He sits on your couch and sleeps on your bed – Fido is family and you want him to be happy and healthy. But in case of an accident or illness, would you be prepared for the unexpected vet bill?
According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, only 10% of dog owners and 5% of cat owners have health insurance for their pets.
This is a very low number considering that on average, a typical emergency bill could cost anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 and unfortunately, this number is on the rise. Because payment is usually due at the time of service, pet parents are often forced to choose between debt or the life of their four-legged family member.
- Rising veterinary costs
The cost of animal medical care is increasing at a faster rate than that of humans. Between 1996 and 2012, human health care spending increased by close to 50 percent while pet medical spending jumped by 60 percent.
Because pets now live a higher quality of life than before, the medical treatments available to them now compare to those offered to humans. The equipment and supplies in veterinary offices are often leased or purchased from the same companies that supply human hospitals, so the costs are the same.
- Peace of mind
According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), representatives of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association reported that pet owners with pet health insurance are more likely to seek medical attention for their pets than those without. This could often be the difference between life or death for a fur-baby. Often times pet owners who are unprepared for high medical costs are forced to choose “economical euthanasia” and the heartbreak of losing their furry loved-one.
- Additional Coverage
Not only does having pet insurance give you peace of mind in regards to the cost of accidents and medical emergencies, but some policies may also help with additional costs such as advertising a missing pet and/or offering a reward. Other expenses that may be covered include death and cremation costs, kennel fees/hospitalization and dental coverage. Others may even be able to offer assistance with liability costs if your dog injures a third party or damages their property. When shopping around for pet insurance it’s important to know what’s available and prioritize the things you feel would be most important to you.
- The Age of your Pet
Finally, timing is important. While older animals may still qualify for insurance, they are typically harder and more expensive to insure. The best time to buy a policy is when your pet is as young as possible. Older pets average higher insurance costs since they are at higher risk of developing long-term illnesses and other conditions requiring more medical care and vet visits. Many times, insurance companies will offer to lock in a monthly premium rate for the life of your pet if you do so when he is still young.