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Is Getting Pet Insurance Really Worth the Money?

Middle aged vet checks an adult labrador retriever at the animal hospital to illustrate the importance of pet insurance

Whether you love dogs or cats are more your style, you’ll do just about anything to keep them healthy and safe. And, if you’ve ever had the veterinarian hand you a bill that blows your socks off – you may be asking yourself – would I be better off getting pet insurance? Like human health insurance, the coverage is designed to save you money in the event your pet becomes ill or has a catastrophic event.

A broken leg, a gastrointestinal disorder or other emergency forcing the doctor to perform a tracheotomy as a result of your dog swallowing something that blocks his windpipe can run into the thousands of dollars.

Similar to your own health insurance – with pet insurance you pay a monthly premium so that if your pet gets sick and needs expensive health care, your insurance can kick in and help you pay the medical bills. But, is it really worth the added expense?

Once you realize your pet will require surgery, stitches, antibiotics or other medication, the meter is running and there’s no telling where it’ll stop and at how much. Yet, while pet insurance can be helpful to keep your costs down in certain cases, some consumers are reluctant to convert to the coverage. In fact, some feel it was utterly useless and a waste of money.

However, not everyone feels that way. And, if you’re thinking of purchasing pet insurance, you may want to consider the following:

1. Pet medical care is expensive
Even with insurance, you could face some fairly high costs for serious conditions. So, if you’re main reasoning for getting pet insurance is to make all of those health care costs go away, you’re in for a disappointment. Still, pet insurance can minimize the pain to your wallet – as paying a little at a time can be much easier than paying a lot all at once.

2. Pre-existing and chronic conditions may not be covered
Now, where have we heard that before? Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act for us humans, insurers routinely refused to pay for pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, depending on your pet insurer, this can continue to be an issue with some finding loopholes as an excuse to not cover costs.

As with your own personal health insurance, it pays to do a little research and compare premiums, including what is and isn’t covered. There’s an abundance of pet insurers to choose from: Trupanion, PetsBest, Petplan, Healthy Paws, Embrace Pet Insurance, Pets Best Insurance, PetFirst, VPI Pet Insurance and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Keep in mind that not all pet insurance works the same way. For example, while some pet insurers may pay for office visits or discount the fee; many don’t. Furthermore, some insurers will pay you a percentage of what your vet charges you for a procedure or operation, but others may simply pay a set fee, which could still leave you with more than you expected to pay.

Remember, not all insurers perform their payment obligations exactly as advertised either. Do your research by consulting other pet owners and ask questions of the insurer before making your final decision. It could save you anguish and money in the long run.

3. If you would do absolutely anything for your pet, it’s probably worth it
Many of us treat our pets like they were members of the family and paying thousands of dollars for emergency surgery may be difficult. In such a case, paying $30 to $50 a month could make more sense. After all, $600 a year can seem like pennies compared to the thousands of dollars you could be facing if your dog tears an ACL or breaks a leg that doesn’t heal correctly.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of getting pet insurance before signing up. Of course, one main difference between pet insurance and health insurance is the fact there’s a penalty for not having health insurance on yourself and your family, while pet insurance is optional.

Either way, it pays to compare insurers for your pet or the best health insurance quotes for yourself. So, why not get a free health insurance quote today?

Are you an advocate for pet insurance or do you believe it’s a waste of money? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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