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Breaking down the ins and outs of pet insurance |

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Breaking down the ins and outs of pet insurance

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- There's a lot of buzz surrounding pet insurance, how it works and what it covers. You may also be wondering about how to choose the right one for your pet.

Dog owner Mary Tully says her dogs are, "Everything. Everything. Without my dogs, I don't know what I would do."

8 News Now's Christian Cazares met Tully during her daily walk around Desert Breeze Park. Seven-year-old Zsa Zsa and 4-year-old Fifi were by her side -- both of whom have health insurance.

"Seems to be working out real well," Tully shared. "If they get sick or anything happens to them, even if they pass away, it's used."

Pet insurance has been around for more than 100 years, beginning with policies on livestock.

Did you know that in 1982, TV's most famous dog, Lassie, was the first in the U.S. to have a pet insurance policy? At the end of 2020, 3.1 million pets were insured.

"The best thing to do is get insurance on your itty-bitty puppy or kitten because then, they are covered for all the silly puppy or kitten stuff, like eating socks and rocks, and covered for all their old dog stuff, too," Jenna Mahan, director of claims and underwriting for Embrace, explained.

Embrace offers a variety of coverage, including dental, chronic and orthopedic.

There are about 20 pet insurance companies. The best way to determine which is good for you is through research!

"I'd be careful about spending money on repetitive or routine care because that's almost like insuring your oil change," said Rob Jackson, chief pet protector and CEO of Healthy Paws. "You wouldn't do that."

Data from a recent survey shows surgical vet expenses in dogs are almost double than those for cats, as well as most other costs.

"You have to give a pet owner an estimate of $15,000 for a surgery that a dog needs to have, or it won't make it," Mahan told us.

Dog owner Nichole Newland shared, "I don't have pet insurance. I can't afford it; I would love to have insurance."

And that is what some pet owners think.

The cost depends on the coverage you get. Embrace provides free quotes. A standard policy on a medium-sized puppy would cost you about $40; for a kitten, the cost would drop to about $20.

Remember, you can modify the coverage and price to fit your pet's needs. If your pet has a pre-existing condition, though, insurance will not cover it.

In Tully's case, she was able to find the right coverage for her dogs:

"Yeah, I use it. What if they get sick or something? I use it."

Pet insurance companies say veterinary medicine has come a long way in the last 20 years. You can get MRIs and CT scans, and with that increase in medicine, comes an increase in cost.

Basic advice is knowing what kind of policy you want. Do some research and find what best fits your dog or cat's needs.

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