One positive thing Covid-19 may have done for the human population was increase the amount of dogs getting adopted. Rates of adoption have risen substantially across the United States as more and more people seek companionship during the coronavirus outbreak. What used to be considered fun and cheap in the ‘before time’ no longer applies today. Owning a dog can be very, very expensive (as I found out here). It’s not just the food costs or puppy toys, it’s the ‘what if’ costs that can tamper down anyone’s good fortunes.
As more and more humans take on dog ownership, vet bills rise in just the same manner as a way of keeping pace. Our furry friends can get into a car accident (hit by a car during their daily walks) or swallow something that can’t be passed through their systems and we pet owners might be facing vet surgery bills upwards of $7,000 to $10,000. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that cash might not be in abundance anymore. If so, then how can we afford to pay any of these possible exorbitant vet bills?
Welcome to the whole new world of Pet Insurance!
According to a recent article published in the February 2021 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine (I read them for free from my local library):
At the end of 2019, more than 2.5 million pets were insured in the US, up more than 15% from 2018, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. However, advances in treatment have led to higher bills, and so pet insurance premiums have risen as well. According to the same report, the average accident and illness premium for a dog was about $585 a year in 2019, up from $566 in 2018. Cats are less.
I am a recent adoptee of a puppy, a very expensive, cross pure breed of a puppy, a Maltipoo (a designer mixed breed: click here) and have been finding myself stunned over what the vet bills have been costing me. Granted yes, most pet insurance companies, unless you choose a wellness program, won’t cover regular vet visits and immunizations. It was the thought of an emergency that got my attention. If my puppy is in an accident or swallows (chews) on some material object that can not pass through her system, I could be looking at a surgery bill in the thousands and thousands of dollars. If, God forbid, I either don’t have the money to pay or not be able to withdraw the cash out of my retirement or savings account, I might be forced to put my puppy down. The thought of killing my precious best friend because I wasn’t prepared or had taken any precautions was just too much to bear.
For a measly $22 a month ($264 a year) I was able to buy top quality, pet health insurance, through my own home owner’s policy, (thus getting a 5% discount) that will protect my little bundle of pure joy and energy. I chose a $250 deductible, 80% coverage with no cap and an unlimited dollar amount for accident and illness pet insurance. I did have the option to purchase Wellness Insurance that would cover preventative care and vet visits but it wasn’t worth the additional $16 a month for just a $50 reimbursement. It’s the emergency care that will do most pet owners in.
Kiplinger’s recommends two web sites to go to in order to do your own research, cost analysis and find the right policy for you and your pooch. Click here and here to get to those two sites. Also, as advised, check to see if your own homeowners insurance offers pet insurance. Allstate and State Farm Insurance companies have teamed up with other pet insurance companies and may offer multiple policy discounts.
If you want to stay solvent and rich during this pandemic, we need to be smart. That’s one of the reasons why I try to read as much current financial news as possible. We’re playing with a whole new set of cards ladies and gentlemen. And we’re playing with a whole new set of rules. I never would have thought nor bought pet insurance before. But with the rising costs of almost everything on this planet we now live in, buying the peace of mind a good, quality pet insurance policy will provide, means I have one last thing to worry about.
Read the fine print. Look at all the policy reviews. Ask questions. Make sure you understand what you are buying in to. If you have a pet today or have recently adopted, I strongly recommend looking at pet insurance policies. Granted, you can say you’re putting away a certain amount of money towards a pet savings account but accidents happen way more frequently than we’d like to admit. You might not be ready to pay. Up to you. You’ve been advised.
Here’s a screen shot of the Kiplinger article. Click to enlarge.