Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about pet insurance in the blogosphere.  The stories generally fall into one of three categories; a) people think that pet insurance is a ridiculous idea, or b) people bought pet insurance and are glad they did, or b) people bought pet insurance hoping that it will be useful at some point during their pet’s lives.  So, what in the world is pet insurance?  Apparently it works just like health insurance works for people.  Depending on the plan you choose, you may have to meet a deductible or pay copays in order for your coverage to start.  However, the general premise of pet insurance is that it can kick in to help foot the bill if your pet needs surgery or becomes sick or injured.

Should You Have Pet Insurance?

If you have a pet, chances are good that they’re cost you some serious cash in one way or another.  Maybe they eat your shoes or ruin your expensive furniture.  And even if they don’t destroy your stuff, you have likely had your pets vaccinated and taken them to the vet for annual check-ups, right? Your pet may have even needed monthly heartworm pills or other various medications.  All of those costs add up.  However, have you ever had to spend a fortune on a pet?  Have you ever paid for a pet to have surgery?  When those costs arise, it becomes much more than an issue of annual pet health maintenance.  At that point, you may have even began to question if your pet’s life is worth it.

Sound harsh?   Maybe it is, but I know exactly how that feels.

Why?  Because I have been there.

A Tale of Two Dogs

I have an eleven year old dog named Pablo, the freeloading genius.  You might remember me talking about how he is a master of the dole, putting very little into life while extracting maximum value and living a life that most can only dream of.  Yeah, that guy.  Anyway, Pablo is an extremely healthy dog.  At eleven years old, he still drags me around the neighborhood and chases birds and cats.  And luckily, I have hardly spent any money on him aside from his annual shots, check-ups, and food.  Aside from the fact that he’s annoying and drives me crazy while I’m working at home, he’s been the perfect pet.  And the fact that he’s been inexpensive has been icing on the cake.  In Pablo’s case, buying pet insurance would have been a losing proposition on my part.

This is Pablo's poker face.....

This is Pablo’s poker face…..

Until a few years ago, I also had a second dachshund named Hammie.  We bought him when he was a pup and within a few months we noticed that he may be having some problems.  He constantly had ear infections and never seemed to be feeling well.  He would also pork out super huge and fat despite the fact that he never seemed to eat very much.  We took Hammie to the vet on a variety of occasions and they could only tell us that nothing appeared to be wrong.  However, at a certain point, Hammie started losing his hair and smelling seriously crazy.  We took him to the vet again and paid for over a thousand dollars in tests.  They did skin scrapes and blood tests and monitored him for any changes or hints of what was wrong.  And at a certain point, we could no longer justify spending any more money on the poor guy.  We could tell he was suffering and decided to make the decision that no one wants to make.  We put Hammie to sleep and Greg buried him in the back yard. Would pet insurance have made a difference in Hammie’s life?  Quite possibly.  Unfortunately, we will never know.

Pablo vs. Hammie

So, what’s the point?  The point is this: pet insurance might be a good deal….or it might be a bad deal.  If your pet is perfectly healthy then it might be a complete waste of money on your part.  Of course, if your pet isn’t healthy then you’re probably going to find after it’s already too late to get pet insurance coverage.  Since Pablo is eleven years old, I wouldn’t consider getting him coverage at this point.  However, I would possibly consider buying pet insurance in the future if we were ever to get a new cat or dog.

What about you guys?  Do you have pet insurance?  Do you think that it’s a good idea?