Following up on the theme of the last post, I found an article where someone had "crunched" the numbers and decided that pet insurance would be a bad deal for him and his pets. Of course, he was doing a "hindsight" evaluation. If some of you did a similar evaluation, you might reach the same conclusion that Bob did. That is, you would have paid more in insurance premiums than you would have been reimbursed by the insurance company. But some of you, after doing a similar evaluation, could say "I would have come out way ahead if I'd had pet insurance."
It's easy to come to these conclusions in hindsight - afterall, hindsight is said to be 20/20.
The article did mention several notable exceptions to Bob's conclusion:
1) If your pet becomes seriously ill early in its life before you’ve had the chance to stick the aforementioned money in the bank, insurance can be very helpful.
2) If you aren’t good about saving money (which isn’t a value judgement: it’s good to know your own strengths and weaknesses) then having insurance to mitigate risk may work out well.
3) If your pet belongs to a breed predisposed toward certain genetic diseases, it can be a good choice as well–even if the company sets different premiums for your pet and its relatives.
Notice the words I've highlighted. The word "if" usually implies something in the future. The problem is that none of us knows the future. The first two exceptions were covered in detail in my last post.
Regarding the third exception, from a veterinarian's perspective, what breed doesn't have one or more potentially costly to treat diseases and conditions that it is predisposed to?
In the article, Bob used the costs he incurred between 2002 and so far in 2013. The costs today and in the next 10 years to treat hereditary conditions (many that are chronic) as well as any serious injury or illness will likely be significantly higher.
Here's a link to the fill article.
Consumer Reports did a similar hindsight study in 2011 and came to the same conclusions:
If your pet remains relatively healthy and requires treatment for only minor problems, you'd be better off putting money into a savings account. However, if your pet has one or more serious medical problems costing potentially thousands of dollars, you'd almost always come out ahead having insurance.
Did they really have to do a study to reach these rather obvious conclusions?
So, if you could somehow know the future, it would be possible to easily decide whether pet insurance would be worth it. Otherwise, if you'd have trouble paying for a costly chronic condition or an acute and unexpected "worst case senario" costing thousands of dollars, you should consider purchasing pet insurance.
In the Pet Insurance Toolkit, I try to help you answer these two questions:
1) Should I purchase pet insurance?
2) If so, which company and policy is the best one for me and my pet?