I’ve always said that I view insurance as protection against the catastrophic, not against the routine. It’s why I don’t have collision and comprehensive insurance on my car. So how does this change with pet insurance? Why do we have pet insurance on the little guy instead of self-insuring his health?
I do this because I view Tobey as priceless. By priceless I don’t mean he’s worth a bazillion dollars, I mean I have no way to determine how much I’m willing to spend for his care. I recognize that it’s my responsibility to take care of him as long as he can live comfortably (otherwise we shouldn’t have adopted him), but without insurance I have to be the arbiter of his fate if he comes down with something. (it’s really my lovely wife and me deciding, but you get the idea) How much should I spend on his care? $500? $1,000? $5,000? $10,000?
I have no idea. In fact, I don’t even want to think about it.
Insurance, in this case, buys me peace of mind. I’m paying ~$50 a month so I don’t have to make that decision. So far, given all the medical issues he’s faced this last year, it’s been a “profitable” decision. For ~$50 a month, we have a plan that pays 80% of his bill beyond a $50 co-pay. We are still on the hook for 20% and the first $50 but the insurance softens the financial impact of any medical bills we receive.
So the next time you are doing a financial analysis of anything, especially insurance, remember to account for peace of mind and how much that’s worth it to you. Sometimes it’s nice to pay a little bit to avoid difficult and heartwrenching decisions.
(Incidentally, that photo was taken a few months ago after Tobey had a benign cyst removed from his paw. In recovery he got an intestinal bug, after the antibiotics weakened his immune system, and needed more treatment for that! All in all the vet made a bundle, we saved a bundle, and the insurance did its job. He’s much happier now!)