Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
By: Amy Keslinke | Feb 20, 2020
You’ve probably got more bills to pay than you’d like, so adding pet insurance to the mix might not be on your list of priorities. Getting pet insurance is a very personal decision, and, at its core is all about risk.
Here are questions to consider as you make the decision to purchase pet insurance.
1. Will finances be tight if your pet suddenly becomes sick?
Imagine being awoken in the middle of the night to your cat vomiting. No big deal, you think. It’s just one time. Until it happens again and again every hour or two through the morning. It’s only Tuesday, you don’t get paid until Friday and you just put nearly all of last week’s paycheck into your mortgage and car payments. What are you going to do?
With a pet insurance policy in place, the money would already be set aside for the visit, testing, and medication that could come with your pet’s illness. Most of us don’t have much extra money laying around after necessary expenses. Pet insurance gives you the comfort to feel financially secure in the event of a pet health problem or unexpected surgery or procedure.
If you’re comfortable monitoring your pet’s symptoms for a few days to see if they go away on their own, or if you typically have plenty of extra money available for unexpected expenses, then insurance may not be necessary for you. If you prefer to have a backup plan, dog or cat insurance allows you to act quickly when your pet is ill and to focus on quality care instead of scrambling to find the money for it.
2. How likely is it that your pet will need coverage for illness or injuries?
There is no way to know for certain, but certain factors may put your pet at greater risk for the need for health care. Older pets, for example, tend to need veterinary care more often than younger pets.
Some breeds are more prone to health issues. Your vet will be able to summarize the potential medical concerns for your pet’s particular breed, but here are some examples.
- Bulldogs are more likely to experience respiratory issues because of their small nostrils and narrow trachea.
- Pugs’ bulgy eyes put them at increased risk for eye problems.
- Dachshunds are more likely to develop back problems because of their elongated body structure.
- Cocker Spaniels have large, floppy ears, which put them at greater risk for ear infections.
Your lifestyle can also put your pet at greater health risk. Many of these things are out of your control, but you’ll want to consider them and the risks they could pose to your pet when considering if pet insurance might be beneficial.
Here are some examples:
- If you have children in your home, small, colorful toys are enticing to many pets and can pose a choking hazard or cause other medical problems if swallowed.
- If you go for frequent hikes or live in a wooded area, your pet may be more at risk for injury.
- If you like to swim in lakes, ponds, etc. with your pet, he or she could make contact with toxins or poisonous algae or could be at risk for injury or drowning if he is not a strong swimmer.
- If you enjoy cooking, your pet may accidentally ingest a harmful food or bone if not watched closely in the kitchen.
- If you have multiple pets, they may be at risk of fighting and injuring each other. Additionally, multiple pets naturally means increased health expenses, even if only for routine check-ups.
3. What type of coverage will be best for you and your pet?
A wide range of policies exist, from basic to more comprehensive. Of course, the more basic the policy, the cheaper it tends to be, and, the more comprehensive, the more expensive.
Basic policies typically provide coverage for specifically-stated ailments, such as accidental injury, broken bones, bloat, etc. Only expenses related to the conditions stated in your policy are covered.
More expensive policies will have more comprehensive categories of illness. One such category is gastrointestinal. Everything related to that category will be covered by this type of policy—vomiting, diarrhea, stomach infections, bloat, colitis, etc. It’s important to look over the policy thoroughly to determine what you think is best for you and to be sure that it covers the conditions your pet is most at risk for or that may be the most financially stressful.
You’ll need to select the deductible you’ll pay for every claim and the percentage that the insurance company will cover for each claim. You’ll also need to choose a monthly premium that is manageable for your finances. Some policies will have lifetime maximum claims, and premiums can also increase with every claim made.
Tools such as those provided by Pet Insurance Review can be a great way to find the right insurance policy for you and your pet. Just tell them a bit about your pet, select the type of coverage you need and get a variety of quotes from various companies with reviews from other pet owners.
4. Is it really worth it?
This is where the decision to purchase pet insurance really gets personal. If you have a relatively healthy, young pet and you have plenty of money saved for emergencies, you may be willing to risk not carrying pet insurance. If you have a lot of expenses, multiple pets or a pet who is prone to injury or illness, the financial peace of mind that pet insurance provides may be more than worth it.
The very nature of insurance is that it’s something that we hope we never have to use, but, when we do, it takes away a lot of the financial burden of an already stressful situation. If you’ve ever been in even a minor car accident or had your own health difficulty, you know first-hand that the event alone provides enough stress without having to scrape up the money that tends to add up quickly when times get tough.
Blue Cross for Pets. (2018). Hidden Dangers to Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/hidden-dangers-dogs
Fetch by WebMD. (2018). 25 Most Popular Dog Breeds and Their Health Issues. Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-dog-breed-health-problems
Gibson, B. These 11 Household Items are Seriously Hazardous for Your Pets. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/advice/pets/hidden-dangers-for-pets-at-home/
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.