Do You Need Pet Insurance?

sticky note with reminder to buy pet insurance

Pet insurance can be a great tool to avoid the burden of unexpectedly high pet expense. In exchange for a little bit of money upfront each month, your pet insurance policy may share or cover completely certain expenses.

There are two main types of pet insurance:

  1. Pet health insurance is typically the type of insurance people first think about in considering pet insurance. Pet Health insurance comes in a variety of forms that can cover both routine and unexpected pet medical expenses.
  2. Pet liability coverage. Pet Liability coverage is a common add-on to homeowners and renters insurance policies that provide you a way to cover your legal risk in case your pet ever causes injuries or property damage to other people.

Pet Health Insurance Coverage Options

Pet parents have numerous ways to customize pet health insurance coverage to meet their needs. The first step is to decide which type of pet health insurance you want.

  1. Accident-only pet health coverage allows you to use your policy to help pay for a treatment that results from an accident. Such accidents might include your dog getting bit by another dog at the dog park or accidentally jumping up onto the table to devour those chocolate brownies you left on the table to cool. Due to the limited scope of scenarios in which these policies kick in, accident-only pet health insurance plans are typically the most affordable pet health insurance option.
  2. Comprehensive pet health coverage helps pay for accident related expenses as well as illnesses like vomiting, infections, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and a variety of other conditions. It covers the cost of diagnosing those conditions, as well as the procedures and medication to treat them.
  3. Preventative care and wellness pet health coverage allows you to use your policy to cover the cost of routine medical exams, tests, and vaccinations. This is particularly useful for new puppy parents and/or pet parents who plan to bring in their pets for routine vet visits every year.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pricing for pet insurance policies is driven primarily by where you live and the type of pet you have.

  • Where You Live: coverage is more expensive in more densely populated areas, and in areas where pet vet visits and medical bills are typically more expensive (e.g., New York City)
  • Species: dogs are more expensive to insure than cats, and certain exotic animals may not be insurable at all by some carriers.
  • Breed: larger breeds are generally more expensive to insure than smaller ones, as are breeds prone to certain chronic conditions like mastiffs or bulldogs
  • Age: older pets are more expensive to insure than younger ones

Depending on those factors and the type of coverage options you choose, monthly premiums for pet health insurance can range from as little as $10 to more than $100 per month. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, most people can generally expect to pay between $30-50 per month for comprehensive pet coverage.

bar graph of accident-only and accident and illness pet insurance cost