Pet Insurance, is it a ‘Must-Have’?

They’re warm, sweet, loving, and loyal – they are your pets. (Image: Debbie Martinez.)
They’re warm, sweet, loving, and loyal – they are your pets. (Image: Debbie Martinez.)


They’re warm, sweet, loving, and loyal – they are your pets. So, when unexpected things happen which ultimately are expected – are you prepared?  Should your animal companion suffer a torn ACL, skin abscess, tooth extraction, or worse, cancer in the abdominal wall – as devastating as this is – you love your furry best friend and the cost will get absorbed one way or another; they are a member of your family after all.

Pet insurance is a wonderful option, but if a pet owner is not aware of the ‘right’ kind of insurance the costs can sky-rocket, adding financial stress to the already emotional duress the pet owner is already experiencing. So how do you know then what insurance to buy, or even if you should?

First, it’s important to have a good grasp on the five most common canine conditions requiring surgery and the average price tag for treatment according to VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance):

For Canines:

  • Benign skin mass: $999
  • Skin abscess, inflammation or pressure ulcer: $458
  • Tooth extraction: $829
  • Torn ACL or cartilage: $2,667
  • Malignant skin mass: $1,431

For Felines:

  • Tooth extraction: $924
  • Skin abscess, inflammation or pressure ulcer: $458
  • Benign skin mass: $291
  • Bladder stones: $985
  • Cancer of the abdominal wall: $813

Know your options!

The real thing – Pet insurance is provided by a third party, and can be used at any vet or within a participating network of providers. Similar to health insurance for humans, you should expect a deductible, co-payments and exclusions. Premiums will vary depending on your dog’s breed, age, species and whether you buy catastrophic or comprehensive coverage. Key word here folks is ‘exclusions’; and ask if pre-existing conditions are covered!

Wellness plans: Different from insurance, they work more as a form of prepaid vet care. Ranging from a $20-$40 monthly fee, the plan covers routine care for the year. Some plans offer bare bones coverage, while others offer extras such as nutrition counseling and dental cleanings. Offered by specific providers, you may get your money’s worth if all the services are taken advantage of!  Otherwise, taking your pet in for annual check-up’s, may not be a good idea with a wellness plan.

Use common sense, and know that the love you feel for your pet, will always win out in the end regarding your pet’s overall healthcare and well-being.  So do your homework; ask lots of questions, and listen to your heart!