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Is Pet Insurance Worth It: An Expert Guide for Pet Parents

Written by

Olivia Washburn, MBA

Part of being a good pet parent is being prepared for the unexpected parts of pet ownership. When it comes to vet expenses and taking care of your pet's health, you may wonder "Is pet insurance worth it?"

In this article, we'll cover:

  • Is pet insurance worth it
  • How much pet insurance costs
  • What’s covered in pet insurance plans
  • What to look for in an insurance policy
  • 5 pet insurance options

Is pet insurance worth it

Is pet insurance worth it

Buying pet insurance is a good idea for dog and cat owners, especially if your pet's breed is prone to health issues.

Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. But as your pet ages, they may have medical needs that arise. So, it's a good idea to be prepared for potential future veterinary care needs.

Pet insurance serves as a financial safety net for many pet owners. If your dog or cat gets injured or sick, pet insurance helps cover expenses associated with unexpected vet bills and medical expenses.

Emergency veterinary care expenses due to broken bones, health issues, and more can cost thousands out-of-pocket if a pet parent doesn't have pet insurance. Pet insurance actually helps pet parents afford treatment and medical bills, should their pet need medical care.

Average treatment costs for dogs and cats

Average treatment costs for dogs and cats

To decide if pet insurance is worth it, it’s important to know what kind of vet bills you could have.

Here are examples of average treatment costs for dogs and cats according to Pets Best:

ConditionAvg. cost for dogsAvg. cost for cats
Cancer$4,100$3,800
Ingested objects$3,500$3,400
Diabetes$2,700$1,900
Broken bones$2,700$2,300
Heart murmur$1,200$1,400
Arthritis$700$500
Dental disease$600$800
Bladder infection/UTI$400$1,100
Eye conditions$300$260
Feline kidney diseaseN/A$1,300
Source: Pets Best, based on claims costs in one year, from 2017 to 2021

How much pet insurance costs#

How much pet insurance costs

Like human health insurance, you pay a monthly premium for pet insurance. Pet insurance premiums vary depending on:

  1. Your pet's age and breed
  2. Where you live
  3. Vet costs in your area
  4. The policy you choose

According to a Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance rates, the average pet insurance cost for accident and illness coverage is $44 a month for insured dogs and $30 a month for insured cats.

Most pet insurance companies offer a multi-pet discount for pet owners who have multiple insured pets. There are also accident-only coverage policies that typically have lower monthly insurance costs.


What's covered in pet insurance plans#

What's covered in pet insurance plans

Every pet insurance plan is different. A pet insurance policy or "plan" contains three things:

  1. Annual coverage limit
  2. Deductible
  3. Reimbursement percentage

Annual coverage

Annual coverage outlines the amount your insurance company is willing to cover in expenses in a year. Some companies offer unlimited annual coverage, meaning they will cover all emergency pet expenses and vet bills after you meet your deductible.

  • Most plans cover:

    Accidental injuries

    Unexpected illnesses

    Chronic disease

    Dental disease

    Hereditary conditions

    Surgery

    Cancer diagnosis and treatment

    Prescription medications

    Diagnostic testing

    Emergency care fees

  • No plans cover:

    Pre-existing conditions

    Pet supplies

    Routine vet visits

    Vaccinations

    Boarding or daycare*

    Preventive care*

    Spay and neuter surgeries*

*Pet owners can consider a wellness plan add-on to their policy that reimburses for routine care and preventive care.

What to look for in an insurance policy#

What to look for in an insurance policy

There are a few things to look for when buying pet insurance. Most of all, you'll want to choose a policy that fits your lifestyle best as a pet owner.

If your pet is prone to injury and illness:

Consider an insurance plan with high reimbursement for vet expenses. That means you can submit claims for medical expenses and pay less out-of-pocket.

If you have an indoor cat:

Find a cat insurance policy with a lower premium and higher deductible. Indoor cats are less likely to suffer from accidental injury or diseases spread by other animals.

If you have a senior pet:

As your pet ages, they are more likely to develop chronic health problems. Consider a pet insurance option with an unlimited annual coverage policy, so your pet's medical care is covered no matter the cost.


5 pet insurance options

5 pet insurance options

There are many options for pet parents in the pet insurance marketplace. Here are five of the best pet insurance companies for pet owners to consider.

1. Fetch

Fetch

Like many pet insurance providers, Fetch offers coverage for accidents and illnesses. And, comprehensive dental coverage for illness and disease.

2. Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws offers uncapped annual coverage — a great option for families with multiple pets. Healthy Paws also covers alternative therapies that aren’t always covered by insurers.

3. Spot

Spot

Spot may be a good choice if you have a tight budget for pet insurance. They offer ways to adjust benefits levels, so you can fit pet insurance into your budget.

4. North American Pet Health Insurance Association

North American Pet Health Insurance Association

North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) offers accident and illness plans, accident-only plans, and wellness coverage. And, some plans offer additional benefits.

5. ASPCA

ASPCA

ASPCA offers pet insurance through their insurance partner Crum and Forster. ASPCA pet insurance offers many choices for your annual limit and deductible.


Some pet parents may have concerns about the monthly cost of pet insurance — but the average cost paid monthly may not add up to a huge vet bill you weren't prepared for. Consider adding pet insurance to your budget to ensure your pets are covered in an emergency.

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