Pet Insurance. Pros, Cons and Alternatives

Pet Insurance

Pros,Cons and Alternatives

Pet insurance. Is it worth the cost? What are the pros and cons? Are there alternatives?

Years ago, before pet insurance was as common as it is today, I purchased a policy for my then Golden Retriever. Considering today’s current fees, it was in my opinion, expensive for that time. And, not having had submitted any claims on that policy, after only the first year our premiums increased exponentially. When I inquired about the increase and decided to cancel the policy, I was faced with what I call scare tactics being used to try and get me to change my mind. Unfortunately for that company, those tactics backfired, making me not only upset and angry, but completely turned off ever considering pet insurance again.

Pet Insurance – More To Chose From

Times have changed, years have gone by, pet insurance is common, and there are many more companies and polices to chose from.

Still, I was not confident, and after many years, that sour taste in my mouth never really left. 

So what changed my mind? Why would I never again go without having pet insurance for my pets? And why do I now tell everyone I know who gets a pet that one of the very first things they should purchase is a pet health insurance policy?

Alternatives to Pet Insurance

Before getting into why I changed my opinion of pet insurance, let’s discuss the alternatives to having pet insurance. 

Yes, there are alternatives to having pet insurance.

A separate bank account. You can tell yourself you’re going to open a separate account, depositing to it each month, using those funds only for your pet’s health care needs, but just how much is enough to save in order to care for your pet in case of an emergency, accident or long term health issue?

 Credit cards? 

Maybe you never got around to opening that account, or possibly, don’t have enough in your pet health care account to cover your pet’s trip to the vet or emergency veterinarian clinic. Many of us will then reach for the credit card. But to what extent? Many may not have the means to repay that credit card off, or have a limit that would allow us to cover all the costs associated with our pet’s health care, tests, accidents, illnesses, veterinarian specialists, possible surgeries and followup care our pets may need.

How Much Could Pet Care Possibly Cost?

Pet Insurance. Pros, Cons and Alternatives

It used to be, I felt I was in a position were I could financially deal with the costs should my pet become ill.

It Only Takes One Illness To Scare The Hell Out Of You

But it only takes one illness, injury or accident to scare the hell out of you and open your eyes. 

A few years ago my dog was experiencing pain and health issues. Without getting into the health specifics, it was a scary and emotional time. Our regular vet tried to remedy the issue, but not long after it was suggested a veterinarian specialist would need to be consulted on the matter. 

MRI’s and Surgery

My dog’s first visit with the veterinarian specialist included a physical and medical tests. Medications were prescribed. Followup appointments were made. I was told there was a real possibility the medications prescribed might not be the answer. There were discussions my dog would most likely need an MRI to rule out what was happening. And based on the outcome of the MRI, surgery may be required. Followed up by more appointments, medications, even rehab. And although this surgery had a high rate of success, there was never a guarantee it would “fix” my dog’s medical issue.

The Stress Of Caring For An Un-Well Pet

Pet Insurance. Pros, Cons and Alternatives

Dealing with an unwell pet is difficult to say the least! My physical health and my mental well-being was put on the back-burner. I was constantly worrying about my dog’s health, caring for her every need, not sleeping because I was listening to her every movement throughout the night. To say the thought of losing her was overwhelming is an understatement. Added to my stress, was the reality of the potential financial costs.

At that time, I was quoted an estimate for an MRI, including surgery at $7,000.00. Of course this was just an estimate. It did not take into consideration any unforeseen issues along the way, would not cover additional medications, followup appointments, or possible rehab. 

My Thoughts About Pet Insurance Changed

It was that very same day after returning home from the veterinarian specialist my thoughts and beliefs about pet insurance changed. As soon as I returned home I picked up my phone and purchased a pet insurance policy for my younger dog. It may have been too late to get coverage for my then unwell dog, and no pet insurance company would ever give me a policy, at least not one that would cover any pre-existing conditions, understandably so, but I never wanted to be put in this situation again.

I consider myself extremely fortunate. The medication my dog was prescribed was working. She was on them for a period of three months, but surgery had been averted. The fear of any of my pets having another health issue, accident or illness is very real and still fresh in my mind all these years later.

Of course, having pet health insurance is not going to guarantee my pet won’t become ill, have an accident, or health issue. But I am comforted knowing with pet insurance, should my pet become unwell, I can get them all the medical attention they need without the added stress of worrying about how I will pay for what could realistically be a very costly bill.

Author: Kelly Harding

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