An Economist Makes The Case for Buying Pet Insurance

Fitzgerald is now covered in the event of a medical emergency. Is it worth it?
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Megan McArdle writes about economics, business, and public policy and has served as a columnist for magazines such as The Atlantic and Newsweek. In her latest article on, she describes her decision to purchase pet insurance for her new Bullmastuff, Fitzgerald. Since McArdle is an economic conservative, she realizes that some people may be surprised by her decision, so she offers an in-depth analysis that’s pretty thought-provoking:

For starters, we didn’t get Fitzgerald comprehensive, soup-to-nuts coverage. As far as I know, no such thing exists for dogs. What we got him was a basic, high-deductible policy that costs $60 a month. The deductible is $1,000 per condition, not per year; after the first $1,000, everything is covered. There is no coverage for basic services like annual vet exams, vaccinations, heartworm, or whatever.

On the other hand, there is coverage for things like chemotherapy and kidney transplants; this isn’t a ripoff. It’s insurance that covers some very expensive health conditions with no lifetime caps; they’ll even give us hydrotherapy if he turns out to have hip dysplasia. We view the insurance as very cheap for the price. Especially when you consider the education it’s given me in how to think about health care.

Of course, to some people, $60 per month is a pretty big deal, especially on top of what it costs to feed and care for a dog in the first place. But then again, one would hate to have to make a life-or-death decision for a beloved friend based on cost.

Have you bought health insurance for your dog? Do you think it’s a good idea?

Click here for the full article.

2 thoughts on “An Economist Makes The Case for Buying Pet Insurance”

  1. That is high for insurance – perhaps related to breed and location. Mine is about $40 per month with a $200 deductible and a $20,000 per year cap for a young Labrador. It is important to compare and check whether the company covers inherent conditions for certain breeds including hip dysplasia as most exclude certain conditions (though does). Also make sure that they pay the REAL cost incurred, not an average cost (which is always significantly lower than the actual cost). My sister has spent well above $10,000 treating her Lab for cancer, which I remember every month when the charge occurs. Note they also include death benefit up to $1,000, vacation cancellation, etc. as benefits. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind that money will not be a factor when you need to care for your pet.

  2. I agree with the other commenter. Be choosey and pick the right one, but it definitely makes sense to have something of a safety net WHEN something happens.

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