September has been designated as National Pet Insurance Month by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Over the years I have not taken an active position on pet insurance. I simply did not see it as my responsibility to become involved in the process of promoting pet insurance. After 43 years of providing patient care I have modified my thoughts on pet insurance. Over the last 43 years, I have seen tremendous strides in the health care of my patients. The average life expectancy of my patients has increased over the years from 10-12 years to 15-17 years.
Most of us consider our pets be part of our families. The increase in longevity of pets has been directed to the phenomenal advances in veterinary medicine. This is great news to those who treasure time with our pets. However, the downside to these advances and the increase in longevity is the cost of veterinary medicine has increased. It is not unusual for major illness or trauma to have treatment of one to three thousand dollars. Currently, only about 1% of pet owners have insurance. There are several questions a pet owner should honestly ask themselves before a major illness or trauma occurs.
- Is my pet part of the family to the point I want my pet treated if at all possible?
- Am I personally able to pay a large veterinary bill to treat a major illness or trauma without causing stress to the family budget?
Depending on your answers pet insurance may be for you.
What pet insurance is not?
1. Pet insurance is not an investment plan. Pet insurance must take in more in premiums than they payout. Do not expect to receive back all the money that you pay in over the years. The object is to be able to handle that major illness or trauma without stressing out the family budget or putting an animal to sleep that could be treated.
2. Pet insurance is not a means of avoiding veterinary bills. While there are many variations in insurance coverage, pet insurance generally does not cover expenses of routine veterinary care and preventative medicine.
There are considerable variations in policies and the coverage they offer. Compare different policies and understand what they cover. Most policies do not cover genetic disorders or pre-existing conditions. It is best to put a policy in effect long before it is needed. Older animals without pre-existing conditions may not be insured. The best rates are offered for young animals.
Important Statical Fact: Generally pets that are covered by insurance receive higher quality, more frequent, and often earlier treatment for major illness. Pet insurance is for those who want to provide their pet with the best medical care possible without worrying about the cost. It helps cover the costs of unexpected accidents and illnesses that may occur. Pet insurance provides financial peace of mind and helps pet owners with the difficult decision of treatment or economic euthanasia.
Pet insurance should be considered for every pet that is part of the family.
Often as I am working with people and their pets, people ask me “If I get insurance will it help pay for the expenses of treating a major medical issue?” Unfortunately, the medical issue once diagnosed is a pre-existing condition. It is important to obtain insurance before the need arises.