Like a lot of pet owners, my husband and I consider our furry friend to be a member of the family. And just like any member of our family, our dog needs to have his health insurance taken care of.
Now that our Wheaten Terrier is approaching ten years of age, we started to wonder whether pet insurance would be a good investment.
The idea of not having to worry about paying your electric bill in order to save your beloved pet seemed like a good sense of security. But the more we started to look into it, the more we asked ourselves: Is pet insurance worth it?
Paying the deductible. Just like your own health insurance, a lot of pet insurance requires a deductible to be paid before your insurance will pick up the tab (and even then, the coverage can be limited to a percentage of the total cost, like 90%). Think of it as a PPO and not an HMO. The deductible—depending on how much of a monthly premium you are willing to pay—can range from a few dollars upto $1,000. In some cases, even more.
Restrictions. We found that each pet insurance had its own set of restrictions, whether it was for pre-existing conditions or a limit on what types of services would be covered, we didn’t like the idea of deciding not to do a certain procedure just because it wasn’t covered by insurance (it’s sad to admit that this is also a reality with human insurance!). We know that if it came down to it, we would be willing to use all the funds we had available to us in order to save our dog, especially if it wasn’t his time to go yet. We probably wouldn’t have the choice to save our pet if the surgery and treatment was extremely out of our budget or if it would compromise our finances, but we found that in these extreme cases, there was also a change that the pet insurance wouldn’t cover it either.
Time consuming. Like any financial decision, we found that sifting through all the different options was extremely time consuming—except this wasn’t a decision as to which mortgage lender we were going for, it was about pet insurance! After a couple of hours of internet searching, we were a bit over it.
We found that pet insurance was worth it if you had a pet with lifelong conditions that was consistently visiting the veterinarian. But for the average pet who only sees the vet at their annual check-up or for emergencies, like breaking their leg with a door or accidentally getting soap in their eye (don’t judge me!), then you’re probably better off just setting aside money monthly into a separate savings account for your pet.
I know I wouldn’t be too happy to contribute toward pet insurance and spend more than $5,000 on premiums only to never even need to use the money.