Now what do I do?

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By DR. FRED SELF / Guest Columnist

During the course of a lifetime many problems can occur. If you are unprepared these problems may seem insurmountable. Examples might be a car wreck, cancer, a broken leg or a flooded basement. The outcomes of all of these problems are different. But there is a single component to each of these events that is the same. If you do not have insurance, paying for correcting these problems on your own can be hard.

There are different forms of insurance for humans. Depending on what you want to prepare for, there is an insurance plan that will supply your needs. Boat insurance car insurance, and apparently insurance that protects your things from falling space debris. Some human insurance even provides for pet care if you are injured or your house burns and you have to board your pet somewhere.

Another form of insurance humans use is a credit card. It is more readily available than insurance from an insurance company, but usually comes with a smaller limit. With a credit card the snag is that if you cannot pay off the debt immediately you are charged interest.

During our pets’ lifetimes many problems can occur. They can develop heart disease or kidney disease. Maybe they step out into traffic and are hit by a car. Or possibly they swallow a squeak toy and it gets stuck. Because pets live longer now there is a better chance they will develop cancer. If you do not have insurance, paying for correcting these problems on your own can be hard.

Now there are several companies that provide pet insurance. Three of them are VPI, Pets Best Insurance and Trupanion. Pet insurance comes in several forms. There are some that provide help with yearly preventive care and others that also provide help for emergency care. In older pets and pets that have had chronic problems, insurance may not be as helpful. But for puppies and kittens, insurance can help a great deal.

If insurance is not appropriate for your pet, consider CareCredit. Like a credit card, CareCredit is readily available. Unlike a credit card, however, CareCredit gives you a longer period to pay your debt before charging interest.

If you start your pet young, insurance can be a big help in providing healthcare. Pets with insurance can be provided with better preventive medicine and emergency care. As a result, they live a longer life with you.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic in Columbiana, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach them at 669-7717.