiting to insure your pet can be a very costly mistake.

Should I insure a puppy or a kitten?

The answer is yes, you should try to get insurance for your puppy or kitten soon after you bring them home. Puppies and kittens have a tendency to find trouble. They're curious and also like to play with, chew on and eat things they shouldn't —which could result in expensive vet bills.

Take the case of Vince. The young Welsh terrier found his human sister's asthma inhaler and decided to use it as a chew toy. Unfortunately, his teeth punctured the small canister, which shot all the medication inside into Vince's mouth. The good news is that his pet parents were able to rush him to an animal hospital that saved his life. The bad news? His parents had delayed getting pet insurance, which could have helped pay for the majority of his more than $2,000 veterinary bill.

 Illnesses are another reason why you should insure your young dog or cat. For example, a puppy that is not fully vaccinated could get the highly contagious parvovirus. This is a potentially deadly disease that can cost between $1,000 to more than $5,000 to treat.

 Avoid having conditions become pre-existing

In general, insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, and this is why you should get your pet insured as soon as possible. Diabetes is one example of why: Pets with diabetes often require daily shots and frequent trips to the veterinarian. Your pet could also develop other health issues related to their diabetes.

If you're insured, your coverage should take care of most of your pet's treatment. But if you don't have insurance, your pet's diabetes will be considered a pre-existing condition, and it —and any related health issues —won't be covered by a new insurance policy.

Is it worth it to insure a "new-to-you" older pet?

Some people balk at getting insurance for older pets because the premiums are typically higher than those for a puppy or a kitten. But it's important to remember that the cost of treating an older pet also tends to be a lot more, as well.

Take cancer. Pets today have access to the same state-of-the-art medical treatments —such as CyberKnife—as human patients. These options can extend or even save a pet's life. But these advances in healthcare can be very costly, which can put a pet owner in a terrible position. They love their pets and want to do what's best for them. But expensive treatments could potentially ruin a pet parent financially.

That's where pet insurance could potentially save a pet parent from having to make the gut-wrenching decision between their pet's life and financial stability. In many instances, insurance can pay for a substantial portion of a pet's medical treatments.

The summertime blues and wintertime woes  Certain times of the year are more dangerous for pets. In the summer, for example, your pet may be exposed to the following:

  • Extreme heat 

  • Dangerous algae blooms 

  • Venomous snakes 

  • Mosquito-borne illnesses 

 Winter, of course, has its own set of issues, including: 

  • Slips and falls on ice 

  • Frostbite and hypothermia 

 So, if it is at all possible, try to insure your furry companion before one of these issues can cause your pet to become sick or injured.

So, when is the best time to get pet insurance?

In today's busy world, it's easy to put off decisions like getting pet insurance. But without insurance, it only takes one accident or illness to set you back hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Some pet insurance policies even include wellness options that will cover such things as spaying and neutering. So, that's why the answer to the question of when to buy pet insurance is: The sooner, the better.

Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

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