As responsible pet owners, we want to make sure that when illness or injury falls upon our loved ones, we do everything we can to help them heal and maintain their quality of life. We almost always have choices that are guided by veterinary advice. But, ultimately, the choice is ours. These choices can become especially difficult when finances are factored in.
When choices must be made in terms of veterinary care, I feel it is best to find the balance of A, what is best and most comfortable for the pet and gives them the best chance of a quality life, and B, the cost versus benefit on a procedure or test. Maintaining our pets' health is both emotional and financial, leaving many of us asking, is pet insurance a good call?
I wondered about the history of pet insurance, so I did a good ol' fashioned Google search and found the following on Wikipedia:
The first pet insurance policy was written in 1890 by Claes Virgin. Virgin was the founder of Lansforsakrings Alliance, at that time he focused on horses and livestock. In 1947 the first pet insurance policy was sold in the United States, and issued to television's Lassie by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).
It seems we see offers of pet insurance nearly everywhere these days. Heck, I've seen gift cards next to the gum checking out at the grocery store. Still, only a very small percentage of us carry insurance for our pets. Though the concept of pet insurance has been around longer than you might think, it's only recently that pet owners really started to consider it. And since most of us don't carry it, what does that say?
There is no question that there are reputable pet insurance companies that help cover costs of pet care, both in the cases of injury and illness–even death. Premiums are dependent on the breed, age, and condition of your pet. So whether the cost of pet insurance is "worth it" is the question on all of our minds.
So why so we hesitate?
• Most pet insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions.
• Likely, certain conditions that are common for your pet's breed will be excluded.
• There are typically copays in addition to premiums, and you can also expect individual, annual, and lifetime maximums.
• Most often, you pay upfront for veterinary care, then file a claim to be reimbursed.
• There are usually extra fees for wellness care, including vaccinations and regular exams.
With all of those drawbacks to consider, pet insurance might still be a good choice for you if you have a pet without preexisting conditions who is relatively healthy and not subject to a breed-specific condition exclusion. It might save you quite a bit of money, should your pet require tests or become injured.
Some employers are now offering discounted pet insurance plan as a benefit of employment, so if you're considering a policy, be sure to see what discounts might be available.
Whether pet insurance is "worth it" depends on so may factors that I think it's unfair to make a general declaration. In some cases, it might be a useless drain on the finances, and, in other cases, it might help save a pet who needs a procedure his owners couldn't afford otherwise.
Do you carry insurance for your pet? Have you had a positive or negative experience?