Happy Friday everyone. I’m sure tomorrow will see many of us hitting the park, being dragged along by a lead, ostensibly to handle our dogs but in actual fact just allowing them to more easily handle us. Or we’ll hunker down in front of the TV, with our cat on our laps or- again, more likely- disdainfully refusing to watch rubbish on TV and much preferring to saunter and promenade.
For a lot of people, their pet is one of the most important parts of their lives. In a recent survey, 77% of single pet owners said they’d be more devastated if their pet died than someone they knew. And it shouldn’t be surprising as, in my experience of my friends and their pets, the pet is what provides a huge part of company and comfort in their lives.
So, the rise of pet insurance was probably inevitable. The skyrocketing costs of owning a pet and treating any health conditions it might have are often equivalent to the cost of our own health care and there is no Medicare for cats and dogs. So is pet insurance a sensible financial decision or an example of companies taking advantage of pet owners?
Why Pet Insurance?
The suggestion from Dr. Chris Brown, Medibank’s first Pet Insurance Ambassador, is that when we bring a pet home, we make a commitment to its ongoing wellbeing. I couldn’t agree more- they are dependent on us, and once we own a pet, it’s our responsibility to provide and maintain our pets to a high quality of life. But is pet insurance the best way to fulfil our responsibility?
What Does Pet Insurance Provide?
Generally, pet insurance will re-imburse you 80% of vet bills. The per annum amount insured seems to range between $10,000- $15,000, according to what plan and level of cover you sign up for. Depending on who you choose to be insured with, you can choose a plan that covers only accident care, accident and illness care, or the top level- accident, illness and preventative care.
How Much Does It Cost?
Again, it obviously depends on the provider and, like any kind of insurance, research is essential. You’ll also probably be able to get a discount should you already be insured in other areas with the same provider. It also depends on the breed of cat or dog. A general figure of premiums for cats seems to range from $200 to $410, while for dogs the range is $390 to $550.
Would An Emergency Fund Be Better?
It’s a personal choice when it comes to saving for any costs you might incur in looking after your pet. It’s essential that you are either insured or have some money saved, as an ear infection can set you back a couple of hundred dollars. It’s completely up to you whether you would prefer to save on insurance money by saving the money and garnering interest on it in the bank. If you can set aside the money, then it could be more financially worthwhile. Saving it may take time, however, so it’s perhaps worthwhile carrying some level of insurance until you’ve set aside the whole amount.
The RSPCA provides pet insurance at comparable rates. The other element of their pet insurance is that the money you pay towards insurance goes towards their ongoing work in animal protection and maintenance, which can be an appealing option for many pet lovers.