Is Pet Insurance Worth Buying? Pros And Cons Of Pet Insurance | LoPriore Insurance Agency (2023)

In the United States, roughly67 percent of households own pets—yet, only one percent of those pets are insured by pet insurance.

There are many common misconceptions about the pros and cons of petinsurance policies.

You never want to think about your dogs and cats growing ill or injured. But yet, these things sneak up when we least expect them. It’s important to plan so that you are prepared when disaster strikes.

No matter how careful or responsible you are with your pets, accidents happen. Given the cost of medical bills without this insurance, it’s worth a second thought.

Some employers have even begun to catch on to this idea. Much like human health coverage or group life policies, some employers offer affiliated pet insurance to help stem the costs of veterinary bills for their workers’ pets.

But for most of America that do not have access to employer-sponsored pet policies, this insurance is relatively easy to sign up for on your own.

While there are many pros and cons of pet insurance, one thing is true—pet insurance is worth the cost, even simply for the peace of mind. Please read below for a complete guide to whether pet insurance is worth it or not.

Table of Contents

How Pet Insurance Works

Pet insuranceworks similarly to human health insurance. It is designed to alleviate some of the high costs associated with veterinary care.

Pet insurance is not required anywhere in the United States. But for pet parents who choose to enroll their dogs or cats may choose to pay an annual or monthly insurance premium for pet insurance coverage.

There are options for various levels of coverage, depending on your budget and coverage desires. Some of the more basic plans provide accident-only coverage. Other more expensive plans include injuries and genetic preexisting conditions, as well.

Though, one of the biggest differences between pet and human health insurance in the form of payment.

With human insurance, you typically run on a copay basis. This means you pay a fee to the doctor upfront, and they bill your insurance for the rest.

On the other hand, pet insurance companies mostly operate on a reimbursement basis. This means you pay the full cost upfront at the time of service. You submit a claim to the insurer after the fact.

From there, the insurer will reimburse the costs according to your policy. They may reimburse anywhere from 20 to 100 percent of covered costs.

It’s important to note that most policies do include a waiting period. This means you would be unable to get coverage for illnesses or accidents that occur within this timeframe.

The reason behind this is to prevent pet owners from signing up for a policy right before a big bill. The period is usually a matter of a few weeks.

So if you see yourself benefiting from pet insurance, it’s better to sign up sooner rather than later.

The Cost of Vet Bills Without Insurance

The estimated cost of routine preventative care visits can range from $45 to $200 per year for dogs. For cats, this figure can be anywhere between $50 to $400.

Examples ofroutine carecosts include:

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  • Flea and tick prevention: $40 to $200
  • Spay/neuter procedures: $35 to $400
  • Vaccinations: $75 to $100

When it comes to sudden accidents and illnesses, these costs get even worse. Emergency visits can cost up to $2,000 per pet. Especially with multiple pets in one home, these costs can quickly add up.

Some common examples of emergency medical costs include:

  • Bloodwork: $80 to $200
  • X-Rays: $150 to $250
  • Ultrasound: $300 to $600
  • Woundtreatmentandrepair: $800 to $1500
  • Emergencysurgery: $800 to $2500
  • Oxygentherapy: $500

Plus, there are the costs of hospitalization during serious emergencies. For a one to two-day stay, the average cost is between $600 and $1700. For a three to five-day stay, you are looking at the cost of $1500 to $3500.

Furthermore, a pet emergency can lead to long-term expenses down the road. This is especially true in pet owners without insurance who can’t afford all of the required care.

Some issues may be overlooked or neglected, which can then manifest into further long-term problems.

Once these incidents occur, any corresponding injuries or illnesses that stem from this are typically considered pre-existing conditions. This makes it harder to find affordable coverage down the line if you so wish.

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

The idea of pet insurance can require a bit of mental back-and-forth.

Of course, covering your pets is not on the traditional list of insurance plans. Although, some dog bites and attacks can actually be covered underhomeowners insurance.

