Should You Invest in Pet Insurance?

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If you’re one of the 90.5 million households that own a pet, doing everything you can to ensure your furry friend’s health is often a priority. However, with veterinary care costs rising by 10% in 2022 alone, covering the cost can be difficult. Fortunately, pet insurance can make it easier to handle a wide array of veterinary care expenses. But does that mean it’s right for you?

Ultimately, pet insurance comes with its fair share of pros and cons. If you’re trying to decide whether you should invest in pet insurance, here’s what to consider.

Pros of Pet Insurance

Generally, the biggest benefit of having pet insurance is coverage for accidents and illnesses, as treatment for many conditions comes with significant price tags, often ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The average emergency vet bill is $800 to $1,500, but some complex procedures may run over $5,000.

Currently, about 42% of pet parents can’t cover an unexpected vet bill. If you have pet insurance, then paying for everything out of pocket isn’t necessary for a covered event. While reimbursement rates and deductibles vary, the policy may handle up to 90% of the cost after you cover the deductible, which is a significant return.

For many, pet insurance also means peace of mind. You aren’t having to choose between potentially costly veterinary care and not saving a pet’s life because of the bills. Instead, your policy can make a wide variety of emergency treatment options more affordable.

Cons of Pet Insurance

Usually, the biggest drawback of pet insurance is that the policies are potentially confusing, and they’re often hard to compare. Figuring out what is and isn’t covered isn’t always straightforward, and there’s a variety of incidents and illnesses that aren’t reimbursable through the policies.

Most pet insurance doesn’t include preventative or wellness care, though some offer it as an add-on for an additional fee. Either way, you’re still paying out of pocket to handle the healthcare needs of your pet. Many policies also exclude pre-existing conditions, particularly if they aren’t curable. If your pet develops a chronic illness after you get a policy, there’s always a chance you’ll get dropped.

Also, while pet insurance doesn’t cost near what healthcare coverage for a person runs, it isn’t necessarily cheap. On average, based on 2021 data from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), annual premiums for dogs range from $239.11 for accident-only to $583.91 for accident and illness. For cats, the prices are $130.24 and 342.84, respectively.

While that’s far below the potential price of emergency care for many accidents and illnesses, whether that feels affordable varies. Plus, those plans come with exclusions. While there are options that include routine care, the prices of those plans are higher, so keep that in mind.

Who Is Pet Insurance Right For?

Generally, whether pet insurance is right for you depends primarily on your ability to cover the high cost of veterinary care out of pocket. If a significant accident or illness is outside of what you can afford out of pocket – but the cost of pet insurance premiums is manageable – pet insurance is potentially an excellent option. It limits the likelihood that you’ll get stuck with unexpected vet bills totaling hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

However, if you have enough savings to make covering the cost less of an issue, then you’ll need to look at the policy cost and coverage levels to decide. Whether pet insurance provides you with value is harder to anticipate in these cases, as paying out of pocket may mean spending less overall. However, pet insurance can give you peace of mind even if you have savings, so factor that in as you decide.