Is pet insurance worth it? Here's what you need to know before you buy coverage (2023)

A companion animal has ways of enriching your life, but if it's injured or sick, you'll have to cover the financial consequences of its medical care. Not having hundreds of dollars available can put a strain on your budget.

It's therepet insuranceenters. This type of coverage can help pay for the treatment of injuries and illnesses your pet faces. However, pet insurance doesn't cover every situation, so here's what you need to know to decide if getting a policy (and your pet) is right for you.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is an insurance contract where you pay a fixed amount called a premium (usually paid monthly or annually). When your pet incurs eligible expenses, often at a licensed veterinarian's office, your insurance will reimburse you for some of the expenses (some pet insurance companies offer the option of paying your vet directly, but this is not as common).

When you buy your policy, you and the insurance company agree on how much you will be reimbursed for your pet's care. There are three moving parts to pet insurance that affect the price and the amount you're reimbursed: the deductible, the annual limit, and the reimbursement percentage.

Here's how each of these factors affects the amount you'll receive or pay:

  • Deduction.This is the amount you pay out of pocket before your policy takes effect. Your deductible is generally voided each year, although some policies have event deductibles that must be met each time your pet visits the vet. Be sure to read your policy to find out if your deductible is per incident or per year.
  • Refund amount.The amount you choose to be reimbursed after you meet your deductible, often 70%, 80% or 90% of the cost.
  • Annual coverage limit.The maximum amount that can be reimbursed to you in a 12-month period. Some insurance companies and policies offer unlimited annual coverage limits.

If you're looking for pet insurance, several companies stand out for price, service and coverage. Our top pet insurance company picks include our top general picks,Place, gcover, our runner-up.

cash pet insurance

  • charge

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote.

  • political highlights

    Spot Pet Insurance offers accident, illness and accident cover for cats and dogs. You have a range of fee rate options, annual limits (including an unlimited policy) and deductibles to tailor your cover to suit your needs and budget. The option to cover preventive procedures and examinations (including dental cleanings and wellness examinations) is available for an additional fee.

  • application available


  • excellent characteristics

    There are no upper age limits for new Spot subscriptions, and plans include microchip coverage. Spot also offers access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline to answer questions about health and wellness issues.

An advantage

  • Accident and sickness plans are available, with wellness options.
  • Access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline is included in the coverage
  • 10% discount for additional pets


  • Pets must be eight weeks old to register
  • You have to wait 14 days for coverage.
(Video) Is Pet Insurance Worth It? A Veterinarians Advice

Accept pet insurance

  • charge

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote.

  • political highlights

    Different maximum annual limits, reimbursement options and deductibles allow you to tailor coverage to your needs and budget. A two-day waiting period on accident insurance can also help get your pet covered more quickly, although there is a 14-day waiting period for illnesses.

    (Video) Pet Insurance 👉 Is it REALLY worth it?? 🤔 Here's the sad truth...

  • application available


  • excellent characteristics

    Embrace offers the option of an unlimited annual coverage limit. It also offers coverage for non-invasive treatments such as chiropractic, hydrotherapy and acupuncture.

An advantage

  • Unlimited annual coverage is available
  • A shorter waiting period of two days for accident coverage
  • Available in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


  • Accident and sickness cover is limited to pets under 15 years of age
  • There is no possibility of social security

How much does pet insurance cost?

The average cat owner spent about $32 a month on personal injury and illness insurance in 2022, while the average dog owner spent about $53 a month on the same insurance, according to the dataInsurance Information Institute.

However, the price of pet insurance varies depending on the type of pet you are insuring, the breed, the age of your pet, the type of coverage you get and the limits you choose, and your location. It's worth noting that senior pet insurance is more expensive, and pet insurance premiums can go up as your pet ages.

Signs that pet insurance could be a smart move

While there are numerous situations where pet insurance makes sense, here are two of the most common scenarios where you should seriously consider purchasing a policy:

You don't have a very big emergency fund.

You tooemergency fundIf you're strapped and worried about paying a potentially high vet bill, it might make sense to get pet insurance. Pet insurance can help pay the costs in the long run if your pet needs urgent and expensive veterinary care.

Although experts recommend keeping itthree to six months of expensesavailable for unexpected situations such as pet injury or illness, this is not always possible. Pet insurance can help you fill that gap while you work to build an emergency fund orsavings.

Your pet is relatively young and healthy.

It fitslife insurance, pet insurance is usually the cheapest to buy when the coverage is young and healthy. This is also where you can get insurance with the most benefits, as your pet may not yet have developed chronic diseases that could be ruled out as pre-existing conditions.

