I’m a self-proclaimed cat lady. I have two beautiful cats, Bailey and Bert, and I’d go to great lengths to keep them safe. So after a recent trip to the vet which ended up costing us about $170 (routine preventive care for my calico), I began to wonder whether pet insurance might be a reasonable way to make sure that nothing happens to my fur babies – and also that nothing happens to my bank account. But is pet insurance worth the money? Let’s take a closer look to find out.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Most pet insurance companies offer plans for dogs and cats. However, if you have a ferret, goat, tortoise, pig or other exotic pet, you can probably get some kind of coverage for it.
So what conditions does pet insurance cover? Like with car insurance, it all depends on the plan and company you choose. VPI Pet Insurance, for example, offers three different types of plans. The most basic only offers coverage for accidents, the next level up offers coverage for accidents and illnesses, and the third offers coverage for just about everything.
What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?
This also varies by the plan and company you choose, but there are some common things that are excluded from coverage across companies and plans.
- Congenital or hereditary disorders: These are disorders that existed at the time of your pet’s birth or disorders that were passed on from the parent.
- Pre-existing conditions: Your pet insurance plan won’t cover an illness, condition or injury that existed before you bought the policy.
- Injuries or illnesses caused by cruelty or neglect: It’s pretty obvious why this rule is in place – and it’s just another reason to take good care of your animals!
- Breeding and pregnancy: Breeding and pregnancy is often not covered by pet insurance policies, so be sure to spay and neuter your pets.
- Inhumane treatments: Many pet insurance policies won’t cover treatments that are considered inhumane, like tail docking and declawing.
Of course, this isn’t anywhere near an exhaustive list of exclusions, so be sure to refer to your personal policy for more details.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
This varies by plan and by company too! There are so many variables that it’s hard to put a price on it. According to PetInsuranceQuotes.com, the average cost of pet insurance for a dog is $29.42 per month, and the average cost for a cat is $18.56 per month – but this can vary widely.
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Money?
The fact is that I can’t give you a definite answer either way. It depends on your coverage, your pet and whether you’ll make use of the policy. For pet owners like Lauren, the owner of a 5-year-old, mixed-breed dog, pet insurance has been a life saver.
Lauren adopted her dog, Flynn, when he was a puppy. When they brought him home from the shelter, he had an upper respiratory infection, which turned costly when they discovered that he was allergic to his medication. “That was the moment I knew we needed a financial safety net for our dog,” said Lauren. Since then, this “disaster-prone dog” has suffered from broken toenails, a broken tooth, strep throat, dehydration – and even epilepsy. Without pet insurance, the medications and care that help keep Flynn’s seizures at bay would be very costly. Lauren pays approximately $40 per month in premiums, but over the past few years, she’s saved about $1,200 on Flynn’s veterinary care.
On the other hand, if your animal doesn’t get into trouble and is generally healthy, pet insurance might be a waste. For instance, I don’t think a pet insurance plan would benefit my family because our visits to the vet aren’t too frequent (once every few years) or too costly (usually less than $100 per visit). To purchase a plan that would cover routine vaccinations and care, I’d have to pay more money than I annually spend on care. That’s not to say that my cats couldn’t have an accident or develop a health condition in the future, but with two relatively young, healthy cats, I don’t think the monthly cost is worth it.
Whether you purchase a pet insurance plan or pay out of pocket for care, the bottom line is that you shouldn’t adopt an animal unless you have the money to responsibly care for it – which includes paying for doctor visits and medications, however unexpected, when necessary!
Do you have a pet insurance plan for your fur baby? Talk about your experience in the comments below!