Do you have a pet? Or do you have a member of your family that has four legs?

These days most people are treating their pets as members of the family. Pets certainly do create an expense. They must have annual check ups at the veterinarian, monthly heart worm and flea and tick medications, grooming, boarding, gourmet food, possible injury costs, and extra care when old age sets in. And unfortunately, since you will probably outlive your pet, you will need to include disposing of your pet's remains. It all adds up!

Pet health insurance can help you cover some of the costs at the vet. You will find that several different companies exist and each one offers a variety of plans. Before you choose one, though, you should plan do a little research.

The best way to do that? Ask some questions. Here are four questions to get your started.

1. Does the insurance policy allow you to visit any vet or do you have to go to a specified vet from a list of providers? A specified list can make it difficult if your pet is suddenly injured or takes ill and you have to take time to consult the list and locate the vet. A specified list also means that you may have to change your vet.

2. Is a comprehensive plan or a discount plan better? This depends on your budget. The comprehensive insurance plan is similar to the health insurance for humans. It covers more things at a higher rate. A discount plan will require you to pay annual fees. You then receive the discount only when services provided by the insurance company are used.

3. Does the plan have any exclusions? Most exclusions include pre-existing health conditions as well as possible hereditary defects your pet may have. When applying for the insurance, you need to be honest about your pet's health and history so that the insurance company will be able to present you with the best policy for your pet.

4. Does the plan have any deductions that must be paid? Like human health insurance, the deductible is paid before the insurance company will make their payment. The smaller the deductible, the higher the premium. You will need to determine what is best for your budget.

Consult your friends and family to find out what health insurance company and plan they are using. Are they happy with it? Does it meet the needs of their pet and their budget? In the end, though, you must chose what is best for you, your pet, and your budget.