Pet Insurance: Worth it, or a Waste?

So you did the thing- you got a new dog (or hey, maybe you landed here with a dog you've had for a while). Covid-19 has gone on for a while, and you caved.

There is so much information. You've heard your vet mention pet insurance before, but there was so much other stuff going on, and plus your cousin Fred says it's a waste of money, so why bother?


I encourage you to think again.


If you've met me, you probably know that I spent several years in the veterinary industry. Years through which I saw so much heartbreak. Owners would have to decline or discontinue diagnostics and treatments because of finances.


Getting sick is expensive. We might not really think about it because... wait for it... we have insurance. So when we get the bill for our dog who has been having diarrhea and vomiting for four days, seeing a $900-$1,300 bill can be shocking. And that's just for something with a potentially simple cause! Maybe the pup ate something they weren't supposed to. But what if that something gets stuck somewhere? You could be heading to the emergency room for surgery, which can be a $4-7,000 bill.


I've seen a dog who was attacked by two neighboring dogs. After multiple wound repairs and a few nights being monitored, they had racked up $16,000. Yes.


Now, let's look at the most common argument for not getting pet insurance- "Just put that money in a savings account instead of paying for insurance". Okay. I hear you. But here's the problem.


My "senior" (5 1/2) dog's insurance costs me $93/month (90% reimbursement, $500 deductible, no limit). Let's say I didn't have insurance, and instead put that money into a savings account. After 5 years, I wouldn't have quite $6,000.


Let's revisit those numbers from earlier. You could easily spend $4,000-$7,000 on an emergency visit. After 5 years (completely accident free, no ear infections, upset stomachs, random limping, and so on) you might be able to cover that emergency vet bill.


But the catch- once you cover it, that money is gone. And now you have to replenish it. So if there are any follow up issues, or another accident in a year or two, you might be taking out a loan, putting it on credit cards, or taking a chunk out of your savings.


Personally, I'd prefer to have gotten reimbursed for that emergency vet bill in the first place. I don't like gambling on my dog being accident free and banking on her not getting sick.


Pet insurance is peace of mind. If you do decide to get it, read the heck out of the fine print, and know exactly what's covered, and how much. I'll always take any chance I get to make sure that finance never stands in the way of my dog getting the care she needs. I know most of us want our dogs to live forever, and this is just one more way of making sure you can provide longevity and happiness for as long as possible.

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