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Your pets are a part of your family. You want to do everything you can to keep them safe and healthy. But veterinary care can be extremely costly. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners will spend roughly $72.13 billion this year on their pets. That’s why many pet owners are purchasing pet insurance policies to reduce their pet expenses. But is it worth it?

Here’s what you need to know about pet insurance before you purchase a policy.

Pros

As with any insurance policy, there are pros and cons to purchasing a plan. Here are some of the pros associated with purchasing pet insurance:

  • You may be more prepared for expensive treatments. According to Petplan Pet Insurance, every six seconds, a pet owner receives a $3,000 veterinarian bill. Some veterinary bills can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars based on the pet’s medical care needs.

If you’re not prepared for this expense, it could put financial stress on you or your family. With a pet insurance policy, your bill could be substantially reduced. This can allow you to focus on prolonging your furry friend’s life, while potentially staying within your budget.

  • Your premium is calculated according to the medical risk of your pet. The younger your pet is, the lower your premium will be. If you purchase your insurance shortly after your pet’s birth, you may not have high premiums. Then as your pet ages, the premiums will increase. This can give you time to plan for the more expensive premiums.
  • You may be able to customize your pet insurance coverage. Over the years, pet insurance has made some advancements. In the past, you may have only been able to select one plan, but now you have the opportunity to customize your plan based on your pet’s needs.

You can select different deductible and coinsurance amounts for your policy. You may also be able to select a basic accident-only plan or a comprehensive plan that can include everything from dental care to injury treatments.

Cons

Even though there are some great advantages to purchasing pet insurance, there are some downsides as well. Here are a few cons to purchasing a pet insurance policy:

  • Your pet may be uninsurable. Depending on the breed and age of your pet, some insurance companies may not be willing to insure your pet. If your dog is more than 10 years old, they may be too old to receive the proper coverage.

For example, golden retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, which may sway insurance companies to not give them coverage. Also, if you have an exotic pet, there may not be a policy that will cover your pet’s medical needs.

  • You may pay more in insurance premiums than the amount you get back in medical coverage. If you purchase pet insurance when your pet is young, you could pay a monthly premium starting at $16 on average for a cat and $22 on average for a dog. This may not seem like a lot of money; however, your premium will increase over time. You may discover that you don’t even need the coverage based on your pet’s health.

It may be more beneficial to set aside some extra money each month for your pet in case something were to happen. Then, if your pet remains healthy you can use your additional savings for other expenses.

  • You may agree to treatments that are not in your pet’s best interests. If you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of medical treatments, you may agree to a treatment your pet doesn’t need.

When you’re emotional, it’s easy to say yes to surgery or treatment that may only prolong your pet’s life for a short amount of time. This could also leave your pet with a poor quality of life.

When You Should Get Pet Insurance

If you were faced with the decision to proceed with a medical treatment for your pet if it would cost you $10,000, would you do it? If you answered yes, you should probably purchase pet insurance.

If you would do anything for your pet no matter what the cost, pet insurance could help ease some of the financial burdens you may endure. It could end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run, depending on the health of your pet.

Also, if you have a very young pet, pet insurance may be something you want to consider. The younger your pet is, the less the premiums will be.

When It’s Not Worth It to Purchase Pet Insurance

Of course, you love and care for your pet as if they were a member of your family, but you also understand that pets have a shorter life expectancy. If you wouldn’t entertain the idea of chemotherapy or acupuncture for your animal, you may be able to forgo pet insurance.

In this case, it could be more beneficial to open a savings accounts to pay for medical bills for your pet. Opening a savings account could be a more cost-effective way to eliminate this expense.

Another reason you may not want to purchase pet insurance is if you have an exotic animal of any kind. There are some insurance companies that may cover your pet, but the policy could come with a high premium. A savings account may be the best way to pay for your exotic pet’s medical expenses.

Lastly, you may not want to purchase pet insurance if your pet is old. If you have a 10-year-old or older dog, either your premiums will be very high or your pet will likely be uninsurable.

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering pet insurance, shop around and ask questions. You can review policies online and sometimes receive a free quote.

Many different pet insurance companies will help you select a policy. You want to be 100% sure you understand what’s covered under your policy and how much your premiums will increase over time.

So, is pet insurance worth it? It really depends on you, the pet owner. Weigh out the pros and cons and discover if pet insurance is right for you.

Have you ever thought about purchasing pet insurance? If you did, was it worth it? We’d love to hear your feedback. Let us know your thoughts below.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. None of these articles about pet insurance bother to mention that the pet owner must still PAY IN FULL UPFRONT and wait for reimbursement. Reimbursement can take a few days (rare) to several weeks or even a couple of months (more common.) Unless you have access to thousands of dollars immediately, through a line of credit, pet insurance does NOT help you in a true emergency. Only one company currently offers direct payment to the veterinarian – and the vet has to have an agreement in place with the insurer in order to accept direct payments. Pet insurance is NOTHING like human health insurance. There is no reasonable co-pay. You are still stuck facing a huge bill when you least expect it, even if you’ve been paying your monthly premiums for YEARS. I know, because this is what happened to me! I had a $5000 emergency vet bill, and despite being insured, I had to figure out how to find that enormous amount of money immediately. When I was finally reimbursed, about 10 weeks later, I received about $1,800. Less than 50% of my out-of-pocket expense, thanks to the insurer’s “benefit schedule maximums.” I recommend that instead of paying premiums to an insurance company, you pay them to YOURSELF. The money is then yours, and it is available immediately. You can use apps such as Clarity Money or Mint to set aside $10-$20 each week. You won’t even notice such a small amount coming out on a weekly basis, but you will be grateful for it when in a year, you have a nice nest egg with which to pay for unexpected veterinary costs. At present, there is just no good model for pet insurance out there. Yet.

  2. Another option people should look into is this Veterinary discount club – Its called etassure and can be found at petassure.com

    Been a member for a few years now – Year to year it has saved me a lot of $$ on my Vet bills

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