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Pet health insurance: Do you really need it?

Most veterinarians will say 'yes' you need pet insurance, but there is actually a reason behind it.

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — It’s time to check out and you’re walking to the counter of the veterinarian’s office.

Your pet’s heart is OK, but will your's be after you see the bill?

We know the cost for vet visits and treatment can add up, but there is a way to lessen the financial burden.

"Sometimes families have to choose between what the best care option is for their pet and what they can afford,” said Dr. Adam Hechko of the North Royalton Animal Hospital.

It’s a fear many pet parents face and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

"As vet medicine continues to advance, we have the ability to do things today that is very similar to human medicine and with that comes some increased cost,” Dr. Hechko said.

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To help with that, many families have turned to pet insurance, but it is very different than when you or I go to the doctor’s office.

“There are no networks. You can choose any vet that you want go to, any licensed vet."

The best time to sign up for pet health insurance is now. 

The older your dog or cat gets, the more at risk they are for accidents or health conditions that may not be covered.

“In the first year of life, 60 percent of puppies that had pet insurance had a claim and 40 percent of kittens."

There are many options to choose from, too. Most have different deductibles and percentages, but overall, Dr. Hechko says the peace of mind pays for itself.

“Many families get frustrated or feel bad when there are options out there that they can't afford and pet health insurance helps them to be able to do those things."    

It’s important to note that unlike some human healthcare options, there aren't any pet health insurance companies that cover preexisting conditions.