If you have one or more beloved pets, you always want to be able to afford emergency veterinary care. And you want to make healthcare decisions for your pet based on what’s best for him or her, not what you’ve got in the bank. If you find yourself in an expensive emergency situation, a personal loan for vet bills might (literally) be a lifesaver.
Personal pet loan for veterinary financing
According to Pet Plan insurance, more than half of Americans with pets cannot afford the average $800 to $1,500 cost of an animal medical emergency. If you can’t afford emergency veterinary care, a personal pet loan may your best option.
Plan ahead for vet bills
Financial experts recommend that you start an emergency fund for your pet and add to it every month until you have a cushion of several thousand dollars. Because there is a one-in-three chance that you’ll end up in an animal emergency room during the next year.
But what if you haven’t yet saved this money and your furry friend needs emergency care now? Many animal hospitals and doctors offer veterinary financing, but the rates can be very high. And you aren’t exactly in a position to shop for the best interest rates in an emergency.
Image courtesy of IVG Veterinary Hospitals
The time to shop for a veterinary personal loan is before it’s needed, while you aren’t under the stress of getting your dog, cat or other companion through an accident or illness safely.
You can shop interest rates and programs today, before you need veterinary financing. A personal loan matching service like AmOne.com can help you compare products and rates. Some lenders allow you to prequalify for financing, so you’d know what your rate and payment would be if you close the deal.
In addition, there are also personal lines of credit that you can establish in advance and only use if needed.
Alternatives to personal loans for pets
It’s probably too late to apply for a credit card once you’re in the vet’s office facing a hairy bill. But you can find one now that has no annual fee and keep it just for emergencies.
If the credit card interest rate is higher than that of a personal loan, take out a personal loan once the emergency is paid on a credit card, and repay the credit card with the personal loan. Then put the card aside for future emergencies.
You can start off your pet’s emergency fund by having a garage sale or using eBay. Then every month that your pet is not having an emergency, add $50 to $100 until you have enough to cover most situations.
Pet health insurance
Another option is to purchase pet health insurance. It works like human health insurance with deductibles, coverage of (usually) 80 percent of the approved cost, and a maximum benefit per year. Insurance from the ASPCA for a 6-year-old mid-sized male dog comes to about $55 a month.
Pet insurance is cheaper for younger pets, and costs less for cats than for dogs. It’s also less-expensive if your pet is smaller. Pet insurance may be unaffordable if you have an older large dog. And pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. If your animal has a pre-existing condition, you might be better off putting the amount you’d pay in premiums into a savings account to cover future veterinary emergencies.
Pre-existing conditions and pet age aren’t factors when you borrow with an unsecured personal loan. You may be able to pay less on a monthly basis with a personal loan than with pet insurance.
Regular care to prevent emergencies
Many pet problems can be headed off by getting regular checkups, and by taking your animal for an office visit as soon as you notice something might be wrong — instead of making an emergency run to the veterinary hospital on a Sunday night. However, if you do have to pay for emergency vet care, lining up a personal loan or personal line of credit now could make it a lot easier on you and your pet.