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Pets are like to children to many people. We had a few cats growing up, but the last one was Peter and we also had a dalmatian, Budweiser. They both died within a few months of each other and I was gutted. Those events have partly kept me from getting another pet because I don’t want to go through losing a loved one again. In any case, the reason I’m writing about this today is that I was doing some surfing/research on the differences between US online insurance sales and costs and Canadian online insurance sales and costs and I came across an article talking about the differences in how some people spend money on health-care with regards to their pets versus their children (US focused audience – for all our American readers you can check out their insurance quotes and let me know how they stack up).
You are more likely to go into debt for your kids than your pets
People, on average, are more likely to go into debt to treat their children than they are to go into debt to treat their pets. If people had the means to avoid debt, then the level of care secured might be more equitable. This is when pet insurance might make sense for people. If you are willing to do whatever it takes to treat your pet, but want to guard against a catastrophic loss (monetary), then you will definitely want to consider pet insurance.
The article provides some good points to consider if you are thinking about going down the route of pet insurance, such as exclusions based on breed/species of your pet, per-incident caps on benefits, multi-pet discounts, etc. It’s not enough to just get pet insurance if you think you need it, you need to check the fine print – especially as it’s easier to glaze over these kinds of details on decisions heavily influenced by emotions. But if the time comes, and your expectations are not met you’ll be doubly upset.
My opinion on insurance in general is that you should insure only against events that have the potential to ruin you. Buying that extended warranty on electronics doesn’t make sense to me. If you always buy that insurance, I would bet that the total claims you make over your lifetime are less than your total costs. Of course, if you are a klutz, that might be a different story. But the point is, it would be an inconvenience if your iPod broke, but it wouldn’t mean you are now teetering on losing your house. If you lost your income, on the other hand, that will ruin you – so it’s imperative to have disability insurance.
With pet owners, I think they would be more inclined to seek more treatment if insured, but this is notwithstanding the quality of life issues to deal with.