Is Pet Insurance Worth It for Dogs? – Read On!

One important question for most pet owners is whether or not to invest in pet health insurance. Specifically, is pet insurance worth it for dogs? I have experience both having pet health insurance for our puppies and not having it, and I can understand both arguments. But that said, now that I do have pet insurance for Sacha, I would never, ever have a dog without getting them insured from day one.

Having Pet Insurance is Critical

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To me, this is really a simple calculation. If you have health insurance for yourself and your family, then you should make sure your pet is covered as well. Our dogs are members of our family. And I would not let them go without coverage any more than I’d let any other member of the family go without coverage. For me, it doesn’t get any more simple than that.

As responsible pet parents, we know that when we bring our Samoyed (or other pets) home with us, we’re taking on a tremendous responsibility. These furry faced loved ones are completely dependent on us for everything. For their food, their water, their happiness, their well being, and of course, their health. You need to know this and accept it before you decide to take on the responsibility of becoming a pet parent.

For our three Samoyeds – Zoya, Ramius, and Sacha, we’ve had varying degrees of pet health insurance coverage. We never had any pet insurance for Zoya, we got it for Ramius about halfway through his life, and we got it for Sacha from the day we brought him home. This isn’t because we love Sacha more than the other. It’s about us not knowing or understanding the importance and benefits of having pet health insurance. Based on the experience we’ve had with our Samoyeds, we now understand that completely.

Animals are just like people in that you cannot predict whether they’ll suffer a devastating illness or injury sometime in their life. And of course, your dogs need at least annual visits to the veterinarian for a checkup and their shots. I don’t know about cats, but I assume it would be the same thing for them. This financial responsibility falls on you as the pet parent, and it can become a major burden on your pocketbook.

When it comes to your pet’s health, you want to take the financial decision out of the equation as much as possible. You want the focus to be on getting them the healthcare they need, not whether or not you can afford to get them the healthcare they need.

We have Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and for us, it’s the best pet insurance in the world. I can’t recommend them highly enough and I wrote an extensive review of them which I urge you to read. But whether you use them or not, the most important thing is just to get pet health insurance. There are plenty of companies out there that provide quality insurance and fit just about any budget.

Pet Insurance Means Peace of Mind

By 2003, Zoya had been a member of our family for 7 years and she had been mostly healthy; no major injuries or illnesses. We made sure she had regular visits to the vet, got all of her shots, had her heart worm and tick medicine regularly, and that was about it. The cost of her medical care was very manageable.

Then one day we noticed some changes in her behavior and began to worry. We took her to the vet to get her checked out and learned that Zoya had developed diabetes. I can’t explain what a shock this was. We have diabetics in the family, but never imagined that a dog could develop diabetes. Our first thoughts were; she has diabetes? What does that mean? Is she going to be okay? How will we care for her? What do we do? How much is this all going to cost?

Hopefully of course, none of your pets will ever develop diabetes. But sadly, it is a relatively common disease in dogs and cats. Some dog breeds, like Samoyeds, are more likely to develop the disease than others. When we first learned that Zoya had diabetes, we knew three things immediately.

  1. Our life and lifestyle were going to change so we could properly care for her.
  2. We’re going to do everything medically necessary to make sure she’s taken care of to the best of our ability.
  3. Since we didn’t have pet health insurance, our savings would have to finance all of her healthcare expenses.

The first two things were perfectly fine for us. It was that third part about the financial burden that we weren’t too thrilled about.

Make no mistake, diabetes is a very manageable disease in dogs, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Quite the opposite. Your dog may need tests such as a glucose curve to determine how best to regulate her. This costs money.  She’ll need regular visits to the vet to check on the status of her diabetes. This costs money. She may insulin shots as often as twice per day. This costs money. For perspective, A bottle of insulin where we live costs about $130 at the pharmacy and it would last us less about a month. Yikes!

Although diabetes is a serious disease, cancer is whole other ballgame entirely. Unfortunately, a couple of years after being diagnosed with diabetes, Zoya also developed cancer. I’ll talk more about that experience in subsequent blog posts but for now, suffice it to say that treating your dog for cancer can be a very expensive proposition. And when you don’t have pet insurance, as we didn’t for Zoya, that burden falls all on you.

