Is Pet Insurance Worth It?


A few years ago, a domestic cat named Fawkes consumed part of a lily plant leaf. The owner, Elizabeth Newsom-Stewart, who was a veterinary student at Cornell University, knew exactly the danger the cat was in. She immediately rushed him to an animal clinic.

“Some lily plants are toxic to cats” she says, and may cause kidney failure. “Symptoms can take 12 to 24 hours to show. By the time kidney failure occurs, it’s almost always fatal.”

After it was all said and done, the emergency treatment cost $1,783, which included three days in intensive care. Fortunately, Newsom-Stewart bought pet insurance three months before the incident and it covered $1,327 of the bill. Fawkes has fully recovered and is now a four-year-old health kitty.

A serious hospitalization can take a financial toll on anyone, even when the patient is a pet. A lot of insurance companies in the US have already been offering pet insurance to people who are worried about their beloved dogs or cats getting seriously sick or injured.

Pet insurance is sold to pet owners with the promise to cover most of the expenses of medical treatments. Although it will give pet owners peace of mind, the question is, is pet insurance worth it?

According to statistics, there are more than 1.4 million pets in North America that were covered by pet insurance at the end of 2014. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association claimed that the numbers are expected to double at the end of this year. Nonetheless, the number is only less than 1 percent of the total domestic cats and dogs.

There are already a good number of insurance companies who are offering pet insurance led by ASPCA (through Hartville), Embrace, Healthy Paws, PetFirst, Petplan, and Trupanion. Most of them only cover cats and dogs but Nationwide, which is was formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance, also include birds, rabbits, snakes, turtles, and other animals in their coverage.

Pet insurance is just like people insurance. It comes with deductibles, premiums, and co-payments; however, you are most likely to pay the vet bills in full and wait for reimbursement, which is far way different from people coverage. However, there is already a company called Trupanion, which can release payments directly to the animal hospital on the day of service.

Most pet insurance coverage can go as high as $15,000; however, most companies also offer $5,000, $8,000 and $10,000 yearly maximum amount coverage without an annual ceiling.

Just like people insurance, pet insurance also has a limitation when it comes to coverage. Almost all policies exclude breed-specific conditions and pre-existing conditions. However, there are policies that cover all sickness but they will charge you more to cover them.

Pet Insurance Coverage

Pet owners can choose from a variety of policies. You can pick a plan that covers as injuries caused by motor vehicles, accidents, and illness that includes arthritis, cancer, and colitis. There is also a pet insurance that offers wellness coverage including annual exams, flea and tick treatments, and vaccinations.

According to the insurance trade group, pet owners will pay an average of $450 to $500 for dogs and around $300 for cats for a year of pet insurance coverage. However, Accident-only will cost pet owners $158 and $132, respectively.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

As a pet owner, you will have to think about the possibilities of a pet hospitalization because of a serious medical condition. Vet charges along with medications most often will not come cheap. Pet insurance will surely give any pet owner a peace of mind; however, you will have to thoroughly plan your expenses before getting a policy.

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