By Amy DeYoung
Updated Jan 19, 2023
Veterinary care can be costly, with the average cost of emergency or unexpected veterinary care for cats and dogs falling between $800 and $1,500. On top of that, only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover a sudden $1,000 emergency without borrowing or selling something. Unfortunately, this puts many pet owners at risk if their beloved furry friend needs sudden medical treatment.
As a result of this reality, many Americans consider whether or not pet health insurance is a good choice for protecting their pet’s health and finances. But is pet insurance a scam, or is paying the monthly insurance premiums worth it?
For years, many financial advisors warned against pet insurance because there was little competition among the few pet insurance providers, allowing them to charge less competitively and offer poorer reimbursements.
However, today the percentage of vets’ bills reimbursed is usually between 70% to 90%, which often includes developed, expensive health conditions like cancer, cruciate ligaments, and even vet-recommended euthanasia. In the past, pet insurance may have been more of a “scam,” but today, it’s often worthwhile, especially as veterinary treatments continue to improve. While veterinary care improvements are wonderful, this also means an increased cost to provide our pets with excellent medical care, so we must carefully plan for these expenses.
Pet insurance is usually worth it for many pet owners and their pets. Consider the following questions when determining whether pet insurance is worth it for you and your pet:
In addition to these considerations, look into wellness plans or preventative care pet insurance plans which cover routine pet care costs like regular checkups, vaccines, and even neutering and spaying. We also recommend looking for a policy with simple percentage-based reimbursement rates rather than reimbursements based on what is “reasonable” for your pet’s health situation.
Pet insurance is a personal decision for a pet owner. Depending on your financial situation, paying for your pet’s medical bills out-of-pocket as you go may be an option. However, for most pet owners, a sudden $1,000 or more medical bill would be challenging to cover without relying on credit cards or going into debt. As a result, the cost of pet insurance every month is likely a good investment in your pet’s health and a financial safety net for yourself. Before enrolling your pet in an insurance policy, read through all the fine print and spend some time studying deductibles, exclusions, and more. Shopping around for different policies can save you a lot of money and help you find a plan matching your priorities.
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