Is Pet Insurance a Smart Idea for You?

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

“Pet people” – we know who we are. We come in all varieties – as do our pets – but we all have one thing in common and that’s that our pets are more than just pets to us. We pet people consider our pets part of the family. We feed and nurture them – and safeguard their health – the same as for anyone under our roof.

As with humans, there are so many things that could affect a pet’s health: hereditary conditions, illness, injury… The quality of health care and available procedures for pets has increased dramatically in recent years. Medications and treatments – as well as organ transplants and artificial limbs – are all possible to extend our pet’s quality and quantity of life.

If a human loved one needed treatment or surgery, we would thank our lucky stars for the health insurance that enabled them to receive the care they required. But how do we afford to pay for those expensive procedures when it’s our pet who needs care?

Pet insurance is an option available to pet owners. Like human health coverage, however, it doesn’t come cheap. Depending upon the scope of coverage, pet insurance can cost hundreds of dollars per year. Here are some issues to consider when determining whether pet insurance is a good idea for your circumstances:

  • Compare costs and coverage – Pet insurance policies can vary greatly. Your first decisions will have to do with the extent of coverage, from catastrophic coverage to routine care. Look into the same variables that exist in human health insurance: premium costs, deductibles, co-pays, coverage, limits and coverage caps. Some companies offer discounts for insuring multiple pets.
  • Choose a legitimate company – Ascertain that the pet insurance company you choose is registered to operate in your state.
  • Understand your coverage – Make sure you know the answers to these questions about the specific policy you’re considering: Can you use your insurance at your preferred veterinarian? How do you file a claim? Are medications covered? Precisely what procedures and conditions are covered? How does it handle hereditary and congenital disorders? Does it cover chronic conditions? Is routine care covered? Will your pet be dropped due to age?

While there’s little or nothing we wouldn’t do for our pets, spending thousands of dollars on your pet’s health care could put your family’s economic stability at risk. As cold as it sounds, you should take the time to determine how much you are willing to spend on your pet’s health. Consider these factors to determine how much is appropriate to spend on your beloved pet’s health care:

  • Can you afford the insurance, even for the “what-if” scenarios?
  • Without insurance, will you be willing and able to pay a large vet bill should the need arise?

Granted, it’s difficult break it down into dollars and cents because it feels as if we’re assigning a monetary value to our pet. Practically speaking though, no matter how much we adore our pets, there does need to be a line at which we say, “enough is enough.”

The bottom line is, pet insurance may be a good way for your to defray the cost of providing the level of healthcare you want to provide for your pet. On the other hand, it may be an unnecessary expense for a healthy, well cared-for animal. Whatever you ultimately decide, considering this emotionally-charged subject beforehand, rather than in the throes of a health crisis when your pet is ill or injured, will help you cope financially when and if the time arises.

Do you think pet insurance is necessary?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Albert Tillman March 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

You are so right! I had VPI pet insurance. I could have done without them, as their reimbursement process is a ripoff. They don’t want to pay you when you have a bill and the person you want to speak to tell you they are not there. Save your money, and you will come out better.

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