These incidents are covered when they take place on your property. This can be very beneficial. Without it, you would be liable for paying the costs of reparative care out of pocket.

In turn, these may be included within anumbrella policy, as well. But these policies do not cover the cost of veterinary bills for unrelated accidents that cause harm to your dog or cat.

This is where pet insurance comes into play. Consider these pros and cons to obtaining this insurance for your furry friend.

Pros

One of the biggest benefits of pet insurance is its relative simplicity.

The procedure to buya policy is much easier to navigate than human health insurance. You do not have to worry about the complicated plans and riders. Instead, pet policies are simple.

The tiers are easy to understand and compare so that you can find the best coverage level for your desired price point.

You also do not have to worry about changing vets. Unlike many human insurance plans, there are no “out-of-network” provider issues with pet insurance. The only qualification required is the provider’s license to practice veterinary medicine.

There is no need to worry about a vet “accepting” your plan. Due to the coverage’s reimbursement structure, you only need to take home a copy of the invoice from the vet. Submit that with a claim form to your insurer, and let them handle the rest.

Plus, premiums are usually relatively low. This is especially true if your pet is young and/or healthy and for lower-tiered coverage. Deductibles are also usually reasonably priced.

Furthermore, there are additional non-medical benefits to some pet health insurance plans. This might even include the cost of advertising and rewards if your pet is lost or stolen.

Cons

One of the main detractors of obtaining pet insurance is the recurring added cost. While it’s true that coverage requires a monthly or yearly fee, this can often be lower than the average cost of one emergency vet visit.

Plus, those who have pet insurance aremore likely to seek care for their pets than those without this plan. When times are tough, there is added peace of mind that you do not have to shoulder the costs of veterinary care by yourself.

Another common complaint is the coverage payment structure. With pet insurance, you are required to pay the full amount upfront. Depending on your deductible and the terms of your plan, the amount you get back will vary.

Though it can be difficult to cough this money up at once, it would be much of the same without pet insurance. Except, there would be no recourse to recover some of the funds spent on vet bills.

Though inconvenient, reimbursement helps to relieve some of the financial burdens of vet bills.

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Finally, another con of pet insurance is the coverage limitations. Many plans include limits on how much you can claim, either yearly or over the pet’s lifetime.

Depending on the coverage level you choose, this could be maxed out somewhat quickly if your pet suffers an unfortunate major medical issue. Once it is maxed out, you are stuck paying the remainder of any costs out of pocket.

It’s true, and this can present a financial struggle for pet parents with habitually sick or injured pets. It’s important to remember that any help in covering these costs can go a long way.

For chronically ill pets who suffer a major medical problem, even a little bit of reimbursement can make a huge difference.

The Cost of Pet Insurance

The average cost for dog pet insurance is roughly $22 monthly for accident-only coverage. For cats, it hovers around $16 monthly.For higher-tier plans that provide more coverage, the monthly cost rises to about $80 or higher.

The actual cost of pet insurance will depend on a variety of factors. These include the pets:

  • Age
  • Breed
  • Health status and history
  • Location

Most plans also require a deductible. This is the price you pay out of pocket before coverage comes into play.

Deductible prices vary widely based on the policy. They could fall anywhere from $0 to $2,500 per year.

Pet Insurance Plans Available

It may feel overwhelming at first to select an insurance plan for your furry friend. But it’s important to begin this process as soon as possible. This way, you reap the greatest rewards from your policy.

When you are looking to enroll in pet insurance, try to do this early in the dog or cat’s life as you can. The younger they are, the more you can potentially save. Most often, pets older than eight weeks are eligible for insurance coverage.

In addition to pet insurance, it can be helpful to build up an emergency fund. This will help offset deductibles, non-covered issues, and unexpected out of pocket costs.Again, this will serve to provide added peace of mind during a stressful time.

The plans available to your pet will depend on various factors.

