As someone who grew up with pets, pet insurance was totally foreign to me. We loved our dogs more than just about anything else in the world and we worried about them. But this did not lead us to insure them. We would take any crisis as it came, with a visit to the vet that we would pay for on the spot.
This is why I was surprised to hear about pet insurance in blogs when I adopted my dog. Insurance was something for people, not for pets. In the same way that most people don’t hold lavish baby showers or funerals in cemeteries for our dogs no matter how much we love them, we don’t insure them.
I soon found out the folly of this thinking. It was wrong in a number of ways, and I decided to insure my dog.
I’ll start with the reasons I came to the decision to insure my dog before discussing why my parents never did the same.
Pet Insurance: Who Is It For?
As pet owners, skeptics often jibe about how we anthropomorphize our pets. This can come from people who just don’t have the same draw to pets or who are traditional in how they treat them. Whether we like to admit it or not, this does impact us. It is part of the reason I initially dismissed the idea of pet insurance. It sounded too… indulgent.
But the more I thought about it, the less this made sense. I wasn’t insuring my car because I gave it the same importance as a person. I did so because if something went wrong, I would have to pay thousands of dollars to set it right.
The same is true of pet insurance. Pet insurance is for our sake, not our pet’s. No matter how much vet bills cost, I would pay them to keep my dog healthy. Pet insurance simply gave me the peace of mind that this would not leave me in debt.
This is why I decided to get Lemonade pet insurance coverage. It is relatively affordable and I hope to never have to use it, but if something does happen I will be extremely grateful for it.
So why did my parents never get pet insurance? Did they not have the same concerns about their pets’ health?
Rising Vet Bills
My parents loved our dogs and, like me, would have done whatever they had to in order to give them the best possible care. The difference was that the vet bills they paid were very different from the vet bills I pay.
This is not because of inflation. If we adjust for inflation, what they paid is still far less than what I pay. Vet bills have been rising at exorbitant rates for the past few decades. In the same way that the cost of human health care in the US is skyrocketing with no reason other than for the profit of healthcare corporations, pet health care costs are rising beyond reason.
If you need to visit the vet in an emergency, you may end up paying thousands of dollars. This was not the case when I was a child.
There is a chicken/egg argument to be made here. One of the reasons health care (both human and pet) is getting more expensive is because providers expect insurance to pay. Insurance is willing to pay those prices because it means that individuals have little choice but to get insurance.
But that is not something we can control. Unless you are in politics or have a high-powered position in a corporation, you cannot impact the price of vet bills. The reality is that, with prices as high as they are, remaining uninsured puts you at high risk of facing financial issues.
In 2022, pet insurance is something that any pet owner will benefit from. It took me some time to come around to the idea of insuring my dog, but it ultimately gave me the peace of mind I needed. Consider insuring your pet, even if they are a few years old. The sooner you get it done, the better.