Today, I was very surprised to find out that only about 2% of Canadian households with pets have them enrolled in pet insurance. Contrast this with parts of Europe where enrollment rates are anywhere from 20-50%! There are even countries where owners are required to purchase insurance in order to own a pet! The idea of mandatory insurance for all pets seems so bizarre, but it is clearly in the best interest of clients and veterinarians alike.
Pet insurance isn’t a new concept to me. My dog has been insured for about two years now. After getting accepted into vet school, I knew there was no way that I could handle a substantial blow if my dog were to get seriously ill. That being said, I also own three cats and foolishly did not have them insured as well.
In the month of December, I spent close to $3,000 in veterinary bills after two of my cats fell ill. I had enough to cover the expenses, but if I had insurance for them the burden would not have been so great. I’m kicking myself now, especially because their illnesses will be considered pre-existing conditions.
This is my little plug where I say that pet insurance is essential for every pet owner. Especially new pet owners! The best time to invest in a plan is when your pet is young and free of any illness. The rates for puppies and kittens are as low as $10 a month. If you wait until your dog is older, the rates will be significantly higher.
Many people think that it is better to wait until a pet is older to purchase insurance because that is when they are more likely to succumb to illness. Not necessarily! Young pets can be prone to problems like foreign body obstructions, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament tears. With congenital diseases, like hip dysplasia, as long as they are diagnosed after being enrolled in pet insurance, the condition should be covered!
For me, having health insurance is a safety net. I don’t look at it as an expense but as an investment. I don’t think, “What if my pet never gets sick?” but instead, “What happens when my pet gets sick?” I don’t ever want to have to choose between my own financial livelihood and doing what is best for my pets.
So this is me imploring you to consider pet insurance for your own animal if you have not already done so. I recommend treating it in the same manner that you shop for automotive insurance. Find out who has the most comprehensive policy for the best rates. There are even websites that allow you to compare multiple companies side by side. Find what works best for you and your best friend and enjoy the peace of mind that they will always be protected.