I personally believe that being a responsible pet owner means that pet insurance is essential.
Having any pet IS a huge responsibility. You have to be able to care for them, provide not only emotional care, but also physical care. Food, a safe place to live, and also make sure they stay healthy, or can get the treatment they need when they are unwell. Some things are non negotiable and I think pet insurance is one of those things.
This can be very expensive. We know this from experience. When Jasper decided to try and fly out of a tree and catch a squirrel (he thinks he is part bird) he managed to fall and fracture his leg. We took him to our vet, for treatment. He was very well looked after, but the final bill came to nearly £3000. That’s a lot of money.
I know people would say that if you cannot afford a pet, you should not have them, and in principle, that is true but not everyone has a pot of money sitting in their bank account, or enough on a credit card to pay large amounts for pet care like that. You may have a pet that never gets unwell and rarely needs a vet visit, or you may have a slightly accident prone and likely to get into trouble cat like we have, who has frequent flyer miles with our vet, we reckon, but who has always been covered by our insurance, thank goodness.
We do have pet insurance for both our cats and with our current vet that we have actually been with for as long as we have had cats as a family, will not accept new patients without evidence of some sort of insurance. This may seem harsh, and people will complain that vet’s bills are expensive, and wonder why they should have to pay so much, but what most people don’t think about is that vet care, procedures and treatments can often be the equivalent of what a human might receive and may cost. An ultrasound on a cat’s belly to see if they are pregnant is the same as what happens to a human. A CT scan on an injured pet is the same scan that a human has. A replacement joint comes at a cost, medicines for pets are not given out on prescription and are not cheap when the vet orders them and has to pay for them before dispensing them. Vets and their staff are highly trained and qualified, and often have many years of experience. You pay for what you get. I think particularly in the UK, because we have a national health service and don’t have to pay for our healthcare, we don’t realise the cost of treatments and procedures so when we get a vet bill for similar for our pet, we are horrified, when in fact that cost is necessary. If your pet is hit by a car, needs emergency care, an operation, then aftercare, then medicines, that isn’t going be an cheap cost. Given that our pets can’t talk and tell the vet exactly what is wrong, and they often need to go on their knowledge and experience, you pay for what you get. You want expert care for your beloved pets, you have to expect that to come at a cost.
Vets have to cover their costs and we cannot expect them to do that for free or cheaply, and then expect good quality care for our pets. It’s as simple as that.
I know some people say that insurance for pets is pointless. That you pay a monthly amount but may never need to actually claim it, so it’s a waste of money. I don’t agree.
I also have friends who haven’t got pet insurance and they have had to make painful decisions about how to pay for the care their animals have needed, in an emergency or who have had to use GoFundMe’s to raise money, or borrow it, or rely on charities to help them, and that, frankly, is irresponsible. Sorry, but I am not sorry to say that.
We have always had insurance, first for Layla, then Jasper, and now for Tabitha. It’s been worth every monthly payment we have made, and when I have had to put a claim in for almost £7000 worth of treatment, but only have had to pay £200 myself, I sigh with relief that we have had good care for our precious cats, but not had to break ourselves to pay for it.
Of course, insurance isn’t perfect and you need to make sure you are signing up for the right policy, that you are getting the right cover for your pet, and read all the exclusions and conditions so you don’t get caught out. You need to be aware of what the excess payment you will pay is and the annual or incidental limits are and what the insurance WON’T cover. If you have a pet with a chronic illness your policy may be more expensive or you may have to have special cover, but it’s still worth it. Our insurance covers a pet being lost, emergency inpatient care, and even covers the cost of cremation of a pet (something that we don’t want to think about, ever, but from experience, I know, is an extra cost you need to face and if you know it’s covered, it’s one less thing to worry about at a traumatic and unfortunate time) when Layla died, our insurance discreetly covered the cost of her cremation and it was one less thing we had to worry about.
It’s worth checking with your vet as to who they would recommend insurance cover wise. They generally know who might be best to work with, and you may also find your other insurance providers for home, life, car etc, may also have branched out into pet insurance. We prefer a specialist pet insurer but it’s definitely worth doing your research and finding what is going to work for your budget and your pet’s needs.
I wouldn’t have a pet if we couldn’t cover the monthly insurance costs. It’s just not worth the risk. Our pets are precious, and are like family. Not being able to cover the cost of any medical care they need is careless pet ownership, and that is a hill I will die on…