Is Pet Insurance Worth It?


Whether you’re already the proud owner of a dog or cat or you’re planning to become one, you may be wondering if pet insurance is worth the cost. After all, you absolutely have to buy things like food and basic supplies, and optional pet insurance just adds to the ongoing expense of owning a pet.

The thing is, the best pet insurance can actually make being a pet owner considerably more affordable — particularly if your pet winds up needing surgery or being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. The key to getting ahead with pet insurance is choosing from the best pet insurance companies and selecting a plan with the deductible, waiting periods, and reimbursement levels that make sense for your pet.

The chart below shows how much pet insurance costs from a few different pet insurance companies we recommend. After that, we’ll go over all the intricacies of pet insurance plans and how pet insurance works.

Pet Insurance Cost Comparison

Pet Variety TrustedPals HealthyPaws Figo Embrace Pet Insurance
Dog Insurance
Female Mixed Breed
Age 5
60 pounds
$34 to $89 per month $59.92 per month $43.22 to $69.95 per month $39.53 per month
Dog Insurance
Male Mixed Breed
Age 2
25 pounds
$20 to $51 per month $28.98 per month $28.21 to $39.78 per month $24.80 per month
Cat Insurance
Female Mixed Breed
Age 2
$13 to $35 per month $15.17 per month $13.58 to $19.15 per month $19.15 per month
Cat Insurance
Male Mixed
Age 5
$17 to $45 per month $23.40 per month $20.67 to $29.16 per month $32.76 per month

Pet Insurance Guide

The best pet insurance can help you cover mounting costs that rack up when your pet needs surgery or gets diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. After all, there are an array of pet care expenses you may have to cover, some of which you cannot predict ahead of time.

Many costs associated with owning a pet can add up to thousands of dollars during the course of a single year. Without a pet insurance policy, pet owners have no choice but to cover these expenses themselves.

As an example, CareCredit lists the following amounts for complex and emergency care costs for dogs and cats:

Common Pet Expenses for Emergencies and Chronic Conditions

Disease/Condition Average Cost for Dogs Average Cost for Cats
Arthritis $724 $490
Broken Bone $2,371 $2,257
Cancer $4,137 $3,282
Cancer Treatment (Chemotherapy) $4,000 $4,000
Diabetes $2,892 $1,634
Stomach Foreign Object $3,262 $2,955

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Just like monthly premiums, deductibles, and waiting periods that apply, the coverage options included in a pet insurance policy vary from company to company. However, there are some general rules of thumb that come into play when it comes to what most pet insurance plans cover, as well as what they do not cover or rarely cover without an uptick in premiums.

What does pet insurance cover? While plans vary, most pet insurance plans provide some level of protection for the following:

  • Accidents that occur, such as a broken bone during play or your dog or cat swallowing a foreign object
  • Illnesses your pet is diagnosed with, such as cancer, arthritis, hypothyroidism, ear infections, and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions, such as eye disorders, hip dysplasia, and heart disease
  • Behavioral therapy that helps pets overcome behaviors such as excessive licking, fur pulling, and destructive chewing
  • Exam fees, which can add up quickly if your pet has frequent vet visits
  • Chronic conditions your pet may be diagnosed with, such as diabetes
  • Prescription medication coverage, which can help your pet get the medicines it needs
  • Preventative care for pets, such as vaccinations, exam fees, flea and tick medication and more

Note that some of the above may be included in pet insurance plans automatically, whereas other types of coverage are typically offered as an optional add-on. At the end of the day, you’ll need to compare pet insurance companies based on these inclusions, as well as on factors like your deductible, any waiting periods that apply, reimbursement levels, and more.

Also note that pet insurance plans tend to have long lists of excluded items, and that many do not provide coverage for older pets.

Common pet insurance exclusions include the following:

  • Mosts pre-existing conditions your pet has, although pre-existing conditions are sometimes covered after waiting periods passes
  • Cosmetic procedures, such as tail docking or ear cropping
  • Expenses associated with breeding your pet
  • Coverage for exotic pets
  • Dental illnesses that occur, unless you have specific coverage for pet dental care
  • Costs associated with spaying and neutering your pet
  • Alternative treatments for your pet, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, rehabilitative therapy, and hydrotherapy
  • Microchip implantation, which can help you find your pet if it gets lost or stolen
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How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet insurance varies widely, so you’ll need to shop around and compare pet insurance quotes to find the best deal. That said, you should know that some factors that impact pet insurance cost are within your control, whereas others are not.

