For many of us, a seriously ill pet is our worst nightmare. Our furry companions are real members of the family, with paws wrapped tightly about our heartstrings. When Fido or Fluffy experiences a life-threatening illness or accident, it is truly devastating. And not just to our minds. A pet emergency can also devastate our pocketbook.
A recent article in Consumer Reports explored the value of pet health insurance. Many pet owners buy pet insurance plans expecting to save not only on routine care but those unexpected emergencies as well. Unfortunately, as Consumer Reports determined, pet insurance rarely pays out more than it costs.
What does Consumer Reports recommend? “We believe most pet owners will be better off passing up pet insurance and instead putting some money in an emergency “kitty”.
If you’re concerned about the havoc routine care (e.g. vaccinations and dental cleanings) can wreak on your budget, as well as the cost of unexpected pet medical emergencies, consider starting a savings plan. Your emergency “kitty” will be there when you need it to cover your best friend’s medical costs.
With just a small monthly deposit, your pet’s rainy day savings will grow quickly. Deposit $20 per month and you should have one pet’s basic annual medical expenses covered. Deposit more each month and you will be ready for the inevitable emergency.
An even more responsible pet parent should combine their savings plan with a veterinary discount program. These plans provide discounts on services at participating veterinarians and are designed to save a pet family at least twice of what they cost. They often also have negotiated discounts with pet-related retailers and service providers – sort of like a virtual wholesale club. Because these programs are not pet insurance, they have no exclusions and no complicated claims forms.
Washington Savings Bank has a novel Pet Savings Program: www.washingtonsavings.com/personal/savings/pet-savings-account.html
Pet Assure is the only national veterinary discount program, with participating veterinarians in all 50 states. www.petassure.com