Is Pet Insurance Worth It And What Companies Are The Best?

Is Pet Insurance Worth It And What Companies Are The Best?

When you bring home your new German shepherd puppy for the first time, you’re looking forward to raising a happy, healthy dog. You’re excited about all the adventures you’ll share and all the places you’ll travel together.

One place that you don’t want to go to very often is your veterinarian’s office. Other than routine care, you hope that you can avoid the vet for the most part and that your dog won’t need to go very often.

But now is the time to ask yourself, if your dog gets sick or hurt, how will you pay for it?

If you have money saved up to cover an emergency illness or injury that’s great. But what about long-term or chronic care? Surgery? Radiology? Chemotherapy? These are the things to consider when you first get your puppy.

If you don’t have a way of paying for your dog’s medical expenses, you probably need to budget for pet health insurance. If you want to keep your savings in the bank, you might also want to buy pet insurance.

Pet insurance is one of those things that you hope you never need but if you do need it and don’t have it, you may regret it. However, Care Credit or a credit card are also options to help you cover vet bills but don’t offer any reimbursement.

If you choose not to buy health insurance for your dog, you’re not alone. In 2020, out of 135 million dogs and cats living in homes, only 3.1 million had pet insurance. The question is, do you want to be or can you afford to be that person who doesn’t have pet health insurance?

What is Pet Insurance Anyway?

Pet insurance is designed to help with the costs of your vet bills, especially the most expensive and unexpected ones. Each plan is different and there are a couple of different kinds of pet insurance you can buy.

Although similar to human insurance, most pet insurance policies don’t cover routine care, such as checkups, vaccines, and dental care. However, some companies offer wellness plans that will cover routine care for an extra monthly fee.

Another way that pet insurance differs from human insurance is that you usually have to pay your vet bill up front and then wait for reimbursement from the insurance company. Which is a good reason to start a pet savings account for your dog or have a credit card set aside for unexpected vet bills.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

As mentioned, each plan is different but there are two major types of pet insurance. One is accident only and the other is accident and illness.

1. Accident
2. Accident and Illness

Accident only is exactly what it sounds like-it covers unexpected injuries resulting from accidents. Such as accidental poisonings, car accidents, broken bones, cuts, swallowing things, falling down the stairs, and the like. These policies usually cover diagnostics as well as treatment, including surgery.

Accident insurance is great because it covers unexpected accidents that have injured your pet. Usually, they are unexpected emergencies and can quickly get very expensive. But what about an illness?

That is where an accident and illness policy can help. Accident and illness policies cover accidents and illnesses such as bloat, allergies, infections, arthritis, diabetes, hip dysplasia, joint disease, cancer, and much more.

By adding a wellness plan to your policy, you may also be reimbursed for vaccines and routine care, and even spaying and neutering. But wellness plans do cost extra and are not really insurance plans so you need to ask yourself if the extra monthly fee is worth it to you.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The monthly premium for pet insurance will vary depending on the plan, the company you buy it from, and the coverage, etc. For a puppy, the average price for accident insurance is about $15-$20 a month. An accident and illness plan will cost you about $30-$50 a month, and a wellness plan is about $20-$50 a month. However, keep in mind, as pets age, the cost can go up.

There are also some additional factors that go into how much your plan will cost each month, they are:

• Deductible (the higher the deductible the lower the premium; may have a deductible per condition).
• Reimbursement rate (the percent of the bill you are reimbursed for, usually 70%-90%, depending on the plan you choose).
• Coverage cap (the max the plan will cover per year).
• Breed of dog (companies may charge a higher fee for certain breeds with hereditary health issues, such as hip dysplasia in German shepherds).
• Where you live
• Pet’s age (plan may go up as your pet ages and most companies won’t sell a new policy to an older dog without exclusions).

How Do I Buy Pet Health Insurance?

The first thing to decide is how much you can afford each month, what kind of coverage you need, and how much you want to be reimbursed should you use it. In other words, how much can you afford to spend if your dog has a large vet bill or needs expensive ongoing care vs your monthly dog budget?

After you decide, shop around, talk to your friends, and talk to your vet about what companies they like best. Keep in mind that it is easier and cheaper to buy pet insurance for a healthy puppy than for an adult dog.

Another reason to buy pet insurance while your dog is a puppy is that companies don’t cover preexisting conditions. So, if you wait to buy and your pet gets hurt or develops a chronic health problem, it may be too late to get insurance in the future.

However, if your pet has a simple health problem like an ear infection or other treatable problems, you can usually buy insurance without exclusions but be sure to ask before you sign the contract.

Another thing to be aware of is that some plans have a waiting period before they begin coverage and may have a longer waiting period for hereditary issues or orthopedic problems, such as knees or hips.

So, make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying to avoid surprises down the road. You’ll want to know what your plan will cover as well as any exclusions it may have.
Coverages to verify include:

• Can you choose who will care for your dog
• Follow-up care/appointments
• Routine exams
• Vaccines
• Lab work, fecal and blood, etc.
• Radiology (MRI, CT scan, X-rays, ultrasound, etc.)
• Surgery
• Emergencies
• Hospital care, overnight, ICU
• Specialty care (referrals to a specialist)
• Physical therapy
• Chronic conditions
• Ligaments
• Orthopedics
• Prescriptions
• Chiropractic acupuncture
• Dental
• Euthanasia
• Travel expenses
• Verify limitations, exclusions, preexisting conditions, and waiting periods
• Multi-pet discounts
• Breed-specific limitations

What are the Best Pet Insurance Companies?

The best company is a personal decision and will vary by your budget, needs, where you live, if they cover the types of problems your pet has, and if they work with your vet. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides this list of companies they recommend to help get you started:


AKC Pet Insurance

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Best Friends Pet Insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance

Figo Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws



PetFirst Healthcare

Pets Best






Other companies to check out include:


CarePlus by Chewy

Banfield Pet Hospitals

Ultimately, pet insurance is up to you. Since vet bills and treatment can be very expensive, it’s important to consider when owning a dog. We can’t guarantee any of these companies and we’re sure we’ve missed some good ones so be sure to talk to your vet about whom they’ve had good experiences with or any that they might even bill on your behalf.

We hope you found this information helpful and that if you do protect your dog by buying insurance, you never need it. But if you do, we’re glad your pet will get the great care they deserve while protecting your budget.

As always, please share with your friends.

You may also like: 7 Tips To Help You Care For A Senior Dog

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