By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

My rescue pup Floyd is a bit of a delicate flower.  I would do anything for Floyd’s health and wellbeing.  However, I do not have any information about his roots or how he was cared for before he joined our family.  This led me to research pet insurance, something I have not looked at before. To learn more, I went straight to the expert at Embrace Pet Insurance.  I like Embrace for a lot of reasons, including their practice of paying for alternative therapies as an adjunct to conventional veterinary medicine or as an alternative; the choice is up to their clients and their veterinarian. That resonates with me. This two-part series helps determine if you are a good candidate for insurance and what questions to ask.

The following is written by Lea Jaratz with Embrace Pet Insurance

If you have looked into insuring your pet, you will know that comparing pet insurance companies is an overwhelming task. Pet insurance is probably the least understood personal insurance product, but it’s also one of the most emotional financial decisions you can make. It’s important to understand all differences between the several companies offering coverage, so that you make an informed decision.

What is pet insurance?

In exchange for your premium, pet insurance reimburses a portion of your vet bills when your cat or dog is sick or gets in an accident. Pet insurance is in many respects like our own health insurance with deductibles, maximums, and co-pays, except that you can use any vet, as the insurance company reimburses you directly. All pet insurance companies have some exclusions, such as routine care or pre-existing conditions, so be sure to ask lots of questions before you buy.

Why should I get pet insurance?

Even long-time pet owners can be surprised by how much a sudden vet bill can cost. If you’re faced with an unexpected surgery or treatment for your pet, you might be shocked by how quickly the charges can add up. Furthermore, veterinary inflation is rising even more quickly than the standard inflation rate.

This spike in vet costs comes with the advancing treatments that are now available for our pets. A pet diagnosed with cancer would have had far fewer options than a pet today. Chemotherapy, surgery, and long-term care have since replaced the grim alternatives. Human medications are now being made available for pet care, too. But with the increased care come increased costs.

Is pet insurance for me?

Pet insurance is not for everyone. Consider this: Are you the sort of pet parent that would take a second job, a second mortgage, or go without a vacation, just so that you could pay your pet’s medical bills? Many people would opt to have their pet put to sleep at the first sign of a big bill, but then there are those pet parents that go to real extremes to make sure their pet gets the best treatment possible.

Some might say that instead of insurance you could budget a few dollars every week into savings, and then have a safety net if something should come up-but how many of us would actually put that money aside? And what if something comes up before your savings is sufficient, or what if there are two major events within a short timeframe?  Even something that is not life threatening can be costly. A dog’s broken leg could rack up $1,000 bill pretty quickly, so even one major event could wipe out savings quickly.

NEXT WEEK: What to ask and how much it costs.