Yay or Nay?
I, for one, am a HUGE advocate for pet insurance! Having had a dog previously that required a lot of veterinary care in his senior years, his pet insurance was a God-Send. My senior pooch was an Old English Mastiff. His 230+ lb. size made for very hefty vet bills when it came to medications to help keep him comfortable in his golden years. I was able to keep him very comfortable at an affordable rate for 2 years before I had to make the ultimately devastating decision to let him cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
Because of my experience, I would never even consider owning a pet (especially a dog) without pet insurance.
Different plans and different insurance companies cover different things. Some cover everything from annual exams and routine vaccines to orthopedic issues (hip dysplasia etc.) to accidents and illnesses (hit by car, cancer etc.)
The monthly premiums vary depending on your plan (what you would like covered) and the deductible that you set. I’ve seen them range from $25/month to $125/month on average. Keep in mind that the older your pet is when you sign up for pet insurance the more costly the plan will be. Pet insurance also does not cover pre-existing medical conditions which is why it is highly recommended to sign your pet up when s/he is a young and healthy pup.
My current pooch, a German shepherd, unfortunately, suffers from allergies which can mean a lot of veterinary visits. Luckily, I had signed him up for insurance when he was a puppy and hadn’t been ill or diagnosed at that time. Now, I have peace of mind knowing that his allergy injections, tummy troubles, antibiotics for ear/skin infections (which go hand-in-hand with allergies) are 90% covered by his plan. This is MUCH more affordable than having to break the bank at every veterinary visit! To simplify things, a $400 vet bill now only costs me $40!
Being a Veterinary Technician who works in a Veterinary hospital, I can attest to the fact that almost every person who has pet insurance is thankful for it (and if they’re not, it’s only because they haven’t had to use it yet. Trust me though, the time WILL come that they WILL submit their first claim and will finally realize that all of those monthly payments weren’t a waste after all. They are able to give their very loved 4 footed friend the medical attention s/he needs without ever having to worry about finances. Animals are just like humans, they DO eventually get sick and/or require more medical treatments as they age. There is NOTHING more heart wrenching than having to console an owner who has no choice but to make the decision to let their pet go because they cannot afford medical treatment.
You may have noticed that I refer more to dogs than cats when it comes to insurance. That is my personal choice. I have 4 cats and only 1 has pet insurance because he has a medical condition that makes him prone to falls, therefore, broken bones/tooth fractures etc. My other 3 cats, being strictly indoor cats, are at a lower risk of picking up illnesses/injuries. The financial strain wouldn’t be as hard if that were to happen as it would be with my dog who is outdoors every day with us, walking, playing etc. He’s a very high risk of injury and illness and to a much higher degree as well. If my cats were outdoor cats I wouldn’t hesitate to insure them as well.
So yes, pet insurance gets a HUGE thumbs up from me!
Written by: Lisa Michalik, Registered Veterinary Technician