Does pet insurance really save you money in the long run?

Like most Canadian pet owners, I consider the price to keep my dog healthy and happy money well spent. But also, like most Canadians, I didn't have pet insurance. I never thought about it—until I had to spend more on my dog's dentistry than my own.

What is it? Pet insurance is pretty self-explanatory. You pick a policy and pay your monthly premiums. If your beloved companion suffers an illness or accident, your insurance company will cover some or all of the costs.

What you'll pay: Some plans start as low as $20 a month but can go up to $185—you'll need to shop around for the best policy for you.

  • The younger your pet is, the cheaper the policy will be.

  • Besides your dog's age, its breed will impact how much you pay. For example, French Bulldogs are prone to gastrointestinal and respiratory issues, so insurance companies factor that into the cost.  

What you'll save: This one's hard to calculate because some pets never need to use their insurance coverage, and some need to take full advantage—but here's a breakdown of my costs for a major procedure.

  • Two dental surgeries cost me $5,000.

  • Insurance up to my dog's accident (she ran into a moving car) would have cost me $1,605 ($44.95 a month for three years.)

  • If she'd been insured, 90% of that cost would have been covered, leaving me to pay only my $700 deductible and $500 at the vet clinic. 

  • So without insurance, I paid $5,000, but with insurance, I would have only had to shell out $2,805.

So is it worth it? An insurance policy for your pet can often be worth it in the long run, especially if you want to avoid big, unexpected expenses. While paying a bit every month can seem like a waste, if you value peace of mind and predictable expenses, consider looking into what an insurer might offer you.