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The right way to think about pet insurance

If you’ve done online research elsewhere, you may have seen articles about whether pet insurance is “worth it”—specifically, whether the costs you pay equal or exceed the benefit payouts you get from the pet insurance policy.

This is entirely the wrong way to think about pet insurance (or any insurance).

You don’t buy insurance with an expectation that your benefits will equal or exceed the amount you pay for it. You buy insurance just in case, and hope that you don’t ever have to use it!

If you have car insurance, consider how you think about that coverage. Just because you have car insurance, you don’t expect or hope that you’ll have to use it. In fact, you hope that you’ll never have to use it.

Also, if every customer could expect to at least break even on an insurance policy, then no insurance company would sell that policy! Insurance is about pooling together risks over a large group of people (or dogs or cats) and spreading the cost of protecting against those risks.

The best to way to think about pet insurance is that it’s intended to help cover high and unexpected vet bills. Pet insurance helps owners avoid the situation where lifesaving care (which usually costs a minimum of $3,000) for a beloved pet comes down to a heartbreaking financial decision. A popular economics columnist wrote about her decision to buy pet insurance for her puppy and it came down to this: she wanted to be able to make the right medical decision for her dog without financial considerations being a factor.

If that reasoning makes sense, and a monthly cost of $10–$60 per month is manageable, then pet insurance is a good idea for you.

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Understanding Expenses & Risks