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Why you should buy pet insurance for your dog now

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Whatever your dog's age, it's not too late to get them covered.  Getty Images

Dog ownership can be expensive. Food, treats, grooming and other costs add up fast, leaving many owners to look for ways to save. While there are plenty of ways to trim your budget, one thing you shouldn't skimp on is pet insurance.

Vet bills are one of the biggest costs dog owners face over their pet's lifetime. And when your dog is sick or hurt, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you can afford the care they need. Pet insurance relieves the emotional and financial burden by reimbursing you up to 90% for covered care.

If you've been putting off applying for pet insurance, now is the time to do so. Start your pet insurance search by checking prices online now.

Why you should buy pet insurance for your dog now

The best time to get pet insurance for your dog is right now. Here's why.

It will only get more expensive

Your pet insurance cost depends on several factors, including your dog's age, breed and medical history. But one thing is true across the board: The longer you wait to get coverage, the more it will cost you.

Older dogs are more likely to get sick or injured than young ones. That makes them riskier to insure, which is reflected in higher premium costs.

"It is not difficult to obtain pet insurance [for] older animals. However, the annual or monthly rate can be multiple times more than for a young healthy pet," Ashley Rossman, DVM, co-owner of Glen Oak Dog and Cat Hospital, recently told CBS News.

Of course, that doesn't mean you should skip pet insurance for your older dog. It still offers many benefits for them. But act sooner than later to get the best coverage you can at the best price available.

Coverage options come become limited

Most policies don't cover pre-existing conditions, or health issues that exist before you apply for coverage. The longer you wait to get pet insurance, the greater the chance your dog could develop one of these conditions, which you'll then be forced to pay for out of pocket even if you get coverage later on.

"Don't wait until you have a problem to get insurance — get your pets examined when they are healthy," says Sarah Gorman, DVM, CCRP, managing veterinarian at Small Door Veterinary. "Once something is in a medical record, typically that leads to an exclusion in coverage for an entire body system!"

Get a free quote in 30 seconds to see how much pet insurance you can get.

If they get sick or injured, it's too late

It's easy enough to dismiss pet insurance while your pet is still fairly healthy. But waiting until you face a hefty vet bill won't do you any good. By the time you realize you truly do need coverage, it's too late to enjoy the full benefit.

Yes, you could still apply for a policy once your pet is ill or hurt, but it won't cover issues they already have. Plus, you'll still need to complete a mandatory waiting period before coverage kicks in. So, it's best to secure coverage before your pet needs care.

"One of the hardest parts of my job is the financial conversations around medical treatments," says Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM and veterinary writer for NotABully.org. "Of course, it's even more difficult for the clients who are faced with huge decisions for their pet and financial situation. 

"With pet insurance, more folks can avoid those tough situations and afford the necessary treatments and procedures without all the stress. This is especially true with medical emergencies, which can be quite expensive and are obviously unplanned."

The bottom line

If you don't have pet insurance for your dog, there's no time like the present to buy it. As a matter of fact, the present is the perfect time to buy it.

"Costs are rising for everyone, including pet owners," says Rossman. "Veterinary medical costs continue to rise at an unprecedented rate… While most Americans can budget for routine veterinary care, it is often difficult to budget for emergency and specialty medicine which can cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, it is in pet owners' best interest to purchase health insurance when their pet is young."

Whatever your pet's age, it's not too late to get them covered. You never know what the future holds, and any help you can get with covering their medical bills is well worth it.

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