What is Typically Included

The eligible coverages will depend entirely on which plan you select. Generally speaking, there are three types of insurance for your dog or cat.

The first tier is an accident-only policy.

This plan covers the cost of emergency treatments for your pets only in the case of an accident. Each insurer may have a slightly different definition of what an “emergency medical situation” consists of, but it generally covers injuries stemming from sudden accidents.

So something like a leg fracture resulting from a car accident would very likely be covered. But something like a skin mass removal or cyst drainage would not.

These plans have a lower monthly cost, respectively. But they also come with a lower reimbursement rate than other categories.

The second tier is an accident/illness policy. These cover the above criteria, as well as diseases. This includes acquired or inherited illnesses—like heartworm disease or cancer.

It also covers infections that are not directly trauma-related. Furthermore, physical rehabilitation is often covered under this plan.

The third tier is an accident, illness, and wellness coverage. This is the most expensive plan in terms of monthly fees—but it also provides the highest reimbursements.

Top-tier plans usually cover extra steps like non-routine vet exams and cancer treatments. It also usually includes routine checkups and other preventative measures to promote overall wellness. These include:

  • “Well pet” checkups
  • Spaying and neutering
  • Dental care
  • Routine vaccinations and booster shots
  • Other medications to treat conditions not covered by accident/illness policies
  • Prescription diets
  • Teeth cleanings and other non-emergency dental work

With the right plan, you can enjoy coverage of diagnostics, treatments, and medications under this plan. Depending on your desired level of coverage and budget, there is a plan for just about every dog and cat.

What is Typically Not Included

One of the most important factors to mention when weighing the pros and cons of pet insurance is that pre-existing conditions are never covered.Some curable conditions may become eligible down the line. But this would require a coverage waiting period without any symptom recurrence.

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For dogs without preexisting conditions, preventative care is also not included in pet insurance unless you elect wellness care.

Additionally, cosmetic procedures are not included. These are commonly seen in procedures like ear cropping, tail docking, and declawing. While these may look good to pet owners, they are not directly related to the health of your cat or dog. Therefore, they are not covered by pet insurance.

Finally, breeding costs are usually not included in pet insurance coverage.

How to Find the Right Plan

When shopping around for the right pet insurance plan, it can sometimes be beneficial to talk to your vet.

They can give you a better idea of any health issues specific to your breed of dog or cat. Plus, they may be able to offer recommendations on coverages.

When it comes to selecting the best insurance policy, you should carefully weigh your options. Go through each policy diligently. This way, you can locate which plans will provide the most bang for your buck.

Furthermore, you should do a careful check on potential insurance providers. These companies should have great ratings and reviews from current customers. Financial stability, claim repayment reputation, and customer service are all important areas that should factor into your decision.

The Information Required to Purchase a Pet Insurance Plan

To sign up for pet insurance, you will need to provide specific information. This includes your pet’s:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Preexisting conditions
  • Vet’s name and contact info

Generally speaking, your policy will also require your petto have visited their vet within the past year.

Frequently Asked Questions

With all things considered, pet insurance is typically a worthwhile investment for most animals. But, there are important factors to take into consideration.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Pet insurance is certainly worth the cost for a pet owner who looks forward to enjoying their furry friend’s long life.

Like other forms of insurance, it will not serve to “make” you money. You will still have to pay a premium regularly, and you will likely have a deductible when you submit a claim. But in the worst-case scenario, pet insurance can make a huge difference.

You can’t predict how or when your pet may get sick or suffer a sudden injury. Furthermore, there is no way to foresee this cost.

You may try to save money in advance, but this can still come up short. Plus, there may be other pressing family matters that require you to borrow from these funds. In the end, it might not be enough to get your pet the care they need in a time of crisis.

When your pet is sick or injured, it’s already a stressful enough time. The last thing you want to worry about is having to decide if you can afford to care for your furry friend.

Instead, pet insurance provides peace of mind during these situations. You know your pet is covered, and you do not have to stress about the cost of caring for your dog or cat.

