Our dogs, and of course any type of pets we may have, undeniably hold a special place in our hearts. We only want what’s best for them, and they depend on us to make the right choices for them throughout their lives. They aren’t like humans – our children will someday grow up and not only be able to voice their opinions but ultimately be able to make their own decisions and care for themselves independently.
That’s why our dogs and other pets are different. They can’t communicate their feelings or their desires through a spoken language. We can infer much of what they feel and what they want through their body language, as well as through barks and whimpers. At the end of the day though, a pet owner has to interpret what their dog wants as best as possible and ultimately make the important decisions for them.
This is a touchy subject, let’s be upfront and make no mistake about it. What one pet owner believes is right may well be vastly different from the opinions of another. Barring extreme or inhumane circumstances—you know what they are—there is no right or wrong answer. Pet owners have to examine all of the evidence they have, weigh all of the options on the table, and ultimately trust their gut when it comes to making decisions. You can’t look back with regret either, it will only drain you from the inside. You just have to know that you have done the best that you can for your dog and be content with that fact.
If you own a dog or really any pet for some time, you’ve probably heard of or perhaps even considered a pet health insurance policy. The upsides may be fairly obvious—it can provide pet owners with peace of mind, knowing that if anything bad were to ever happen to their pet, then they would have an insurance policy to help pay any large and overbearing medical bills. There are downsides as well of course—it’s another monthly bill to worry about and the costs of owning a pet are already quite high. Not to mention the horror stories that we’ve all heard when people are dealing with insurance companies. With that in mind, we’ve arrived at the big question.
Is It Worth It To Have Pet Insurance?
As with all types of insurance policies, pet insurance really only becomes worth it when you’re in need. Unfortunately, as we all know, that’s just not how things work. If you want an insurance company to be there to help when you’ve found yourself with an overwhelming stack of vet bills, you’ll need to be willing to pay a monthly premium to carry dog or cat insurance so that you are covered when something bad happens. Don’t forget that you’ll still be on the line for the deductible, and the fact that most pet insurance plans are only going to be geared towards accident and illness—they likely won’t cover general pet health care and routine visits to the vet.
While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to get pet insurance, here are two hypothetical scenarios that may help illustrate when pet insurance makes sense and when it simply does not.
How It Can Be A No-Brainer
Tom and Sarah Jones are a young couple that got married a few years ago. They don’t have any kids yet, but they’ve both wanted to have a dog for quite some time now and they agreed it would be a great way to learn how they handle the responsibility of having a dependant.
One day, Sarah’s coworker tells her that her friend’s golden retriever had a litter of puppies, and there is still one little boy that needs a family to call home. Without hesitation, Tom and Sarah jump at the opportunity and the next month they bring their adorable puppy Chester into their home.
Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of bringing a new dog into their lives, they have the discussion about whether or not they should carry dog insurance for Chester. After conducting a bit of research they mutually made the decision to insure pet Chester with a “just in case” policy. They wanted unlimited coverage limits, but by setting a high deductible they were able to keep the monthly costs comfortably within their budgets.
The years went on and Chester was a healthy and happy puppy. Tom and Sarah had no problem taking care of the bills for routine pet care, as these costs remained well within their budget. Then, the unthinkable happened. One day while crossing the street with Tom, Chester took a bit of a dash into an oncoming car. Tom tried to lock his retractable dog leash as quickly as possible, but unfortunately not quickly enough.
Chester was transported to the hospital as quickly as possible. He was alive, but he wasn’t doing well. The doctor said there were many broken bones and he suspected internal bleeding. Chester was in a lot of pain. The doctor was willing to try surgery, but it was a risky and expensive procedure. Tom and Sarah held each other close and made the decision to do whatever it takes to save Chester. They knew that they had an insurance policy to help them with the medical bills, and Chester meant the world to them. The doctor went ahead with the operation, luckily with resounding success.
Today, Chester is still a happy and healthy pooch. After taking some time to recover from the accident , these days he is as strong and resilient as ever. Tom and Sarah are happy parents too. They wouldn’t have been able to afford the surgery if they hadn’t been covered, but luckily they carried pet insurance. They just had to cover the manageable deductible, and the pet insurance company took care of the rest.
How It Can Be A Difficult Expense
Pete and Lindsay Davis are a young couple like Tom and Sarah, and also were married just a few years ago. They have three kids and a dog for each, and even though the budget wasn’t there they decided to evaluate different pet insurance companies to see if they could have their dogs covered. The average cost of the insurance plans seemed insurmountable with all of the other bills they had to pay, but regardless they were willing to pay for pet insurance so that they knew that they were covered. Ultimately they went with a fairly extensive plan, just in case.
The years went by and the budget remained tight for Pete and Lindsay, but they were happy to know that their dogs were safe in the event that anything ever went awry. Unfortunately, their insurance policy didn’t cover routine vet care (only accident and illness) and as the vet bills came and went they wondered if it was really worthwhile to ensure that their dogs were covered by pet insurance. Their dogs were in great health, and the only issues that ever came up were well below the deductible so nothing ever qualified as a claim with their pet insurance policy. The pet insurance made up a huge portion of the average cost of their dogs, but didn’t help them much with their pets’ health care costs.
The fortunate part of Pete and Lindsay’s story is that their pets lived long and healthy lives. The unfortunate part is that they paid a lot of money for pet insurance when the budget was already tight, and the policy that they chose just didn’t help them cover costs. They had no regrets, but they did feel like they paid an awful lot for pet insurance and never really saw any benefit.
Some Things To Consider
Hopefully, these two stories have helped you see when an insurance policy ultimately feels worthwhile as opposed to when a policy ultimately feels like an unnecessary expense. Here are the main points to takeaway:
What Coverage Do You Absolutely Need?
Consider why you want a pet insurance policy. What are you truly hoping to cover? Make sure that you’re not paying for more coverage than you really want, let alone need, and take advantage of factors that you can tweak to get a premium that makes sense for your family.
What Is Your Budget?
Get an idea of how much money you have available to fund an insurance plan, because you really don’t want to make more trouble than necessary. If your budget is tight you may be best off with a plan with coverage for only the most extreme of circumstances, and opting for a higher deductible to keep the monthly premiums at bay.
Should You Get Pet Insurance?
The decision of whether or not to get pet insurance ultimately resides on you, and as mentioned earlier in this article there is, unfortunately, no right or wrong answer. If dog insurance is something that you’re considering, then it’s important that you do a full evaluation of the costs and the different expenses that the plans cover. To save you some time, we’ve put together a list of some of the best dog insurance companies out there today, and dug deep into what makes each of them so great.
The important this is that you consider carefully what each pet insurance policy covers, what factors are going to have the biggest impact on your resulting monthly insurance premium, and how all of that balances with your available budget. You don’t want to be straining yourself to get insurance for your dog—especially if you’re paying for coverage that won’t really help you out along the way. The best advice that we can provide is that if your budget allows for an insurance policy, make sure you find a policy that covers you in the worst cases and won’t make things too difficult in the process.