6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, alternatives to pet insurance

Alternatives to pet insurance

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(ABC 6 News) – We treat our pets like family members, spending billions of dollars on veterinary bills yearly.

If you think pet insurance could save money on routine checkups and emergencies, listen up.

Consumer Reports found that not all pet insurance parents are satisfied, and there may be better ways to save on medical care for your furry friends.

Dog owner Paulina Vargas had pet insurance for the other dogs she’s had, but with Nigel and Bella, she decided not to get it. “It makes more sense for us not to be paying monthly fees for the pet insurance and we decided it’s the best option for us is just to pay it out of pocket,” says Vargas.

Vargas is not alone.

A survey by Consumer Reports revealed pet owners are pretty unhappy with pet insurance coverage.

Consumer Reports’ Brian Vines says, “In our survey, over two thousand members shared their experience with pet insurance covering everything from what’s actually covered, to the premiums they paid and the claims process for getting reimbursed. And overall, there was no real top dog. In fact, most of the results found that the insurance companies were all pretty middle of the pack.”

CR looked at survey data on eight pet insurance providers. On average, the total cost was around $47 dollars per month, per pet.

Six insurance providers earned a midrange overall satisfaction score – two bottomed out with unfavorable ratings.

So, what can you do to save? Put what you would spend on the insurance premium into a dedicated savings account.

“Self-insure by putting away money every month into a direct deposit high yield savings account that you can draw from should your fur baby need some medical assistance,” says Vines.

If you’re struggling to afford medical care for your pet, consider a trip to a veterinary college that may offer discounts on everything from checkups to spaying and neutering.

And if your pet needs medicine, shop around. It can be cheaper to order medications online from places like Chewy, Petco, PetMeds, and Walmart Pet Pharmacy.

Consumer Reports says you can also try telehealth vet services like Bond Vet and Pawp for non-emergency care!