How much is pet insurance? Monthly or annual premiums are based on the following:

  • Whether you have a cat or a dog
  • Age of your pet
  • Breed of your pet
  • Pet insurance discounts you may be eligible for
  • Your state of residence
  • The deductible you choose for your pet insurance plan
  • Reimbursement levels for your plan
  • Coverage options included
  • Optional add-on coverage you select
  • Lifetime, annual, or per-incident maximums for your pet insurance policy

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Pet insurance plans can work differently depending on the company you buy from. That said, most have similar features and several different tiers of coverage you can select from ahead of time.

For example, you can shop around for bare-bones pet insurance policies that provide limited coverage for catastrophic conditions after large deductibles are met and all waiting periods have passed. However, you’ll also find premium pet insurance plans that provide generous coverage and include wellness coverage and a high reimbursement percentage for most conditions.

Consider the following example policy from TrustedPals pet insurance, which we received for a large (51 to 110 pounds), female dog named Madge who is five-years-old.

As you can see, TrustedPals pet insurance offers three tiers of dog insurance coverage that range from budget-friendly to comprehensive. Note how the budget-friendly and mid-tier plan have a higher deductible as well as annual coverage limits that apply. In the meantime, the comprehensive plan comes with a lower monthly premium, a higher reimbursement rate and no annual limit on payouts.

Let’s say your dog Madge swallows a foreign object and you rack up $5,000 in vet bills as a result. The chart below shows how much each tier of this coverage could cost you for a single year, plus how much your coverage could save you in vet bills.

Expenses Budget Pet Insurance Mid-Tier Pet Insurance Comprehensive Pet Insurance
Annual Cost for Premiums $408 $624 $1,068
Deductible Required $750 $250 $100
Annual Reimbursement for $5,000 Vet Bill $2,975 $3,800 $4,410
Total Savings $1,917 $2,926 $3,242

How To Find the Best Pet Insurance Policy

To find the best pet insurance policy for your pet and your budget, you’ll want to compare quotes from at least four or five different pet insurance companies. Factors to consider and compare include:

  • Monthly or annual premiums
  • Reimbursement levels
  • Annual limits on payouts
  • Pet insurance deductible options
  • Waiting periods that can apply before coverage kicks in
  • Included coverage options
  • Available add-ons, such as wellness coverage, dental care, and vaccinations

The best pet insurance for you depends on how much coverage you want, the reimbursement percentage you prefer, and the level of deductible you’re comfortable with. In the meantime, you should check for plans that include the level of coverage you want for your pet’s preventative care needs, including coverage for wellness care, dental care, and more.

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Pet Insurance FAQs

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance can definitely be worth it, although you’ll get more value out of your plan if your pet is sick or hurt and you max out your annual pet insurance reimbursement benefit.

That said, the cost of a pet insurance plan can be worth it for the peace of mind alone. After all, pet insurance lets you pay a monthly or annual fee for the comfort of knowing you are financially protected against exorbitant vet bills.

How much does pet insurance cost per month on average?

Based on our internal study, the average cost of dog insurance ranges from $20 to $70 per month. Meanwhile, the cost of a cat insurance policy can range from $13 to $45 per month.

That said, a variety of factors can influence how much you pay for pet insurance, and some plans may cost more or less than average. Make sure you shop around for pet insurance with at least three or four different companies before you buy a plan.

What is excluded from a pet insurance plan?

Common pet insurance exclusions include pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, expenses associated in breeding a pet, coverage for dental illnesses, and costs associated with spaying or neutering a pet. Coverage for exotic pets may also be limited, and some pet insurance companies decline covering pet owners with older pets.

Bottom Line – Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Pet insurance can save you thousands of dollars if you have to use it, and the peace of mind you get when you buy a policy is often priceless on its own. After all, you’ll sleep better at night once you know you have financial coverage that can kick in if your pet becomes ill or injured and you are forced to face mounting vet bills.

If you are on the fence about buying pet insurance, your best bet is comparing policies until you find the right coverage for your needs and your budget.

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