Plus, pet insurance replaces more drastic measures—like short-term loans that carry a high-interest rate. High-interest credit cards and unsecured personal loans can cause an even greater financial burden in the long run.

With pet insurance, you no longer need to turn to these options to finance your pet’s required medical care.

Do Vets Recommend Pet Insurance?

For most dogs and cats, vets do recommend pet insurance. This is important to them, as it ensures the pet receives the care they need—especially in emergencies.

Furthermore, it helps avoid what is known as “economic euthanasia.” This occurs when a pet owner elects to put their dog or cat down rather than seek the needed medical care.

This decision is made largely due to the costs of care. If the pet parent can’t afford the treatment their animal needs, but they do not want them to suffer without it, pet owners may feel it is their only choice.

With pet insurance, you can reduce some (or all) of the costs associated with emergency vet bills. This can ensure your pet gets the care they need—without breaking the bank.

Are There Additional Coverage Options?

Standard coverage for pet insurance includes areas like:

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  • Accidents and injuries
  • Illnesses
  • Vet exam fees
  • Imaging
  • Diagnostic treatments
  • Prescription medications
  • Surgery and rehabilitation
  • Alternative therapies

But if you wish, you can seek outoptional coverageon top of these plans. This ensures greater peace of mind, plus reduced stress during already hectic times.

Some examples of optional coverage you may elect for include:

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Loss due to theft or straying
  • Advertising and reward
  • Boarding and kennel fees
  • Death from illness or injury
  • Vacation cancellation

These non-traditional benefits can be a difference-maker in your pet’s overall health and well-being. Consider adding these optional coverage options to your policy to give your cat or dog its best opportunities.

What Is a Policy’s Reimbursement Rate?

When comparing policies, you may notice the mention of a “reimbursement rate.” This refers to the rate at which the insurer will return the cost of eligible expenses. This is calculated after the deductible is applied.

Most pet policies have reimbursement rates that hover in the range of 70 to 90 percent. For higher-tier plans, you may be able to gain a higher percentage back in reimbursements. Though, these plans also carry a significantly higher premium.

What About Coverage for Pets Other Than Dogs or Cats?

Exotic pets are considered to be domestic animals beyond a dog or cat. Insurance options for these creatures are more limited, though coverage does still exist.

Locating the Best Pet Insurance Company

There are important factors to ponder when weighing the pros and cons of pet insurance. But, all things considered, these policies are worth the price for most cats and dogs in the US.

For all of your insurance needs in Massachusetts, turn to the experts—LoPriore Insurance Agency. Our dedicated team ofindependent agentswill work directly with you.

We will help you determine the best plan to protect your pet without breaking the bank. For more information or to purchase a policy for your furry friend,contact an experienced insurance agenttoday.

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FAQs

Is it worth shopping around for pet insurance? ›

Pet insurance can be relatively expensive, so it's worth shopping around for the best deal.

What are the pros of pet insurance? ›

Having pet insurance allows you to choose treatments for your ailing or injured pet based on the best medical option available and not restricted based on family finances. Most pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after deductibles. Provides an easy way to budget pet care costs.

Will pet insurance drop you? ›

Yes, your pet can be denied insurance. However, it depends on the insurer. Pet insurance providers will usually deny your pet based on their age or pre-existing conditions.

Can Vets recommend pet insurance? ›

Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses should not be seen to favour or endorse any insurer unless they are properly authorised by the FCA.

Is pet insurance worth it with pre existing conditions? ›

Even if your dog or cat has a pre-existing condition, that won't exclude you from obtaining pet insurance. The costs of treating that particular issue won't be covered by your new plan, but you can expect coverage for future illnesses and injuries. So pet insurance is still worth it.

Do you want a high or low deductible for pet insurance? ›

A higher deductible will reduce your premium since it'll take longer until you get paid back," Fetch by The Dodo explains on its website. According to a recent Money.com report, pet owners pay on average around $20 more each month by choosing a $200 deductible versus a $500 one. That's nearly $250 in savings each year.

