One of the most common questions people ask about pet insurance: Is it worth it? This is a valid question that you must find the answer to on your own. Purchasing pet insurance is not only a financial decision, but an emotional one too. You must consider what you are truly willing to pay for your pet’s care in the event of an accident or unexpected illness. Can you afford the initial out of pocket expense while you wait for the pet insurance company to reimburse you for covered expenses? What other treatment options are out there and what do they cost? The answers to all these questions depend on your individual situation. As veterinary medicine continues to grow, specialty care is becoming more common. As in the world of human medicine, specialty care can be expensive. Is specialty care something you want to be able to offer to your pet? The primary reason to purchase pet insurance is to help pay for large, unforeseen and unexpected pet related expenses (including specialty care, chemotherapy, etc) that would be difficult to pay for in the moment. Here are a few things to think about if you are wondering if pet insurance is right for you and your pet:

You may lose money on pet insurance when your pet is younger but typically people buy pet insurance to make sure their animals will receive the best care and coverage should they be injured. There’s no way to know if your pet is going to have moderate medical problems or serious and expensive ones. You would hate to have to consider euthanasia because of financial limitation.

What about a pet savings account? Having a pet savings account that you contribute to regularly may work better for you than pet insurance. This option would be great in the case of an accident; however it would not help with any ongoing treatment that may result from a medical condition or long term illness.

Pets are living longer these days and unfortunately the risk of certain conditions, including cancer, increases with age. There are options for treatment with these conditions, but the cost can also be high: according to cancer treatment for a dog can easily top $13,000 if it involves surgery and chemo or radiation.

Once you determine whether pet insurance is for you here are some hints for what to look for in an insurance company:

  • Understand what is not covered – pre-existing conditions are not covered and some policies have specific breed conditions they don’t cover. Do your research up front!
  • Watch out for premiums that increase as your pet ages. Two companies that may not boost premiums with age are Healthy Paws and Trupanion.
  • Enroll when your pet is young – this will help you to avoid the pre-existing condition issue.
  • Often insurance is best for large, unexpected happenings so you may want to skip coverage for wellness, preventative and elective care.

Pet insurance has changed over the years:

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, a record number of pets in North America, more than 2 million, were covered by insurance last year, up nearly 17 percent., an independent, non-profit consumer organization that rates products and services, took a deep dive into pet insurance and found that it “has improved over the last 15 years.” Most policies now cover hereditary and congenital problems, chronic problems and even alternative medicine.

Be sure to do your homework and make a choice that is good for you and your pet and will allow you to care for your pet in the best way possible without having to make treatment choices based on money instead of what is best for your pet.

For more information check out this article on how to get the best price and coverage for your pet insurance:

Cheryl Streater

Practice Manager

Alpine Animal Hospital