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How Much Is Your Pet’s Health Worth?

Reference: How Much Is Your Pet’s Health Worth? (2020, November). Inside Personal Finance. https://ipf.edelmanfinancialengines.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IPF-Digital_Nov2020_noimages_FINAL_v1.pdf

Should you buy insurance to cover major veterinary expenses?

Pet adoptions have surged since the pandemic began. That’s not a surprise, as we’re all spending more time at home, and pets provide a diversion – and love, comfort and companionship that is often sorely needed.
About two-thirds of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. And everyone who owns a pet knows that caring for them isn’t cheap.

Americans will spend nearly $100 billion on their pets this year, says APPA – including $30 billion on veterinary care. While curing a pet’s ear infection or upset stomach shouldn’t cost you much, serious health issues can cost thousands of dollars.

Here’s an idea of the cost of treatment, according to CareCredit.com and ValuePenguin.com:

  • heartworm treatments for a dog- up tp $1,000
  • a specialist to confirm a pet’s cancer diagnosis- $1,500
  • chemotherapy treatments for a dog- up to $5,000
  • radiation therapy- $2,000 tp $6,000
  • surgery for removing a chew toy from a dog’s stomach- $7,000
  • pain relievers, antibiotics and other medicines- $50 to $60 per month

Whether to spend these amounts is a choice, of course. Some will pay any amount to treat a beloved animal they view as a member of the family – even if it means taking on long-term debt.
You might want to consider buying pet insurance.
Monthly premiums for dogs range from $25 to $75. Cat coverage is $15 to $40 per month. Most policies have a $500 deductible and 80% reimbursement limit.

If you are considering pet insurance, be aware that it requires you to pay the vet’s bill; you then apply for reimbursement.
Consider these tips:

  • Shop around, because provisions and premiums vary. Ask about discounts if you have multiple pets.
  • Make sure the insurer is registered in your state.
  • Get coverage for catastrophic expenses, not costs you can easily afford.
  • Get a policy that covers both accidents and illnesses.
  • Understand the policy’s exclusions. For example, policies generally don’t cover routine checkups, preventive care or preexisting conditions. You can often customize your plan by choosing your deductible, reimbursement level and annual or incident maximum.

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