Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pet Savings

Pet insurance is gaining in popularity. I tried VPI for a while, and was happy with the service. But as two of my dogs started getting into geriatric age, and we have three total, after about a year the premium costs outweighed my reimbursements.

After canceling our policies I decided instead to start a pet savings account. This account is with the same bank that holds my checking account and is “no fee, no minimum deposit”. The money I was spending on premiums now goes into this account. Now I don’t have to spend time on claim forms or any other administration. When we have a vet visit, the money is easily transferred between accounts via online banking.

Another benefit having pet savings accounts is availability for other unforeseen expenses, such as illnesses not covered by insurance, boarding, walking services or TRAINING. Although percentages are low right now, a savings account also earns interest. Plus, I get 100% out of it verses partial coverage of an expense.

Don’t think you can afford either insurance or extra savings? Take an honest, logical (not emotional; i.e. “but I have to have my morning latte” because no, actually you don’t) at your finances. I bet there is some discretionary spending (Starbucks, eating out, ciggies) you can and should cut back on. If you truly view you pet as a family member, shouldn’t he be budgeted for just as any other?

For many dog owners, a combination of both insurance and a savings account would be ideal. This is especially true for breeds prone to health issues such as hip dysplasia. Be sure to read all documentation provided by insurance companies to understand exactly what is or isn’t covered and at what percentage.

Those of us who have cared for ailing pets, know what an emotional trauma it can be for owners. You want to avoid finding yourself in the position of cost being the ultimate determining factor of pet care.

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