Anytime our dogs get sick and need to go to the Veterinarian or dog hospital, sadly we know that a huge bill will follow that visit.
Our dogs are part of our family so to envision not providing them with the best possible health care is not something we like to think about. In many situations when our dog gets sick we can’t do everything possible to make sure they are given every medical opportunity that is available simply due to a lack of money, This is the sad reality.
Now what if there was a way to help alleviate the money stress that surrounds us when our dogs fall ill. Well there is. It is call pet insurance. This type of insurance does exist and is available to purchase for your dog from an array of companies.
Should you get pet insurance for your dog? Does it help and how expensive is it?
Pet insurance history
We all know what the word “insurance” means…..whether it is for ourselves or for our pets. Insurance is something that you pay a monthly premium for and then when you need it, the insurance kicks in to help you may the cost. Usually it is when the worst happens like an illness or death.
I will start by saying that I have never purchased pet insurance for any of the dogs I have had in my life. Many years ago, when I first got dogs pet insurance was certainly around, but not that popular or mainstream like it is now.
Let’s go back to the beginning and look at when the first pet insurance policy was established. For that we need to go back to 1924 Sweden when the very first dog insurance police was written. Then in 1947 Britain sold its first dog insurance policy.
For the United States it actually took til 1980 and a company called Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI). They were the first company to offer pet insurance in North America.
Although there were policies available in the 80s, the real boom in pet insurance didn’t come til 1997. Around this time companies started to pop up all over North American. One of the more notable companies that formed is a company called Hartville Group’s subsidiary agency. They offered pet insurance under the umbrella of their Pethealth Care Plan. It was offered to any cat or dog.
Jump ahead to 2005 where in North America alone, there were 500,000 people that had already jumped ahead and purchased pet insurance for their pets.
In 2007 the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) was created to help ensure that professional standards for terminology, ethics and of course the quality of the policy were followed.
According to the New York Times report in 2017 where they said that there approximately 2 million pet owners that have purchased pet insurance for their animals. The interesting fact about this, is that this is an increase of 17% from 2016 the previous year.
This shows that the pet insurance market is constantly getting bigger and bigger.
What is pet insurance
Pet insurance is an insurance policy that pet owners purchase to help lessen the cost of high veterinary bills. It is basically the same as humans purchasing health insurance. The goal is to have the insurance policy cover part or all of the veterinarian bills that are incurred to do a health crisis or injury.
All insurance policies come with a deductible that needs to be paid up front before any coverage is paid out. Generally all deductibles or premium are calculated based on the average cost of veterinary expenses in the area that you live.
Another great thing about having pet insurance is the different options that you have when it comes to purchasing a plan. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to picking the plan. You can get complete coverage from head to tail, or just standard accident coverage. The choice is up to you.
Now there are a few other things, that you want to make sure that you realize when it comes to insurance. First off, read the fine print for sure.
Also realize that like all insurance companies, they won’t cover things that they deem to be preexisting. For example a dog like a bulldog who has well-known respiratory and breathing issues, they may deem these issues to be preexisting due to the breed. Anything that is considered a genetic condition, would also be exempt from coverage.
There are many things good about pet insurance and yet so many things that aren’t covered. Like all types of insurance, this is the reality, so you need to weigh it out for yourself and your dog.
How much does it cost
Pet owners over the past many years have really changed the way we treat our pets. More than ever dogs and cats are treated by their owners like children. Owners are willing to go to any length to save, treat and protect their pets from any possible health situation.
Specialized care for our pets is bigger than ever. Many treatments and tests that were strictly only given to humans are now being used to help our pets. Just as an example things like Oncology, Neurology, and even the types of tests that are now being used we never something that was available to our pets. Now we are going to any length to give our dog the best life.
CNBC reported that the average cost of an emergency veterinary visit is somewhere between $800-$1500. Annual vet visits for vaccinations to yearly check ups can range anywhere $45-$50 and up. Every city, state or country has different vet costs, so the range is reflective of that.
For many pet owners the high cost of veterinary bills can be a huge deterrent to even getting a pet. The other side of high vet bills is that once a pet gets older and health issues start to arise the worry about expensive costs can lead to euthanasia just simply because they can’t afford to treat their pet.
The approximate cost of dog insurance is $44.66 US and $27.93 US for cats. For this price, you generally will get accident as well as illness coverage with a deductible of around $500. Most policies cover around 90% of many procedures that will be be covered under the policy. You don’t really need the insurance for your yearly costs, but more if an emergency situation arises where the medical charges accumulate very quickly.
Like all insurance plans, the age, breed and species of your pet will play a part in what the monthly premium will be. The one thing that I do know is that dog insurance is higher than cat insurance for accident and illness policies. Older dog and larger dogs also cost more than the smaller younger dogs. The premium can be as high as $100 a month.
Depending on the type of insurance policy that you purchase, the policy will also have an maximum amount of money that can be spent in a year.
Any type of insurance premium that we pay whether it is for ourselves or our dogs, can certainly be a costly thing. Not everyone is capable of the extra cost that is associated with insurance. I know that a younger me, certainly couldn’t have afforded it.
Now just because you can’t afford to buy pet insurance doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with a different idea. I know plenty of people that opt not to buy insurance and instead, they put aside money every month into a savings account for their dog. Treating their dog like a child that needs a bank account for expenses. Not a bad idea honestly.
This is a way to avoid being tied to a monthly premium on a month when maybe your expenses are higher than expected. If you are doing the savings yourself, you can just skip that month and go back next month to setting aside your money.
When I look at pet insurance as a whole, I think that it is a great idea of something that you can budget for when you are thinking of getting a dog. If you get the policy when they are puppies, you would certainly have the piece of mind knowing that if something serious does happen with our dog, I should have some financial help from my insurance policy along the way.
Personally our dog FINN over his lifetime, cost us a ton of money. At 8 months old, he cost us over $4000 dollars. There was no doubt that I would do it all over again, as we had our boy FINN for almost 11 wonderful years. He brought such light and love into our lives, that you can’t put a price on that. But at the same time, had we purchased insurance when we first got him, we would likely have saved ourselves a ton of money.
I think that paying a monthly premium can certainly be a stretch for people that really want a dog, but simply just can’t afford a premium.
One way of doing something as a dog owner is not always the only way that it can be done. Asking the question, “should you get pet insurance for your dog”, can only be answered by you and whether it is something that you can afford or choose to purchase for your dog.
PROTECT YOUR DOG!