How much does the average person spend on pet insurance per month? ›

Average pet insurance costs

Most pet owners can expect to pay between $20 and $50 per month for an accident and illness plan with decent coverage. Your pet's age, species and breed, as well as where you live and the coverage you choose all factor into your insurance rates.

Does all pet insurance go up with age? ›

Is there pet insurance that doesn't increase with age? While most pet insurance companies do indeed raise premiums along with the pet's age, there is one that doesn't: Trupanion. All the rest that we looked at—including Embrace, Nationwide, and even ASPCA—increase premiums with age.

What is the average deductible for pet insurance? ›

Typical deductibles range from $0 to $1000, but the average are $100, $250, and $500. For example, if your plan has a $200 deductible, you will have to pay the first $200 out of pocket before the insurance company will start paying you back for vet bills. Deductibles are typically applied annually.

Do you get money back if you cancel pet insurance? ›

You should get a refund of any premiums you have already paid. However, your insurer may take off a small amount to cover days when the policy was in force. They may also charge you a small administration fee. Some insurers may give you a longer cooling-off period.

What age does pet insurance stop? ›

Is there an age limit for pet insurance? There isn't an age limit for pet insurance as long as your pet is insured and you keep paying your premium. But if you don't have pet insurance, you generally need to take a policy out before your dog or cat turns 9 or you won't be able to get comprehensive cover.

What happens to pet insurance when pet dies? ›

The "Death from Illness or Injury" section of pet insurance, when applicable, typically covers the purchase or donation price of your pet if it dies or has to be put to sleep by a vet as a result of an illness or injury.

Does pet insurance get more expensive with age? ›

Insurance for senior pets works the same way as it does for younger pets. The main difference is price. Since older dogs and cats are more likely to need medical care, it generally costs more to buy pet insurance for them.

Is Petplan insurance worth it? ›

Petplan has a rating of 'Excellent' on Trustpilot with a score of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars from over 10,000 reviews. 85% of customers rated it as 'Excellent' citing a friendly and professional service and no problems when it comes to paying out claims.

What type of dog insurance is best? ›

The best type of dog insurance is Lifetime cover, because these types of policies have limits that renew each year. Renewing limits protect against long-term or recurring conditions over the course of your dog's life. The next best type of cover is usually considered to be Max Benefit.

Do vets deal directly with insurance? ›

Most pet insurance companies will pay your vet directly—however not all vets are willing to take payment from insurance.

What type of insurance should a veterinarian have? ›

Most veterinary establishments buy into the AVMA's Professional Liability and Insurance Trust (PLIT), which provides professional liability, workers compensation and personal property insurance. "You need to obtain your own liability insurance if you're a new graduate starting a practice," Snyder says.

How long does it take pet insurance to kick in? ›

Most pet insurance providers have no waiting period for covering preventive care. Accident coverage usually kicks in faster than illness coverage. Most pet insurance plans provide both accident and illness coverage in about 14 days (although some plans can take as long as 30 days).

Which is better high deductible or low deductible? ›

In most cases, the higher a plan's deductible, the lower the premium. When you're willing to pay more up front when you need care, you save on what you pay each month.

What is copay in pet insurance? ›

Co-payments are the amount you'll pay out-of-pocket for an eligible medical service after hitting your deductible. The majority of pet insurance plans do not use copays and will reimburse you directly for eligible veterinary expenses.

Why is my pet insurance so high? ›

Medical advances drive pet insurance increases

There are better diagnostic tools and treatments but the costs can be high. Insurers see vet fees rising year on year and so most have to pass some of these increases onto their customers.

What are 4 factors that go into determining your monthly premium for pet insurance? ›

Pet insurance premiums are not one-size-fits-all. Your monthly premium will depend on several factors, including your provider, deductible, location, and of course, your pet. His breed, age, pre-existing health conditions, and risk factors all play a role in determining what you'll pay each month to keep him covered.

