Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Carol N - Senior Editor, Feb 20, 2014
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We are spending more money than ever on our pets. In 2014, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent an estimated $60 billon – with $15 billion going to veterinary care. That’s a large & growing figure that rivals what US parents spend on childcare.

And while an increasing number of pet parents get insurance each year, still only about 1% of the 300 million people in the US have pet insurance for their furry friends (source: Naphia 2014). With the rising costs of pet insurance, which now include expensive procedures like sonograms, MRIs or chemotherapy treatment, it’s become increasingly important that consumers know their options.

Here’s what every pet parent needs to ask: Am I ready to make a difficult financial decision if my pet gets sick or injured? Meaning if disaster struck & my 10-year-old Labradoodle was hit by a car & I were faced with a $4,300 vet bill, would I be able to afford the expense out-of-pocket, would I have to take on debt to cover the cost of the procedure, or, would I have to put my beloved pet down.

Sadly, these are the options that 10’s of thousands of pet parents without pet insurance will have to make this year, while those with pet insurance will be covered – both from the veterinary costs & from having to make an excruciating personal decision.

But what what about me? Should I buy pet insurance?

If you're asking that question, you're far from alone. A lot of pet parents ask us if "Is pet insurance really worth it for me?" To help you answer that question for yourself, here are a few important factors to be keep in mind before making that personal decision.

1)  It's about coverage for the unexpected, not routine check-ups: you actually don't want a policy that covers your day to day trips to the vet. It sounds bizarre but these types of policies carry much higher premiums.

2) Could you afford it if disaster struck?: If you're a pet owner who thinks of your pet as a part of the family and doesn't want to choose between a $5,000 vet bill and putting down the pet, pet insurance is probably a good idea. As pets age, it becomes much more likely that expensive surgery will come up. Pet insurance takes away the financial consideration and allows you to do what's right for your pet, the same as you would for another family member.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

3) Read reviews: You can't learn much about pet insurance from Yelp or the Yellow Pages, so we have looked at complaints with the BBB for the companies we've reviewed.

4) Don't delay. pre-existing conditions are never covered.  None of the insurance companies will cover a pre-existing condition. Think of it this way, if you crashed your car when it was uninsured and then signed up for insurance, would you expect them to pay? We don't think so. Don't delay on getting a quote. 

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Bottom Line: Pet medical bills are expensive. If you have a pet, you need to know your options & be prepared - both mentally & financially - should the unexpected strike. Whether that means getting pet insurance or not is a personal decision for every pet parent, but know your options!!!!.