One thing that a lot of pet owners wonder is, ” Is pet insurance worth the money?” I have been asking myself this since our dog, Obi, had to have emergency surgery last week.
I did some research and feel that I have a better understanding of pet insurance and who it can help.
When we took Obi to the vet, we discovered that he had a tooth abscess and several teeth had fused together under his eye. Poor baby had to have 5 teeth removed! Turns out that it is no uncommon for small dogs to have dental problems, Obi is half chihuahua half peekipoo.
His surgery cost us a little over $600.
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Is Pet Insurance Worth the Money?
After his surgery, I started looking into getting pet insurance in case something like this happened again. I found out that it may or may not be worth it depending on your specific pet.
I found out that pet insurance works a bit differently than human health insurance. You won’t get a coypay like with our insurance, you will have to pay everything up front and then submit a claim to get reimbursed.
So you still need to have a savings account set up for emergencies to cover vet bills. If you have pet insurance you could get reimbursed on average 70-90% of the costs.
Beware of preexisting conditions as pet insurance will not cover those or breed specific conditions. In our case Obi is a chihuahua mix and they are known for having dental problems so pet insurance most likely wouldn’t have covered his surgery bill.
I have found that pet insurance is good for accidents and chronic illnesses. They will cover cancer diagnoses, animal attacks, and if your pet is hit by a car among other things.
What to Look for When Choosing Pet Insurance
When it comes to choosing pet insurance, see if your employer offers any. A few companies do but not very many.
If yours does not, go to your vet. They can point you in the right direction for your specific pet and give you their opinion on different companies. Some vet clinics may even offer their own wellness plans.
If you do want to get pet insurance, it is best to purchase it when your pet is young so they will have less “preexisting conditions”.
There are two plans that most pet insurance companies will offer: Accidental or Accidental and Illness. Some will give you the option of having wellness coverage for things like vaccines and routine exams. I found that having the wellness coverage was not cost effective when you compare how much you will spend on your premium vs. the average cost of a wellness exam.
When reading the fine print of the plan you are interested in purchasing keep some things in mind:
- See if your premiums will increase as your pet ages.
- How long will they cover chronic conditions? They may only cover the first year.
- Is there a maximum annual cost they will cover?
- Will you be reimbursed a percentage or flat fee for each claim?
I would suggests looking into Healthypaws or Trupanion first for pet insurance. They were the two companies I saw that didn’t raise prices with age and were the most cost effective plans when compared with other companies.
You can compare various pet insurance companies and rates.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It? Final Verdict
As with most things, it depends on your situation. For me personally, I think it would be more cost effective for me to put some money away each month into a savings account instead of paying a premium for pet insurance.
The average premium cost for a dog is around $50 a month. If I put that into my savings I would have $600 a year. Obi will most likely not have an emergency every year so that makes the most financial sense for us at this moment.
Now pet insurance is just like human insurance in that you get the most benefit from it if you actually use it. I hope that you don’t have to use it but it is nice to have in case of an emergency or chronic illness.
Pet insurance won’t cover 100% of the costs but it does lower them and makes things more affordable to you.
You can pay a little bit over time for the premiums. If don’t have pet insurance, you can pay a lot out of pocket at once and not get reimbursed if you have an emergency.
With pet insurance, the bottom line is that the value of it depends on the level of illness and injury claims you make.
You are buying piece of mind knowing that if your dog has a chronic illness, like cancer, you’re covered against the risk of being bombarded by vet bills. You can focus more on how you can make your furbaby feel better, instead of worrying about your finances.