Why Should I Get Pet Insurance?

Lola posing for a photo

In 2007, two years after my daughter and son-in-law were married, they informed us of a new addition to their family.  This new addition was cute, cuddly, and full of life.  To see Lola (their new addition) was to love her.  In fact, Lola brought life into any and every room she happened to inhabit.

Lola was not a new child, but a puppy.  She was the picture of health.  Much like a small child, Lola had boundless energy.

My daughter, who spent most of her adult life compiling and analyzing data, understood the need for risk assessment.  In her direct line of vision was this cute, healthy looking, energetic puppy.  The nagging question I know she was asking herself was: Why Should I Get Pet Insurance?  That question led to these questions: Do I really need pet insurance?  Would the purchase of pet insurance be a waste of money?  Is pet insurance worth buying?

Should I Buy Pet Insurance?

Let’s look at this question by asking ourselves just a few more questions that may give us a different perspective.

  • Should I buy auto insurance?  Most people do not want to purchase auto insurance.  However, if you choose to own a car in the United States, car insurance is required in almost every state.  If you are not looking to be in violation of the law than the easy answer is yes, you should buy auto insurance. Photo of Lola lying on pillows
  • Should I buy homeowners insurance? If you have to borrow money from a bank in order to purchase a home, then the bank will force you to purchase homeowners insurance.  Why?  In the event that the home is damaged or destroyed by an insurable peril, the bank wants to make sure their investment is protected.  If you happen to own your home free and clear (no mortgage), homeowners insurance would be a way to protect your asset should the unexpected happen.  You would not be required to purchase homeowners insurance, but the choice not to purchase homeowners insurance may not be a wise decision.
  • Should I buy life insurance?  Every human being has an expiration date.  Yet, some people make a conscious decision not to purchase life insurance.  Why?  The reason most often given is, I’ll get it tomorrow.
  • Should I buy health insurance?  If you live long enough, there will come a day when the body will require medical attention.  There are those who simply cannot afford the premiums.  But, if money is not the issue, why would that person decide not to purchase health insurance.  Again, the reason most often given is, I’ll get it tomorrow.

The reason for this detour through our thought process is to shine a light on WHY many of us choose not to purchase Pet Insurance.

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Lola’s Health Issues Revealed

Lola, a pomapoo, is now 15 years old.  She is still very energetic.  It is hard to believe she is fifteen.  But, life as it often does, will force us to take off those rose colored glasses in order to see life as it really is.

In late May, my daughter was holding Lola when she (Lola) went limp.  Everybody was afraid to even imagine life without Lola.  My daughter called her Vet.  This was an emergency.  Lola needed to be seen immediately.

It turns out, Lola had what was described as a heart incident.  Over the past several years, routine visits to the Vet uncovered some abnormalities with Lola’s heart that required her to take daily doses of medicine, and make more frequent visits to the Vet to check on her vitals.  As a full-fledged member of my daughters household (which now consisted of my daughter, her husband, a child and Lola), the decision to do whatever was necessary to prolong Lola’s life was the only option no matter the cost.  Euthanasia was never a part of the equation.

Full disclosure.  Lola was diagnosed with an enlarged heart years ago.  She also has some large growths on her body that had to be analyzed to see if they were cancerous.

No matter what obstacles cross her little path, she continues to be that cute, cuddly, energetic dog everybody loves.

What Are The Costs?

Should I choose to purchase pet insurance?

Pet insurance costs are customizable.  In other words, coverage can be adjusted to meet your needs.  A U.S. News article published on March, 1 2022, indicates that most pet owners pay somewhere between $20 and $50 per month to insure a pet.  In Lola’s case, the cost to purchase pet insurance for the past 15 years if the monthly premium were $25, would have been around $4500.

Should I choose not to purchase pet insurance?

If you choose not to purchase pet insurance, here are a few stats to consider:

How much is a vet visit?

Average veterinary price list

Grooming8 $30 – $500 annually
Flea and Tick Control9 $40 – $200 annually
Spay3 $100 – $200
Neuter3 $50 – $100
Cat or Dog teeth cleaning2 $50 – $300
Cat or Dog vaccinations1 $10 – $100
Routine vet checkup10 $45 – $55
Cat or Dog allergy test11 $195 – $300 (skin test), $80-$200 (blood test)
Heartworm test11 $45 – $50
Ear Infection12 $40 – $149.30
Non-cancerous skin mass13 $180 – $375 (simple skin), $1000 – $2000+ (complex)
Diarrhea/Intestinal Upset14 $203 – $385

The above are average first year costs for conditions based on Pets Best claims data from January 2017- May 2020.

 

Veterinary Medicine

First Year Cost4

Small Dog $1,471
Medium Dog $1,779
Large Dog $2,008
Cat $1,174
Rabbit $802
Guinea Pig $374
Ferret $613
Small Bird $387

The above are average first year costs for conditions based on Pets Best claims data from January 2017- May 2020

 

Complex and Emergency Care Costs

Dogs Cats
Cancer $4,137 $3,282
Cancer Treatment-Chemotherapy $4,000 $4,000
Diabetes $2,892 $1,634
Ophthalmology $319 $227
Stomach Foreign Object $3,262 $2,955
Broken Bone $2,371 $2,257
Arthritis $724 $490
Dental Disease/Periodontitis $519 $768
Bladder/Urinary Tract Infection $424 $1,053
Kidney Disease (feline) 1,318
Heart Murmur $1,140 $1,440

The above are average first year costs for conditions based on Pets Best claims data from January 2017- May 2020

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Many of the costs listed in the chart above labeled (How much is a vet visit) would be covered fully or in part by many pet insurance plans. If plans are purchased when your pet is young, and premiums are at their lowest, the lifetime payout for pet insurance premiums (In Lola’s case approximately $4500.00) looks like a great idea.

Free Pet Health Advice Lola posing in a chair

Pets are often a wonderful addition to the family.  They cheer us up when we are down, provide companionship when we are lonely, and always forgive us even when most people would not.

Just remember, if they live long enough their health will breakdown.  You need to decide how to prepare for that time.  If you want to eliminate some of the financial concerns, then Pet Insurance provides a means to handle and offset the health cost that will eventually become reality as your pet ages.

I look forward to reading your comments and don’t forget to share this article with friends and family.

4 thoughts on “Why Should I Get Pet Insurance?”

  1. Thank you for your informative article. This should relate to a lot of people since many people have pets and we know that taking care of them care be very expensive. Our dog not to long ago ate a wild mushroom in our back yard which made him become ill. We had to take him to the emergency vet and it ended up being an expensive trip. He is doing well now but pet insurance would have come in handy then. Is there a particular company you recommend?

    Reply
    • Robert,

      Thanks for sharing.  Embrace is my pet insurance carrier of choice.  However, here are a few other pet insurance carriers worth looking at: 

      LemonadeSpotMany PetsPumpkin

      Enjoy your dog.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve had pets since the Pandemic, and I’ve been paying for pet insurance. I keep wondering if we should keep it or cancel because we haven’t actually used it. But we know how expensive it can be for appointments. Our dog needs his teeth cleaned and it’s over $1000! I hope the insurance can cover so it’ll be worth it!

    Reply
    • Lorenz,

      There are quite a few of pet insurance plans that provide cover for dental diseases.  However, routine teeth cleanings are only covered by a limited number of policies. If cleanings are what you are looking for, then spot pet insurance would be a good starting point.  

      Just a word to the wise, it is those later years that seem to have all those expensive health issues.  The benefit to buying pet insurance early on would be the routine care options paid for by the policies.

      Thanks for your input and enjoy your pet.

      Reply

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