Dachshunds lead the claims pack

First, some nostalgia. I grew up with a dachshund named Marmaduke.

OK, enough there. British pet insurer Sainsbury tells thus that of all breeds, the long and low one has the most expensive procedures, on average. I’ve converted Sainsbury’s data to US dollars and – behold – a chart. The average procedure costs $530. Procedures on whippets and greyhounds are the cheapest. (Both, incidentally, make excellent pets and greyhound rescue is a noble cause.)

Woof.This doesn’t mean the dachshund is the most expensive breed, though. Sainsbury is giving us the cost of the average procedure – severity. It hasn’t told us how often the breeds need treatment – claim frequency. For all we know, there may have been only one sick dachshund in all of England and that overall, dachshunds are cheap to insure.

(Nostalgia interlude: Marmaduke and my sister’s myriad dachshunds have had some serious back problems at midlife. /nostalgia)

Sainsbury, of course, wants UK customers, and it is a bit fun to see what’s covered here.

So should you buy pet insurance? It’s fairly popular in the UK but not well established here. One of the more notable companies is Veterinary Pet Insurance.

First, if you can afford $5,000 or more to take care of a sick pet, you don’t need pet insurance.

As for everyone else: I normally recommend staying away from insurance with low limits, as it tends to end up in dollar trading – you pay premiums, the insurer takes a cut for commissions and expenses and gives less money back. Generally, I’m thinking of insurers with loss ratios around 30% or so. Pet insurers tend to have loss ratios in the 60s, meaning for every dollar they collect in premium, they pay around 60 cents in losses. That’s comparable to most property-casualty insurance products.

And I think a lot of people who believe they would make a tough call – euthanizing a critically ill pet – will back out when there’s a chance their loved one will recover. Then they end up spending more than they can afford.

Think of it this way – if you cried at the end of Old Yeller, you should consider pet insurance.

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