Pets can often be enrolled in pet insurance starting at seven or eight weeks of age, but some pet insurance companies have higher age limits.

(Video) First Year With Pet Insurance, Is It Worth It? Here's EVERYTHING You Need To Know!

What does pet insurance not cover?

Before you take out new insurance for your pet, it's worth paying attention to the things your policy doesn't cover. Since every pet insurance policy is a little different, reading the fine print can help you get a better idea of ​​the coverage.

What your particular policy excludes will be set out in your policy documents and exclusions may vary from company to company. Some of the more common situations not covered by most policies include:

pre-existing conditions

Pet insurance almost never covers conditions your pet already had before you applied for insurance. For example, if your pet had a chronic condition such as diabetes before you enrolled, your pet insurance policy may not cover the costs associated with that condition.

Wellness visits and routine expenses

A standard accident or accident and illness policy will generally exclude routine expenses such as annual vet visits, vaccinations or other expenses.

While there are policies that cover things like routine vet visits and vaccinations, these usually come at an extra cost. Several of our best pet insurance policies offer medical coverage. However, wellness plans increase your costs, and it may make more sense to pay those costs without the help of insurance.

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The point

Whether pet insurance is the right move for your pet and your wallet is a very individual choice. However, knowing what pet insurance would exclude and having a good understanding of your financial situation can help you make an informed decision.

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Editor's note:The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the Select editorial staff and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


Is pet insurance worth it? Here's what you need to know before you buy coverage? ›

The bottom line. Pet insurance is often worth getting for cats and dogs, whether they're young or old. To get the most value out of a plan, however, owners should apply early when costs will be lower and coverage options will be more robust. But don't necessarily sign up with the first provider you get a quote from.

Is it OK to not have pet insurance? ›

If you aren't worried about how to pay for a large vet bill, your dog doesn't need insurance. But the cost of a vet visit can add up quickly and pet insurance can reduce what you pay in veterinarian bills, which can give you peace of mind.

How does pet insurance know about pre existing conditions? ›

How do pet insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions? Many pet insurance companies will require a veterinary examination or medical history review before covering your pet. These reviews are intended to identify any pre-existing conditions that the insurance company won't cover.

What makes pet insurance more expensive? ›

Premiums may vary significantly based on your pet's age and breed, the cost of veterinary care where you live and the insurance policy you choose. Be aware that rates tend to increase as your pet gets older and more prone to health issues.

At what age should you take out pet insurance? ›

That cutoff age is typically between seven and 14 years. It's also more expensive to insure an older dog. That's why many experts typically recommend that you start insuring your pet when they're still a puppy or a kitten.

Is it worth getting your dog insured? ›

The bottom line

Pet insurance is often worth getting for cats and dogs, whether they're young or old. To get the most value out of a plan, however, owners should apply early when costs will be lower and coverage options will be more robust. But don't necessarily sign up with the first provider you get a quote from.

How important is it to have pet insurance? ›

Like other types of insurance, pet insurance works by transferring the economic risk of having to pay for all of your pet's medical expenses in exchange for paying a premium. Pet insurance should be purchased to transfer the risk of unexpected and unanticipated medical expenses that could be very expensive.

What counts as a pre-existing condition? ›

A health problem, like asthma, diabetes, or cancer, you had before the date that new health coverage starts. Insurance companies can't refuse to cover treatment for your pre-existing condition or charge you more.

Can I get pet insurance if my dog is already sick? ›

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.

Can you use pet insurance retroactively? ›

Can I Get Retroactive Pet Insurance? No, you cannot purchase pet insurance and have it be effective beginning on a date that has already passed.

Which level of pet insurance is the best? ›

Lifetime policies offer the highest level of coverage for your pet. Lifetime policies typically cover both accidents and illnesses and the amount of money you can use each year resets every time you renew the policy.

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

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.

Is pet insurance tax deductible? ›

Veterinary bills, pet insurance, food, supplies, training, grooming, boarding, and transportation costs are all examples of pet expenses you can write off on taxes. However, you can only claim pets on taxes if they meet certain criteria, such as contributing to income or serving a medical need.

Should I tell my home insurance I have a dog? ›

Yes, you should definitely notify your insurer when you get a dog. If you don't let your insurance company know about the dog and it bites someone, your liability claim will likely be denied and the insurance company may even have the grounds to cancel your policy altogether.

What percentage of dogs are insured? ›

About half, or 44.6%, of pet owners stated they currently have pet insurance in our survey. On a larger scale, NAPHIA's 2022 State of the Industry Report found that more than 4.41 million pets were insured in North America in 2021, up from 3.45 million in 2020.

