Pet insurance is a big thing.
Many Americans are buying pet insurance. The industry reports record numbers of new policies. Even though only a fraction of your friends currently have pet insurance (fewer than 1%), there are still 1.4 million pets in North America that have insurance right now.
Part of this rapid growth is because of rising medical costs. Cats and dogs face increased medical costs, just like people do. Cancer in a dog can easily run $5,000 or more, and if a car hits your beloved cat, it can get incredibly expensive to save their life.
Even common surgeries are going up in cost. One major pet insurer published a list of the top 10 surgeries last year. Some prices weren’t so bad. The most common was surgery to remove a benign skin mass- just $552. But the fourth most common surgery for dogs was repair of an ACL rupture- and that one came in at a whopping $3118.
Reasons to not buy pet insurance.
- It’s expensive. The average pet insurance policy premium can be hundreds of dollars each year. For example, I ran a sample quote on the website of a well-known pet insurer. I used a 4-year-old Labrador Retriever as an example, and selected a 200-dollar deductible with 80% coverage, and an annual policy limit of $10,000. The premium came in at a whopping $39.74/month. That’s almost $500 per year!
- There are exclusions. The common exclusions are pre-existing conditions and waiting periods. In addition, some policies don’t cover wellness and vaccinations, and even some hereditary conditions. Each policy differs. You have to read the fine print.
Reasons why pet insurance might still be right for you.
- Money is tight. If you don’t usually have a lot of cash sitting around in your checking account, a sudden large vet bill can be a crisis. Your pet doesn’t plan on getting hit by a car. But it could happen. If you aren’t prepared to write a large check today to the veterinarian, you might consider a pet insurance policy. Not everyone can “self-insure” this risk.
- Your pet is family. If the thought of euthanizing your pet because you don’t have thousands of dollars to save their life is unthinkable, pet insurance can give you peace of mind. For some people, it’s just like insuring a family member.
Pet insurance isn’t weird, and it isn’t necessarily a waste of money. After all, the owners of Lassie bought the very first pet insurance policy in the United States decades ago.
If your pet is like “Lassie” to you, and you need financial protection for them- talk to your veterinarian about a policy they might recommend. Policies are also sold online.
Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates helping clients with insurance needs for personal, commercial and business insurance. Bruce can be reached at 707-931-0186, firstname.lastname@example.org