So I often get asked if I have pet insurance or if I have a savings account for my pets.
The answer is that I do both.
I have a basic pet insurance policy and I also have a high interest savings account that I put in 20% (5% for each pet) of my earnings each month.
Now, 20% of a salary may seem like a lot (it is!) but I would rather know I have the money available than have to take out a credit card (or similar) to pay the premium on my pet insurance policy or for something that isn’t even covered. I don’t have children to worry about but if you go down this route, you should choose an amount that works for you and your family. One year I had $24,000 of vets bills (and that’s not even including the amount covered by my insurance policy) so the savings account came in very useful. When you are faced with a dying dog as I was, you don’t want to be also worrying about how to find the money to save its life as most vets will not operate until you have paid a substantial amount up front.
Another option if you don’t think you have the discipline to not “borrow” from your pet saving account is to speak to your local vet and ask if they have a scheme where you can pay them money each month that they add credit to your account. Many vets now do this so it is worth having a chat to them.
Below is a brief pros and cons of each from The Money Advice Service
-You still have to pay for regular treatment that aren’t covered by pet insurance, including annual jabs. Make sure you keep up with these or your insurer may not pay out if you need to claim.
-Medical bills are the main reason to buy pet insurance. Vets’ fees are going up in price and expensive new treatments are becoming available.
-The average pet insurance claim is now £650/$1000 but claims can run into thousands if your pet develops an on-going condition.
-You might also consider pet insurance to cover the cost of replacing a particularly high-value pet, such as a pedigree show dog, in case it is stolen or dies.
You could self-insure by saving a set amount to pay for potential vets’ bills.
You will need to be disciplined and think about how much you can realistically put aside. The average cost of insuring a cat in a low-risk area is around £150/$200 a year – save that much for 10 years and you’ll have £1,500/$2000 plus any interest pay for vets’ bills in your pet’s old age.
Bear in mind:
Remember the money you save up is not for routine things like vaccinations, teeth cleaning or worming. It’s only for things that you would have put in an insurance claim for.
City Dog Expert is Europe’s number one resource for urban dogs.
As featured in Wall Street Journal, New York Press,
The Sun, Chicago Tribune & Financial Times
I budget for vet costs, but I don’t think I put enough in – for sure not 5%. If I were to do it all over again, I’d go with Pet Insurance, and I still might. PC Insurance (Canada) has some pretty competitive rates, way better than Trupanion and just as good coverage.
5% per pet is just a number we came up with that works for us.
Some vets visits are much cheaper than others
Great information and advice! You are very disciplined…that’s fantastic.
Thanks so much Kristen. Trying to do what’s best for the animals
We simply save money for our cats’ health. They have been very healthy, so we have been lucky. The problem with pet insurance for us is that the pet insurance doesn’t pay the bill upfront. We can’t afford to pay a pet insurance bill every month, plus pay for the vet bill and wait for the money to be reimbursed. It’s easier just to pay the vet bill as needed.
Robin that is a super important point that most people don’t consider. Most insurers make you pay the bill up front and if you don’t have the money to do that, what happens to your pet?
Great point, thank you
We love our pet health insurance and we also have a savings fund. Good piece.
Thanks so much 🙂
I’ve been looking into getting pet insurance for awhile. I know that I’m saying “I probably don’t need it” now but oh I’d hate to think what would happen if something horrible happened. I’m amazed that you’re able to save 20% for your fund, that’s incredible. I’ve been very fortunate with vet expenses thus far. I couldn’t imagine being faced with not having the funds available to treat my pets.
It was very difficult to start with having to put aside such a huge amount but now the money leaves my account automatically and heads to my savings account without me having to do anything.
If the money is not in my current account to spend it, I don’t miss it (thankfully)
Both insurance policies and self-insuring have benefits to them. My kitties are seniors and have chronic conditions so are not insurable at this point, but I’ll definitely consider insurance when the time comes to get another kitty.
It’s a very personal decision and everyone has to weigh up the pros and cons of both.
Thanks for the comment
It always breaks my heart when people have to surrender their dogs because of an expensive procedure or what not. I hate the idea of owning a pet as something that is only reserved for people with tons of extra income. I think education could go a long way with helping people understand the costs and savings necessary to care for a pet.
100% agree and thanks for the comment
We self insure, but at times I have conisdered buying insurance. and would probably do so for a new dog if I was going to do agility since injuries seem to pop up more often in agility dogs.
For an agility dog I would defo get insurance however I have heard of some people being denied claims if they stated their dogs did agility, rally or fly ball so its something to ask your insurer about
We have pet insurance for Rooney. So far, I have been very happy with Trupanion.
I heard good things about them.
Do you find that most things are covered?
Great post! I do not have insurance yet but I do have a savings account for my dogs. I don’t have a set amount to save but I feel I should. With the insurance I think it became a bit overwhelming for me. Trying to decide what company to choose, how much it would cost and what I needed for 4 dogs became too much. I think I started to feel better once I spoke with people insured with different companies and their likes and dislikes. The tip about paying towards a credit at the vet was one I haven’t heard of. Thanks!
Thanks for the comment. It is sometimes so tough to choose between insurance companies and there is so much that isnt covered. What you are doing sounds perfect. Money aside that can be used for any pet needed