Do I Need Pet Insurance?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Pet insurance is an option for many pet owners which can increase their peace of mind while reducing veterinary bills. Since the cost of veterinary care is increasing, thanks to immense advances in animal medicine, pet insurance ensures that pet owners can afford expensive and unexpected health care procedures for their pets. As is the case with any type of insurance, the decision to purchase pet insurance should be accompanied with a careful cost/benefit analysis, and pet owners should shop around for the best policy.

A pet insurance agreement.
A pet insurance agreement.

The first thing to determine when looking at a policy is what exactly the policy covers. Some only cover catastrophic medical care, for example, while others also cover routine procedures like vaccinations and altering. The pet insurance also may or may not cover prescriptions and other aspects of routine care. In addition, many policies have a yearly or lifetime cap on payout, meaning that pet owners may end up paying out of pocket for costly conditions.

Pet insurance can help reduce the cost of veterinarian bills.
Pet insurance can help reduce the cost of veterinarian bills.

While looking at a plan, find out what the monthly payments and deductibles are. Some insurance for pets has an annual deductible, while others deduct on a per-event basis, and almost all plans have a co-pay. Pet owners should also be aware that one of the major cons of pet insurance is that pet owners must pay out of pocket for procedures and then submit reimbursement paperwork. Depending on the policy, the insurer may or may not cover the procedure, and it generally only covers a percentage.

It is possible to spend a hefty sum on pet insurance and not require that much veterinary care beyond routine procedures. If the plan happens to be a catastrophe-only pet insurance plan, pet owners might view that as a substantial loss. On the other hand, an animal could also require multiple surgeries, expensive medications, or other expensive treatments over its lifetime. By purchasing pet insurance, owners can make choices based on the best option for the pet, rather than the bottom line financially.

As with human insurance, pet insurance will not usually cover pre-existing conditions. Therefore, people who want to buy pet insurance should try to do it early, as older pets can be prone to health problems. Some pets, especially purebreds, are also genetically predisposed to certain problems, and these may or may not be covered. Many pet insurance plans also do not cover cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death in pets. When buying pet insurance, find out if an additional cancer rider can be purchased, to ensure that all eventualities are covered.

Pet insurance is generally a sound financial choice for pet owners who would be willing to go to great lengths to care for their pets. It should, however, be paired with responsible pet ownership, in an attempt to keep an animal healthy with preventative care. As with any insurance, pet insurance is ultimately a gamble, and people should consider whether they think the overall cost of the insurance is worth the benefits provided. People who are considering pet insurance should be aware that it does not often cover complementary care such as behavioral training, acupuncture for pets, and similar procedures.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Your article is misleading: no type of insurance is a gamble. Insurance *lowers* your risk by passing it off to someone else, gambling *raises* your risk because you spend money to participate in the upside.

You should buy insurance for potentially expensive, unplanned, undesirable events.


if you own a cat or dog, then pet insurance is needed.

Post your comments
Forgot password?