Pet Insurance: Is it worth it?

8 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, November 22 2016 Nov 22, 2016 Tuesday, November 22, 2016 8:05:00 AM CST November 22, 2016 in News

COLUMBIA — Roughly 62 percent of Americans own at least one pet and our animals have been elevated to full-fledged family members.

Pet insurance has only been available in the U.S. since 1982, when the first policy was sold to Lassie.

This year, the North American pet insurance market is projected to hit more than one billion dollars in sales.

When it comes to pet insurance, there are big differences in what’s covered… what’s excluded… how much it cost… and how claims are paid.

If you’re thinking about insuring your pet, compare rates and plans in your area at PetInsuranceQuotes.com, which lists coverage details, customer reviews and expert ratings.

When shopping, pay special attention to the following:

Read the fine print.  

Pick a policy with simple, percentage-based payouts. Skip the policies that rely on judgments of what's "reasonable," those rarely will go in your pet’s favor.

Know what’s excluded. 

Chronic diseases generally aren't covered, and insurers usually won't pay for known defects among certain breeds, like hip dysplasia in labradors. And a pre-existing conditions in your pet won’t be covered.

Skip the riders. 

Riders are add-ons to a policy that give you additional coverage for an additional cost. Consumer Reports deemed all “riders” as "generally not worth the price". 

As with all insurance, take the highest deductible that makes sense. 

A higher deductible will usually result in lower monthly premiums.

Local vets were quick to point out policies can differ drastically, meaning premiums can too. Ranging anywhere from about 10 dollars a month for an accident-only pet insurance plan to 75 dollars a month for an everything-under-the-sun-type policy.

So also watch out for premium increases. Insurers raise rates based on the age of your pet, veterinary cost inflation and the types of potential treatment.

Consumer Reports has, in the past, found pet insurance is not necessarily a wise investment unless your pet is older and goes to the vet more than a few times a year.

If you have younger animals, it’s recommended to put what you would pay for pet insurance into a savings account for future use.

Most companies won’t offer you a policy at all if you have a dog breed the industry has deemed too dangerous.  

These are the most blacklisted breeds:

  • Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Presa Canarios
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • German Shepherds
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf-hybrids

Dog bites reportedly accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015, costing more than $570 million. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $37,214 in 2015.

When considering a new dog, here’s a breakdown of expenses from the pet-sitting website Rover.com, which puts the annual cost of getting a dog at $2,858.

Medical costs for pets can add up quickly, here are a few money-saving options:

Search for a nearby accredited veterinary school at the American Veterinary Medical Association's website.

Otherwise, look into Petco’s popular and cheap Vetco clinic, which provides 70 percent savings on vaccinations and microchip implantation and more. Since operating hours are limited and no appointments are offered, you should expect a wait. However, the small inconvenience of standing in line is often worth the savings. Check out the Vetco’s price list here.

If you can’t come up with the money to cover a necessary surgery and life-saving treatment for your pet, inquire about financial assistance. Several nonprofit organizations have been established to support pet owners with limited incomes. For example, the Brown Dog Foundation is a public charity that provides funding to families who can’t afford veterinary care.

Get more information online at the Humane Society’s website for a list of other national organizations that provide financial support to pet owners in need.

The average fee to neuter a cat ranges from $50 to $100 while the same procedure for a dog costs as much as $300. Meanwhile, fees for spaying are even higher, ranging anywhere from $100 to $200. On top of these costs, you may be looking at additional fees like pre-anesthesia blood work and pain medication. Before you head to a local veterinary office, look for free or low-cost programs in your community. You can find a comprehensive database of affordable options in your area by using this locator tool on the ASPCA website.

Also, mark your calendar for the annual World Spay Day held every February as many organizations host free spay and neuter programs in an effort to raise awareness about the lifesaving power of this procedure. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Firefighters will be hitting the street with their boots in their hands. Columbia Fire Department will... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, August 19 2017 Aug 19, 2017 Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:00:00 AM CDT August 19, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Helias Catholic High School won’t have to borrow Jefferson City High School’s stadium anymore after it opened... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 7:18:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri State Parks officials say they can't verify that solar eclipse glasses the agency sold meet... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 6:48:40 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in Eclipse Events
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys for a Missouri man convicted of killing a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter 19 years... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 6:30:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
PETTIS COUNTY - The man shot and killed at a trailer park outside the Sedalia city limits Thursday afternoon has... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 5:12:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - UPDATE: The suspect is now in custody and was processed in the Boone County Jail Friday evening. ... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 4:16:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Two U.S. senators from Kansas and Missouri say an emphasis on protecting the nation's food supply... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 4:11:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
FULTON - Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande stepped down as the 21st president of Westminster College Friday to pursue jobs in... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 4:03:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in Continuous News
BOONE COUNTY – Attorney General Josh Hawley’s voting in the special election on Aug. 8 is being called into question.... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 3:35:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who temporarily posted a Facebook comment hoping for President Donald Trump's assassination could... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 3:06:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS — Two St. Louis police officers are injured after a car crashed into their police car. Police... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 1:33:30 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump has fired controversial White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon, multiple sources reported Friday. Bannon was... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 1:08:00 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A police investigation has prompted a modified lockdown at Russell Boulevard Elementary School. Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 12:39:31 PM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - A state medical board suspended the license for a doctor after finding he improperly gave drugs to and... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 9:27:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man and woman Thursday afternoon on suspicion of burglary. Deputies were dispatched... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:53:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
RAYMORE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a suspected improvised explosive device has been detonated near a suburban Kansas City patrol... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:37:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Thousands of people are expected to gather at the state capitol Friday for a rally against the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 8:07:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Jefferson City Police Department will be participating in the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 18 2017 Aug 18, 2017 Friday, August 18, 2017 7:30:00 AM CDT August 18, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
9am 73°
10am 76°
11am 80°
12pm 83°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today Weekend
8:30a
Naturally, Danny Seo
9:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
8:00a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition
8:30a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition
9:00a
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: Family Edition

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld