- It can cost more than $22,000 over a pet's life to keep them healthy.
- Pet insurance allows a pet owner to minimize the cost of a pet's care.
Pet insurance covers expensive medical procedures, allowing you to focus on your pet's recovery.
If you're a pet owner, you've probably noticed how expensive veterinary care has become. Depending on vet costs in your area, lifetime healthcare for a dog can run between $700 and $1,500 per year. If a dog lives for 15 years, that's $10,500 to $22,500 spent on veterinary care alone.
And it's the cost of veterinary care that helps explain why my dogs are covered by pet insurance. Back when I purchased coverage for the first time, pet insurance was a niche product. There were few companies from which to choose, and honestly, the coverage was spotty at best. Today, once I meet a $500 deductible, 90% of my pet's care is paid for by insurance.
I also carry wellness coverage on both dogs, mostly because of how quickly things like teeth cleanings, heartworm tests, and flea and tick prevention add up. Insurance allows me to budget everyday expenses and avoid costly surprises.
Why I spring for insurance
Back when my husband and I were young, in college, and dead broke, we adopted a dog. We fell in love with her but had no idea how expensive her care would be. We found a low-cost vaccination clinic to keep her shots up to date, but I carried a nagging concern. What if she became seriously ill or was injured? How would we pay for that?
Later, when we were out of school, I found pet insurance. As mentioned, those early policies were not as comprehensive as they are today, but having a policy for her still provided me with a measure of peace. It might only kick in if she was seriously ill or injured, but it was better than nothing.
Today, pet insurance covers everything from vaccinations to stem cell treatments. Having coverage in place not only eases my mind, but also saves tons of money.
How pet insurance saves money (and anxiety)
I'm a hovering pet mom. I care for the pups in a way that annoys non–pet lovers. How do I know? I've been told so -- more than once. Still, my pets are part of the family, and I want to make sure they're taken care of. Pet insurance allows me to do that without breaking the bank.
In our area, the cost of annual treatments like vaccines, boosters, heartworm tests, deworming, teeth cleaning, and office visits total approximately $1,100 per dog.
Wellness coverage for each pet runs $64 per month, or $768 a year. That's an annual savings of more than $330 per dog. More importantly, insurance makes it easy to stay on top of the check-ups and treatments the dogs need to live long, healthy lives.
The pups have rarely seen a vet due to illness, but I'm still glad I purchased comprehensive coverage as soon as we brought them home. Because they were still relatively young, I only pay $27 per month for each dog. Better yet, the price is fixed. That means that the premium won't increase as they age. That way, if either of them develops a health issue when they're older, there's coverage in place.
In the meantime, both dogs have anxiety issues that require regular veterinarian care. We adopted one after she'd been abandoned twice and she's still nervous any time we leave the room. The other could be a meteorologist, shaking like a leaf as storms approach.
Because our vet understands their history and quirks, he's able to offer advice (and occasional medication) to make the dogs' lives better. Being able to make regular trips to the vet without taking out a second mortgage is important. And not having to pay for office calls makes it easier to take them in whenever one is having a problem.
A lifetime of saving
Veterinary care in our area is a bit more expensive than it might be in other parts of the country. If my dogs live to age 15, wellness care alone will add up to at least $16,500 for each of them. If either of them is ever sick or injured, that number is likely to reach $20,000 to $25,000. By paying a monthly insurance premium, the amount I'm responsible to pay for any care they need is minimized.
One of the great things about pet insurance is that an owner can customize it to fit their budget. By comparing pet insurance companies, they can decide which coverage best fits their pet's needs and which company offers the most affordable policies.
Having watched coverage evolve over the years, I can tell you that pet insurance has been more than worth the price for me.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2023 The Ascent. All rights reserved.