Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Written By Dr. Liza Cahn, DVM
Last updated December 1, 2022

Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.

Pet Insurance
November 29, 2022

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

When it comes to one’s pets, we like to think the sky is the limit when it comes their health and happiness. But unfortunately, most do have a cap on what they’re willing to spend on pet care. So it does beg the question, is pet insurance a cost-effective way to budget for veterinary care? Below are number of points to consider prior to purchasing coverage:

Purebred dogs tend to have more health issues than mixed-breed dogs. For example, pugs and french bulldogs are more prone to allergies and possible breathing issues, which in turn can easily mean costly vet visits. In this instance, pet insurance may be worth the premium. Due to the fact that these specialty breeds have more health concerns, it’s important to get your coverage as soon as you acquire your new pet. When in question, research possible health concerns associated with your chosen breed prior to forgoing coverage.

Now, this isn’t to say that pet insurance can’t be beneficial for your lab-pit-hound mix, but statistically speaking, purebred dogs tend to have more health-related issues which directly translates to more money out of your pocket.

Several experts say that most pet owners pay the most in veterinary bills during the dog/cat’s early and late years. A pet’s middle years tend to be their healthiest and easiest on an owner’s wallet. Therefore, purchasing a plan when your dog is a puppy and scaling back on the coverage during their middle years (and ramping up the coverage in their senior years) may be a good savings option. Make sure you keep continuous coverage; a lapse may result in increased premiums and/or a pre-existing clause, costing you a lot more in the long run.

Consumer advocates tend to recommend a pet emergency savings account over pet insurance, setting aside a certain amount to go towards vet bills should an accident or injury arise. However, pet insurance advocates disagree, posing the question for pet owners, what if your dog gets sick after only two months of saving? But consumer advocates still state that if your pet is generally healthy, pet insurance isn’t worth it, but of course that is only if you are willing to gamble.

All pet insurance plans are different, and coverage varies from minimal to supreme. Some plans even cover preventive care, which includes vaccinations and wellness checks, but the monthly premium on these plans aren’t cheap. Before purchasing a preventive plan, run the numbers. How much will annual check-ups and vaccinations costs as opposed to your premium? Most experts agree this type of plan is a waste of money, and pet owners should be able to budget for annual costs. The most popular plans tend to be the most moderate ones, both in their price and their coverage. Covering accidental illness and injury, depending on your annual deductible, monthly premiums tend to hover around $30 a month.

If pet insurance is a good option for you and your furry family member, keep these tips in mind when purchasing coverage:
  1. Purchase the coverage early on, when your dog or cat is considered a puppy or kitten. This will lock in your premium and avoid any “preterm condition” clauses.
  2. Insurance for the unexpected. Plan to purchase insurance that covers accidental illness or injury versus a comprehensive plan.
  3. Choose the highest deductible you can reasonably afford. In doing so you will reduce your monthly premium.

At the end of the day insurance is designed to protect the consumer from huge financial loss. A pet insurance plan is designed to do just that.

About the Author

Dr. Liza Cahn, DVM

Following her graduation from MSU CVM in 2013, Liz worked in small animal practices for five years. She enjoyed educating owners about veterinary medicine, particularly animal behavior and dermatology, as well as working with cats and dogs. In order to spend more time with her husband, two children, and two cats, she switched to remote work. She's excited about combining her passion for writing and her passion for veterinary medicine.

  • No comments yet. Be the first to get the conversation started. Here's some food for thought:

    Do you have any thoughts?

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *