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Purchase Pet Insurance to Avoid High Vet Bills

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Pets played a crucial role in staving off loneliness during the pandemic.  When millions of Americans were stuck at home, they turned to their furry companions to keep them company.  Those who did not already have a pet found themselves adopting one, leading to the highest ever pet ownership rate in the US at 70%.  The majority of newly adopted pets went to first time pet owners.

Owning a pet can bring lots of joy into your home.  It can also cause lots of money to leave your residence.  The first year of owning a dog can cost between $1,314 and $1,843 depending on the dog’s size.  However, from the second year onward, costs tend to fall between $580 and $875 a year.  The first year is the most expensive because one time expenses like spaying/neutering, training, initial vaccinations, and purchasing a crate come in the first year.  After that, expenses tend to even out.

Yet while the cost burden does decrease over time, the amount Americans as a nation spend on their pets continues to rise.  In 2020, the pet industry made $103.6 billion in revenue.  It is projected to rise to $109.6 billion in 2021.  The highest cost drivers are pet food and treats at $42 billion followed by veterinary care and products at $31 billion.  While the food number is higher, food expenses tend to be more regular and predictable to pet owners.  The vet cost is the one that worries more people.  Vet bills can rise high very quickly if a pet is caught with an illness or injury.  Unexpected vet bills are the most common driver of high pet care costs.

No pet owner wants to see their animal hurt or sick.  Their wallet doesn’t want to pay for expensive treatments either.  One way to ease your mind about vet bills is to purchase pet insurance.  Over 3 million pets have health insurance in the United States.  20 providers total offer a wide variety of plans ranging from routine care to accident and illness protection.  Premiums vary according to coverage and type of pet.  Routine care plans carry and average $120 annual premium for dogs while the more comprehensive accident and illness plan has a $594 average annual premium.  Cats tend to have a 40% lower premium than dogs.  For those with neither a cat nor a dog, Nationwide is the only major provider to cover birds, rabbits, snakes, turtles, and more.

Pet insurance isn’t for every owner.  It is an expense unto itself, and certain conditions may not be covered by insurance.  For example, purebred pets with higher likelihoods of hereditary health issues tend to be excluded or face higher premiums from insurance companies.  Pre-existing conditions are often not covered by insurers, including most congenital conditions.  Harm due to neglect, which you should never do, wouldn’t be covered by pet insurance providers.  Non-medical cosmetic services also won’t be covered.  Ultimately, it’s up to the owner to decide what’s best.

CEO of Penske Media Group. Experienced Content Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspaper industry. Spoken on stages around the globe - NYU, US Embassy, P&G Toronto, and much more.

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