An increasing number of people have come to view their pets as integral members of the family. The COVID-19 pandemic caused dog and cat ownership to skyrocket, and many caretakers would do anything to ensure their companion animals’ health and happiness. It comes as no surprise, then, that pet insurance is on the rise!
In 2020, U.S. pet owners spent just under $2 billion on pet insurance, up 27.5% from the year prior in an unprecedented increase. Now, more than 3.45 million pets are insured, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).
But what is pet insurance anyway — and is it worth purchasing? Read on to find out.
Pet Insurance Basics
Pet insurance helps cover high and unexpected costs associated with owning a companion animal.
While the majority of pet insurance policies are taken out for dogs and cats, insurance for smaller mammals like rabbits and hamsters is available — though its practicality is debatable. Insurance is much harder to find for exotic pets like lizards and birds.
Pet Insurance Types and Costs
Pet insurance can offer a wide range of coverage, so we recommend doing plenty of research to find the best fit for you and your pet. While some policies cover pet loss or theft, death by illness or injury, or liability, the most common type of pet insurance assists with high or unexpected veterinary bills.
When it comes to cost, the more expensive the policy, the more comprehensive it will be. Coverage costs can be broken down into a few generalized tiers:
- Basic plans can be as low as $10/month. A basic plan helps to cover preventative care, like shots and regular checkups.
- Medium-level plans start around $34/month. The next tier goes beyond basic preventative care and may cover certain conditions and surgeries.
- High-level coverage can reach $100/month. The highest level of coverage will help pay for everything included in lower-tier plans while adding in protection for accidents, injuries, non-routine exams, and medication.
The average annual premium for “accident and illness” coverage was $594 per dog and $341 pet cat in 2020, according to the NAPHIA.
Things that can affect your pet insurance rates
Like health insurance, the premiums you’ll pay for pet insurance depend on a number of factors. Here are a few to consider:
Your pet’s age
Pet insurance for older animals is both harder to find and more expensive, as an older pet is more likely to require treatment.
While it can be pricey, purchasing a lifetime policy for your pet when they’re young and healthy will help you to avoid paying high premiums as they enter old age and need more care.
Your pet’s pre-existing conditions
Similarly, it’s difficult and more expensive to purchase insurance for a pet with a pre-existing condition.
Your pet’s breed
Because some purebred dogs and cats can often be predisposed to more health issues than others, insurance providers might charge a higher premium to insure them.
Is pet insurance right for you?
Pet insurance can be expensive, and there’s some debate over whether it’s worth it. At the end of the day: It’s a personal decision based on each individual’s lifestyle, goals, and financial situation.
Many people forgo pet insurance and come out on top financially, and some experts recommend you skip pet insurance unless your pet is predisposed to a certain condition or faces significant and recurring health issues throughout its life.
Other owners swear by their pet insurance, citing large unexpected bills that they would have otherwise been unable to pay — in many cases, saving their dog or cat’s life.
When deciding whether to purchase pet insurance, run through a few hypotheticals. How would you pay for your pet’s bills if they got seriously sick or injured? Are you able to set aside a substantial amount of money into a “pet emergency fund”? You’ll need to balance the financial burden of paying premiums with the potential implication of shouldering hefty vet bills.
Think critically, explore your options, and take time to understand the policies available to you and your pet.
Lindow Insurance is here for you
At Lindow, we offer pet insurance through Progressive for those who decide that this type of coverage is right for them and their furry friends. We encourage you to contact us with questions or to get started with a pet insurance policy today!