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Pet insurance should be mandatory for new pet owners

By Zachary Chen, May 17, 2022

Nearly a year ago today, my pet dog collapsed, losing function in his rear legs and the ability to walk. We took him to the veterinarian where he was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease which required a procedure that would cost us over $6,000.

Medical expenses for our furry loved ones are no joke. Dog owners can expect an average annual cost of $426 for surgical vet visits and $242 for routine veterinary care with the average yearly cost of owning a dog being $1,381.

Time and time again, I have seen families devastated not only emotionally, but financially over the health complications that dogs and other animals may face during their ownership. Because of this, I am an avid proponent of pet owners investing in pet insurance for the healthcare of their animals.

When we heard the news from the vet, my family and I were devastated. To us, our dog is a part of our family, and we wanted to find out what was wrong and fix it as soon as possible, but when the veterinarian came to tell us the cost of the procedure, we were torn. $6,000 just wasn’t something we had available at the moment. Only through friends and family were we able to afford the surgery needed for my dog.

The average cost of an unexpected veterinary visit for dogs and cats range from $800-$1,500, and with 69% of Americans having less than $1,000 in savings to spend on an emergency, it can seem evident why most Americans would be caught off guard by this.

Sharon Wu | The Poly Post

The average cost of pet insurance in 2022 is $50 a month for a plan that typically covers both accidents and illnesses. This totals to an annual cost of $600 a year.

Pet insurance works on a similar level to property insurance. Coverage is purchased from an insurance provider, and your plan reimburses you for the expenses related to your pet’s healthcare. Top insurance companies can reimburse 80%, 90%, or even 100% of a vet bill when the deductible is met.

With that, some may argue that it is an unnecessary expense or that it may be too expensive. If it is an unnecessary expense, then why do people own healthcare for themselves? It’s because anything can happen at any given time no matter how much planning one may put into something.

If $50 a month is too expensive for pet owners, how can they manage the $800 bill that comes their way if an emergency occurs with their animal?

Pet insurance would not only benefit the people that want pets, but also the people that need them. Service dogs and emotional support animals may seem unaffordable to those that might need them due to the extreme medical cost uninsured pet owners face, but pet insurance drastically decreases that pressure.

Fifty dollars a month is a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing that even though things may go wrong, you are covered financially in the situation in which things do go wrong.

Houses, cars and the health of people are insured because we want to know that if anything goes wrong, they are covered for whatever may happen to them. The same should be viewed for our pets because just like anything else, they are prone to those same things.

It’s amazing that prior to the injury my dog encountered, the thought of having pet insurance had never crossed my mind. Maybe I was too focused on the happiness that my dog brought me, or maybe I just lacked the foresight necessary to even think that my dog getting injured was even a possibility.

Many people look into the positive benefits of having a pet animal, but many can also lose sight of the long term and what can come. Like people, animals are prone to injury and sickness, so it would only make sense that we ensure that we are able to provide the care they need when they need it most.

Feature image by Sharon Wu. 

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