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Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love animals.  I volunteer at PAWS Chicago, and used to volunteer at Lincoln Park Zoo as a Guest Engagement Ambassador, giving talks about different animals at their exhibits.  I have a Golden Retriever, Clyde (that is him in the picture!), and I would do anything for him if he was sick or injured.  We have had some situations where we have had to take him to an emergency vet, and also for a pretty major surgery last summer.  But what do you do if your your pet needs very expensive medical care, and you don't have the money to treat him?

Pet insurance is available, but it can be quite costly, and it often increases in price as your pet ages.  Details vary by insurer and policy, but premiums for pet insurance typically depend on factors like the cost of veterinary care where you live and the age and breed of the pet. The average annual premium for “accident and illness” coverage was $516 per pet in 2017, while the average claim paid was $278, according to the pet health insurance association. Premiums are usually lower when your pet is young and health, and increase as your pet ages, so many people drop the insurance just when your pet needs it the most. Some employers offer slightly cheaper policies as part of their benefit package. Cats are usually less expensive to insure than dogs.  

The decision to purchase pet health insurance depends on if you have the money available to deal with a potentially catastrophic illness or injury, and whether or not you can afford to pay the increasing monthly premium.  Pets are like family, and it is an individual decision for each pet owner to make.