It appears the majority of pet owners think pet insurance is not a worthy investment or find it too expensive for their fur babies. In fact, at the end of 2022, only 17% of dog owners and 12% of cat owners are pet insurance holders.
And so, the big question comes in: Is pet insurance worth it or should you resort to self-funding? In our opinion the quick answer is yes, pet insurance is worth every dollar. In our view, if you weigh the pros and cons of both, the benefits of pet insurance outweigh everything else.
You and your family are insured, your car is insured, and your house is insured. That’s fantastic! But what about your furry friend or friends? They are also part of the family. Therefore, they also deserve health security, especially since their lifetime is shorter than ours.
In this article, we dive deeper into the pros and cons of pet insurance and self-funding. This way, you can also decide and see for yourself if pet insurance is really worth getting.
Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance
Pro #1: Peace of mind
All insurance, whether health, car, or house, helps provide peace of mind. It’s the same for pet insurance. As a fur parent, it’s already stressful when your pet falls ill or encounters an accident. Adding to that is the uncertainty if you should immediately take them to the vet or even worse, dealing with their health issues at home on your own due to cost fears.
With pet insurance, you can have more peace of mind that they receive the medical treatment when they need it, reducing the possibility of breaking into your piggy bank. It’s two-in-one; it secures your pet’s health and cushions the financial blow during unforeseen scenarios when you need to lodge a claim.
Pro #2: Never compromise medical treatment
You don’t want to see your pet suffer because of a lack funds for their medical treatment. That’s where pet insurance comes in. Reduce the need to decide on your pet’s medical treatment based on your paying capacity.
There’s a lot of pet insurance types available at the moment. You have many options according to the level of coverage you prefer your pet to access. It is always worth exploring what type of cover you want. There are plans that cover accident only, accident and illness, and comprehensive cover.
Pro # 3: Financial security and independence
You might be thinking, “how can I save money with pet insurance when premiums tend to be expensive?”. Here’s the thing. At first glance, premiums really do seem expensive. But try comparing it to the potential vet bills you may face in the future. From there, you will see if anything major happens and you need to make a claim, this is when the real benefit kicks in.
That’s the beauty of pet insurance. We think the premiums you pay are worth it, rather than taking a chunk of your onhand savings if you get socked up with a large, unexpected vet or hospital bill.
Con #1: It may be an investment that will never happen
The benefit of pet insurance kicks in when you need to make a claim. On the contrary, it may never happen at all. Your pet may be healthy throughout their lifetime and lucky enough not to encounter an accident.
When considering such scenarios, it’s worth exploring the product features that you want. At ExtrasJar, we came up with product features after considering what Aussies want and introduced a higher excess feature. For those who want to self-insure up to a limit they are comfortable with, you could always use a higher excess option of up to $1,000 to keep premiums down. Other options include selecting a lower benefit percentage or lower annual limit, after all, different types of animals may require different limits, so the ideal limit could be a function of the type of pet you have (e.g cat vs. big dog vs. small dog).
Con #2: Older pets mean higher premium
Pet insurance, we think is always best to get when your furry friend is young and healthy because it means you get to enjoy a lower premium and peace of mind. But, if your pet is already old or senior, it may be harder to insure because premiums are more expensive and some insurers exclude taking on older pets as new customers.
Age is one of the factors to consider in how much pet insurance is. Older pets may have a higher health risks, hence, higher chances of making a claim versus young ones. Read through our blog here to learn more about the factors affecting your pet insurance premiums.
Con #3: Exclusions and sub-limits apply
General exclusions apply to pet insurance plans such as preventative treatments. Some procedures are still not covered by your plan, even if you get a comprehensive insurance policy.
In addition, sub-limits can tie your hands when claiming. There are often claim ceilings to certain pet treatments. So make sure you check the disclosure documents. For example, you could have $1,000 total insurance coverage. You can’t use them all and claim for one treatment, as this is divided into respective procedures (e.g., $500 for surgery, $300 for an ambulance, and $200 for consultation).
But with ExtrasJar, claim up to your annual limit when you need to! Sub-limit is not in our vocabulary to further give you the freedom you and your pet deserve. For more information about sub-limits, check out our blog here.
Pros and Cons of Self-Funding
Pro #1: Lesser to no risk at all
When you save your money in your bank account or physical piggy bank, there’s very little to no risk at all that you will lose a percentage of it. Unless, of course, you spend it on other things or it’s stolen. But, aside from that, your money remains yours and stays with you.
Pro #2: More control over your funds
Monthly fees may never bother you because everything is under your control. The funds you accumulate in your piggy bank are based entirely on the money you put in. Similarly, the money that goes out depends on your spending.
Pro #3: Money on hand
If you can see that your pet is indeed healthy and won’t need a procedure in the future, you have money to use on hand for different scenarios that call for it. But beware, this can be a pro and con at the same time. There’s a bit of risk here because your pet may seem healthy today, but you never know what happens tomorrow.
Con #1: Budgeting can be hard to maintain
The amount you save for pet care depends on yourself, especially your discipline. If you can manage to keep your money and not spend it until you need to, even after how many years, then it may not be a con at all!
Con #2: No other options when you have insufficient funds
You may be stuck on a tightrope when you already need to take out your savings, and it does not meet your pet’s hospital bills. Accidents or illnesses are hard to predict when they will happen (or if they will actually happen), so it’s hard to gauge how much money you should have at the moment or after a few months or even years.
Con #3: Savings are back to zero
Let’s turn the situation around, and you were able to meet your pet’s hospital bills the first time. But then, what if they get stuck in another tricky situation and encounter an accident just a few months after the first hospital visit? Do you still have sufficient funds?
With self-funding, your savings are always back to zero after using them. Yes, you have the benefit that you’re not locked in monthly or annual premiums, but you could take a considerable bite out of your savings after paying hospital or vet bills. Circling back, you never know if another accident will happen or if your furry friend may relapse.
Unlock your financial security and your pet’s healthiest future with us
ExtrasJar is continuously shaking up the industry. The goal of our pet insurance product is for you to achieve both your pet’s healthiest future and your financial security.
And for your pet’s health, we offer extensive insurance covering accidental injury, illness, chronic conditions, emergency pet boarding, and always on extra benefits for dental illness, behavioural problems, and alternative therapies*.
On top of this, you also have exclusive 24/7 access to the Pet Health Hotline, where you can talk to a trained registered veterinary nurse. Get your query answered in as fast as 30 seconds!
Want to give your pet the best possible care? Pair your pet insurance with ExtrasJar Pet Extras. Our pet extras plan allows you to save for services not covered by insurance, such as pet grooming, prescription food, and vaccines. Your savings are invested in the ExtrasJar Fund, making investing hassle-free. Plus, you can access your investments anytime to pay for pet extras with your pet extras Mastercard®.
With ExtrasJar, you are not just getting pet insurance but peace of mind.
The information in this article is general in nature as it has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statemen (PDS) & Target Market Determination, and obtain appropriate financial and taxation advice, before making a decision about whether ExtrasJar’s products are right for you.
*ExtrasJar Pet Insurance is subject to exclusion periods and exclusions, such as pre-existing Conditions. Please see our (PDS) for more details.
“Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people.” Animal Medicines Australia, https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/AMAU008-Pet-Ownership22-Report_v1.6_WEB.pdf