Is Pet Insurance Worth It? (Yes, I Think So)

After two years of resisting pet insurance for my dog Coco, I have decided to go ahead and take out pet insurance. Why? Simple: Peace. Of. Mind. So let me tell you how I come to this decision and maybe this will help you decide if pet insurance is right for you.

Vet holding a cute little puppy .
Vet holding a cute little puppy

Related: Confessions Of A Helicopter Dog Mom

When we first brought Coco our Cavapoo home, we made the decision not to take out insurance and instead to ‘see how it goes’. I’d heard all the horror stories of $12,000 vet bills as well as the stories where pet insurance is taken out only to never be needed again. And so, I decided to mentally put aside the money that may or may not be required to pay vet bills. 

Holding Coco the Cavapoo 9 weeks old
Holding Coco the Cavapoo 9 weeks old

Fast forward two years and Coco has had her fair share of minor incidents that have made me realize the potential costs of vet bills.

From diarrhea with blood requiring a trip to the emergency vet to a spray in the eye from a skink bug that resulted in an eye ulcer, the costs were adding up quickly. 

Coco the Cavapoo
Coco the Cavapoo

While I was fortunate that these incidents were not too serious, it made me realize that if something major were to happen, I would struggle to cover the costs. That’s when I started researching pet insurance.

I found a plan that fit my budget and covered accidents, illnesses, and even some preventive care. 

The peace of mind that comes with knowing I won’t have to stress about potential vet bills is worth the monthly premium for me. I also liked the fact that I can choose my own vet and still be reimbursed for covered expenses.

Factors to Consider When Evaluating the Value of Pet Insurance

white maltipoo sitting on a motorcycle wearing a riding gear
What’s your lifestyle?

When evaluating the value of pet insurance, it’s a good idea to understand the costs involved. Pet insurance premiums can vary depending on factors such as the type of pet you have, their age, breed, and any pre-existing conditions they may have. As well, the level of coverage and deductible you choose can impact the cost of the insurance policy.

Factors such as your pet’s age, breed, overall health, and the likelihood of genetic predispositions to certain illnesses should be considered when determining if pet insurance is worth the investment.

For instance, breeds prone to specific health issues may benefit more from pet insurance coverage. But then again, who could predict a spray in the eye from a stink bug? Not me!

Comparing the Cost of Pet Insurance to Potential Vet Bills

Veterinarian examining a dog
Veterinarian examining a dog

One way to determine if pet insurance is worth it is by comparing the cost of insurance premiums to potential vet bills. Unexpected accidents or illnesses can result in significant veterinary expenses, sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars. In such cases, having pet insurance can provide peace of mind and financial assistance when needed.

For example, the average cost of pet insurance premiums can range from $20 to $60 per month, depending on factors such as the age and breed of the pet, the coverage options selected, and the location of the policyholder.

On the other hand, the cost of a single veterinary visit for a common issue such as an ear infection or minor injury can range from $50 to $300. More serious conditions or treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy can cost upwards of $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

If a pet owner were to experience multiple vet visits or a major medical emergency in a year, the total cost of veterinary care could far exceed the annual cost of pet insurance premiums. In such cases, having pet insurance could save the pet owner from having to make difficult decisions based on financial constraints.

Pet insurance can also cover routine visits such as vaccinations, dental cleanings, and annual checkups, which can help prevent future health issues and reduce overall veterinary costs over time.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance policies can vary in terms of coverage options. Some plans may cover accidents only, while others may include illnesses, hereditary conditions, and even preventative care such as vaccinations and routine check-ups. Understanding what each policy covers is important in choosing the right plan for your pet.

Limitations and Exclusions in Pet Insurance Policies

Be sure to review the limitations and exclusions of pet insurance policies before purchasing. Some policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or specific hereditary diseases. Being aware of these limitations can help manage expectations and avoid surprises when filing a claim.

How to Choose a Pet Insurance Policy that Fits Your Needs

When selecting a pet insurance policy, consider your pet’s specific needs, your budget, and the level of coverage you desire. Look for insurance companies that offer comprehensive coverage, competitive premiums, and good customer reviews to ensure you’re choosing the best policy for your furry friend.

Alternatives to Pet Insurance

Aside from pet insurance, there are alternative ways to finance your pet’s veterinary care. Some pet owners opt for self-insurance by setting aside a designated amount of money each month for potential medical expenses. Others may use savings accounts or credit cards to cover unexpected vet bills.

Self-Insurance vs. Pet Insurance: Which is Better?

Comparing self-insurance to pet insurance involves evaluating your risk tolerance and financial capabilities. While self-insurance may work for some pet owners, pet insurance provides a safety net in case of large, unforeseen vet bills. Choosing between the two options depends on your circumstances and comfort level.

Self-insurance involves setting aside a certain amount of money each month to cover potential vet bills and medical expenses for your pet. This can work well for pet owners who have the financial discipline to consistently save and build up a fund for their pet’s healthcare needs. However, self-insurance may not be feasible for everyone, especially if unexpected medical costs arise before you have had a chance to save up enough money.

On the other hand, pet insurance provides protection against unpredictable and potentially high vet bills. By paying a monthly premium, you can have peace of mind knowing that your pet’s medical expenses will be covered up to a certain amount, depending on your policy. Pet insurance can be especially beneficial for pet owners with multiple pets, older pets, or breeds prone to certain health issues.

If you have the financial means to build up a pet emergency fund and are comfortable taking on the risk of potentially high medical bills, self-insurance may be a suitable option for you. However, if you prefer the security of knowing that your pet’s medical expenses will be covered regardless of the cost, pet insurance may be the better choice. 

So, Is Pet Insurance Really Worth the Cost?

bernedoodles wearing party hats and smiling
With Pet Insurance I can relax

I understand that pet insurance may not be worth it for everyone. If you have the financial means to cover unexpected veterinary expenses out of pocket, then maybe you don’t need it. But for me, the peace of mind and financial security that pet insurance provides is definitely worth it. I can rest easy knowing that if something were to happen to Coco, I have a plan in place to help cover the costs.

At the end of the day, the decision to purchase pet insurance should be based on your risk tolerance, financial situation, and comfort level with potential unexpected expenses. While pet insurance may not be necessary for every pet owner, it can provide valuable peace of mind and financial protection for those who want to ensure their pet’s health and well-being without worrying about the cost of veterinary care.  So for me, pet insurance is definitely worth it. 

Further reading: