How Important is Pet Insurance?

By Mark Fontanella

Pet insurance puppy in a blanket

As a dog or cat owner, you likely think of your fur baby as a cherished family member. If you’re like most pet owners, you’d be willing to do just about anything to keep your four-legged companion healthy and safe—but there’s only so much you can control. Sure, you can feed them the best food, leash them in public and keep up with vaccinations, but you can’t keep them entirely out of harm’s way. What you can do, however, is protect yourself financially should the unexpected happen—and it will.

Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

It is estimated that one in three pets will require emergency treatment in any given year, most commonly related to accident and illness. The resulting vet bill can range anywhere from $800 – $1,500—sometimes more.1 Without pet health insurance, pet parents could be faced with a significant financial blow, oftentimes forcing difficult decisions about treatment.

Many pet owners operate under the assumption that pet insurance is cost-prohibitive; they’d rather take their chances. But the opposite is true. In fact, most pet insurance groups offer affordable plans, with premiums starting as low as $35 per month, reasonable deductibles and reimbursements of up to 80-90% of covered expenses.

Is pet insurance worth it? All it takes is that one dog bite, random kidney infection or unplanned diagnostic ultrasound to discover, first-hand, the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

How do you Choose a Pet Insurance Policy?

Most pet insurance companies offer a range of options for you to consider based on your financial needs and the needs of your four-legged family member. As with human health insurance, the more coverage you choose, the higher the premiums. It comes down to personal preference.

For example, a whole-pet or wellness type of plan may cover routine care, surgeries, hospitalizations, diagnostic tests, prescriptions and even chronic or congenital conditions. A major medical type of plan would cover all of the above with the exception of routine care and some hereditary conditions. And for those hereditary conditions that are covered, you’ll likely have a waiting period before coverage can begin.

At the most basic level, you can purchase a wellness-only plan, which covers—you guessed it—basic wellness. Here, you’d be covered for things like wellness exams and tests, flea and heartworm prevention and vaccinations. While your premiums with this basic-level plan will be low, you won’t be covered for those costly accident and illness events. It is also important to note that most dog or cat insurance plans won’t cover that pre-existing condition that plagued your fur baby before you purchased the plan.

Factors to Consider:

With so many options available, how do you know which one is right for your family? Whether you’re in the market for dog insurance, cat insurance or both, your first step is to evaluate which pet insurance company will best meet your needs.

Do your research into the provider’s credibility. How long have they been in business? What is their reimbursement track record? Has your vet had any experience with this provider, and if so, was it a favorable experience? You might even ask the insurance group if they have vets on staff who truly understand the needs of pets—and if so, whether they were involved in developing the policies.

Next decide how much coverage you want. Are you looking for emergency only, wellness only or all of the above? Compare the premiums, deductibles, reimbursement levels and max annual policy coverage for each plan.

Most insurance providers will look at factors specific to your situation, including:

  • Species: Dogs are generally more costly to insure than cats, and males often come with higher premiums.
  • Breed of dog: In general, larger breeds cost more to insure due to their shorter lifespan. Certain breeds, like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, and wolf-dog hybrids, may also come with higher premiums.
  • Age: The younger the pet, the less expensive to insure.
  • Location: Premiums vary by state and zip code with more densely populated areas carrying higher insurance premiums.

Don’t forget to read the fine print. Your policy’s terms and conditions may include certain exclusions or coverage gaps not otherwise obvious to you.

Hanson & Ryan: Your Pet Insurance Experts

At Hanson and Ryan, we know how important your pet is to your family. That is why we offer comprehensive and affordable pet insurance plans designed to keep your furry loved ones healthy while giving you peace of mind.

Get a pet insurance quote here or contact us at for more information.