- Medical bills
- Car repairs
- Appliance repairs/replacement
- Job loss
- Pet's medical bills
Items 1-3 I've encountered before and pretty much know what they'd cost, I know what our healthcare deductable is and I like to have $1000-$2000 ready in case a car needs it, since we have older cars and stuff in that amount has come up before, when a few weird things cluster together. "Job Loss" would just be a cluster no matter what, but I like to think it's somewhat unlikely at this point.
The pet thing is what I wanted advice on. We have a dog now, and I know from guinea pigs that the bills can be weird, hell we joked that our beloved billy dee was like a $400 "free" guinea pig after one year of several unfortunate infections and incidents in a row. I still say it's worth the $80 just to see an x-ray of your guinea pig, it's hilarious. But I digress... there were people in the guinea pig forum who were spending THOUSANDS on complicated things for guinea pigs! Surgery, cancer treatements, you name it. I told marc one day, "I hate to sound insensitive, but I do not have $5000 worth of love for any one of our guinea pigs." Probably not even all of them combined. I don't know what the price is, but at some point I didn't even think it was kind to subject a tiny creature to so much medical treatment. There's gotta be a line.
Oh but dogs.
I tried to google how much you should emergency save up for a pet, and all I ran into were articles about how you must have pet health insurance because it's just IMPOSSIBLE to save up enough, it could be like a hundred thousand dollars, they're just like people, just add insurance to your monthly expenses and don't bother with savings.
All these articles were written by people who sell pet health insurance.
When we adopted Judy we were offered "sheltercare" insurance, I looked up their site and they had plans that covered stuff like "accidents up to $5000"... well WTF, if half these other articles said vet bills could be tens of thousands, what good does $5000 worth of insurance do for us? I thought the whole point of insurance was to pay for stuff you couldn't POSSIBLY afford?
I also got to thinking about how much I love my dog. More than the guinea pigs. But not $100,000. So if that was the vet bill, well... sorry...
Okay, back to my advice questions for the gallery here...
1) Am I really the only dog owner who doesn't have pet health insurance? (pre-hint: if you sell pet insurance for a living, I do not care to hear from you).
2) What's a normal expense? For example in guinea pig communities, we make it well known to new owners that you'd better have $100 for an x-ray if you drop the thing and break its leg, or if there's an infection that requires a vet visit and prescription. If you're not the kind of person who has $100 you should not own a guinea pig. It's not a nintendo, it's a life. But I don't know if leg breaks are a common dog accident, or if it costs $500 or $10,000 to have it fixed.
To put my financial situation in perspective, I do have an emergency fund. So if repairing the dog is comparable to repairing the car, I don't feel like I need insurance. I'm just not sure how to get an unbiased viewpoint on this except for average run-of-the-mill pet owners.