Pet owners

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

    Many factors go into being a responsible pet owner, from making sure your furry friend gets enough attention and exercise to keeping them properly fed and groomed.

    But those are only the basics that pet owners need to consider.

    Another key aspect of good pet care is taking the steps needed to keep your pets as healthy as possible by having the resources to afford adequate veterinary care.

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    Every day, beloved pets across the US take a trip to the vet, whether for annual checkups or to seek treatment for serious illnesses.

    Unfortunately, quality veterinary care can be expensive, especially for pets that need serious medical attention, and vet visits can quickly add up to major bills that pet owners maybe able to afford.

    Thankfully, PetScreening is here to explore the nature of pet insurance and help you answer one critical question;

    Is pet insurance worth it?

    What is pet insurance, and why is it important?

    Just like us, our beloved pets can get sick or injured and require costly medical care to recover. 

    And just like health insurance helps us cover the costs of our medical treatments, pet insurance helps pet owners cover the high costs of certain veterinary expenses for their animals. 

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    While routine care like checkups and vaccination updates for pets aren't too costly, treatment for major injuries, chronic conditions, and other serious issues typically come with a high price tag.

    Depending on the kind of vet care someone’s pet needs, the costs can easily exceed several hundred or even several thousand dollars, like in the case of emergency surgery, prolonged treatments for long-lasting conditions, or severe dental issues.

    Without coverage from a quality pet insurance policy, many pet owners couldn’t afford the treatments their animals need to survive or live quality lives.

    In some cases, pet owners may even need to put their animals down because their illnesses or injuries are too severe to live with without proper treatment.

    Thankfully, signing up for a top-quality pet insurance policy can help significantly reduce or even outright negate a lot of the unexpected medical costs involved with veterinary treatment for your pet.

    What is and isn’t covered under pet insurance?

    There are generally two types of pet insurance that people can purchase as protection against unexpected vet costs: accident-only policies and comprehensive policies

    Of the two, accident-only pet insurance only provides coverage for vet expenses related to accidents, including swallowed objects, torn ligaments, accidental poisoning, and bites from insects or other animals.

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    Comprehensive pet insurance, on the other hand, is exactly what the name implies. 

    It offers a much wider range of coverage benefits for pet owners and helps pay for the same issues as accident-only coverage alongside:

    • Chronic illnesses
    • Broken bones
    • Infections
    • Dental illnesses and diseases
    • Hereditary or breed-specific issues
    • Diagnostic and emergency care
    • Surgery and hospitalizations
    • Medications

    Comprehensive pet insurance policies also typically provide coverage for general pet wellness, which may include standard vet examinations, vaccinations, and preventative care.  

    That said, it’s essential to note that comprehensive pet insurance doesn’t cover everything. While this can vary depending on the individual plan you purchase, coverage doesn’t usually include things like:

    Because every pet insurance policy is unique, it’s important to talk to an insurance agent and review the conditions of your policy carefully to see what it does and doesn't cover.

    What does pet insurance cost?

    Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to know exactly how much you’ll pay for pet insurance each month before talking with your chosen pet insurance provider or outright signing up for a policy.

    Though you can know right off the bat that you’ll likely pay more for pet insurance if you have a dog instead of a cat.

    A pet insurance cost infographic.
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    The total cost of pet insurance can vary significantly between individual providers and policies. The cost also depends on several other factors, including:

    • The type (species) and breed of pet you have
    • Your pet’s age
    • Where you live
    • The type of policy you purchase (accident-only vs. comprehensive)
    • How you customize your policy
    • Whether you qualify for any pet insurance discounts 

    Based on these factors, a pet owner’s monthly premiums for pet insurance can range, on average, from only $9 to as much as $90 or more. However, most people end up paying between $20 and $50 per month.

    At the high end, that’ll cost pet owners around $600 per year. While that may seem like a lot, it’s minimal compared to the thousands of dollars often seen in unexpected vet bills.

    How do deductibles, reimbursements, and coverage limits impact pet insurance?

    Like with human medical insurance, most pet insurance policies feature an annual deductible that pet owners will need to pay each year before the insurance will start covering vet costs.

    For example, say your pet insurance policy has a deductible of $550. In that case, you’d have to pay that $550 out of pocket every year before your provider starts to reimburse you for additional vet expenses. 

    Also, like other insurance policy types, pet insurance policies feature coverage limit caps

    In short, coverage limits are the total amount of money the policy will reimburse you for before it won't pay for anything else in a year.

    For example, say your dog accidentally gets injured and requires $15,000 worth of emergency surgeries, but your pet insurance policy is only for $10,000. Unfortunately, you’d need to pay the additional $5,000 yourself by other means.

    You’d also be on the hook for whatever your policy deductible is if you haven’t already covered it that year.

    The real costs of vet care for your pets

    Unfortunately, the average price of veterinary care for pets has increased significantly over the past several decades due to inflation, much like the cost of human medical care.

