Pet insurance an option for pet owners

One option to cover the cost of an unexpected illness is pet insurance. (WISH Photo/ Howard Monroe)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – According to a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania, the average annual cost of owning a medium-sized dog is just under $3,000.

That number covers veterinary visits, food and supplies. However, it doesn’t cover the cost if your pet gets sick.

One option to cover the cost of an unexpected illness is pet insurance.

“When they come in and there’s been a traumatic injury or maybe an illness they’re not prepared for, they’re just in shock at the out-of-pocket expenses,” said Tom Dock, the practice manager at Noah’s Caring Hands Animal Hospital at Geist. “People don’t often have $2,000, $3,000, $5,000 to try to repair their puppy’s broken leg.”

But Dock says you have to act before your dog is injured or ill.

“You can’t sign up for pet insurance if your dog gets hit by a car and expect them to cover things at that point in time,” said Dock.

Brad Johnson and his wife Teresa have utilized pet insurance for years. They rescue dogs.

“It only takes one to have a problem to make it all worth while,” said Johnson. “Being involved in rescue we’ve had senior dogs who’ve had health problems and stuff like that.”

One of the couple’s rescued dogs was Perseus, a  Husky, Shiba Inu mix. He  had an arthritic spine, tore a cruciate ligament, and was diagnosed with cancer.

“He had surgery and radiation therapy and stuff, that really can mount up,” said Johnson.

Insurance rates can depend on the size of pet, age and breed. For the Johnsons, they had to pay just 10 percent of Persues’ medical bills.

“When something pops up like that it can be very expensive. And with pet insurance once you meet your deductible it pays like 90 percent,” he said.

Like insurance for humans, pet insurance comes in different types. That includes health savings accounts, so if you buy it, and your pet doesn’t need it, it can be used for something else.

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