Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Pet Insurance Guide

        Animals | Pet Travel

Pet Insurance Plans

The number of companies that offer pet insurance has grown immensely over the past decade. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird or some type of exotic pet, there is a policy out there to suit your needs.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) has been around the longest and owns a staggering 71percent market share. They offer policies with coverage for lab fees, surgeries, prescriptions and office visits. They even have policies for birds that cover self-mutilation and feather-picking. Don't fret if you don't own a dog, cat or bird - coverage is available for hamsters, pigs, sugar gliders, lizards and a slew of other exotic pets.

The most popular pet insurance plan offered by VPI is called the VPI Superior Plan. Under this policy, pets are protected in the event of accidents, illnesses, x-rays, surgeries, cancer, prescriptions and hospitalizations. The maximum annual benefit is $14,000. VPI also offers more expensive -- and expansive -- plans that cover everything from vaccinations to dental procedures.

Unfortunately, there are currently very few companies that offer coverage for animals with pre-existing problems and hereditary conditions. One company that does offer insurance for genetic conditions is Embrace Pet Insurance. They will cover your pet's surgery, chemotherapy or any other procedure related to its hereditary condition [source: Embrace Pet Insurance].

There are a number of companies to consider in your search for pet insurance. Well-known pet insurance companies include VPI, Petcare and Pet Assure. If the idea of shilling out big money is a hard one to bear, there's an insurance plan out there that fits the specific needs of your pet and your budget.

The next page will help clear up some of your questions about insurance costs.