Just like the human members of the family, our pets can get sick or injured. And when they do, the vet bills can be staggering, even prohibitive.
Cancer treatment for a dog can easily top $13,000, according to PetCareRX.com, if it involves surgery and chemo or radiation.
While a record number of pet parents are now buying health insurance for their dogs and cats, most pets in the U.S. still don’t have this coverage.
Pet insurance has gotten much better during the last 15 years, according to a recent study by Checkbook.org, the independent, non-profit consumer organization that rates products and services. Most policies now cover hereditary and congenital problems, chronic problems and even alternative medicine.
Checkbook’s survey of nine pet insurance companies shows that prices vary greatly for the same coverage. For example, for a mix-breed dog who lives to the age of 13, lifetime premiums ranged from $5,700 to $16,000. That’s more than a $10,000 difference for basically the same coverage. (Premiums compared by Checkbook do not include price increases based on future vet care price inflation.)
Based on their extensive research, Checkbook also said two pet insurance companies – Healthy Paws and Trupanion (based in Ballard) are picks of the litter. They had the lowest lifetime premium costs. This is due, in large part, because they don’t boost premiums as pets age, as most of other major companies do.