If you’re familiar with my blog, you may have read my previous series of posts about my dog having torn her Cranial Cruciate Ligament – Read here: Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) (Crucial Ligament) in Dogs (ACL) To be honest, I really had no idea of the cost of surgery for animals until this happened. In fact, I had not even realized the cost of the vet over the previous 5 years. When I was hit with a $400 bill for x-rays and a $3,100 bill for knee surgery, I started to do a little research on pet insurance.
There are many options out there, but most pet insurance programs offer plans in the range of $10 – $50+ per month. Obviously the lower end of the spectrum doesn’t cover as much as the higher end. The low end is meant for puppies in most cases and is “accident only” coverage. Accident only coverage severely limits what the insurance company will actually pay for, and there is typically a deductible and/or a copay percentage. The higher end of the spectrum will cover more (almost everything) but like the accident only coverage, the more complete plans require you to meet a deductible and/or have a copay per incident.
So after my dog got injured, I began looking for pet insurance because our veterinarian told us that once a dog ruptures a ligament in one knee, there is a 40% chance that the same thing will happen in the other knee. Not wanting to shell out another $3,500 I figured I’d look into other options. I ended up finding a plan for our dog that would cost $40/month ($480/year) but since she had already ruptured a knee ligament, they would not cover the surgery if it were to happen to her other knee. It was the same for most other pet insurance providers as well.
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?
Lets say that I got my dog a comprehensive plan as a puppy and began paying $40/month ($480/year) over the course of the dogs 10+ year life, I’d be looking at about $4,800 in insurance costs alone. Since most pet insurance plans are only 70% coverage, I’d be looking at about another $30-40/year in normal checkups and office visits, plus the cost of any other veterinary visits, in my case 30% of $3,500 – $1,050. So if I had been paying for pet insurance for the life of my dog, I would be somewhere in the range of $6,250 (insurance premium, plus office visit copay, plus incidental copay). Whereas if I had not paid for insurance, I could have been banking an extra $40/month earning interest, and the entire cost of owning the dog would have been about $4,700 ($1,200 in annual office visits, $3,500 surgery). I’m not saying that pet insurance is a bad idea, however I do think that money can be better spent (or saved) because of the fact that your dog might not ever have a serious injury or illness. There’s a quick list of pros and cons on the next page, and you can optionally check out this ebook about pet insurance.