If you’re like most pet owners, you’d do all you could to make sure your pet lives a long and full life. However, one critical means of protecting your pet from tremendous unexpected costs is pet insurance. Perhaps you’ve considered pet insurance before, but you’ve always looked and the cost and wondered – is pet insurance worth it?
First, some stats: In 2014, 68% of Americans and Canadians owned pets. There were approximately 174,000,000 pet cats and dogs in the United States and Canada alone. Of that total, 1,400,000 carried pet insurance.
Pet insurance is very similar to the health insurance you carry for yourself. It is meant to cover accidents and injuries and medical conditions. You can choose between different levels of coverage, from basic to comprehensive, and the cost will be determined by the type of pet you have, the age of the pet, and the coverage plan you select.
Also, like health insurance, you will have a deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower your insurance cost will be since you are assuming more risk up front. From there, many plans will pay for the rest of the costs up to the max allowed, while others will also have a co-insurance clause built in. This means that the company will pay 80% of the bill and you will pay the remaining 20%. Again, if you have a coinsurance plan, your insurance cost will be lower since you are assuming more of the risk.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of your plan will vary depending on your pet’s age and breed. It will also vary on the type of insurance plan you select. However, the average cost is around $20-25/month for a dog or cat. If you have an exotic pet, your cost may be higher.
Why Should I Buy Pet Insurance?
Coverage options are easy to compare and understand – especially when comparing pet options to human health insurance options!
Pricing is very reasonable for what you’re getting
No networks to choose from – you can use the vet of your choice
Less worry – when your pet gets sick or has an accident, you don’t have to make the difficult decision of finding care for them. You already know you are covered
What are the drawbacks?
Pre-existing conditions are not covered – if your pet has a condition before purchasing the policy, that condition itself will not be covered
It works on a reimbursement system – you will foot the bill up front, and then you will submit the bill to the company for them to reimburse you
It won’t cover routine wellness checkups
Should I Buy Pet Insurance?
Ultimately, you will have to decide if it’s worth it to you. If you know that you will do absolutely anything to take care of your pet, and you don’t have $10,000 lying around to pay for their medical expenses, surgeries, etc, then it will likely be a very good investment for you.
However, if you are, shall we say, less attached to your pet, then perhaps it’s not for you.
In summary, your options are these:
Purchase pet insurance for the peace of mind (and I suggest doing it now before they get any older)
Decline pet insurance and take the risks that come with it
Start saving an emergency fund on your own for if a major medical problem should happen