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Pet Insurance Cost - Our Money’s Where Our Mutts Are

Sam NiccollsApr 6, 2014

50 years ago, the executives of the Mad Men-era famously had multiple martini lunches & smoked cigarettes at their desks. There was little regard for human health back then – and even less for the health of our feline & canine companions.

It took several light bulb illuminating realizations like “cigarettes might cause lung cancer” & “sunscreen could help protect our skin from the sun” to pave the way, but since the 1960’s Americans have become increasingly more aware of the emotional & financial costs of leading an unhealthy lifestyle.

Today, amidst an ever-growing pet health movement where organic dog treats & doggy pedometers abound, we’re almost more conscious of our pet’s health than our own. Who’re we really kidding though? We’ve been full-on pet obsessed with all of our puppy pampering & doggy-diva-ing for some time now.

Spending on our furry loved ones
As Americans we continue to spend on our pets at unprecedented rates. In 2013 we spent over $62 billion on our pets - which, if you can believe it, is more than we spent on childcare. So, while our dogs are worth every penny, they’re far from inexpensive. The tail definitely wags the credit card, not the other way around.

Where do we spend the most money on our dogs & cats? Well, for most pet parents, the largest piece of the expense pie goes to paying pet medical bills. Let’s face it. Pets get sick. Accidents happen.

Thankfully, from prosthetics to experimental laser procedures, huge strides have been made in pet medical care over the past couple years. However, as the bar has risen for the quality of pet medical care, so too have the costs. Depending on the condition & how it's treated, it’s not uncommon to see vet bills climb into the thousands, which is why pet parents are enrolling in pet health insurance plans at higher rates than ever before.

The math on paying ~$30/month to have an insurance company cover up to 90% of your pet’s medical bill starts to make sense when a single procedure can run between $5,000 and 10,000.

5 Common Dog Conditions and Average Cost

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea Treatment $ 500  - $ 1,850
  • Chronic Ear Infections $ 2,200 - $ 3,750
  • ACL Surgery $ 2,600 - $ 4,000
  • Leg Fracture $ 3,600 - $ 5,400
  • Ingesting a foreign object $ 3,800 - $ 6,250

Over 10% more pet parents get pet insurance each year.
Unlike health insurance for us bipeds, pet health Insurance was as non-existent as tobacco laws were back in the 1960’s. So during his Madison Avenue heyday, Don Draper couldn't have insured his family's golden retriever if he'd wanted to. It wasn't until the mid '80s that the demand for pet insurance began to emerge.

Really though, it wasn't until several decades later during the early 2000’s that pet insurance was worth buying. Before then, all the available plans were of such low quality that the value relative to the cost just didn't pencil out. Today, however, it's a different ballgame. There's a growing number of highly rated pet insurance companies offering quality plans, so the pet insurance industry grows at a rate of 10-15% each year. 

Utlimately, it’s not about the cost though. It’s about caring for your best friend.

But just as pampering our pets isn’t about the money, pet health insurance isn’t just about lowering vet bills. Not at all, actually. Having a pet insurance plan is about protecting the most devoted family members in our homes & giving them the best medical care possible.

Plus, let’s be honest, we can’t exactly put a price on the wet nose that meets us with eager eyes & a devoted wagging tail when we get home from work. Nor can we put a monetary value on the love we feel when those same eager eyes hop in bed to cuddle with us at 6:00 am.

So, at the risk of sounding like a MasterCard commercial, as pet parents we can all agree: The unconditional love we get from our furry friends is priceless.