Do I need pet insurance?
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
President and Founder, Pets Best Insurance
Some people advocate a “pet savings account,” instead of pet insurance. For example, they recommend putting away $50 per month in a special account that is only to be used in the event of a pet health emergency.
On the surface this may seem logical until you realize your pet may have a costly medical event well before you save enough to pay for it. What if your pet had an accident only two months into your savings? Then you would only be able to pay $100 on a vet bill that could be upwards in the thousands—and that’s only if you hadn’t already used the funds for something else.
On the flip side, your pet may have no serious or costly medical events other than routine care for several years. If this is the case, then would you keep the savings in the delegated pet account?
As with our own health, much depends on luck, which is usually out of our control. Your pets’ current health will be a strong indicator of future health, although this doesn’t necessarily take accidents and injuries into account.
Some breeds are much more susceptible to illness. Exposure to viruses and bacteria are unpredictable, as is cancer. And of course environmental causes, such as toxins, poisons and household chemicals can influence pet health. With pet insurance, a pet owner is always prepared. Preparation for pet illnesses and accidents comes down to risk tolerance and the level of importance peace-of-mind is to a pet owner. With pet health insurance owners know they will be able to afford nearly any expense incurred by their pet.
Many people wonder how insurance ultimately works—in the case of pet insurance, large pools of the insured’s premiums are collected and used to help pay medical bills for those pets who have an accident, illness or injury.
Some pets will have a few pet health problems, others may have one large, costly expense, and some might have multiple costly medical episodes. The conundrum is that no one knows in advance which pets will have pet health problems and which will not.
As a real life example, take my nine family pets over a four year period; one (Obie) had over $12,000 in medical cost for three separate gastric torsion surgeries and bone cancer. Four other pets had medical care in the $240-500 range and the others had just a few veterinary expenses. For me, the premium for all 9 pets was offset just by Obie.
The other pets I could have covered well enough, but with my pet insurance paying a high percentage after the deductible, I didn’t have to dip into savings or rack up any credit card debt. I may now go years before I have another costly pet expense. And I hope I do. The point is no one knows the fate of their pet’s health and pet insurance allows pet owners to pay an affordable monthly premium while knowing that a portion of any future pet medical costs may be covered by their pet insurance policy.