Pet owners know that their dogs and cats are good for their health. Our pets cheer us up when we are feeling down, make our rainy days feel more sunny and can help to relieve the typical stresses and strains of everyday life.
So when it comes to taking care of our pets, we want to do our part and provide them with the same kind of attention and comfort that every member of the family deserves.
For some owners, this means carefully reading pet food labels to make sure that the food they give their our furry friends has only the best ingredients. For others, it means making sure that pets get enough exercise to keep healthy and enough play to feel loved and wanted.
Lack of Pet Insurance
According to a recent survey of US pet owners conducted by the American Pet Products Association, however, only about 4% of dog owners, and 1% of cat owners, have health insurance policies for their pets.
Pet health insurance is simply a medical coverage policy for pets. In the same way that most of us carry medical insurance coverage that pays for some or all of the doctors’ bills when we fall ill or are injured, pet insurance covers veterinarian care for pets.
In the US, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most people have health insurance because it’s federally mandated. While pet insurance isn’t the law, it’s still a good idea because it can help defray the cost of medical bills should your pet be injured or fall ill.
Costs of Pet Ownership
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the annual cost of caring for a dog is $1270 and the yearly cost of caring for a cat is $1070. These figures include a variety of one-time expenses, including:
· Spaying or Neutering: $200 for a dog and $145 for a cat
· Initial Medical Exams: $70 for a dog and $130 for a cat
· Training: $110 for dogs
Other one-time costs can include collars and leashes, carrying crates, litter boxes and scratching posts and so on.
Ongoing costs of pet ownership include:
· Annual Medical Exams: $235 for dogs and $130 for cats
· Licensing: $15 for dogs
· Toys and Treats: $55 for dogs and $25 for cats
These are just average figures, but, as you can see, the combined one-time and annual costs for owning a dog or cat can quickly add up. And when your beloved pet suffers an unexpected illness or injury, further expenses are heaped on top of that.
That’s when having pet insurance is beneficial.
Affordability of Pet Insurance
Don’t be scared off by the comparison with human health care, though, because, unlike the medical insurance you purchase for yourself and your family, pet insurance is very affordable. While the specific costs depend on a number of different factors including where you live, the age and health of your pet and the type of coverage you choose, the fact is that, in most cases, a good pet insurance plan can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars per year. And when you break that cost into monthly payments, it becomes clear that pet insurance is affordable, whatever a pet owner’s income level.
Cost of Not Having Pet Insurance
By contrast, the cost of *not* having pet insurance can be very high; as mentioned, once your pet falls sick or is injured, veterinary bills can quickly add up.
For example, if your pet should require an operation to repair a broken bone or to fix a problem such as a ruptured spinal disc, you can find yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars.
On a practical level, many pet owners who don’t have pet insurance are forced into the agonizing position of having to decide whether they can afford to give their pets the medical care they need in order to continue to live a long, healthy life of loving companionship, or will be forced to postpone or even forego necessary medical treatment.
Peace of Mind
Purchasing the right pet health insurance plan is one way that you can be confident you will never have to make such impossible decisions. If your pet becomes injured or ill, you know that you are going to be able to provide the quality veterinary care that is necessary without having to worry about the cost, including the long-term consequences of paying for a these kinds of bills with a credit card or by dipping into your savings account.
Instead, you can make the decisions about the best medical options for your pets based on what is best for them, not on what is demanded by your family finances.
Easy on Your Budget
Pet insurance, then, is affordable: it is easy to fit the few dollars per month that it costs into a monthly household budget. Pet health care then ceases to be a financial disaster waiting to happen and becomes just one more predictable expense, like food and chew toys.
Author Bio – This article was written by Tara Nicole on behalf of Pet Insurance U, an online portal providing in-depth, unbiased pet insurance reviews.