KATU 2 News - Portland, Oregon
Pet owners snap up insurance, but is it worth it?
April 28, 2006
- By Corinna Allen
Exclusive to KATU.com
PORTLAND, Ore. - When Teresa Di Lorenzo's Lab/Shepard mix blew out a knee ten years ago, the surgery to fix it set her back $2,500 dollars.
But she didn't bat an eye. Her pet insurance covered 90 percent of the cost. "it makes it easier to say 'yes, do it" she says.
Now the owner of two Corgies, she pays a total of $800 dollars a year to insure them.
The self described "active" pet owner has used to insurance to cover everything from an MRI and abdominal surgery to cancer and radiation treatment.
She's at the upper end of the spectrum. Most pet owners can expect to pay $10 to $50 dollars a month for preventative care and come coverage for traumatic injury.
It's a growing trend. Veterinary Pet Insurance is the largest carrier, last year they insured nearly 420 million pets. That's up from 157 million back in the year 2000.
Chief Executive Jack Stephens estimates their policy holders file about 1.5 claims a year, and the average claim is about $300.00.
Pet columnist Steve Dale likes pet insurance because it makes modern care possible for many who might not otherwise be able to afford it. "it dramatically lessens the chances of what's called economic euthanasia -- putting a pet down because of the pocketbook."
But leaders at Consumer Reports Magazine say pet insurance is not worth the money.
An article in the July 2003 issue compared five popular pet insurance plans.
The report found that if a hypothetical dog's owner in Oakland, CA, filed nine claims over 11 years for common ailments, such as a broken leg and ear infections, the owners would always end up paying more through insurance than if they just paid the veterinarian directly, sometimes more than $3,000.00 more.
When the same dog had major ailments over 11 years, such as hip replacements, only three of the five plans left the owner better off than paying directly.
The magazine's managing editor Kim Kleman recommends that if you're worried about having enough money to keep your pet healthy, start a savings account.
That way, you'll have the money if you need it. And if you don't need it, it goes back in your pocket.
Still, pet owners like Teresa DiLorenzo are sold on insurance. She goes back to her dog's cancer treatment that cost more than $5,000 dollars.
"They made no money on me." she says.
any pet owners here have insurance for their pets?