Insuring your furry friends
Animals have a way of very quickly becoming members of the family. They also have a way of getting into things they shouldn’t, and having unexpected medical issues that can cost thousands of dollars. Sadly, some families are forced to surrender pets for which they can’t provide necessary medical treatment, while others go into debt to pay for costly treatments and procedures.
One of the most important things to consider before you bring that kitten or puppy home is whether or not you are able to deal with expensive and unexpected vet bills. We may save up for the cost of the animal and account for its food and regular vet visits when making the decision to adopt a pet, but owning a pet can, in some cases, cost a whole lot more.
What is pet insurance?
Some pet owners opt to purchase pet insurance to help manage unexpected vet bills. This kind of insurance covers a specified percentage of your veterinary care for illness and accidents. Like car insurance, you pay a deductible based on the plan you’ve chosen. Every plan is different, and every pet insurance company is different, so you’re wise to shop around and look very, very closely at the fine print.
Some companies won’t cover an animal with preexisting conditions, some limit coverage for chronic and heredity conditions, and some don’t include exam fees in your reimbursement.
It’s important to bear in mind that pet insurance can’t be used for regular vet visits, which are a key part of keeping your pet healthy and happy. Pet insurance covers the unexpected, such as cancer, periodontal disease, and treatment for injuries due to accidents.
Is it worth it?
Whether or not pet insurance is worth it for your family is something you have to decide. If you can find a company with good coverage and limited restrictions, and the plan you choose fits your monthly budget, then it can be very worthwhile.
But if the plan you choose ends up not covering the problem your pet has, or the deductible is too large and the percentage of the reimbursement is too small, it can be troublesome.
Some families choose to set money aside in a separate emergency account each month just in case they do find themselves dealing with unexpected vet bills. You can also ask your vet if there are agencies in your area like The Farley Foundation in Ontario, Canada that helps low-income families afford the pet care their animals need.
Ask a trusted vet or do some research online to find the pet insurance company that’s the best fit for you and your family. And don’t forget, if you have any concerns about budgeting or other money issues, as a Foresters member you have access to Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline that connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting.
415246B CAN/US (07/17)