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Pet Insurance vs Saving with a Pet Emergency Account

Updated on September 1, 2012

You Need to Look at Pet Insurance Financially

We love our pets, and we will do whatever we can to keep them healthy and save them, provided it is in the better interest of our pet, and we can afford it.  When comes to choosing the latter, most of us would not want to put our pets on life support or to take extraordinary measures to prolong their life. It is a very personal decision when it comes to choosing what to do for our beloved furry friend. But most people would agree that   quality of life for our pet involves them being able to live as normal and carefree a life as they can. To be free of pain, and as unencumbered as possible. And whatever a person chooses, the decision is best made not because of financial reasons.  

This is where pet insurance comes in.  If the cost of doing the treatment or the surgery is lessened because of the insurance, then your decision is not one of financial.  But there is a lot of calculating that needs to be considered before you sign up for pet insurance.  
  • You need to weigh the cost of the annual insurance premiums to the value of putting it in an emergency pet savings account.
  • what reatments does the insurance cover?
  • how much does the insurance cover?
  • what are the caps on the policy?  

Pet Insurance

Veternarians can do a lot for our pets with the advance of technology. Many of the therapies and equipment that are used for us humans, can now be used for our pets. With this advancement, we may be faced with choices that could save our pets life, choices that were not available a few years ago. And the future shows the advancements will continue.  This is wonderful news for our pets, but a harsh reality for our pocketbook. If our pet’s condition is treatable, we would want to save them.  Pet insurance might give us the luxury of that choice. In 2009, approximately $46 billion dollars was spent on American pets and over ¼ of this cost is for medical care for our cats and dogs.

Pet Insurance is becoming more widely available and even some corporations are offering to their employees as a perk.

The oldest and largest of the pet insurance companies is Vetinary Pet Insurance.  In recent years other companies have emerged.  But pet insurance is still a financial decision.  In addition to the premiums, there are deductibles, co pays and limitations on procedures. Some pets are not covered for conditions if they are considered pre existing, and if pet breed tends to have a particular problem in its breed lines, the insurance will not cover the costs.  This is common in hip dysplasia in large dog breeds.  As your pet ages, your premiums usually go up and some policies put limits on how old the dog can be in order to be covered.  Some policies have usual and customary charges, which means they don’t cover the full cost of the procedure, especially if you live in a major city, where vet costs may be slightly higher than the average costs.

Any type of insurance is a gamble.  You are buying it because you want to secure yourself against laying out money that an insurance might cover.  The insurance company is accepting you, believing that they will make more money from they will have to lay out.  Buying pet insurance is a tough call.  You have to do a lot of investigating to figure out if it really will benefit you financially.

We love our pets, and we want to do what is best for them. We really don’t want financial decisions to play a role in our decision, but the reality is we have to look at whether pet insurance makes sense.  Do your research, think it through and your decision to take pet insurance or not will be a logical one.


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    • Str8up Hookups profile image

      Str8up Hookups 6 years ago

      Great article!

      I had a cockerspaniel I had to put down after 15 years,it broke my heart.I had spent over $1500 prolonging it but it was really for the best.She had tumors,surgery to remove the tumors,she was going deaf and she had cataract.The vet explained that she's 15 years old,she's had a happy life,her quality of life isn't going to get better,it's her time.

      I found out at that moment what a real pet lover is.

      After 2 years dogless we have another and I have insurance but that is really for maintainence shots and check ups,there's always another charge heartworm,flea treatments,and grooming.

      Dogs can be just as expensive as children.

    • profile image

      RealInsurance 6 years ago

      You've made a great point here about how pet health insurance is really a financial issue. You have to look at it in terms of the pros and cons of getting the insurance. Think about how much money you would be willing to spend in a worst case scenario if your pet was injured or ill. If that amount is high and you don't have a lot of money in savings for it then you may find that pet health insurance is a financially smart decision!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Pet Insurance is an individual preference, it might be good for some people and not others. Pet owners need to consider the different possibilities.

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 6 years ago

      This is a topic we may not think of until we're "behind the 8 ball." Thanks for the heads up. Excellent analysis of the possibilities.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Susannah42,

      That is why people need to evaluate if the insurance is worthwhile. DrPeter said he has seen the positives of pet insurance. But I found what you did, and I also dropped it for the same reasons. It is an individual decision, and a gamble. But I guess every choice is that way. Thanks for your input

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      I have put aside money for pet emergencies. I had pet insurance for four years. Paid 30 per money and then when I took my pet to the vet, it only paid about 30 percent. So I cancelled it and started putting money aside instead. At least that way I can decide what I will pay,.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      DrPeter, Thanks for your input. I hope it helps people decide with their decision.

    • profile image

      DrPeter 6 years ago from Amite

      As a vet I have seen many cases where the availability of insurance could have let to a decision to treat, vs. euthanasia, and can save many lives.