You’d do anything for your pet. He is your loyal companion, your confidant, and your best friend. He misses you when you’re gone and is always excited to see you when you return. Who else in your life can you say that about? So when it comes to his health, you feel that no measure is too small or large to ensure he lives a long and healthy life. You buy the best food, set aside time for exercise, and take him to the vet over the tiniest sniffle or limp. You do all of these things, and yet, you have not looked into one of the most important ways to keep your furry friend safe and healthy: pet insurance.
First of all, you may not even know pet insurance exists (or understand the purpose of insuring your animals). Secondly, you might not be aware that there are two different types of pet insurance that you may want to purchase. The first type is covered under your homeowner’s insurance, and the purpose is to insure you against any damage your pet may cause (if your dog bites a passing child or digs up the neighbor’s yard, for example). Be aware that you may have to face an increase in premiums in order to insure your pet, especially if you have a breed that is considered dangerous. In this way, it is like car insurance; greater risk equals greater cost. The second type insures your dog against injury and illness, much like the medical coverage that people enjoy. However, you cannot obtain it through your own insurance. Instead, you can often purchase a plan through your veterinarian’s office that may cover some of the cost of scheduled visits and medications in addition to emergency treatment. Or you can find an independent company to provide the service in case you need to visit different offices. Either way, your vet can probably provide you with literature to help you decide.
The question is: Is pet insurance necessary? In terms of liability, you may want to consider if your breed is destructive in nature (loves to dig, aggressive) before you decide whether or not to insure against possible damages (especially since the cost could be significant and long-term). You might be better off installing some solid fencing and putting up a “Beware of dog” sign. As for health coverage, you really have to think about what having your pet in your life is worth. Most providers offer as many options as human health insurance, with such coverage areas as accident, illness, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and so on. Plans are generally renewed on a yearly basis (premiums will increase as your pet ages or due to number of claims, depending on the insurer you choose) and claims are filed with the company for reimbursement. Most providers offer separate plans for preventive care (annual exams, etc.), so you can get one or both.
As for whether or not you should insure your pet, that is a question only you can answer. If the peace of mind is worth the price tag, then certainly you should insure. In the long run, you might never have use for the insurance, but chances are, the one time you need it, it will pay for itself. On the other hand, you may be willing to risk paying off a settlement if your dog gets a little snappy with a neighborhood kid, or consider paying an outrageous sum to keep your cat on dialysis indefinitely. You must weigh the likelihood of accidents and illness against the cost of insurance. If you go into pet ownerships with your eyes open, you know that there is a certain amount of responsibility and cost associated, so don’t act too surprised when you have to pay for the upkeep.