Do I Need Pet Insurance?

Your cats and dogs are members of the family. When they have an illness, you do whatever it takes to give them the care they deserve. As with other family members, you can budget for your pet’s routine and preventive care. When an accident or unexpected illness occurs, it can be emotionally draining and financially disruptive.

Pet insurance is one popular option for handling your pet’s unexpected medical bills. There are many plans with flexible coverage options. It could be a valuable addition to your family insurance program. To decide if it’s right for you, you must look at the benefits vs the price.

What is pet insurance?

It’s health insurance for your cat or dog. Like human health policies, pet insurance covers medical bills for conditions described in the policy.

Some policies cover accidents only while others cover numerous medical conditions. All pet policies exclude routine and preventive care and conditions that existed before you purchased the insurance policy. Conditions are excluded as pre-existing if symptoms occurred before the policy inception date even if there was no formal diagnosis.

How do pet insurance companies calculate your premium?

Pet insurance provides benefits that are similar to human health coverage. They rate policies based on specific factors.

  • Your pet’s traits such as breed and age
  • The coverage amount: varies
  • Your annual deductible: $100 to $1,000 per year
  • The co-pay: 10%, 20%, 30%
  • Your location

While you can’t change a dog’s breed or age, you can increase your deductible or co-pay for a more affordable premium.

“Accident only” policies

Pet policy premiums are less expensive when you purchase “accident only” coverage. These types of policies pay only for injuries caused by accidental occurrences. You should understand your insurance company’s definition of “accident” and know what’s covered before you buy a policy.


Most pet insurance carriers do not pre-approve treatment. They reimburse you after your pet has received medical care and you have paid the bill.

Coverage waiting periods

Some pet insurance policies have a 15-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. This minimizes the chances of an owner purchasing coverage for a pet with a newly diagnosed condition.

Is it worth the cost?

Depending on your policy options, pet insurance premiums can range from $6 to $100. As you consider whether or not it’s worth the price, think of it the way you think of homeowners, auto, life, and other insurance policies.

You pay a premium and you hope you never have to use the coverage. If your pet is injured or seriously ill and the bills begin to mount, you appreciate the coverage and value the benefits. If you pay for the insurance and never use it, it can seem like a waste of money.

Alternatives to pet insurance

Your choice to purchase or not purchase pet insurance is a family risk management decision. That’s the process of identifying your potential financial risks and deciding how best to handle them. Insurance isn’t always the right option for everyone. You can choose to pay your pet’s future medical expenses out of your own pocket or select another alternative.

  • Plan for the unexpected: Put money aside just in case you need it for a pet emergency.
  • Pet medical discount plan: You pay a premium and receive a discount on pet medical care.
  • Cost-sharing plan: Pet owners agree to crowd-fund members’ pet medical care expenses.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

If you’d like more information to help you make your pet insurance decision, call us at (860) 228-4324.