"When my cat needed a five-thousand-dollar operation," John says, "I was in a bind. I’d lost my job and just didn’t have the money. The operation would mean saving my cat. But in these tough times, I didn’t know what to do."
John isn’t alone in his dilemma. Without insurance, his situation seemed dire. Luckily, one of his friends set up a "Save Pancake the Cat" fundraiser through Facebook and MySpace. With donations payable to Paypal and some help from family, he managed to scrape together enough to save Pancake, a British Shorthair.
John has now purchased pet insurance. According to him, "You can't rely on a handout. What happened to me was nothing short of a miracle, and it's probably not gonna happen next time, so I made sure I covered my bases."
There are some people who are not as fortunate as John, though.
"When my dog, Boxy, was diagnosed with cancer, I just couldn’t afford the chemo," Jessica explains. "There was no way to raise the money. And when the vet asked if I had insurance, I was stunned. I didn’t even know there was such a thing for animals. If I’d known, Boxy would have had a real chance at being here today. I’m getting a puppy soon, and yes, I’ll be making sure he’s insured."
For Jessica, insurance was the right path to take. "I’ve looked into it, and there are different types of plans and deals. More importantly, it really isn't that much each month. Boxy was family, and to lose him because I just didn’t have the cash was an awful, awful thing. Even if my next dog never gets sick, for me, it’s worth it for the peace of mind.”
Adam, however, sees things a little differently.
"I’ve had pets all my life. I work hard and save my money," he explains. "Not to mention my pets are all indoor creatures, get fed the best quality in food, and have their regular veterinary check-ups. Sure, things have happened, but those things were all caught early. So by my calculations, I’ve spent a little less than insurance would have cost me up to now."
And if something happens where it costs thousands of dollars? "I have the money to cover that," Adam says somewhat assuredly. "I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it."
His advice to other pet owners? "This is a personal decision of mine. I have the money," he said with a shrug. "But if you don’t -- if I didn’t -- then yes, I’d have them insured. But pet insurance should be a personal decision."
Insuring a pet (or not insuring a pet) is most definitely a private matter. If you’re thinking about it, then the best bet is to do your research, and weigh the pros and cons. If you do decide to purchase pet insurance, shop around and choose the policy that suits you the best.
Our pets really are like our children. So if you can afford coverage but can’t afford the unknown cost of a devastating illness or accident, then perhaps it’s time to look into that little peace of mind.