Do you have pet insurance?
When we first talked about getting a cat, RD and I were pretty much both on the same page when it came to pet insurance – we didn’t need it. He grew up in a house that always had a cat, and his parents never bought insurance. My sister has had two cats, and she also hasn’t bought insurance.
So it was settled! No insurance. But once we got our little furball home, I started to do my own research into pet insurance when I got paranoid about every little thing that seemed off, and all of a sudden I wasn’t so sure. After all, we have insurance for our own lives, for our condo, for our car, doesn’t it make sense to also insure the newest member of our family?
your thoughts on pet insurance for a cat? I thought I wouldn’t get it, but after doing some research, now I’m torn.
— Krystal Yee (@krystalatwork) October 10, 2017
How pet insurance works
Like insurance for your own health, pet insurance will help you with some of the costs of keeping your pet healthy. There are quite a few different companies, levels of coverage, deductible amounts, and monthly premiums.
And then figuring out what you’re actually covered for can be really confusing. Some plans only cover basic scenarios (like accidents and injuries), some only cover accidents, some cover genetic conditions, and some even cover teeth cleaning and vet check-ups.
Most plans have a deductible (the three companies I looked at had annual deductibles of $200-250), and many of the insurance plans do not fully cover your expenses. Some have a dollar limit per claim, others will pay you back a percentage of the total cost, and almost all of them require you to pay up front, and receive reimbursement afterwards.
How much does pet insurance cost?
I got quotes from 3 different companies, and the price ranged from $28-$42/month for a 3 year old female Siamese mixed on plans with around a $200 deductible, 80% coverage (up to $2,500-5,000 per incident).
I was able to get my insurance quote to as low as $21 by getting rid of dental coverage and lowering cover to $1,000 per incident. For fully loaded insurance packages, I was looking in the $65-70 range, which would then start to affect my monthly budget.
Pet emergency fund
Most people who offered alternative options to pet insurance advised me to self-insure by setting aside the money I would have spent on insurance, into some sort of pet emergency fund. Thankfully we are good savers, but it would take quite a while to “save up” for a crazy $5,000 vet bill if we were only putting aside $50/month. But then again, a vet bill like that doesn’t happen to most people.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Well it’s probably worth it if you use it, but a waste of money if you don’t. :) I decided against getting pet insurance for Zoey based on a couple of key factors:
- We are good savers with a healthy joint savings account (as well as our own personal savings).
- Zoey will be fed high quality food and will always be an indoor cat.
- No insurance company I found covers all of the costs. For example, the quote I got from Petsecure ($28.57/month) offered a $200 deductible, and 80% coverage up to a maximum of $2,500 per accident. So for that $5,000 vet bill, I’d still be out of pocket $2,700 plus all of the monthly premiums I’ve paid. And that’s only if I were covered for the full 80% (the fine print reads that co-pay amounts may be changed from the standard 20% to a maximum of 50%). That made it really hard to justify.
However, if you do end up wanting to set up pet insurance for your little one, it’s best to start early. Get your pet insurance sooner rather than later, because the older your pet gets, the more expensive the monthly premiums will be. Plus, there’ll be a much higher chance that you wouldn’t even get coverage because your illnesses could be “pre-existing.”
Do you have pet insurance (and would you recommend it)?
Have you ever had to make a claim?
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.