Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
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To Insure or Not to Insure…
Choosing to obtain pet insurance is much like choosing the right home or school for your family. There are several factors to consider and it’s a decision that only you—loyal pet mom or dad can make.
When I welcomed 2-year old Sir Edward Winston (chubby bulldog with an impressive ability to steal your food) into my family, I myself contemplated if pet insurance would be worth the monthly cost.
Enter cousin Archer (a Labradoodle puppy with an appetite for socks and the toy cast of Frozen). As a perfectly healthy pup with no problems, Archer didn’t seem to “need” health insurance, or so his parents thought.
Fast-forward a few months later when little Olaf went missing and Archer got sick. Let’s just say the price of his surgical procedures well exceeded the price of Disney toys that needed to be replaced.
After the costly ordeal, Archer’s parents were seriously regretting their decision to not purchase coverage from the get-go. A monthly fee of roughly $35 was sounding pretty great compared to the $6,000 bill that they were left with.
While we can’t always learn from other’s mistakes, it’s important to weigh your options and give pet insurance a solid consideration.
Pet insurance plans are flexible to meet your individual needs.
For those who can’t afford expensive surgeries or treatments, sometimes putting your pet to sleep is the only option. That’s a painful decision, and it’s also pricey with euthanization costs around $300. And since not all cities allow backyard burials, you might have to pay even more to cremate your pet.
Additionally, you’ll need to take your dog’s specific breed into consideration. If you have a show dog, you’ll want to think about theft or life insurance coverage for your furry friend, whereas if you have a breed deemed “dangerous”, canine liability protection is another facet you’ll want to consider. Check out this article from Bankrate which takes a deep dive into determining the right coverage for your pets.
That’s where pet insurance comes in.
Just like human medical insurance, you pay a small amount every month to get coverage for those big, unplanned vet bills. Whether you want an emergencies-only plan or one that covers routine care, there are plenty of options at various price points on the market.
Let’s consider the benefits of pet insurance…
Pet insurance will give you more peace of mind if your pet were to become ill or injured. With a plan in place, you’ll:
- Be able to select care from any licensed veterinarian in your area
- Get coverage for dogs, cats, birds, and even exotic pets
- Drastically minimize the budget hit from hefty vet bills
- Focus more on your pet’s health than the cost of their care
Besides, you already know the importance of home, health, and auto insurance… why not ensure that peace of mind for your beloved pet?
Get the most out of your pet insurance plan with these helpful tips:
- Be aware of pre-existing conditions. If your pet already has a serious health problem, you might not be eligible for coverage with many plans. Some insurance providers also have age and breed limitations.
- Read the fine print. Many plans require you to pay the vet first and then be reimbursed, however, some may pay their portion of cost directly to your vet on the same day of service.
- Do the math. Monthly premiums tend to average about $25 per month for cats and about $45 per month for dogs. If your pet is relatively healthy, an expensive plan might not save you money in the long run.
- Shop around. Save money on prescription medications by asking your vet to write you a prescription and then check your local pharmacies–most also carry pet medications. For example, Walmart’s online pet pharmacy is very affordable. Vets are often willing to price match, too!
- Check for discounts. Some employers offer pet insurance discounts that could help keep more money in your pocket. Many insurance providers also offer discounts for multiple pets, so you’ll likely save more when you insure your second furry friend. In fact, in most states, Embrace offers a 10% discount when you insure more than one pet through their insurance policies.
- Open a pet savings account. Just like a health savings account, you’ll be able to conveniently manage your pet’s expenses in one place.
So… is pet insurance worth it?
It depends on you, your finances, and your pet! If your emergency fund is sufficient to cover unexpected vet bills, you can probably skip the pet insurance.
If an expensive vet visit would present a serious problem for your budget, pet insurance will soften that blow to your wallet. With numerous plans and deductibles to choose from, you can easily pick one that will meet your needs and suit your budget.
Choose a top-rated pet insurance provider.
If you do decide pet insurance is for you, here are some top-rated providers that we recommend:
- Embrace: Offers great value for the price and a 24/7 pet health line.
- Figo: Has some of the best emergency coverage and offers a 100% reimbursement option.
- ASPCA: Will cover behavioral problems in addition to health problems.
- Pet Assure: Offers a plethora of great discounts and covers every condition.
- Nationwide: Provides the best coverage for exotic pets and birds.
- Healthy Paws: Processes claims quickly and also covers alternative care.
- Petplan: Will cover online visits at no additional charge.
- Trupanion: Pays hospitals directly and doesn’t have long waiting periods for coverage.
“Our vet was our dog’s lifesaver but Trupanion was our money saver! Sometimes we wondered if it was worth the money since we never had any issues. But recently our 5th child ( our dog) developed a major skin issue / autoimmune disease and wow the bills! Trupanion covered SO MUCH of months worth of bills totaling around $15,000. 😬 We now have our dog back to himself and we didn’t break the bank!” – Hip2Save reader