Pet insurance is actually health insurance for your pet.
Some financial planners believe that pet insurance is not worth the cost of the policy. Having owned several cats myself, I'm not so sure. While a healthy pet is a minimal vet expense, if you happen to have a pet who gets into an accident or develops a serious health problem, it can be mighty expensive to get treatment.
However, pet insurance can cost between $2000 and $6000 over the life of your pet. That's a considerable amount of money. Pet insurance companies don't sell pet insurance where the risks are stacked against them. So, the likelihood that you will ever receive benefits which equal the amount of premium you've paid is low. Better deal? Save the money that you would have spent on the pet insurance premium and put it in a savings vehicle. If your pet ever needs treatment, you'll have the money.
But some of us are not good at saving, yes? There's the challenge.
Also, remember that veterinary technology is keeping pace with human medical technology. Your vet will suggest new tests and new treatments - which can all be very expensive. Your pet could even get a transplant now! But the costs are significant.
Typically, if you get pet insurance you will have to keep the same things in mind as you do when you buy your own health insurance:
- You will always have to pay something - pet insurance will have deductibles, co-payments and potential caps on the total amount paid out yearly
- The pet insurance company will do everything to reduce their risk. Therefore, if you are insuring a German Shepherd expect that hip displasia will be an excluded condition. Also, any pre-existing conditions will likely be excluded from the pet insurance policy - and a vet's visit will be required in order to identify these.
- Get pet insurance while your pet is young! Older animals will always be more expensive to insure - if you can get it at all.