    Pet owners should naturally expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars annually on vet costs for standard services, including examinations and vaccinations. These are part of the baseline costs involved in pet ownership, after all.

    That said, there are a lot of potential illnesses and issues that pets can suddenly encounter, which can trigger some unexpectedly big vet bills.

    A pet insurance claim infographic.
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    For example, many pets develop issues related to skin and gastrointestinal problems alongside infections and other common illnesses, which can cost a lot to treat.

    But the costs rise even further once more serious or even downright life-threatening issues unexpectedly come into play. Some common examples include:

    • Wound treatment or repair ($800-$2,500)
    • Multi-day hospitalizations ($600-$3,500)
    • Emergency surgery ($1,500-$5,000)
    • Oxygen therapy ($500-$3,000)

    Other treatments for things like cancer can cost several thousand dollars, depending on if the animal is a cat or a dog and whether they’re a large or small dog breed

    Even if initial treatment is successful, there’s always the chance that cancer will come back and require further medical intervention. 

    Treatments are especially expensive if they require multiple surgeries, chemotherapy rounds, or clinical trials. 

    The expansion of pet insurance in the US

    Because of the steady increase in the average cost of vet bills over the years, the number of pet owners who purchase pet insurance is also increasing. 

    For example, between 2017 and 2021, the average annual growth rate for insured pets was around 21.5%. In total, the US saw a 28.3% increase in the total number of insured pets in 2021, accounting for 3,979,282 individual pets. 

    Infographic of dog pet insurance.
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    During this period, dogs have consistently made up the largest population of insured pets at 81.7%, compared to cats at only 18.3%.

    According to reports for the pet insurance industry, nearly 4.41 million pets were covered under a pet insurance policy in the United States and Canada at the end of 2021.

    Reports also indicate that the number of insured pets will likely rise further in the coming years.

    How to choose a quality pet insurance provider 

    Much like how there are plenty of great human healthcare providers for people to choose from, pet owners also have their pick of the litter when it comes to top-quality pet insurance providers.

    That said, the sheer number of great pet insurance companies can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never chosen a pet health policy before. Thankfully, we’ve pulled together a short list of some of the best pet insurance providers out there!

    If you want to sign up for pet insurance this year, we recommend looking through the different policies offered by:

    As with selecting any insurance provider or an individual plan, it’s often a good idea to “shop around” to see what different companies have to offer. That way, you can locate the best policy to meet your unique financial needs.

    Don’t be afraid to meet with an insurance agent from your chosen company to review policy options in detail, especially if you have a pet other than a dog or cat that needs quality coverage.

    The more you know about the policy you select and the coverage it provides, the more you can rest easy with the knowledge you can afford the best care possible for your pet.

    Pet insurance alternatives

    Pet insurance is a fantastic option for pet owners who want to avoid the devastating cost of sudden large vet bills. 

    However, there are also several pet insurance alternatives that people can leverage to help pay for unexpected veterinary expenses. They can also help compensate for any expenses that go over the policy limit of whatever pet insurance they may have. 

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    For example, many veterinarians offer payment plans that let pet owners pay off their larger bills over an extended period. There are also plenty of nonprofits and fundraisers pet owners can reach out to for additional help with vet bills.

    Additionally, pet owners can also rely on credit cards or any available savings they may have to cover veterinary expenses. However, these methods aren’t ones everyone can (or should) rely on.

    In extreme cases, vet owners can also acquire financing assistance from banks or other lending institutions in the form of loans to cover vet bills.

    Key takeaway: is pet insurance worth it?

    As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to ensure you can provide your pet with the medical care they need whenever they may need it, even if it’s a large and unexpected expense.

    Pet insurance can make that easier by offering pet owners quality coverage that helps reduce the veterinary costs for treatments, medications, surgeries, and much more. 

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    Given the relatively low monthly cost of pet insurance policies and the immense amount of money they can save you over time, pet insurance is definitely worth getting, especially when your pets are still young and healthy.

    By getting a quality policy early on, you can rest easy knowing your pet will have the coverage they need as they age and their likelihood of illness and injury increases.

    Therefore, if you want to ensure your precious pet always has access to the quality medical care they need and deserve, be sure to sign up for a top-quality pet insurance plan!

    Let PetScreening help make responsible pet care easy

    As a responsible pet owner, you know that taking care of a pet often involves a lot more than walks, playtime, and making sure they have enough kibble in their bowl.

    Sadly, there are times when our pets get sick or injured and need the help of a qualified medical professional to recover. Because of this, you have to make sure you can pcover their vet visits and treatments, even if they’re expensive.

    Thankfully, pet insurance can help you avoid the struggle of major unexpected vet bills for a low monthly cost.  

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    Consider signing up for a policy today, and then take a moment to create a personal pet profile at PetScreening to make all of your future vet visits even more of a breeze!

    Also, don’t forget to explore our specially curated Bark Library to access more great pet information, or schedule a demo of our other services to learn about our pet management system for landlords and tenants.