Pet Insurance: Is It Worth It?

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As humans, health insurance just part of life. For a while there, no one (in the states) even had a choice. Either get insurance or pay the fine. But have you ever stopped to consider health insurance for your pet? It is a recent choice for me, and there were a ton of pros and cons to the decision. Plus, there are way more options than I ever realized. 

 

Companies that offer pet insurance (I'm sure there are more)

  • Embrace
  • Nationwide
  • Figo
  • Healthy Paws
  • Pet Plan
  • ASPCA
  • Pets Best

I looked through all of these websites, read reviews, found policy information. While they are very similar, they are not equal, and need to be thoroughly researched for your individual pet. Please see the table below for my comparisons. *Note: These numbers are based on my two Siberian Huskies, ages 2-4, weight 50+ pounds. Prices will likely vary based on breed, age, and other factors.  

 

Company Monthly Cost Annual Deductible Reimbursement % Routine Care Prescription coverage
Embrace $57.34 $15000 90% No Yes

Nationwide WholePet

$67.43 $10000 90% No Yes
Nationwide WholePet with Wellness $93.65 Unlimited 90% Yes Yes
Figo $66.65 Unlimited 90% No Yes
Healthy Paws $52.15 Unlimited 90% No Yes
Pet Plan $47.07 Unlimited 90% No Yes
ASPCA $64.49 Unlimited 90% No No
Pets Best $35.47 Unlimited 90% No No

 

Things to consider when looking for pet insurance:

  • Monthly Cost
  • Reimbursement Limit
  • Annual Deductible
  • Reimbursement Percentage
  • Multi Pet Discount
  • Coverage Options
  • Cost Effective
  • Does coverage change as your pet ages
  • **No pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions**

The first thing to consider on this list is, Is this cost effective for me and my pet? The answer will likely be 'no' for many people. So many of the listed companies only offer emergency coverage, or have super high prices. If your furry (or not so furry) friend is low maintenance in the health department (read: HEALTHY), then you are likely better off without. The biggest benefit of insurance is the coverage for the unexpected. In Tucson, snake bites are common, and cost between $800 - $3000. If you have insurance to pay 90% of that, at most you will only pay $300. Obviously, that makes a huge difference. 

Another thing to consider, that only one of the above listed companies offered, is routine coverage. The medicine, the vaccines, the blood work. The yearly necessities to keep your pet healthy. Flea, Tick, and Heartworm medications cost us about $600 a year! We only have our two huskies. 

***The reason that I made the choice to go with the most expensive option? I have a problem child. Her name is Yuki, and while she is the sweetest, most angelic little fluffer, she has had multiple bouts with health issues.  Obviously, many of these will never be covered. However, one vet visit often costs 2-3 months worth of what we pay for their insurance. That made a huge impact on my decision. 

I roughly calculated out what we pay out of pocket per year, including medicine, vaccines, routine blood work and tests, and the ever possible unexpected emergencies. Because I do have an often ill pupper, I chose a more expensive plan that covers EVERYTHING, because it will still cost less in the long run. So long as we keep our pups covered, the will be covered for life with great insurance. When they get old, their coverage won't change, because I will have been keeping up with everything. I will never have to worry about whether I can pay my bills, or give my pups the care that they need. That is worth everything in the world to me.   

 

***EDIT: Since I wrote this post, a few things have changed. We did go with the most expensive option listed above, and with Hoshi, everything went relatively  smoothly. Unfortunately, that was not the case for my problem child. She was rejected for a previous illness, and it was one I did not expect to cause issues. She had Valley Fever, which is fairly common where we live. She was treated, and deemed cured. We have all the documentation for this, and provided this, and the insurance company demanded that we put her through the tests again, and have the vet re-confirm her current status. This was after making us wait a month for a response, and never telling me what they wanted. I had to call multiple times, and received less than stellar assistance. The amount of work I had to do, for something that should have been simple, made me re-evaluate my choice. If it was this difficult just to get an answer, how hard would it be when I tried to make a claim?

I ultimately decided that pet insurance simply is not for us. I can put aside what I would have been spending every month, and will have a pretty decent account to draw from, should something unexpected occur. I still believe that insurance can be great, depending on the situation. If I were to get another puppy, I would absolutely look into insurance again. 

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