Pet Insurance – Do You Really Need It?

By on February 9, 2011

With many of the pet insurance companies publishing frightening average vet costs of anywhere from £300 and treatments of up to £4000 the obvious answer is yes isn't it? But really, how many times do you take your little ray of sunshine to the vets? Isn't dog insurance just a "nice to have"?

Getting your animal spayed, treated for fleas, worms and getting its shots yearly can soon add up. There are plenty of flea and worm treatments available that you can do yourself, but this still leaves the initial spaying and the yearly shots fee of around £40 per year. If you read your policy carefully you may find that these costs are not actually even covered too.

If you only ever need to get your pets boosters done, then of course not having cat or dog insurance might seem a good way to cut your monthly outgoings. 1 in 3 dogs or cats have an accident or get sick every year so it seems likely that you may have an extra vet bill. Some years Tiddles or Rover may keep out of trouble, but territorial disputes, rambunctious play or curious investigation can go wrong, leaving you with a hole in your finances.

The cost of pet insurance can range from £4-£7 per month - or more if your pet is older. It makes sense especially in the case of your canine companion to start dog insurance from puppyhood as this can reduce the cost and on the whole dogs are more expensive to treat. This is all very well and good, but what if you have more than one pet in your house? Insurance is available for a range of animals and if you have multiple pets so you not only have to think about dog insurance, but cat, rabbit or even hamsters! Clearly it wouldn't take long before premiums could get to be more than you can actually afford. If this is the case, it is probably sensible to think about the animals which are likely to cost most.

Let's look at some figures, here are a few common reasons people take their cat or dog to a vet and their average cost:

• Examination - £60 + any needed drugs £69

• X-ray - £189

• Road Accident - £674

• Overnight stay - £386

Remember, these are just average costs and can vary greatly on area, pet and complications.

The average insurance premium over the year works out to roughly £280. Some pets are more accident prone than others and there has been a widely held belief that cat, rabbit or dog insurance is "money for old rope".

Ultimately, the decision to insure your pet - or not - is up to you.

It might be more cost effective to pop the equivalent of the cost of a premium or premiums into a separate savings account and hope you have enough if the worst happens. This may even provide you with the means for a modest memorial when the sad time comes to say goodbye to your pet. Maybe you are in the very fortunate position of not needing to worry about any impending pet bills. Or perhaps you feel that you would rather be sure that you can afford to have your pet treated when it needs it.

So dog insurance or any other insurance is not an easy decision if you are strapped for cash, but if you are careful and shop around you could find a policy that suits your pocket and your peace of mind.

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One Comment

  1. Dmitri

    February 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    It is very important to make sure the insurance policy includes specialized care such as cancer treatment and does not have a long list of exclusions that are not covered by the policy. It is this “catastrophic layer” of insurance that is most critical to have.

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