It is midnight and you are at the pet emergency hospital with your dog. It turns out he did break his back leg and it requires orthopedic surgery. The surgery will cost $2,500 with hundreds of dollars in after care and physical therapy. Sound familiar or scary? That is why the pet insurance business is one of the fastest growing pet related industries.
Insurance companies are not charity groups that are dying to help you out in times of financial need. They are a profitable business. The reason is that they know the risk of a payout to pet owners is less than the money that they receive in total monthly premiums. They also know that the odds of your pet needing extensive care when they are young is so low that you will have paid more than enough in monthly premiums by the time they need to payout in the pet’s later years. Why pay them when you can take advantage of the same facts?
Quality pet insurance policies range from $35-75 per month depending on coverage and deductibles. Why not put that same amount in a savings account for your pet(s)? In one year the account would be worth $420-900. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association pet ownership statistics the average household spends only $378/yr. for dogs and $191/yr. for cats. Your account would easily cover these expenses. Over the life of your dog the account would grow to take care of most care in the pet’s later years. If you considered yearly exams and vaccines as “a deductible” and paid them out of pocket instead of the account, especially during the early, healthy years of your pet, the account would even be larger in the later years.
An additional way to protect the account is to consider a “catastrophic” policy in addition to your pet savings account. These are less expensive and protect against a serious injury or disease in the early years of the account. Eventually these policies can be dropped as the savings account grows.
Consumer Reports agrees with being self-insured. And remember, feeding a quality diet and maximizing the health of your pet is the best possible pet insurance!
What do you think?
~Dr Ken Tudor
THE DOG DIETITIAN