Does Your Pet Need Health Insurance?

August 31, 2018

If you have a pet, take a moment to consider how much you would pay to save it from a life-threatening condition. If that number is so high you wouldn’t feel comfortable writing a check for it, you should learn more about pet insurance.

Veterinarians can do some amazing things today with medical technology borrowed from the human world, but it comes at a cost. According to the Wall Street Journal dog ACL treatment used to cost $1,200 but new and improved plate insertion costs $4,500.  And NBC recently reported on dog Jack who got laser eye surgery ($5,000) and dog Klover who had tennis balls removed from his stomach ($2,700). Klover later developed some complications which required a second surgery ($6,980).

Pet insurance is health insurance for pets. It’s less expensive if the pet is young. It generally reimburses 70-90% of expenses with an annual limit of $2,500-$15,000.  Deductibles range from $100-$500. Like human health insurance, pet insurance provides a contracted volume discount on service prices from providers. “Sweat the big stuff” by considering high deductibles and high limits for pet insurance, and any other type of insurance for that matter.

Some critics say pet insurance isn’t a great deal financially because if your pet is generally healthy you’ll end up paying more in premiums than you would have in vet bills. That’s like saying fire insurance isn’t a great deal financially because if your house is generally fire-free you’ll end up paying more in premiums than you would have gotten back in claims. Unless you are ready to self-insure, it doesn’t make sense. Pet insurance is protection against a catastrophic event…it’s not a savings account.

Here’s another way to think about it… pet insurance as a bunch of people getting together to protect the welfare of all their pets. Maybe your pet won’t need it, but somebody else’s pet will. It protects against the biggest tragedy of all…when some innocent pet is euthanized because money isn’t there for an available but expensive life-saving treatment. If somebody else’s innocent pet gets saved and yours doesn’t need the pet insurance you’ve paid for, well, a lot of pet lovers think that’s okay.

Carrie Babij is President of Desert Insurance Solutions in La Quinta, and has more than 25 years’ experience with high net worth personal and commercial lines of insurance. For more information, contact Carrie at

Last modified: August 31, 2018

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