Megan McCardle, a popular economics columnist, recently wrote a column explaining her decision to buy pet insurance for her bullmastiff puppy. McCardle gives two reasons for buying her policy: 1) she thinks the cost is cheap and 2) the insurance will allow her to make medical decisions without financial considerations being a factor.
McCardle pays $60 per month for a high-deductible policy that has no lifetime limit. Some may dispute that this amount is cheap, but she feels that compared to the thousands of dollars of coverage that she now has for things like chemotherapy and transplants, it is a great deal.
But the main reason for the purchase is that she doesn’t want to have to make the difficult decision about how much to spend on vet care should her bullmastiff have a serious medical problem in the future. I hear this quite a bit from pet parents who purchase insurance for the peace of mind it brings.
McCardle also mentions that she paid $5,000 for back surgery for her last bullmastiff. This is not surprising, as we have noticed that the pet owners most interested in pet insurance are ones who have racked up substantial vet bills with a previous pet. In fact, it is unlikely that McCardle’s primary reason for purchasing pet insurance, to avoid weighing her her pet’s life against her bank balance, would even have crossed her mind if this was her first puppy.
Prior experiences with sick pets, and the corresponding vet bills, is a reason to expect the US pet insurance market to grow. While the typical pet owner today doesn’t have pet insurance, they will certainly be thinking of the peace of mind that it brings when it is time to take home a new puppy tomorrow.