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By Frances Wilkerson, DVM

Pet insurance is not the best fit for everyone. In fact, deciding if pet insurance is right for you is a personal decision. Below are a few questions to help you decide.

1. Can you afford the "Worst Case Scenario Costs" for your geographic location out of pocket?

Pet insurance is used to offset a catastrophic, financial hit. Catastrophic hits in veterinary medicine come in the form of:

  • Emergencies (e.g. Fractures, Foreign Body Ingestion, Accidental Poisonings, Bloat, Urinary Blockage)
  • Chronic diseases (e.g. Chronic Renal Failure, Heart Disease, Liver Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Cancer)
  • Sudden, Severe diseases (e.g. Acute Renal Failure, Acute Pancreatitis)

These costs will vary across the country, though they tend to be higher in metropolitan areas. To find out the "Worst Case Scenario Costs" in your area, ask your veterinarian. Make sure you let your veterinarian know if you will opt for high-end treatments and diagnostics, as these will affect the cost.

If you can afford these costs out of your pocket, then you do not need pet insurance.

2. Will paying more in premiums than you get back in reimbursement bother you?

It is very likely that you could pay $5,400 or more in premiums over the life of your pet and not see any of that money back in reimbursement because your pet stayed relatively healthy. If this scenario is bothersome, then pet insurance is not for you. Some people will not be concerned by this scenario because the peace of mind they are given knowing they are covered is more valuable to them than the money paid.

3. Do you plan on using expensive diagnostic and treatment options for your pet.

Life saving procedures like radiation and chemotherapy, renal dialysis, MRI, cardiac pacemakers are now a reality for pets, but these procedures come at a price. If you do not plan on using these types of procedures in the diagnostic and treatment process, your costs will be lower.

4. Are you willing to do the individual research to find a plan that is the right fit for you?

When buying pet insurance it is important to conduct your own research to find the companies that fit your monetary and medical coverage requirements. You must also read the terms and conditions to find out what the exclusions and requirements are.

Yes, it is work but it will help you end up with a pet insurance plan that meets your needs. If you rely solely on the marketing of the pet insurance companies when making your decision, you will end up with the wrong plan for your situation. So it’s better to stop now if you are not willing to research pet insurance companies and their plans.

Dr. Wilkerson is the author of Her goal is to help pet owners make informed decisions regarding pet insurance. She believes that everyone can make great decisions when given good, reliable information.

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