Lesson Learned – But Not Right Away

After our experience with Zoya’s medical issues, you’d think we would’ve gotten insurance for Ramius right way. After all he was an adult, but still relatively young and very healthy. But believe it or not, we didn’t. We got some bad advice and that advice was if you don’t get insurance for your dog as a puppy forget about it. The insurance companies either won’t cover your pet or it’ll be cost prohibitive. And unfortunately, we listened to that advice. But let me tell you, that was bad advice. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Pet insurance can be very affordable for your dog, even if he or she is an adult. Most pet health insurance companies will not cover any pre-existing conditions, and that is true even with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. But that aside, it’s very easy and affordable to get pet insurance for your adult dogs. I think we paid a premium of around $65/month or so for Ramius. That was with a $250 deductible and covered 90% of the cost of medical care as a result of injury or illness after that deductible was met.

Remember that monthly insulin cost of $130 I mentioned earlier? Well, sadly Ramius also developed diabetes later in his life and we had to purchase those bottles of insulin. Lots of them! $130 bottle of insulin each month vs. $65/month in pet health insurance premiums.

Do. The. Math.

Lesson Learned – Finally…

When we were thinking about getting a little brother for Ramius, who of course became Sacha, I started researching pet insurance options for both of them. After that investigation, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance clearly emerged as the best choice for us. So on the day we got Sacha, both he and Ramius were fully insured and protected.

Whew!

This was an incredibly fortuitous decision. Although Ramius was completely healthy at the time he became insured, he developed serious health problems later in life. Not only did he contract diabetes, but he also developed a very nasty and horrible cancer. I’ll be talking more about this over time, but right now it still deeply saddens me that after a long and courageous bout with cancer, Ramius passed away in January.

But one thing I am thankful for is that we decided to get health insurance for him before he developed any of these health problems. That allowed my wife and me to make Ramius’s healthcare decisions strictly on what was best for him. The financial impact was taken out of the equation.

As for Sacha, he’s healthy now and is under strict orders not to get diabetes, cancer, or any other horrible diseases. You hear that Sacha?! No sick for you! That goes for injuries too!

No Sick for Me!

No Sick for Me!

Pet Insurance – Worth the Investment

I hope I’ve made the case that at the very least, you should investigate pet health insurance options for your furry family members. Yes, it’s an extra monthly expense that nobody wants to pay. But there are many companies and many plans available to meet your particular budget parameters. You’ll be doing the best thing you can for your pets, because you know you’ll be able to make the best decisions for them based on their medical needs. And you’ll be doing the best thing for your pocketbook since you won’t be stuck paying for everything out of pocket.

Again, I strongly recommend Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and urge you to add them to your research process as you look into pet insurance options. But there are many choices out there, so if you don’t like Healthy Paws, just keep looking. Eventually, you should find the right company and plan that’s best for you. If you and your family have health insurance for yourselves, it just makes sense to get it for your pet too doesn’t it?

Just. Get. It.

 

20 thoughts on “Is Pet Insurance Worth It for Dogs? – Read On!

  1. Matt's Mom

    I have two dogs, one that I have had for about 7 years now and another one that I adopted about a year ago. Cooper, my older dog has had good health until recently. I learned very quickly the need and importance for pet insurance. I actually feel much better now that they both have it. I can take them in for anything and know that they will stay healthy and problems can be taken care of. I honestly don’t know why anyone would have a pet that they love, and not provide for it as they do for themselves.

    Reply
  2. Chun

    Hi, Mike. Your article reminds me my neighbor’s dog. His name is Cici. I like this dog because it is cute and likes to play with me. I always take care of it by buying some food sometimes. Unfortunately, Cici passed away last month after I came back to my hometown because it is sick but my neighbor does not have financial plans for it. Thanks. I will keep in mind and be looking for dog insurance for my future dog.

    Reply
  3. Calvin

    I completely agree that pet insurance these days are a must! Any pet lover treats their fur baby as their own child; you carry insurance for your children right? My only concern is being able to choose the right plan and the right deductible. I also wish that the providers included some sort of discount for routine services. You are into see a vet for these services usually more than the ones covered under the policy.