Why do people take out pet insurance? ›

Pet insurance exists to protect you against unexpected costs related to your pet, such as vet bills. Find out how pet insurance works, what to look for, how much it might cost and some of the other things to consider if you're thinking about buying a policy.

Can you be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition? ›

Yes. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can't refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a “pre-existing condition” — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts. They also can't charge women more than men.

How far back does pre-existing condition last? ›

In California, group health plans can limit or exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions for adults (age 19 and older) for up to six months from the date coverage begins.

Does a pre-existing condition have to be diagnosed? ›

A pre-existing condition is a health issue that required diagnosis or treatment prior to an applicants' enrollment in a health plan.

Can I get pet insurance before taking dog to vet? ›

I recommend getting pet insurance BEFORE ever bringing the pet in for an exam. In my experience, owners with pet insurance are able to make decisions based on expected prognosis rather than cost when they know that some or all of the veterinary care is covered.

Does pet insurance cover UTI? ›

Illnesses. With illness coverage, you can get reimbursed for the eligible costs of major and minor illnesses, such as cancer, arthritis, hypothyroidism, ear infections, digestive problems, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Are heart murmurs covered by pet insurance? ›

Can I insure my pet if they have a heart murmur? Pets with heart murmurs certainly can and should still be insured. Any issue that comes up in the future that is directly related to the murmur would not be covered; however, depending on the type of murmur, some cardiac conditions could still be covered.

Does pet insurance cover MRI scans? ›

A comprehensive pet insurance plan would usually include all the diagnostic tests such as MRIs and CT Scans for detection of neurological or musculoskeletal conditions. Included in the policy documentation, you will find all the details about what things and tests are covered in the insurance plan.

Does pet insurance cover flea medication? ›

Most pet insurance providers don't cover flea and tick prevention in their base plans. Insurers see preventive care as an expected monthly cost pet parents can plan for, rather than an unpredictable expense they may need help covering. However, many companies offer preventive care add-ons for an extra monthly fee.

Does pet insurance cover ultrasounds? ›

Does Pet Insurance Cover Ultrasounds? Ultrasounds for eligible accidents and illnesses are covered by pet insurance as long as they aren't for pre-existing conditions. If the ultrasound is required due to pregnancy, it's most likely excluded since pet insurance doesn't cover pregnancy.

What is the pre-existing condition waiting period? ›

What Is the Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Period? The pre-existing condition exclusion period is a health insurance provision that limits or excludes benefits for a period of time. The determination is based on the policyholder having a medical condition prior to enrolling in a health plan.

Why do home insurance companies ask if you have a dog? ›

Home insurance companies evaluate a range of criteria when determining rates, including how likely the policyholder is to make expensive liability claims for dog bites. Many insurance companies ask for your dog's breed when deciding whether to offer you homeowners insurance or when calculating the rate to charge you.

What if pre-existing conditions are not declared? ›

So if the insurance company learns about your pre-existing diseases in future, the policy will become null & void and the insurer will have the right to reject your health insurance claim. This would imply that you paid the premium amount for nothing.

What is the 6 24 pre-existing condition exclusion? ›

A Pre-Existing Condition is excluded from coverage for period of [6-24] months following the Covered Person's Rider Effective Date. If the Covered Person is Diagnosed with a condition listed in this rider that is determined to be a Pre-Existing Condition, no benefit amount is payable for that listed condition.

What is the difference between existing and pre-existing conditions? ›

Suppose you've had diabetes for three years, and you want to switch to another health insurance policy. Do you have an “existing condition” or a “pre-existing” condition? They're the same thing.

What does 12 months for pre-existing conditions mean? ›

What is the Waiting Period for Pre-Existing Conditions? Under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, a health insurer may impose a 12 month waiting period on benefits for hospital treatment for pre-existing conditions.

What is the usual minimum waiting period for a pre-existing condition under a Medicare? ›

Be aware that under federal law, Medigap policy insurers can refuse to cover your prior medical conditions for the first six months. A prior or pre-existing condition is a condition or illness you were diagnosed with or were treated for before new health care coverage began.

What dog breeds make homeowners insurance go up? ›

According to, “Dog breeds that are typically associated with higher insurance premiums include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, and wolf-dog hybrids.” adds Chows, Great Danes, Presa Canarios, and Alaskan Malamutes to their list.

What should be included in dog insurance? ›

These can include (but are not limited to): the type of policy; age of your pet; your pet's health; claims or treatment history; where you live; purchase price; the breed of your pet; and if it is male or female. Claims costs and the amount vets charge for treatment can also impact premiums.


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