Originally published May 17, 2018.
When my dog Anya got sick last year, I was scared. I took her to the emergency clinic where she recovered after hours of treatment. Unfortunately, the visit came with a hefty $ 1,500 bill, and I was unable to use an emergency vet payment plan to mitigate the blow.
It was a huge drain on my finances all at once, but I was lucky it wasn’t worse. Many people end up with sky-high vet bills that are a huge drain on their budget. However, there are ways you can give your pets the care they need without going broke.
5 ways to pay for emergency vet care when you run out of money
Getting pet insurance can be of great help when faced with an unexpected emergency. However, if you haven’t signed up until your pet needs urgent care, it could be too late.
Most pet insurance companies have a waiting period of 14 days or more before you can make a claim. However, before you deny care, skip treatments, or empty your retirement savings plan, explore the options below to give your pet the help they need.
1. Community aid
2. Vet Payment Plans
3. Credit cards
4. Personal loans
Not being able to afford veterinary care is a common problem. But there are nonprofits around the country providing financial assistance to pet owners, and some clinics offer inexpensive care.
The Humane Society of the United States maintains a database of national and regional not-for-profit organizations that help pet owners get the financial aid they need.
Even if you may be feeling shy or embarrassed, it is a good idea to speak to your veterinarian to see if they can work out a payment plan for treating your pet.
Not all vets offer payment plans, but some do. And some vets are willing to negotiate payment plans on a case-by-case basis, depending on the client’s needs. If you are eligible, you may be able to spread your payments over several months.
If your vet doesn’t offer payment plans, ask if they’ll be accepted CareCredit. CareCredit is a medical expense funding program that covers both people and pets. It often offers an interest-free period – during this time you can pay without interest, which makes your payments more manageable.
You could also use a credit card like I did. For Anya’s care, I relied on a low-interest credit card to pay for her vet.
It wasn’t ideal (I had to pay some interest) but I was able to pay the balance off within three months. It was a necessary tool in getting her the care she needed, as her vet didn’t offer payment plans or other funding options.
If you’re thinking of paying your vet with a credit card, compare credit card offers beforehand. Depending on your credit rating and income, you can opt for a low-interest card or a card with a. to qualify Special offer 0% APR. These deals could help reduce your debt over time.
If you don’t have access to a low-interest credit card, apply for a personal loan personal could be a better way to pay for veterinary care. With a personal loan, you work with a lender to borrow money for your needs.
The repayment terms are typically between two and five years, and your payments stay the same every month. Since a private loan If the payments are spread over several years and not just a few months, this could be the cheapest option. The longer the repayment term, the more interest you pay, but it may be worth cutting your monthly bill.
If you have good credit, you could qualify for a low-interest personal loan. Some lenders offer APRs as low as 2.49%, and with an APR this low, you won’t pay as much in interest fees. For example, if you take out a $ 1,500 personal loan at 5.99% APR and pay it back over three years, you would pay back only $ 1,643 in total. The luxury of paying your vet bill over three years would only cost you $ 143 in interest fees.
If you’ve exhausted all other options and still need money to pay for your pet’s treatment, Crowdfunding could be a solution. In crowdfunding, you post your pet’s story on a website like GoFundMe and share it on social media and with friends and family. Hopefully people will be moved by the story and donate money to care for your pet.
Still, there is no guarantee that you will meet your funding goal, so it’s a good idea to use crowdfunding only as a last resort.
Preparing for Emergency Pet Care
Trying to figure out how to pay for emergency pet care when the money isn’t available can be overwhelming, exhausting, and devastating. However, it is important that you do not give up hope. By talking to your veterinarian and asking for help, you can find a way to pay for your pet’s care.
Since you can never predict when unexpected output will appear, it is also a good idea to build an emergency fund.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.