SURVEY SAYS: Health Insurance for Pets

We all love our pets.

But, I’ve often wondered what I would do if faced with a major expense for my pet’s health care. Where would I find the money?

A number of employers offer pet insurance to employees, but it can also be purchased from certain providers.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Whether you have a pet or not, does your company offer pet insurance as a benefit, and if you do have a pet or pets, do you have health insurance on your pet(s) either through your employer or from a provider?”

Twenty-one percent of responding readers said their companies offer pet insurance as an employee benefit, while 79% said they do not. The majority (80.3%) of respondents do not have health insurance on their pet(s), but 9.2% do, and 10.5% do not have a pet.

Verbatim comments about health insurance for pets offered some clues as to why so many respondents do not have pet insurance: many said the coverage did not justify the expense and a couple noted that if your pet has a pre-existing condition, it is not covered at all. However, a few readers told tales of how a pet’s health situation cost them greatly and said insurance would have helped. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “The last thing I want to do is deal with another insurance company.” 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!


My company offers Pet Insurance and it is greatly appreciated by all who use it. Pets are Family members for many of our employees and we now offer insurance for every member of every employee's family.

I do procedures on my pets up to around $500 above that I start to weigh the alternatives...

I haven't had any requests for it yet. I guess if we did, I would see about offering it.

They are my pets. I wish I had the same freedom to decide for myself as I do for my pets.

Great if it covers the same things that "humans" would like covered: see any doctor, pre-existing conditions. Bad if the premium is high for what may actually be covered.

Insurance for pets? Is this the Affordable PetCare Act?

Our fur-baby is of a healthy breed. For our family it costs less annually to pay the vet-care expenses out of pocket than through insurance. I can appreciate those that do cover their pets (for example they don't have the income to pay a $150+ vet bill instead they can spread the expense over a year's worth of paychecks.) A well-loved fur-baby is worth caring for properly.

Like human health insurance policies of old, health insurance for pets needs to be purchased when they are young and healthy. Once they have a pre-existing condition, coverage for that condition is usually excluded. I am reminded of that every 68 days as I purchase a vial of insulin for my diabetic cat.

I probably should have the insurance... my dog has chronic allergies and her last prescription was $110 for a month. And here I thought the baby was going to be the expensive family member!

I have had a cat that had multiple surgeries and I would have been better off with insurance on that pet. I don't know that it is really worth it most of the time.

I have no idea what the premiums might be for this, but I do know that it is very expensive when pets need surgery!

Maybe this is something I should look into...

Verbatim (cont.) 

Because I love that dog, I have had insurance from day one through an outside provider. The employer at the time I was with did not offer it when I got the dog.

I have a cat that I sort of inherited. He's okay for a cat. My general rule is any health treatment costing more than a few hundred dollars is reserved for humans. However, pet insurance is probably a good idea for some pet owners.

I have plenty of other things to spend my money on. I don't have any pet insurance & I don't personally know anyone who does.

Too expensive if you have multiple pets. Put money you would have paid into insurance in a special account for emergencies. You are better off.

My sister had an aging cat with an IV like you find in the hospital hooked to a human patient that she actually had to hook the cat up to every day. I love my cats but that would be a bit much.

I love my dogs as much as I love my children....they have health insurance just like my children do. It's worth it in the end. 🙂

I love my Lab., and have a discount card for her that in-part pays for her prescription meds. I don't believe I would pay for major surgery unless an excellent chance exists that she would be completely cured of whatever is the problem,

As much as I spend on food, litter, toys, etc. for my 3 cats, they should qualify as dependents on my health insurance!

I took out pet insurance for the first few years of my Maltese dog's life. She has always been very healthy, requiring nothing more than annual vaccines. Despite the fact that I had never filed a claim, the insurance premiums kept going up significantly, even multiple times during a single year. Three years into the policy, the premiums were costing me almost $50 a month (they originally started at about $15 a month), so I decided it was time to cancel. If I have to cover major expenses for her now, I will rely on savings or my CareCredit card as necessary.

My family has usually been a one cat, one dog household. It's not cheap paying for the normal annual expenses; physical, shots, teeth cleaning, neutering. The one-offs for injuries and illnesses can really cost a lot. That accelerates with age. So yes, if my employer offered health insurance, I'd probably elect to take it.

The last thing I want to do is deal with another insurance company.

We have been able to fund emergencies without insurance. If our financial situation was not as good, I would absolutely recommend getting insurance while the pet was young!

I love my pet, but...

Verbatim (cont.) 

I think it's a great idea. I've thought about it, but never investigated. I had two cats that were positive for feline leukemia virus and I know I spent enough on them to pay for the sign outside the veterinary clinic.

Companies actually offer pet insurance as an employee benefit? This is news to me.

After much expense (not to mention the heartache) of having a St. Bernard mixed breed dog with epilepsy, I got health insurance for my next dog. Now 12-year old Sparky has been covered since he was a puppy. While it doesn't cover everything and, in many cases, 50% or less, it is still a good deal and I usually end up getting back what I spend in premiums. As an HR Manager, I plan to recommend that we consider offering Pet Health Insurance to our pet-loving employees.

Pets are family members -- they should be covered by HSAs and Flex Spending benefits too.

I have heard from friends who purchase pet insurance that there are multiple exclusions for just about every potential health issue an animal could have. These folks have all said it was a waste of money to purchase pet insurance.

Read very carefully - most pet insurance policies have caps and may not cover a serious illness, accident or condition. I have never purchased it for this reason.

It would be a great option if an Employer would offer health insurance for pets!

It's a great benefit for those who need the external discipline of having insurance versus saving on their own for pet health expenses. Coverage and expense varies widely for pet insurance but I have found that it makes more sense for my family to save on our own to meet pet health expenses rather than pay for a policy we may or may not use.

I wish we would have purchased insurance for our pet - in the long run would have been less expensive.

Depends on one's perspective. Apparently, for one species, husbandry isn't my strong suit. Sure gonna miss that dog.

I love my pets, but pet insurance is completely unnecessary

I've heard from a couple people who have pet insurance that the benefits for some situations seem to be rather limited. Of course, this may depend on the coverage level selected.

I think it's a good benefit. If my employer offered it, I would get it.

Verbatim (cont.)

You need to purchase it while your pet is healthy. Otherwise pre-existing conditions provisions kick in and the insurance can be of minimal or no value.

The company makes pet insurance available, but does not subsidize it.

With all the humans in the world without health insurance or decent health care, leave it to Americans to spend money on pets first.

I have children too, and their health insurance is a tad bit more important than pet insurance.

We had 4 pets and decided not to have health insurance. Sure enough 3 out of 4 had cancer and needed surgery. Next pet will have insurance.

I think pet insurance is silly.

My company does not offer pet insurance, but if they did, I would purchase it.

It is a nice feature for pet owners especially with multiple pets.

I purchased pet insurance because I never wanted to be faced with a situation where I would have to make a life or death decision about one of my dogs based on finances. I have had pet insurance since 2007, and I'm quite certain I have been reimbursed more than I have paid in premiums. Just this year I have been reimbursed $8k when one of my dogs injured her knee and required stem cell therapy and months of rehabilitation. I am a believer!

When my husband and I adopted Mabel, a 6-year old Beagle, from a local animal rescue group we were given pet insurance with the ability to purchase the insurance from the provider after the end of the 30-day free trial period. We looked into what was and was not covered. We came to the conclusion that the extremely limited/narrow covered events were highly unlikely to occur. As a result we could not justify the cost of the insurance as it was likely never going to be used.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.