Updated - Oct 14th, 2022
Pets are family, but 61 percent of Americans don’t have the savings to cover the expense of an emergency vet bill. Making sure you can afford the level of care your pet needs is part of being a responsible pet owner. Fortunately, there is a relatively cost-effective way to ensure your pets live a long and healthy life: insurance. But is pet insurance worth it? Here, you’ll find everything you need to decide if pet insurance is the right call for your favorite family member!
If you love your pets as much as they love you, deciding to get pet insurance should be a no-brainer. Still, only around two percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. have insurance.
Taking the leap (and incurring an upfront cost) for something that might happen may seem like an inefficient use of money—but insurance is the safety net you rely on to protect things like your home, your cars, your health, and even your phone. Why should you value your pet any less? Your cellphone is replaceable, after all; your furry friend isn’t.
Perhaps you’re still wondering if pet insurance is worth it. Instead of asking Reddit, leave it to the experts to help you make up your mind. Here are some simple steps that will help you make the right decision.
1. Evaluate the benefits of pet insurance
Deciding if pet insurance is worth the cost requires balancing a number of factors, including things like your income level, the type of pet you have, and even where you live. On the surface, a conclusion may seem far out of reach. However, the truth about health insurance for your pet is relatively simple. The benefits of pet insurance far out way the costs!
Still, sitting down to weigh all of the variables is one of the best things you can do when you’re just starting to sift through your options. To help you out, here’s a condensed list of a few major benefits of getting pet insurance weighed against some minor limiting factors. Assessing these important factors in your decision-making process will help point you and your pet’s journey in the right direction.
The benefits of pet insurance
- More than just medical expenses. Many pet insurance providers offer a number of services that can contribute to the safety and well-being of your pet. For instance, microchipping in dogs and cats is often something insurance covers – which drastically improves your chances of being reunited with your pet were they to run away or get lost.
- Preventative care. If you’re a seasoned pet parent, you probably know just how much it can cost to make sure your pet begins their life on the right paw. Many plans with a preventative vet care clause cover the cost of vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and heartworm prevention.
- You can choose your vet. Most veterinary clinics will accept all major pet insurance policies. Your plan will likely give you the freedom to choose your vet, so you don’t have to worry about trying to find a quality vet that’s within your out-of-pocket budget.
- It’s way easier than human healthcare. Perhaps you’ve run into trouble trying to finance your own wellness plan – many of us have. Between finding the type of coverage you need and navigating tiered plans and complicated copay billing structures, human health insurance can be a hassle. Luckily, pet insurance is much easier to deal with. Just look at how easy Pumpkin Pet Insurance makes it to find the right plan for your pet.
- Peace of mind.
Things about pet insurance to take into consideration
- Not everything is covered. Depending on your plan, you may not have coverage on some of your pet’s health issues. The range of coverage offered by most providers is extremely wide. However, this also allows you the flexibility to construct a plan that‘s right for you and your budget.
- Not all animals make the cut. Cats and dogs have their pick of the litter when it comes to providers. However, unlike Pumpkin Pet Insurance, some pet insurance providers have breed and age restrictions.
- Plans can be costly. Coverage and monthly premium prices vary depending on your plan. If you want a premium package for your pooch, you’ll be paying premium prices. However, a wide range of coverage options also means more flexibility and a better chance of finding the right plan for your pet.
Summarizing the primary benefits of pet insurance
If you adopted your pup from a local shelter or rescued your kitty off the street, paying more for insurance than you did for the pet may seem crazy. Even if you bought your pet from a breeder, you may be hesitant to turn around and immediately hand more money to insurers. If they stay healthy, pet insurance would be a waste of money, wouldn’t it?
Well, that’s a big if. During the course of their lifetime, a pet can cost as much as $20,000 to care for. That number can climb even higher when unforeseen medical expenses arise. You’ll never want to find yourself in a situation where your wallet is the only thing standing in the way of your pet’s health.
2. Ask an expert how pet insurance works
Now that you know the basics, it could be useful to ask an expert for some advice. Who better to ask than your pet’s primary healthcare provider? Veterinarians deal with invoices and insurance claims on a daily basis and will be able to help you identify some of your pet’s key health concerns – and help you determine the level of care that your pet needs.
“What if something unexpected happens and you have to pay thousands of dollars for an operation?” shared pet expert and founder of Animal Fair Media Wendy Diamond. “You’re unlikely to have saved that much money, especially if you’ve only been saving for a few months. If you have pet insurance, this can help with the cost.”
Whether it be a broken bone or toxin ingestion, pet insurance takes the cost of care out of the equation through eligible reimbursements, giving you the peace of mind you need to make the right call in any situation.
3. Consider your pet’s age
Beth Wymer, from Pumpkin Pet Insurance, has worked in animal health and veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. As a result, she knows almost everything there is to know about pet insurance companies.
In her recent article, “Do Older Pets Need Health Insurance?” Beth explains that, “as our pets age, they become susceptible to many of the same health problems and illnesses we face as we get older. As a result, keeping them healthy may require some extra care and attention.”
But you shouldn’t wait until your pet ages to start providing veterinary care, she adds. The more preventive medication and routine care pets receive earlier in life, the more likely they are to be healthier later on – which can drastically reduce the average cost of lifelong healthcare.
Hereditary or pre-existing conditions aside, all pets require regular checkups and medical attention early in life.
4. Find out if your pet’s breed is high risk
The breed of your dog or cat can make a big difference when it comes to how much you pay in medical expenses. Some breeds are more susceptible to certain illnesses or heredity conditions.
For example, pugs and bulldogs are well-documented as being at risk for respiratory issues. According to veterinary experts at New Market Animal Hospital, the shortened noses of bulldogs can lead to “brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome,” which is part of the reason low-energy and obesity often cause problems for the breed. Also, “Not being able to breathe quickly, i.e. pant, means that they are prone to overheating and heat stroke.”
Ask your vet or do some research on your pet’s breed to see if they are at the top of the list for pets with the costliest health care. If they are, pet insurance is definitely worth it!
5. Ask other pet parents for advice
Everywhere you turn, you see heartwarming pictures, videos, and stories about pets – pets in costumes, pets eating human food, and pets saying real-sounding words. But sometimes, you’ll come across a story that makes your heart sink – a story about a pet parent who can’t afford to pay for a surgery their pet needs. Crowd-sourcing and fundraising sites like Facebook or GoFundMe can help those with miraculous stories, but many pets are still left untreated or living with pain. The right pet insurance can not only save you from medical costs, but from heartache, too.
As Jennifer Fitzgerald, a pet owner and writer at Pet Genius, shares, “Having a sick or injured pet is hard enough without having to do the awful mental calculation of: is saving my beloved pet worth X thousand dollars?”
There are plenty of pet parents who will tell you they regret not purchasing pet insurance, but very few will say they made a mistake in purchasing it. After all, your pet is precious. Even a few years of extra time you get to spend together can feel like a lifetime.
How to find the best pet insurance provider
Pet insurance isn’t just nice to have, it can save your pet’s life! Going without it simply isn’t worth the risk. But, with so many options, how can you narrow down your choices and find the provider that’s perfect for you? Be sure to do your research and get as much information as possible – checking out a provider’s sample policy is a great place to start!
Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans provide coverage for dogs and for cats – giving you the sense of security you need to know your pet’s well-being is in the right hands. Find out how you can provide the best care possible for your pet today.