When you have kids and pets, things can go wrong. And sometimes, things can go very wrong in short order.
Such was the case for me during a particularly stressful week in October. During a seven-day span, both my dog and daughter wound up in the emergency room.
Thankfully, both are okay (well, except for the fact that my poor daughter is now recovering from a broken arm). But needless to say, it was quite a doozy. And I’m grateful for the fact that I didn’t really have to stress the financial end of things as I was dealing with all the logistics.
When unattended chicken and a rough soccer game make for back-to-back emergencies
One night last month, my dog managed to get into a plate of cooked chicken I thought I’d left out of reach. Being his meat-loving self, he chomped it all up in a matter of seconds, leaving not a scrap of food on the plate.
The problem is that he took down not only the meat of those cooked chicken thighs, but also the bones. Cooked bones can be dangerous for dogs because they can splinter once swallowed and cause obstructions and other unfavorable outcomes. As such, I had no choice but to take my dog to the animal hospital for an x-ray.
Thankfully, my dog didn’t need surgery — just a scolding and a special diet for a number of days to help the bone fragments sitting in his stomach pass through his digestive system naturally. But all told, it wasn’t exactly a fun situation.
Exactly one week later, my daughter got pushed down during an aggressive game of soccer and fell at just the right angle to break two bones in her arm. We couldn’t get her in to see an orthopedist right away, so we had no choice but to take her to the ER for an x-ray and splint. We then followed up with the orthopedist, who wants her in a cast for five weeks.
My daughter is adjusting to her injury, but she’s bummed about not being able to do any sports this month. We’re thankful, however, that the break did not require surgery.
My pet insurance and emergency fund came to the rescue financially
During both of these episodes, my main concern was the well-being of my pup and child. But there was also the financial aspect to consider. Thankfully, I was covered in both regards.
Though I did have to shell out the money for my dog’s care on the spot, I submitted a claim to my pet insurance company and expect to be reimbursed without an issue. This is a classic case of what my insurance is there for, and there’s no reason for my pet insurance company to reject that claim.
Meanwhile, my health insurance won’t pick up the entire cost of my daughter’s care, so I’ll need to dip into my savings account to pay whatever portion of her bill I’m responsible for. But thankfully, I have money in my emergency fund for that purpose.
Also, for better or worse, we already met our health insurance deductible for the year thanks to my other daughter breaking a bone in the spring. So there’s that.
An estimated 63% of Americans don’t have enough emergency savings to cover a $500 expense, says SecureSave. But I’ll tell you that my dog’s emergency treatment cost at least that much, and I won’t be surprised if my portion of my daughter’s care comes in even higher.
If you don’t have money set aside for emergencies, try your best to start building up a balance — even if it means saving $5 or $10 a week and working your way up from there. This is an especially important thing to do if you have pets and kids, because you never know when you might face sudden bills related to both at pretty much the same time.
And if you have a pet, I highly suggest buying pet insurance, even if it’s just a basic policy that covers major medical events. Had my dog needed surgery a few weeks ago, I would’ve easily been looking at a $4,000 or $5,000 procedure, the vet told me. It didn’t come to that, but it could’ve. So don’t put yourself in that situation if you can avoid it.
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