A Vet’s Opinion: What are the Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance?
What are the Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance?
You might wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of getting pet insurance for your dog or cat. How do you know if you need it? Do most vets even recommend it?
As a veterinarian I see pet owners struggle over whether to buy pet insurance. They aren’t sure whether it’s necessary or worth the cost.
These are all good questions and ones that I’m glad pet owners are considering. The difficult decisions that result in euthanasia for economic reasons often happen to owners who didn’t consider what they would do if something major happened to their pet.
Insurance is designed to protect you and your pet against an unexpected expensive event such as an accident or illness. But like anything, it has its pros and cons. Here are the big pluses and minuses of pet insurance:
- Pet insurance can protect you against a large unexpected expense or an expensive ongoing expense. For example, I recently saw Fuzzy, a 6-year-old Schnauzer who was drinking and urinating more and having accidents in the house. After testing, the diagnosis was diabetes. Fuzzy was very sick initially and since has gotten better, but not without a lot of medical care and time. The expenses over the past 2 ½ months have totaled about $2000, and he is going to have diabetes the rest of his life. Hopefully he won’t have ongoing problems and will be what we refer to as an “easy diabetic”; that is, his condition is easy to regulate and responds well to treatment. However, his owners will have years of bills. Would this situation make your life difficult to deal with these expenses? If so, then pet insurance is right for you.
- Certain pet insurance plans also can help you provide routine care for your pet. If you have a policy that includes wellness or general care, you can ensure your pet gets all the recommended precautions to keep her healthy. Routine care includes annual examinations, vaccinations, dental cleaning, heartworm testing and prevention, and flea control medications. If you utilize this benefit, it can encourage you to provide the best care for your pet.
- Pet insurance policies can be confusing. When choosing a policy, make sure the features that are most important to you are part of the plan. For example, some policies exclude coverage for hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia which can affect several breeds but may not show up until later in life.
- Your policy may never pay for itself. Remember, it’s a safety net, not an investment. You can’t expect to get your money back, and you could spend more in premiums in your pet’s life than you ever would if you just went to the vet. That said, you don’t know what’s going to happen in your pet’s lifetime and it’s often best to be prepared. I think of it like having homeowners insurance. Some homeowners spend hundreds of dollars every year and never file a claim so, strictly speaking, in the end they did not get their money’s worth. But you never know what could happen. For example, if you had a house fire or other distressing event without insurance, it would be devastating. You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind so that alone may be worth the premium for you.
- Certain pet insurance plans also can help you provide routine care for your pet. But if you don’t utilize these benefits while paying for them, it’s easy for pet owners to overpay for this benefit.
I hope this gives you more information on the pros and cons of pet insurance.
Is Pet Insurance Right For You?
The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs and with enough options to get the perfect coverage for you and your pet.