What is a good monthly budget for a dog? ›

The main costs include vet care, food, grooming, boarding and preventative treatments. According to the ASPCA, small dogs have an estimated monthly cost of $43, medium dogs cost an average of $56 per month and large dogs cost an average of $87 monthly.

Does all pet insurance go up every year? ›

No matter which insurance company you choose to use for pet insurance, you can nearly always expect a yearly increase in your payments. Most pet insurance policies will increase by a small amount each year… However, the value by which this increases by can vary from policy to policy and also from year to year.

Is pet insurance worth it for a 12 year old dog? ›

Is it worth insuring an old dog? If you signed up for lifetime dog insurance when your dog was young and healthy, it will usually be worth renewing the policy each year as your dog ages. While this isn't the cheapest option, it guarantees your dog is always covered, even for long-term illnesses.

Is it worth it to get pet insurance for a 10 year old dog? ›

Is pet insurance worth it for older pets? Yes, pet insurance can be a worthwhile investment for your older pet, even if they haven't shown any signs of serious health concerns. And if they have, your best fur-friend could still enjoy several years of quality life if they get the treatment they need.

Is there pet insurance for senior citizens? ›

Older dog insurance

Some pet insurers can offer lifetime policies that don't increase in price as your pet ages, even after you make a claim. They'll usually be more expensive to begin with, but they might work out cheaper in the long-run if your dog needs treatment in later life.

Is owning a pet tax deductible? ›

No, pets aren't dependents and the IRS considers their care costs as personal expenses. You may claim income your pet earns on your taxes, and you can also receive tax deductions for care of working animals, including: Guard animals. Search animals.

Can you write off pet medical expenses on taxes? ›

Can I deduct medical expenses for my pets if I itemize my tax return? Unfortunately, deducting medical expenses for pets is not allowed as a medical expense on your tax return. The only exception would be if your pet is a certified service animal, like a guide dog.

Are pet vet bills tax deductible? ›

You Require a Pet for Medical Reasons

The types of costs you can deduct include grooming, food, veterinary care and training. You might also be able to claim vet bills on taxes for pets you foster, provided that the nonprofit organization hasn't reimbursed you and the organization is registered with the IRS.

Can I get pet insurance after my dog is diagnosed? ›

Can you get pet insurance after a diagnosis? Yes, you can still get pet insurance to cover future injuries and/or illnesses, depending on your pet insurance coverage type. The policy simply wouldn't cover any pre-existing conditions, diagnosed or not.

Can you pause pet insurance? ›

Yes, you can cancel your pet insurance policy at any time.

However, you can't simply stop paying the monthly premiums; you will need to contact your pet insurance provider first.

Can you change pet insurance at any time? ›

Yes, you should be able to change your policy even if you're half-way through it. In fact, it's important to do this as your insurer needs to be aware of any big changes to your circumstances or your pet's.

Is it worth insuring a 14 year old dog? ›

While insurance for an older dog may be pricier than a younger pet, it may be cheaper than any unexpected vet bills, prescription or ongoing treatment. It is always a good idea to be prepared, so ask your vet what type of conditions your breed tends to get when they reach an older age.

Does pet insurance get more expensive as pet gets older? ›

Insurance for senior pets works the same way as it does for younger pets. The main difference is price. Since older dogs and cats are more likely to need medical care, it generally costs more to buy pet insurance for them.

At what age does pet insurance stop? ›

This is known as co-insurance and it's a common clause on pet insurance policies once your cat or dog reaches a certain age. That's typically around eight years old for dogs and 10 for cats. You'll be covered for damage to someone else's property or their injury usually after an altercation with a dog.

When should I stop insuring my dog? ›

In theory there isn't a maximum age limit for pet insurance, but it's worth bearing in mind that some pet insurance providers will only insure an older dog or older cat if you've insured the same pet with that provider in the past.

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