Healthcare costs are rising even for our pets. Several years ago, Shawna’s precious French Bulldog, Sophie, developed a severe infection. After dozens of expensive tests and medications, she was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease brought on by the infection. Sophie now has to take antibiotics every day with regular check-ups and blood tests to monitor the medication levels. These medications, tests, and office visits are costing Shawna thousands and thousands of dollars every year. You want to do whatever it takes to keep your fur baby healthy, but what if you can’t afford it?
Many pet owners are turning to pet insurance to help cover unexpected costs. According to Consumer Reports, approximately 1.4 million pets were covered by pet insurance in 2014. Many companies are even offering pet insurance as an optional employee benefit. However, these pet policies have the same deductibles, premiums, and co-pays that human insurance does. So, is the cost really worth it?
Pet insurance can run $300 or more per year depending on the coverage and the insurance company. That translates to $5,000 or more over the life of your pet. Your average, healthy dog will likely never have an expense that high. For that reason, many consumer advocates conclude that pet insurance is not worth the cost for a healthy pet. After comparing multiple insurance plans, Consumer Reports found that for a healthy 10-year old beagle, the total premiums paid to insurance companies exceeded the dog’s medical bills.
However, for a dog who may have serious health issues, an insurance policy will cover unexpected and large vet bills. Knowing you are covered will give you peace of mind and will prevent a tragic “economic euthanasia.” The key is to find the right policy. Finding the correct policy for your family can have a significant impact on costs incurred in an emergency situation or even one expensive surgery. If you don’t feel you.
If insurance is not in your budget or doesn’t make sense to you, there are other ways to deal with the cost of pet health care. Many vets have a wellness plan that covers preventative and diagnostic services like office visits, routine vaccines, tests, x-rays, dental cleaning, and in some cases grooming. These plans are typically a lower monthly fee than insurance, although they do not always cover emergency services or surgery.
Another option is to start an emergency savings fund for pet care. Set aside a small amount each month so you will have a cushion should an unexpected health care expense arise. The Humane Society can also help guide you to organizations that may help you pay for a medical bill you can’t cover.
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