Pet Insurance: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?This is a tale of two dogs, two families, and two very different opinions!

Lola

Eleven years ago, when we brought our beloved Corgi puppy into our family, we were advised to purchase pet insurance. As first-time dog owners, we ignored a lot of advice: have your puppy sleep in a crate (that lasted approximately one hour, after Lola’s whimpering landed her in her rightful bed – our bed!) and do NOT give her people food (ha, ha, ha!) were two bits of advice that didn’t stick.

But we were quick to sign up for pet insurance, and mindlessly paid monthly premiums for over ten years before being faced with serious vet bills. Phew, we thought, after receiving the first pricey invoice… good thing we have pet insurance! Her initial surgery and follow-up treatment will certainly be covered, and reimbursed at a high rate after our years of paying into the system. Five months, four requests for review, three denials, two more costly procedures, and one emotional breakdown at the animal hospital — Lola is fine, our wallet is not. Lola’s family says Thumbs Down.

Stella

I adopted Stella from a rescue organization eight years ago, as a single woman living in the city. We think she is part beagle/part terrier/part human, and her estimated age is now about 10.

In eight years, Stella and I have gone from an apartment with the two-of-us, to a house in the suburbs with five- of-us; along the way Stella has been hit by a car, lost a fight with a fox, and fallen out of a treehouse (don’t ask!). Having pet insurance was a gigantic plus in each of those emergency situations! She is my first baby, and I wouldn’t consider not insuring my kids, so why would I not insure my fur baby? Stella’s family says Thumbs Up.

Pet insurance continues to be a growing industry, with the estimated size at $500 million, but it is not widely owned, and overall reviews tend to be as varied as the two stories above.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Consumer Reports magazine wrote that pet insurance generally costs more than it pays out, and in their analysis is rarely worth the price. If you choose not to insure your beloved pet, I encourage you to start a savings fund to provide for emergencies, as well as ongoing well-pet veterinary costs. In addition, read this excellent article plus the comments on the Get Rich Slowly blog: How To Save Money on Vet Bills – you will be sure to find a tip or two that will save you money.

If you are considering a policy, do your homework and shop around before choosing an insurer. Most insurers charge ongoing monthly fees that may seem small at first glance, but add up over the years. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship, and it is up to their owners to decide how best to provide for their care.

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