- Personal Finance»
My Opinion of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance. Up until about 2 years ago, I thought that pet insurance was literally one of the strangest ideas ever. Who would want to get insurance for their dog or cat? Only crazy preppy people, who are amazingly rich and have famous dogs who are in commercials and movies, right? Well that was how I felt pet insurance...until I actually got a pet.
We adopted a strange little Corgi cross from the Humane Society and life began to change instantly. Once you have a dog, you become vulnerable - to exorbitant vet fees, the crippling fear of what happens if "Fido" get's hurt or sick and night terrors of what you will do if your pooch disappears. But that's where pet insurance comes in. Think of pet insurance as being like the Superman of financial safety nets. When disaster hits, pet insurance will swoop in and save your wallet from whatever evil tragedy has befallen you and your mutt.
I have a great example of this superhero type behavior. I had owned my dog for what felt like 2 seconds when the poor thing broke a tooth while trying to eat a rock. (The dumber your dog, the more beneficial seeming insurance can be.) The tooth was broken and the nerve root was exposed. She couldn't eat, and could barely drink. I went to the vet, hoping beyond all hope, that broken teeth were a cheap fix. Unfortunately, the well-meaning, over-charging vet informed me that it was going cost me...a lot. The cost of removing the tooth, hydrating my dehydrated canine, IV's, pain-killers, over night care, and special tooth-missing food was well over $1000. To me (and most people), this was a fortune. I had JUST adopted this dog and now I was paying almost 5x the cost of her adoption cost in vet fees. Was this what the rest of my life was going to be like?
As I was abjectly looking through her adoption package, ruminating on how I was going to justify this vet charge to my husband for a slightly less-toothed dog, I found some pet insurance papers good for 6 weeks of free pet insurance. I can't describe how relieved I was. In the spirit of full disclosure, the dog insurance was limited in what it covered, because it was for promotional purposes, but it did reduce my vet bill to about $400. I thought that 'if limited, temporary insurance can save me this much heart-ache what can actual insurance do for me?'. So the very next day, between coaxing my needy hound into to eating the worst smelling mush ever, I started researching pet insurance providers. There was a fair number to pick from, and they all seemed fairly reasonable. How was I going to choose?
Then the light bulb appeared over my head. I already had an insurance provider. They were my Superman for my car problems, and home issues and even my health. So why not my dog? I called them up and inquired if they had pet insurance and not only did they, but by far the cheapest that I had found so far. The premiums were affordable, they had a coverage line that seemed to fit any budget type, and I could get a discount because I was already a client. What did I think of this? Heck yeah!
In the end I decided to go with a medium sized premium, that gives us a medium amount of protection for my medium sized dog. The cost is about $3 a week and to me that is a very reasonable price to not have to worry about surprise vet bills. I mean with a dog that likes to chew rocks, it is definitely a relief having that back up in case the worst happens.
So is pet insurance for you? That depends on a lot of different factors such as the age and breed of your dog. Or what your budget is. Or even what there is for insurance providers in your area. But from one pet owner to another, I highly recommend getting pet insurance. The cost is worth the peace of mind that it buys me. Just make sure you pick an option that works best for you, and won't leave you strapped for cash. You may also want to check into pet theft protection, illness insurance and dental protection. It will save you a bundle. And that's not a bad thing.