Alternatives to Pet Insurance

If pet insurance is not an option for you, you may want to explore these alternatives. And for those of you who have minimal pet insurance coverage due to old age limitations or pre-existing conditions, these alternatives may help cover remaining costs.

  1. Financial Assistance Programs

    These are programs that are financed by grants and private donations to help those in financial need pay for their veterinary costs. Each program has its own guidelines and requirements.

  2. Financing Through Credit

    Credit financing helps you spread the costs out over time

    1. You can set aside a personal credit card for veterinary expenses
    2. You can use financing programs specific to veterinary care:
      • Care Credit - Care Credit is a financing program that offers no interest and low interest payment plans. Your veterinarian must offer this service in order for you to use it.
    3. You can ask your veterinarian if they will work out a payment plan with you. Even if your veterinarian does not offer Care Credit, they may have an in house payment plan available.

    note   Before applying to any credit financing program, make sure you understand all terms and conditions, including interest rates, payment requirements, and what happens if you miss a payment.

  3. Start a Pet Savings Plan

    As stated in the Vet's Guide to Pet Insurance: Lesson 4 Pt. 2, a savings account may not the best way to save for worst case scenario costs because you may not have enough money saved by the time you need it. However, a savings account is an option for those want to save for expected costs, those who can put a large sum of money away quickly, or those who cannot afford pet insurance.

  4. Ask Friends and Family for Donations
  5. Start an online donation campaign
  6. Pet Assure

    Pet Assure is a discount program providing a 25% discount on veterinary services and a 5%-50% savings from pet related retailers. Because Pet Assure is not insurance there are no exclusions or deductibles.

    For veterinary services, the discount is applied to: office visit, exam, shots, surgery, x-rays and any other procedures the vet does. It does not include products sent home with you, non-medical boarding and grooming, any outside services such as lab work or outside specialists or anything already discounted.

    In order to receive the discount the veterinarians and retailers must be in their network.

    For complete terms and conditions, visit the Pet Assure website.

  7. Utilize Pet Hospice Care

    If your pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness but is at a stage where utilizing euthanasia would be premature, then pet hospice may be an alternative for you.

    Pet Hospice care allows owners to care for their terminally ill pets at home using palliative care which focuses on reducing the severity of disease symptoms such as pain. It does not focus on curing the disease (e.g. Kidney Transplant, etc).

    The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and improve quality of life. Pet hospice allows the pet to be cared for in the comfort of their home and it allows the family to have precious quality of time with their pet and to come to terms with the illness.

    You will need to work with your veterinarian in order to provide this type of care for your pet. Services for hospice care can include: showing how the owner how to administer medications and provide day to day nursing care, grief counseling, and euthanasia services.

    For more information visit the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care website.

    note   If you decide to use Pet Hospice care, it is important that you monitor your pet's quality of life. When the quality of life diminishes, despite the hospice care, it is time to strongly consider euthanasia.