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The Benefits of Pet InsurancePet Health • November 10, 2020-Nathan Marder
 

Pets are family, but 61% of Americans don’t have the savings to cover the expense of an emergency vet bill and only around two percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. have insurance. Making sure you can afford the level of care your pet needs is part of being a responsible pet owner. Fortunately, there is a relatively cost-effective way to ensure your pets live a long and healthy life: insurance.

But is pet insurance worth it?

 

Taking the leap (and incurring an upfront cost) for something that might happen may seem like an inefficient use of money—but insurance is the safety net you rely on to protect things like your home, your cars, your health, and even your phone. Why should you value your pet any less? Your cellphone is replaceable, after all; your furry friend isn’t. 

Perhaps you’re still wondering if pet insurance is worth it. Instead of asking Reddit, leave it to the experts to help you make up your mind. 

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Dr. Stacy Choczynski-Veterinarian

Dr. Stacy Choczynski Johnson is a veterinarian with 12 years of clinical experience and over 20 years of experience

Have a new puppy or kitten? The right time to enroll your fur baby in pet health insurance is… right now. Here are 8 key reasons why.

1. Ruh-rohs & cat-astrophes happen – especially to fur babies.

A puppy or kitten’s curiosity to explore the new world around them can sometimes lead them to doing crazy things with costly consequences, like eating random objects, succumbing to fracturing falls, or playing a little too rough with fur friends and end up with bite wounds. Depending on the severity of the accident and if emergency surgery is needed, you could be looking at a vet bill of $5k or more!  When unexpected ruh-rohs and cat-astrophes happen, pet insurance can help you say ‘yes’ to the best care for your fur baby, even when it comes at a high cost. And with an estimated 1 in 3 pets in the U.S. needing emergency veterinary treatment in any given year, it is very likely that your pet will face at least one significant accident or injury in their lifetime.*

2. Even healthy puppies & kitties get sick sometimes.

Puppies and kittens have more fragile immune systems than adults, which can make them more susceptible to picking up certain illnesses and diseases. From ear, eye, and respiratory infections, to digestive issues and intestinal worms, there are several common conditions that pets can develop in their first year of life. If your fur baby gets sick, pet insurance can help you cover the costs of sick visit exam fees, diagnostics, treatment, and prescription medications they need to get better. Plus, if you insure your puppy or kitten early, they’ll be covered for other common health problems that develop as pets age, including dental disease and arthritis.

3. Hereditary & breed-specific conditions can show up in pets of all ages.PK1rz

Like humans, health conditions can be passed down to pets by their parents. Some breeds are also more prone to developing certain diseases and injuries than others. While some hereditary or breed-specific conditions like epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and intervertebral disc disease may show up early in a pet’s life – others, like polycystic kidney disease or heart disease, may not manifest until much later on. Regardless of when a pet is diagnosed with a hereditary or breed-specific condition, it may require ongoing monitoring and treatment for the remainder of their life – all of which can get very expensive. Enrolling in pet insurance now can help you get ahead of these conditions before they show up and help ensure your pet is covered for the course of treatment your vet recommends.

4. You don’t have to worry about insurance not covering pre-existing conditions.

The best time to enroll in pet insurance is when your puppy or kitten is young and healthy, so your plan can cover accidents and illnesses that may develop in the future. No pet insurance can cover “pre-existing conditions” (AKA conditions that showed symptoms or were treated before enrolling or during the waiting period). Although some insurances, like Pumpkin, will cover curable pre-existing conditions (with the exception of knee & ligament conditions) that have been cured and free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days and occur again in the future – you don’t ever want to be in a position where your pet is without coverage when they really need it. For this reason, the sooner you sign up your new pet for insurance – the better!

5. The cost of vet care can really add up over a lifetime.

Did you know that families can expect to spend about $13k-17k on veterinary care over their pet’s life?** If your fur baby were ever to face a catastrophic emergency or serious chronic illness, it could end up costing even more. While it may be hard to fathom spending this much on care when your pet is young and healthy, costly accidents and illnesses have a way of showing up when you least expect them. Whether it happens while you’re on vacation or right after you splurged on a new couch – it’s usually never a good time. Pet insurance can help prepare you financially for the health issues that are likely to pop up during your pet’s life – and the crazy unexpected ones, too.

6. Your pet can get access to the best, most advanced treatments.

Veterinary medicine has come a long way over the past decade. From life-changing procedures, like stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and chemotherapy for cancer, to alternative treatments like acupuncture and chiropractic to help rehabilitate pets with orthopedic injuries and chronic pain – there are more advanced treatments available to pets than ever before that can drastically improve their quality of life. But this care often comes at a high cost. Pet insurance can help parents like you afford the best, most advanced medical care when your fur baby needs it most. Because shouldn’t every pet be entitled to the best care possible?

7. You can prioritize your pet’s preventive care in addition to their medical care.

In addition to helping your pet get the best medical care when they’re hurt or sick, there’s a cost to helping them stay healthy in year one, and every year after. In fact, as veterinarians, we recommend that all pets get routine preventive care, like annual wellness exams to assess head-to-tail health, vaccines to prevent life-threatening diseases, and yearly screening tests to catch harmful parasite infections early when treatment can be most effective. Knowing that staying on top of your pet’s preventive care is an ongoing expense, some pet insurance providers like Pumpkin offer optional coverage for it. This is a great way to help you plan and pay for wellness essentials your new pet needs to start healthy and stay healthy throughout their life.

8. When it comes to our pets, peace of mind can be priceless. Pk2rz

Nothing is more upsetting or stressful than when your pet is sick or hurt. In those moments, we will do anything to ease their pain, get them well, or keep them comfortable. The last thing we want to be worried about is the cost of the tests, treatments, or medication that they need. There are plenty of stories about pet parents who regret NOT purchasing pet insurance. But rarely do we meet pet parents with hurt pups or sick kitties that regret purchasing pet insurance. One day you’ll be glad you have it, if for no other reason than for the peace of mind that comes with being able to say to your vet, “do whatever it takes” instead of “what will it cost?”

Final thoughts …

Whether you ultimately decide to purchase a plan for your pet, or feel comfortable covering their potential care needs without one, the best time to research your options and consider pet insurance is right now. After all, nothing feels better than providing the best care possible for your pet, and knowing YOU played a key role in helping them get better, grow stronger, and stay healthy for longer.

Footnotes:
*American Pets Product Association, “2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey.”
Estimated lifetime cost of vet care for a dog living 12 years based on annual spend data from survey (12 years at $1,386 per year); Estimated lifetime cost of vet care for a cat living 15 years based on annual spend data from survey (15 years at $890 per year).

**Horch, AJ, “Most Americans own a pet, but not the insurance 1 in 3 faithful companions will need.” cnbc.com, last updated June 2019.

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