Dogs ownership is seeing a surge of historic proportions. According to The Guardian’s report on pet ownership, in the United States alone, almost 9 million dogs were welcomed into households around the country. This increase means that there are now about 108 million pet dogs – that’s equivalent to about one dog for every three humans. For the most part, this boost in pet dogs has resulted in many benefits to their owners like a reduction in stress and the companionship that comes with owning a dog.
On the flip side, though, this new rise in dog ownership has also added some new pressing responsibilities. One of the more obvious issues is that owning a dog can become quite costly. Presently, up to 47% of all pet owners say that they’ve gone into debt because of their pets. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate pet-related finances. Among the most popular ways to do this is via pet insurance. But what is pet insurance anyway? And is it even really worth it?
What is Pet Insurance?
As the name implies, pet insurance is a health insurance policy for animals that an owner acquires. Sound Dollar’s guide to how pet insurance works details that it works by ensuring your pets are able to access necessary medical aid. Although the specifics of pet insurance policies vary, they commonly cover emergency services, preventative care, and wellness treatments. Furthermore, some plans cover entire bills, some have deductibles, and some cover only a portion of the total payables. Nevertheless, having such assistance ensures that pet parents don’t have to worry about completely footing large veterinary bills.
In addition to covering the pet’s medical treatments, some types of pet insurance also cover any potential liabilities. This includes covering expenses related to any injuries that your dog may inflict upon another person outside of your household. EarthWeb’s report on pet dogs states that almost $800 million in liability claims were awarded in 2019 alone in the United States. This comes as a result of the reported 4.7 million dog bites that occur each year. Regardless of which type of pet insurance plan a pet owner opts for, though, each policy still entails paying a monthly premium. Depending on the age, breed, and location of your pet, this monthly payment can vary widely. As a rule of thumb, owners are encouraged to sign up for pet insurance as early as possible, so that the policy can come into effect while the pet is young and healthy.
So is Pet Insurance a Necessity?
In a nutshell, yes. Remember, even if your pet is healthy, they’ll require veterinary attention at some point. At the very least, they’ll require an annual check-up (like what was done to George here) where they get their heart, vitals, teeth, and general wellbeing professionally checked over. Without pet insurance, pet parents will either have to pay for this bill completely or be forced to skip the check-up to avoid overstretching finances. In the long run, this can result in dangerous illnesses being missed and pet parents becoming worried sick because of the uncertainty.
Conversely, while pet insurance does require pet owners to pay a monthly premium, the security and peace of mind it offers are invaluable. Keep in mind, that according to dog lifespan studies on PetKeen, a dog’s average lifespan is about 12 years. Aside from this, another 10% of all dogs make it to their 15th birthdays. From a monetary standpoint, this means that dog owners can spend upwards of $15,000 because most dogs cost about $1,000 a year to care for. With pet insurance, though, this fee is drastically reduced as the policy covers a large chunk of the expenses.
In all fairness, you and your dog can still live relatively stress-free without pet insurance. However, the future may be a little uncertain, so investing in pet insurance is a smart and effective way to safeguard a safe and comfortable life for your furry friend.