Updated: Jan 31
You have insurance for your car, house, and your health, but what about your pet?
Pet Insurance can cost anywhere from $25-$70 each month to insure your dog and $10-$40 to insure your cat.
As someone who adores my Pomeranian dog, I know that if I was at the animal hospital with my beloved furbaby pawing at me in distress I’d be willing to shell out pretty much anything to make her better again.
In addition to everyday costs (food, toys, grooming, cleaning expenses), pet owners can spend more than $24 billion on veterinary bills every year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
But it's hard to know whether or not insurance is worth it for you and your pets. Pet Insurance can be straight-up confusing. I’ve read different stories with opposing outcomes from different people. Some people love pet insurance and some despise it.
I’m writing this so you can make better sense of whether or not investing in pet insurance is the best choice for you.
Compare Your Options
A recent survey by the Associated Press found that a significant number of pet owners (41 percent) are extremely or somewhat worried they could not afford the medical bills for a sick cat or dog.
Before you jumped right into choosing car insurance you probably did a little bit of comparing prices or at least had a recommendation from a family member or friend.
So before you jump into pet insurance, do a little bit of research. Look for yourself and see which one best fits your situation.
Some people find out after investing in pet insurance that their insurer always seems to find a loophole as an excuse to not cover costs.
In August 2012, when Graham and her roommate took their cat to be examined, the vet looked at their pet’s ear and jotted down some notes, including a potential diagnosis, writing: “mild mucopurulent discharge left ear (polyp)?”
In September of 2013, the vet removed what was a polyp, and their insurer pulled up the August 2012 medical statement and pointed to that as a reason to call it a pre-existing condition.
“It was nothing more than the vet writing down thoughts or a potential diagnosis … Nevertheless, they concluded the condition was chronic and ongoing and thus, pre-existing,” Graham says.
Check out this comparison page to see how different pet insurances compares.
Pet Insurance Pros
Tiffany decided to invest in pet insurance. She pays $55 a month to cover Klover, her 1-year old Burnese Mountain Dog. (Tiffany chose to pay more to have a zero deductible.) She says the insurance means she doesn’t have to worry about getting Klover the best medical care.
“You never know what they’re going to do,” Tiffany says. “You don’t think your dog is going to eat tennis balls.”
But that’s just what Klover did last year. She ate a bunch of tennis balls. The surgery to remove them cost $2,700. Her insurance paid $2,332 (90 percent of the covered costs). Recently, Klover had emergency surgery for other intestinal and stomach problems. The bill was $6,980. Tiffany’s out of pocket expenses were just $1,050.
Peace of mind.
One of the biggest advantages to pet insurance is the protection and peace of mind it offers pet owners. When your pet develops a chronic condition or needs emergency medical care, you don’t have to worry. You won’t have to decide which medical treatments or procedures you can afford — and you won’t have to turn down care. You can ensure your pet gets the medical attention they need, without having to worry if you can afford to save your furbaby.
2. Routine costs
Pet insurance can also help with some of the routine costs that come with owning a pet. From regular medication like flea and tick prevention to annual checkups and routine vaccinations, pet insurance can cover those services.
3. Choose the best care
You’ll also be able to choose your favorite vet when you have pet insurance. Unlike human health insurance, which often limits you to certain doctors and providers, you can choose any licensed vet you're comfortable with.
Pick the insurance that works for you
Compare plans and do your research, but in the end, choose what works best for you and your pet.