Pet Insurance - It's No Laughing Matter

Pet Insurance is, for some, a moot point. Often it is seen as just another way for insurance companies to relieve us of a little bit more of our money. Certainly when I was a child my parents would never have considered such a course of action. In fact to insure an animal would have been viewed almost as sacrilegious. To them a dog or cat was simply that, they were not on a par with the humans in the family. But things change, attitudes alter and so too do our values. A neighbour of mine demonstrated this to me very clearly some weeks ago when her dog became suddenly ill. Not in any obvious discomfort the dog stopped eating, refusing first breakfast and then lunch. Then the dog grew listless. My neighbour, who loves her dog dearly, became increasingly concerned and upset. This was so unlike him, she said and decided therefore to ring a local vet to ask advice. The advice was to bring the dog in for an examination and possible overnight observation. To cut a long story short it turned out that the dog had developed a severe urinary infection – something that his breed was apparently prone to. Anyway, thankfully it was treatable and because she hadn’t delayed bringing him in, was quickly cleared up. Great... and all’s well that ends well you might think... Except for the bill which came to a little over £200... Because you see my neighbour had no form of pet insurance and so this amount had to be found out of her weekly purse. She didn’t hesitate. All the same it was no laughing matter. How likely is this kind of thing to happen though? I mean, could it happen to you or was she just unlucky? Let’s look at some of the facts:

  • It is estimated that one in three pets will need to see a vet and undergo some form of treatment each year.
  • As pets get older this figure rises to around 80%.
  • Third party claims are on the increase – and they are not only to do with dogs that bite!
  • It is more likely that your pet will fall ill than have an accident.
  • Veterinary fees... are rising faster than inflation.

So what to do?

Because it is always tempting to try and cut costs isn’t it? More particularly in today’s market where spare cash is at a premium and household budgets demand that we make choices about numerous things that we have previously not given much thought to. Add this to the further temptation of thinking that it really won’t come to it that you will be the unlucky one who’s pet needs treatment and it fairly stitches up the case against. So that’s it then, all settled.... well maybe not... because before you sign it off completely try asking yourself these questions:

  • How will I feel if my pet needs treatment that I really cannot afford and so have to make the decision to have them put down or to undergo unnecessary suffering?( Vets have reported this as sometimes being the case)
  • And if this were the case then does it constitute a form of betrayal to an animal that has offered unquestioning trust, affection and companionship?
  • What if you have children – what will you tell them about your inability to save their beloved pet? (I still remember the trauma of losing our family dog in just such circumstances and yes.... love my parents as I do, I am still angry and I am still upset about it.)
  • Lastly, should I even consider owning an animal I am not able to take proper care of, if it falls ill?

It’s an interesting thought that out of a thousand people when asked where their pet ranked in the family affections, over 90% answered that they were held in equal consideration and affection. What about you? In the cold light of day, how does your answer affect the way in which you choose to protect them from harm? In my view the best thing we can do for our pets is to be honest about our feelings towards them, because without such honesty there is no integrity and that is not something that bodes well for either you or your pet...


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