Consumers’ Checkbook put pet insurance plans to the test all see if they were worth the money as the number of companies offering pet insurance grows.
“Pet insurance isn't cheap,” said Kevin Brasler, the executive editor of Consumers’ Checkbook. “It's going to cost a lot of money in premiums. You're gonna pay a lot in terms of copays, there's deductibles like there are for any other insurance policy and so there's still gonna be a lot of money you have to pay out of pocket even though you have pet insurance and a lot of pet owners don't understand that when they sign up.”
He said pet insurance is getting better with increased competition, but his group wanted to know if a typical mixed breed dog or cat was better off with or without it.
Consumers’ Checkbook found pet insurance only made financial sense when a dog was really unlucky and suffered major, costly health problems. If a pet only needed moderate care over its life, it's still cheaper to pay out of pocket, the group found.
Brasler said typical policies start out with affordable monthly payments and go up in cost as the animal ages.
“The model we used was for a mixed breed dog, but we found that if we had had, you know, certain different types of pure breeds, we'd have to pay double even triple in terms of the premiums we pay every month,” he said.
One alternative to pet insurance is starting your own fund and setting aside money every month for unexpected expenses.