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Just like health, car, home and life insurance, pet insurance is a way to protect owners from drowning in medical bills in the event of accidents, sickness or injury to their furry friends. While a convenience when needed, pet insurance can be costly. 

About 68 percent of American households have pets, but less than 20 percent of them are insured, according to Consumer Reports. However, given the rising costs of veterinary care, pet insurance is becoming more and more popular. 

Similar to your own insurance policies, you can choose different plans and levels of coverage. Deductibles are also part of the policy, not kicking in until you have reached the limit. If you happen to have the unfortunate fate of having a pet with cancer or heart disease, your deductible can be reached sooner than a healthy pet who only goes to the vet for an annual check-up. 

And though you can never plan what disease or illness your dog or cat may someday have, some policies base their rates on breed and potential hereditary problems, such as large or pure-bred breeds. Also, unlike your visits to a doctor, where you may only have to pay a copay, even with pet insurance, you will likely have to pay the full cost upfront and wait for reimbursement later. 

Most premiums are determined based on the age of your pet, and as they get older, costs get higher. This is because it is expected that as animals age, health conditions appear or existing issues worsen. 

Having pet insurance for a pet of old age with health issues, though more expensive, might be worth it, providing coverage for priceyl, medical bills. For a younger pet with no underlying health issues, a family emergency fund may be the financially smarter choice.

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