Car insurance can be expensive but dog and cat owners are often shocked that pet insurance can be even more. Many people find that confusing; cars are considerably larger and more expensive than most dogs (though some pure breeds, like French Bulldogs, can cost thousands).
Why does it cost more to insure your dog than your car?
1. Car breakdown isn’t covered by car insurance, you'll need a separate breakdown policy for that (here's our top 13). Dog breakdown – getting sick and going to the vet – is covered by pet insurance.
Emergency vet treatment is expensive because it means the vet has to drop everything, including pre-booked appointments made by other people, to attend to your pet. Garages are more likely to schedule in a slot for a broken down car after they've finished their current jobs.
2. Vets are more expensive than garages. Vet bills cover the cost of skilled labour to treat each individual animal, rather than the skills needed to replace standard parts on a car. Although being a mechanic can be difficult and needs specialist knowledge, it takes at least five years to train as a vet.
3. Cars don’t get chronic conditions, most things are a one-off fix. Dogs do and sometimes need long-term treatment. Most pet insurance policies include the cost of medication and ongoing treatment for chronic conditions (as long as these were not classed as pre-existing conditions when the policy was taken out) – these things don’t come cheap.
Find out more about pet insurance for pre-existing medical conditions here.
4. Even when written off, cars can be salvaged for scrap. Insurers sell these parts to cover some of the costs of a claim. Not true with dogs.
(Tim Burton may try to convince you otherwise)
5. Because all drivers must have car insurance, the companies that offer it have huge buying power and negotiate favourable rates from repair garages to keep their costs down. This has only just started with Pet insurers - like More Th>n and its network of vets it has negotiated with.
6. There is only so much that can happen to a car and, for a trained mechanic, the problem is not difficult to identify. Dogs can be quite accident prone and get themselves into a myriad of unfortunate situations.
There are many conditions and illnesses that may affect dogs and, much like with humans, these can take time to diagnose. This means more frequent visits to the vet, which adds up.
7. The cost of treating pets is going up quickly as more cutting-edge medical technology originally developed for humans is used on animals. For example, pets can now have CAT scans and gene therapy. While there have been advancements in car repairs, things have not progressed as quickly and at the same level.
Anything that pushes up the cost of vet bills will be reflected in the cost of pet insurance because insurers need to make sure they can afford owners' claims.
But what it boils down to is that cars are machines and easily replaced. Dogs are living creatures and for many people are part of the family. It is only natural to spend more money making sure these loving, loyal companions stay healthy and happy for as long as possible.