Do you need pet insurance?

We at petinsure.ie write these blogs to help our pet community, so it’s important to us that we put to one side the fact that we are a pet insurance company when answering the question of whether or not you need pet insurance. There are a few facts that help set the context (and insurance companies don’t usually advertise these facts):

  • Most pet owners in Ireland do not insure their pets (a lot are not even aware that pet insurance exists).
  • The majority of people who take out pet insurance are dog owners.
  • Just like health insurance for humans, health insurance for pets has been an affordability issue for many pet owners for the last number of years.

The main reason to get dog insurance or cat insurance (or rabbit insurance or snake insurance for that matter) is to pay the vet bills if your pet gets sick or is injured. Our experience is that many customers have no need to claim. Of the customers that do claim, the vast majority are for small amounts. But we also see a number of customers who have to pay large amounts on unanticipated vet bills every year. So, in summary, you won’t necessarily need to claim if you purchase pet insurance, but this is true for all types of insurance because most people are lucky enough not to have to claim. The question that we ask our customers and prospective customers to consider is: do you feel you should insure against that potentially large risk? That of course is a matter for yourself to decide.

According to the Association of British Insurers (2013) the average pet insurance claim is about €815. There isn’t a similar published statistic for us, however, from our own experience we know that the average is currently much lower in Ireland.

So you really have to weigh up the pros and cons and unfortunately you have to make a judgement call on what could happen to your pet and whether you want to de-risk the potential of the financial cost. It’s no different to other decisions you make about products like life insurance, pensions or your own health insurance etc.

Our key advice is to try to speak to a few people who have pets and find out who does have pet insurance and also speak to people who do not have pet insurance and see where the argument settles for you. Some people decide to ‘self-insure’, putting away a sum of money every month so they never have to make that awful decision between their money and their pet!!