iQuanti: We all love our four-legged friends. But when one of your pets gets sick, has a medical emergency or requires a life-saving surgery, it can get very expensive fast. Unlike health insurance for humans, many people don't have pet insurance. So, if their furry friends require medical attention, they'll most likely have to be paid for out of pocket. If you need help with vet bills, here are five potential places you could turn to for assistance with paying them off.
1. Negotiate with the veterinary provider
Just like medical bills, the price of veterinary services isn't written in stone. Each veterinary clinic is free to charge whatever market rate they feel is acceptable. In fact, because they don't have to deal with insurance the same way that human doctors do, they may even have even greater flexibility in their pricing.
If you can't afford the payment, try calling the veterinary office and explaining your situation. Depending on the circumstances, they might offer a discount if you can pay off your balance in one installment. Another option they might offer is to break up your balance into equal installments over the next six to 24 months.
2. Take out an unsecured personal loan
If you need the money quickly, you could always take out an unsecured personal loan. These are loans that don't require any collateral or something of value like your home or vehicle that can be seized if you default on your payments.
Many short-term personal loans come with online applications and same-day funding. Keep in mind that many lenders will check your credit score when deciding whether to approve you, but some have less strict requirements.
3. Get a 0% APR credit card
If your credit is in relatively good shape, another option could be to apply for a credit card with a 0% APR promo. These are credit lines where the interest is temporarily suspended.
Using a 0% APR card would allow you to pay the vet bill and then break up your payments over the next 12 months or so without racking up any interest charges. You'll just have to make sure that you pay the balance off completely long before the zero-interest promo period is over. Otherwise, it could result in a much larger bill than you originally started with.
4. Ask for help from family and friends
Although it may feel embarrassing, reaching out to your family and friends for help with your pet bills is not out of the question. Many people are surprised by the generosity of their loved ones, especially when it comes to their pets.
If you do go this route, commit to paying back the loan without question. The last thing you want to do is sour the relationship with your family or friends over money.
5. Borrow from your retirement plans
If you have a retirement plan such as a 401(k), don't forget that you have the ability to borrow from it if needed. Many plans allow their participants to borrow as much as $50,000 from themselves. However, bear in mind that this strategy should be used sparingly because taking away money from your nest egg will inhibit its growth.
The bottom line
If you're having trouble figuring out how you'll pay your veterinary bills, then try negotiating with your provider. You can also get the funding you need from unsecured personal loans, 0% APR credit cards or by borrowing from family and friends. And as a last resort, you could borrow from yourself using a 401(k) loan.
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Original Source: What to Do If You're Falling Behind on Vet Bills