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Is pet insurance helping your pet or hurting your wallet?

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Posted at 7:52 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 13:30:51-04

NORFOLK, Va. - If you have a pet, you know they are family, so you want to do everything you can to keep them safe.

However, a lot of consumer advocates are urging people to question if pet insurance is helping their pet or just hurting their wallet.

Kevin Brasler, Executive Editors with Consumers' Checkbook said, "Pet insurance itself is an expensive purchase and I don't think that most consumers know that."

Brasler said often times, pet insurance could cost consumers way more than it's marketed to.

"They're marketed as saying, you know, things like affordable coverage to protect against these really big medical bills. And at first, the policies are affordable, only costing $40 or $50 a month, but what these companies don't disclose is that as your pet gets older, the premiums are going to go up and up and up."

According to that logic, premiums will be going up when your dog is older and will likely need the most medical attention.

Brasler said the nonprofit looked at policies from 12 insurance companies and many plans charged $250 or more per month when a pet turned 10 or 12 years old.

"A lot of these plans don't pay for things like wellness visits and lab tests and neutering and spaying - these everyday, you know, preventive care measures. That's not what they cover. They cover, you know, specific medical illnesses and injuries," Brasler said. "So you just need to understand that just because you're paying $40, $50 a month, doesn't mean oh, now I'm not going to have that bills anymore."

According to its website, "to assess the true value of pet insurance, we gathered premium and other coverage info, obtained price data showing what veterinarians charge for scores of services, and interviewed executives from leading insurers. We worked with the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to develop a reasonable set of vet services for our model pets, Woof, a medium-sized male mixed-breed dog; and Kitty, a male mixed-breed cat. We then conducted a cost/benefit analysis of each plan."

Everyday life proves that accidents do happen; animals eat things they shouldn't or get hurt while playing in the yard. So if you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars, pet insurance may make sense for you. A lot of people swear by it and said it's saved their family a lot of money.

News 3 encourages you to consider the cost before making any additions or retractions to your policy.

Be sure to ask what the premiums will be for the life of your pet and what is covered under the policy.

If you have a consumer tip or a story you want the News 3 Problem Solvers to look into, email us at problemsolvers@wtkr.com.