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3 pet insurance moves owners should make this spring

When purchasing insurance, the timing is key. If you wait too long, premiums may rise and the cost of coverage may become prohibitive. But if you get started too early, you could wind up paying for protection you can’t use and don’t need. This timing is particularly important to get right with some lesser-known insurance types, like pet insurance for dogs and cats.

Pet insurance works in a similar fashion that health insurance does for humans, helping to offset the costs of doctor visits, treatments and some medications and procedures. But there are also some key differences between the two, which can be exploited if a policy isn’t purchased at the right time.

And with spring underway and warmer weather on the horizon, now may be a great time to secure a policy. Below, we’ll break down three specific pet insurance moves owners should consider making this spring.

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3 pet insurance moves owners should make this spring

Here are three timely moves pet insurance moves owners should consider making this season.

Get started

The weather is already warm in some parts of the country and will be warming in other parts soon, meaning that dogs, in particular, will be spending more time outdoors. This can lead to a variety of health issues— from seasonal allergies to bug bites to sprains and orthopedic issues — that a pet insurance policy can help safeguard against.

So don’t wait much longer to get started. Since pet insurance companies typically come with a mandatory waiting period to complete before coverage kicks in, it makes sense to get started now so you’ll be fully insured and better positioned to deal with any outdoor-related injuries this spring and summer.

See how much a pet insurance policy for your dog would cost online today.

Know what you need a policy for

If your primary reason for getting pet insurance this season is to have protection for the aforementioned scenarios then you may not need a full, robust plan. In this case, an accident-only policy may suffice — and save you in monthly premium costs. That said, you may want a more comprehensive plan, which covers everything from the above-listed injuries to dental care and more. But, before picking a provider, first, know what you need a policy for. This will allow for better ease and understanding when you search for a pet insurance company.

Shop around

While pet insurance may not be as familiar as life insurance or auto insurance, it doesn’t mean that there is a lack of quality providers to choose from. Multiple top pet insurance companies would be happy to insure your furry friend now, so don’t hesitate to shop around to find one that offers the best combination of coverage and cost. Consider price quotes from at least three different insurance companies, providing the same information to each so that you can easily complete an apples-to-apples comparison.

But don’t look for perfection, either. The later you wait in your pet’s life, the more likely you are to pay a higher premium. And, since pet insurance companies exclude pre-existing medical condition coverage, you’re better off acting early before those nagging health issues become a disqualifier.

The bottom line

With spring here and the dog parks opening up, it’s a great time to get pet insurance to protect your pet (and your wallet). So don’t hesitate to get started now. By understanding what you need a policy for, specifically, and by shopping around to find the provider who can offer such services, you’ll position yourself and your pet for success this season and in the seasons to come.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is the managing editor for the Managing Your Money section for CBSNews.com. He writes and edits content about personal finance ranging from savings to investing to insurance.

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