    Reply
  4. Blame

    To be honest with you, I have always been unsure of pet insurance. Mainly because it feels rare for your pet to get sick. Or maybe I feel like it’s an extra burden to purchase insurance for my pet.

    Now that I think about it, I used to own a cat which gets sick pretty often. It could be some kind of conjunctivitis or some other kind of weird fur shedding. If you add up all the expenses during the year, that probably is more expensive than just purchasing insurance in the first place. My question is, is pet insurance tax deductible?

    Reply
  5. Cole

    Excellent review of Healthy Paws. Are they available in Canada? I have been with OSPCA for a few months now and it has been nothing but problems every time I submit a claim, and each claim has taken at least 1 month to process (the longest claim took about 3 months). Healthy Paws sounds reliable. My father lives in California and just adopted a new pup and is looking for insurance so I will be sure to recommend your review to him. Thanks for the great information!

    Reply
  6. Leomon1775

    Pet insurance is indeed an essential part of having pets which makes one wonder if pets should come with insurance.
    If pets came with insurance depending on age or health of the pet. Allowing this to occur would be a benefit to insurance brokers to allow better premiums to be used on other expenditures such as home insurance or car insurance premiums.

    Reply
  7. Daniella

    Hi Mike,

    Great article, I really liked it and I’ve found very interesting!
    I have two dogs at home and both of them have an insurance. I had a dog when I was a teenager and I remember that a child was playing in the park and he was running everywhere and suddenly my dog started to run after this child, he wanted to play with him and the child fell on the edge of a sidewalk, all his front teeth were broken, he was filled with blood, it was a real mess. To be honest, I was in choc and was afraid to go back at home. However, it was very sad for this child, but we were lucky that my parents had an insurance for our dog, which has covered all the mess. Accidents happen and we need to be covered.
    Thank you for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks Daniella! And that’s the morale of the story right, you never know when something can happen.

      Reply
  8. Emcqueen

    I completely agree with you on the notion that pet insurance is really important for animals. I must thank you because your post shed light on just how vital it is to get pet insurance for all pets whether they are young or even senior!
    Sorry for your loss and I want to thank you for notifying people on the importance of pet insurance and because you did that I am positive more people are going to get insurance for their pets!

    Reply
  9. Craig

    Really informative and interesting article.

    We have a cat and he was involved in a minor car accident. We never had pet insurance and the bills were really high.

    Ever since then we have realised the importance of the insurance. It’s definitely worth it in the long run!

    I would recommend investing in pet insurance to everyone as you never know what can happen

    Reply
  10. Mary

    Hi Mike,

    I really enjoyed your article on pet insurance. It was very informative. I didn’t know you could insure a pet. This taught me a lot. Your information was very detailed. The content was clean and easy to read. I loved the picture of Sacha you included, nice touch. Overall, this was a great page and a very good article. You’re on the right track. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  11. Brian

    Excellent article on why pet insurance is worth it! I don’t have any pets currently, but my best friend and his wife do and they are certainly like family to them and even to me as often as I’m at their house and get to see their lovable bets. Unfortunately, one of them has some medical complications and some of them seem to be getting worse and possibly could be related to cancer. I know they’ve spent a lot of money already, but I can only imagine the money they would save if they had pet insurance. I will definitely tell them to read your article in the hopes that it will persuade them to get pet insurance.

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks Brian! Glad you enjoyed it! And if your best friend has any questions about Healthy Paws, tell them to leave me a comment and I’ll respond to them.

      Reply
  12. Jude

    Hi,

    I was wondering if pet insurance would cover you in the event that your dog causes injury or property damage? My parents’ little Chihuahua was accused of attacking a child who supposedly fell off his bike and hurt himself and the parents are now suing my parents for $50000! It seems pretty unlikely that this happens very often but now I am afraid of owning a dog of any size without protection against this type of fraud. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Hey Jude. Thanks for commenting and wow, that is some story. No, Healthy Paws doesn’t cover stuff like that, they’re there to protect your pet in the case of an injury or illness. And for that purpose, they’re terrific.

      Reply

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