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Imagine one day, your dog twists her leg during an out-of-control zoomie session in the backyard. Months later, she’s foaming at the mouth because a twig is stuck in the roof of her mouth. Then, just as you think the bad luck is finally over, she chows down on your secret stash of Valentine’s Day chocolates.
These are the sort of emergencies people don’t tell you about pet ownership — but they should! They require immediate vet care that can throw your budget out of whack.
If you’re wondering how you would handle this many unexpected visits to the vet, an emergency fund is there to help.
A pet emergency fund is a special savings account made explicitly for unscheduled, non-routine expenses like the ones mentioned earlier. This might include:
Urgent or after-hours visits to the vet
Emergency pet hospital fees
If you don’t have enough expendable cash that month, you can dip into your emergency fund to cover vet bills.
Starting your emergency fund is easy. All you need to do is open a savings account where you’ll put your fund. Make sure this account has no withdrawal limits or balance minimums; you need to be able to take out your money without worrying about penalties.
Next, you’ll have to sit down with your budget to see how you can reroute some money towards this fund every month. You might have to sacrifice other expenses that don’t matter as much as your dog’s care.
Let’s face it — vet care is expensive. Depending on your dog’s issue, it can cost several thousand dollars.
At this price, your emergency fund may only cover part of these expenses.
If you fall short of what you need, you may have to consider taking out a loan. A lender like Fora makes it easy to research your options under pressure. You can review the online personal loans from Fora on your phone while sitting in the waiting room.
While it may feel like it’s imperative you find a personal loan before you leave the clinic, take the time to compare rates and terms carefully. You want to find something that works for your budget and your pooch.
Most vets don’t require you to pay immediately, especially if you explain your financial situation. You often have time — a few days or even weeks — before you’re expected to pay.
Your vet may also provide financing plans for customers who are down on their luck. These plans allow you to pay off what you owe in installments, so you don’t have to pay your bill all at once. With such a plan in place, you might need to borrow a smaller personal loan — or not borrow at all!
Pet insurance might be a good addition to an emergency fund, but it shouldn’t replace these savings. Your policy might have extensive waiting periods before they process a claim, and it may have limits on what it covers.
Bottom line: your emergency fund can fill in the gaps in your insurance and budget, so you don’t have to think twice about getting your dog the care it deserves.