DEFINITION of 'Pet Insurance'

A policy purchased by the owner of a pet that will lessen the overall costs if expensive medical bills are incurred by that pet. This is similar to health insurance policies except that it relates specifically to pets and will cover, either fully or in part, the often expensive fees that are incurred during veterinary procedures. Pet insurance started in the U.S. in 1980, and was the first policy was sold in 1982 for television's Lassie.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pet Insurance'

Many animal medical procedures, such as surgeries and sickness, are very expensive to treat. To help with these costs, a pet owner can buy a policy that will save out-of-pocket expenses by paying a yearly or monthly fee known as the premium. The cost and coverage changes with which policy you get and for what type of animal you're insuring. For instance, it costs more for an outdoor cat than an indoor, and premiums are higher for the percentage of coverage you wish to buy.

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