Your vet’s bill for treating a sick pet can be scarier than a rabid pit bull. Hip replacements start at $2,000, and a kidney transplant for a cat can cost $5,000. With prices like those, pet insurance starts to look attractive. But is it worth the cost?
Say you live in Toronto and you have a seven-year-old Labrador Retriever. The premiums on a medium-level policy with PetSecure, Canada’s largest vendor of pet health insurance, would cost $520 a year. Only one in three of PetSecure’s clients make a claim each year, but assuming you did, you’d still have to pay a $500 annual deductible and 20% of the bill. After those deductions, the average reimbursement from the insurance policy is only $187.40.
As a general rule, insurance is only worth it if the event you’re insuring against is very unlikely, but would cause devastating financial hardship if it occurred. Most pet medical emergencies don’t fall into that category, so the average person will be better off paying out of pocket. The only case where insurance might make sense is if you have a very valuable pet, and you wouldn’t hesitate to fork out $10,000 or more for a procedure.