Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Anyone who has a pet knows how much it can cost for yearly preventive services, let alone a sick visit. When confronted with a pet’s medical bills, many wonder if pet insurance is a viable option. More owners are investing in pet insurance, but before you do, know as many pros and cons as possible.

How Pet Insurance Works

Pet insurance works much like human health insurance. When you take your pet to the veterinarian for a well or sick visit, you pay as usual, but the insurance company reimburses you a percentage of the cost for an exam or procedure. Pet insurance doesn’t have a provider list like human health insurance, so you can visit any vet you like and change vets as needed. Most pet owners pay insurance premiums between $20 and $80 a month. Currently, America’s largest pet insurer covers more than 400,000 pets across the country.

What Pet Insurance Covers

Pet insurance generally covers 70% to 90% of treatment costs after the deductible. However, most pet owners invest in insurance to protect their pets and themselves should an emergency occur. In many cases, owners must forego life-saving procedures for their pets because they can’t afford them. Pet insurance takes the pressure off owners who face life and death decisions. It also eases the financial burden when a pet needs an MRI, surgery, or other expensive procedure.

Cons of Pet Insurance

One big drawback of pet insurance is that pre-existing conditions are not covered. Let’s say your cat is diagnosed with an illness like feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV. Your cat would be considered a health risk, and if she sustained any other trauma such as an injury, her insurance policy likely would not cover treatment. Many owners whose pets have special needs find themselves in a precarious financial position, and their pets’ quality of life tends to decrease through no fault of the owners.

If you are unsure about pet insurance, contact LAMC or your vet. Ask his or her opinion on the need for insurance, as well as the best insurance companies.