• Pam

Do You Really Need Pet Insurance?


I have had pets all my life. At one point I raised Norwegian Elkhounds and spent time showing them in conformation classes, basically a beauty contest for dogs!! I never thought about needing or wanting pet insurance. Our home biz with our savings membership program starting offering discounted pet insurance with a national insurance company. If our company thought it was important enough to add this benefit to the savings- membership I should check it out. What is pet insurance is all about? This blog post is about my research into pet insurance and how it may or may not be a benefit all of us.

In my research I sought out a Veterinarian’s opinion, the Washington Post and Kiplinger for some advice. Here is what I unraveled.



How Can You Help Me Save?



First let’s set out to compare the benefits and what exactly are the expenses that go into have a pet. I understand that there is a variety of ideas on what should be spent on a pet depending on where you live and how you use your pets. What I mean here is that some pet owners are low intervention or just want the minimum requirements to keep their pets healthy. There are others who would not think twice about an expensive surgery to keep their pet alive and well. Most of us are somewhere in between.

My husband is on the low intervention side. We live in rural America where dogs run loose and dogs are expected to work and pull their own weight at times even if it just means keeping the not so desirable animals away from or getting into the house or barn! The minimum for our dogs was what he chose. Rabie shots, distemper and just the basics required.





Our Coonhound “Spooky” He got his name from the black markings on his back that looked like the Scream Mask from the movie. Well anyway, my husband found him one day unable to stand on his hind legs. He could stand on the front legs but couldn’t get his hind end up. James had to carry him to the truck to get him to the vet. Results, Lyme’s Disease from Tick exposure. Three different medications later he was cured and back to his own “treeing” self bellering up a storm. This could have been prevented.


My oldest daughter working from home who is married with 2 kids, a grown dog, a puppy and a cat in the house made me think about one of the articles I read in Kiplinger. It discussed that prices for adopting a pet are on the rise with increased supply and demand and many shelters even have “low inventory”. Why? With more people working from home people are getting pets to keep them company during home work hours. A dog may also give them more outdoor activities etc. Recently my daughter posted a picture on Facebook of Cooper their English Yellow Lab and the post read “My Favorite Work Buddy”. This just validated what I read!



Your 4-legged member of your family is prone to many health challenges and each breed can be prone to certain ones. Often times these are not a big deal but what about an emergency? How costly might that be?


According to Kiplinger “at the end of 2019, more than 2.5 million pets were insured in the U.S. up more than 15% from 2018.” They had obtained their information from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Just like with humans, as I nurse, I have seen this first hand, that increased technology and advancement in treatment makes living longer possible. The same goes for our pets. The problem is that technology costs more. The Kiplinger article gave a great example to indicate how the advancements in technology affect your Vet bills. The article shares that about 5 years ago if you dog stopped too quickly while playing fetch and tore a cruciate ligament in their knee the cost to repair would be about $1200.00. Today, the treatment can cost up to $5000.00 per knee due to Veterinarians being able to insert a steel plate to help stabilize the ligament. Wow!! How would you like to have to make that choice regarding your pet health and care?

Routine pet care or annual Vet check up can cost between $50-$250 dollars plus the cost of vaccines. The ASPCA believes pet owners spend anywhere from $355-$650 per year on pet expenses including toys, beds, food, treats, etc. and can be more or less based on the size and breed of your pet.



What does all this cost? What does pet insurance cover? Just like the overwhelming choices we have for health care the same goes for our pets. Costs can average 30-55 dollars a month depending on your deductible and how much cost you want covered and can typically go from 90% coverage down to 50% coverage depending on how much you want to pay for premiums. Just like people insurance, there are limits or “maximum” amounts per year for coverage that the insurance company will pay out. According to this Kiplinger article they also mention that cats are less expensive to cover than dogs by about $200.00 per year.


There are more choices with pet insurance. Maybe you just want “accident” coverage vs both accident and wellness insurance. Many insurance companies offer coverage for teeth cleaning, minor ear treatments, illnesses causing diarrhea all the way to diabetes, cancer, surgeries and medications. Several choices are available depending on your personal needs and how much you want to spend. Kiplinger points out that for instance if you dog gets hit by a car and spends a week at the Vet, it may cost around $10,000.

Do you need pet insurance? I can’t answer that for you. If you are great at planning the use of your money, you could put money aside for an “Emergency Pet Fund” to have on hand in case of an emergency or accident. There are other ways to reduce costs of pet health. There are low-cost clinics out there such as for spaying or neutering. Often shelters sponsor these clinics to reduce amounts of unwanted pets. This might be a less expensive way than going to your Vet. Local shelters or the local Humane Society may be able to point you in the right direction as well as specific breed or training clubs in your area.




Some things to watch for. The Washington Post article on “Is Pet Insurance Worth It?” discusses some pet insurance companies might increase their rates based on the age of your pet. Just like us humans we pay more the older we get! You need to weigh the difference over time to fully understand how much the pet insurance may cost you over the life of your pet. The bottom line according to their secret shopping research was that pet insurance is worth it if you use it and not worth it if you don’t. You could save money on an “accident” only policy that would not go up as your pet ages. An article written by a Veterinarian William Hodges, Is Pet Insurance Worth It, writes that 1 in 3 pets will need emergency treatment by a Vet in a span of one year.


To keep costs down as an alternative to pet insurance, The Washington Post suggested price shopping around for what Veterinarians in your area charge for average services and you may find there is some large discrepancies in the same local area.

The sad thing is that most of us don’t have an extra thousand dollars lying around in case our pet needs it. Only you can determine if pet insurance is worth the financial investment and the peace of mind.




I have attached the links for the articles if you want to research this topic further.

If you would like more information on our savings membership program or would like to learn more about the pet insurance benefit we have, just complete the form and we will get right back to you.


FIND OUT MORE


As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a few of your precious minutes of time with us!! We value your time and never take that for granted. Our goal remains to bring you tips and strategies to save you time and money in your everyday life and support those of you that work from home or would like to!

Take care,

Pam


Kiplinger Article


Pawlicy Advisor-Veterinarian Article


Washtington Post Article






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