Pet Health Insurance: A Practical Investment, or the Newest Fad?

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Royal Flush Havanese discusses the pros and cons of purchasing health insurance for dogs.

black and white havanese puppy by Royal Flush Havanese
Not all animals will become sick and require significant medical treatment, but... accidents do occur and can be very expensive to handle.

Pet health insurance is a rapidly growing industry, a phenomenon that did not exist until relatively recently. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated in 2007 that out of the 72 million dogs and 82 million cats in the United States, only 850,000 were covered by insurance policies. Caring for a pet can be costly, especially when something unexpected occurs, such as sickness or an accident. However, most insurance companies that insure pets are relatively new corporations, and payments can quickly add up, especially if the pet does not become ill. Royal Flush Havanese explains the pros and cons of pet insurance to help determine if it is a worthy investment or simply a waste of money.

Veterinary scientists have made remarkable progress in treatments for various illnesses in animals. Ailments that were once thought to be deadly to household pets are now easily curable through procedures such as radiation and organ transplants. However, many pet owners are not able to access such cures as many of them cost upwards of $1,000, forcing owners to have to make the decision to put their pet down rather than have it suffer while they come up with the money. Common ailments in dogs such as hip dysplasia, cancer, and torn ligaments can all cost between $5,000 and $20,000. Cataract surgery averages $1,244, and ingestion of a foreign object can total up to $1,398. This is very costly especially when compared to the average monthly premium for pet insurance. According to, the average cost of insurance for a 5 year old male Havanese is $24 a month which is much more manageable than having to pay thousands of dollars unexpectedly. For owners with more than one pet, insurance companies also offer group rates, which can lower the cost further.

Despite the apparent benefits of pet insurance, a closer look at some insurance plans can quickly show holes in coverage. For example, many plans currently require owners to still pay all vet bills upfront and then wait for the company to reimburse them after filing a claim. Premiums are raised for senior dogs and some policies deny coverage for illnesses that are common to certain breeds, such as hip dysplasia in retrievers. Additionally, many pet owners choose to set up a bank account just for their pet, setting aside a small amount each month in case something should happen to their pet. This way, money is still available if there is an unexpected illness or accident, and if not, the cash saved is going back to the owner not the insurance company.

When deciding whether or not to purchase insurance for one’s pet, it is very important to shop around. Compare monthly costs, co-pays, deductibles, and caps within policies. Also, make sure to understand what exclusions apply and if they will affect specific breeds more than others. Realize that not all animals will become sick and require significant medical treatment, but also recognize that accidents do occur and can be very expensive to handle. Pet insurance can be a great aid in times of financial stress, or a drain of funds for owners with healthy pets. A responsible pet owner along with his/her veterinarian can make a smart, informed decision whether or not insuring a pet is right for them.

Royal Flush Havanese is BBB accredited, specializing in breeding and raising Havanese puppies born and raised in house. Royal Flush Havanese has been awarded a Certificate of No Complaints from the BBB and a rating of A+ for outstanding dedication to honesty in the business place, customer satisfaction, and for ethical policies and procedures. Please join us in our quest to teach others about the loyal, gentle and lovable Havanese breed. Like us on Facebook and check out our website where you can find even more helpful articles and informative tips for dog-enthusiasts and breeders alike.

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Holly Mastroianni
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