A recent survey by BankRate.com shows that 63% of Americans had no means to handle a $500 emergency for auto repair, or an ER visit costing $1000. It can reasonably be assumed that a $500 emergency pet illness bill would also be beyond the reach of those same Americans.
While the Great Recession is over in some parts of the country, it hasn’t ended for everyone, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is included among unrecovered areas.
However, the study showed that it’s not always people of low means who are unprepared. Some folks with adequate resources simply fail to save, to set aside liquid assets needed for an emergency.
What can pet owners do?
Pet health insurance is one option. Purchasing a policy disciplines us to make payments every month to keep the coverage in place. Within this option you have choices:
• Policies are available for comprehensive illness and preventive care that will cover ailments, injuries, annual examinations, vaccinations and routine testing. With a low deductible, such a policy can cover almost anything that comes up. Some even pay for heartworm preventive and flea control. The cost is commensurate with coverage level.
• At the other extreme, one may purchase a major medical policy that will pay toward serious illnesses and injuries, leaving you to finance routine preventive care.
• Deductibles can be tailored to your needs, with higher-deductible policies costing less. This approach would assume that you have a small emergency fund to cover the cost of the deductible.
• As with health insurance for humans, cost increases with age, and some policies are set to expire at a predetermined pet age.
• Be sure to notice whether genetically-predisposed conditions for your breed of pet are covered.
• MyPetsDoctor.com recommends PetFirst pet health insurance.
Another option is a simple savings account at your local bank. Payroll deduction or automatic withdrawal can be set up to painlessly maintain the balance without your conscious input.
Of course, there’s the ultra-low-tech method I call the “fruit jar.” Just keep a jar you stash a few bills into every payday. Some empty their pocket change into a jar every night, and roll the coins while watching TV.
Whatever technique you use, have an emergency fund available for those times when the unexpected happens to your pet.
Your best friend will thank you.