Aug. 22, 2022

Weighing The Risks and Rewards of Buying Pet Insurance

Weighing The Risks and Rewards of Buying Pet Insurance
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Some call it their 'Life Happens Fund,' others their 'Emergency Fund.' Whatever you call yours, make sure you have one. But then you might want to take that thought one step further. I'm about to tell you why.

My Dog Willow

Recently Willow, my Bearded Collie, became very sick to the point where she needed to be hospitalized. Anyone who has gone through this before knows how expensive it is to hospitalize a pet. Throughout her illness, I had to make tough decisions where I felt I was choosing between my dog and my money. The stress and anxiety brought on by the situation were overwhelming. Of course, I chose my dog; thankfully, Willow is recovering.

Looking at our now-depleted emergency fund started me thinking about pet insurance and how the situation might have been different if I had already had a pet policy.

The Benefits Pet Insurance

If I had pet insurance, I would not have hesitated to take Willow to the veterinarian when her symptoms started. I would have been able to file a claim and have a majority of the bills covered, thus circumventing any guilt or arguments about how much money we would need to spend on our dog.

I've come to realize having pet insurance is my way of saying I love my dog, I care about her, and I'm doing this to protect her because I want her to live a long, happy life. It would also enable me to avoid the 'in the moment' emotional stress and anxiety when decision-making worsens.

Another benefit of having pet insurance is passing the risk of your dog getting sick to the insurance company in exchange for the peace of mind of your dog's safety in the case of an emergency.

The Costs of Insuring a Pet

How much does pet insurance cost? After a bit of research, I discovered the following facts.

  • Insuring a four-year-old Bearded Collie is about $30 a month.
  • A Bearded Collie has a lifespan of about 13 years.
  • If we had insured Willow as a puppy, we would have spent roughly $1,700 to date, considerably less than what we paid during her illness.
  • Assuming we had the plan in place since Willow was a puppy and she'll live approximately 13 years, factoring in an 8% increase in premiums each year, that would mean spending roughly $7,700 during her life, or $600 per year.

That's a much more easily digested amount spread over a decade than most of that amount paid out once during an emergency.

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