When to Buy Pet Insurance


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 20, 2024

Key Takeaways

  1. Pet insurance is crucial for covering unforeseen veterinary expenses, preventing financial stress for pet owners.
  2. Pet care costs vary by factors like pet type and breed, with larger dogs and specific breeds facing higher medical expenses due to potential hereditary conditions.
  3. When choosing pet insurance, compare plans based on your needs, pricing, coverage, benefits, and company reviews.
  4. Get pet insurance early to secure future coverage and avoid higher premiums.
  5. Thorough research and veterinarian consultation are essential for an informed decision that prioritizes your pet's well-being.
When to Buy Pet Insurance

As a pet parent, all you want is for your furry friend to lead a long, healthy, and joyful life. We go above and beyond to ensure our beloved pets are safe and showered with love: we provide them with top-notch food, the coziest bed, and replace their favorite toys once they've been chewed to bits.

Still, according to Naphia.org, only around 2.5 million cats and dogs are currently insured (although this trend is on the rise).

Unfortunately, accidents, emergencies, illnesses can always happen, so you should be financially prepared.

Why To Get Pet Insurance


Pet insurance is essential for a number of reasons, but is mainly important as a means of helping you cover your pet's bill.

You never know what lies ahead for your furry companion. Apart from routine check-ups and vaccinations, they might require sudden visits to the vet or treatments for unexpected illnesses or injuries. The costs associated with these situations can soar high.

Unplanned trips to the vet can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the seriousness of the condition and necessary procedures. Sadly, the average American family often doesn't have that kind of money readily available, leading to long-term payment plans. It's a challenging situation.

Pet insurance is a valuable solution that allows you to focus on caring for your pet without worrying about the financial burden. It brings peace of mind and helps prevent pet parents from facing the heartbreaking decision of euthanizing or surrendering their beloved pet due to financial strain.

The cost of pet care also varies based on the type and breed of your pet. Generally, dogs are more likely to be insured than cats (4% of dog owners compared to 1% of cat owners). This misconception arises from the belief that dogs are more prone to accidents. However, although cats have fewer vet visits, they can still incur significant medical expenses. Cats are notorious for hiding pain or illnesses, making early diagnosis challenging. Additionally, both kittens and puppies are prone to accidents and diseases, but they often develop immunity as they grow and receive vaccinations.

Larger dogs are more susceptible to certain medical conditions like arthritis and heart problems, which don't typically affect smaller breeds. Moreover, veterinary costs can vary depending on the breed itself. Certain breeds may be more prone to hereditary conditions. For instance, purebred dogs often suffer from issues related to inbreeding, such as respiratory problems in 66% of French Bulldogs, according to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Treating these deformities may involve X-rays and surgeries, resulting in substantial bills.

Pet insurance works like health insurance, except that you will have to pay your vet costs upfront before your insurance reimburses you directly after you submit a claim.

Pet insurance can keep you from paying all of these costs out of pocket. Even though you can't know 100% what the future holds, it doesn't hurt to be safe.

Finding Pet Insurance


When you're shopping around for pet insurance, you should compare your needs (and your pet's needs) with what each plan offers.

Ask yourself what you need from a plan and take the pricing, coverage, benefits, and company reviews into account. Many pet plans don't cover pre-existing conditions, although there are specific and curable conditions you could be eligible for after a waiting period with no symptoms.

If you know you can afford minor expenses out of pocket, then look for a plan that covers potential future events such as emergencies, broken bones, major surgeries, and hospitalization. Plan providers differ on what constitutes an emergency, so read up on their terms and services thoroughly before you agree to it.

It's also a good idea to ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

You can easily receive quotes from multiple providers before you decide on the plan that's right for you.

There are three types of pet insurance plans:

  • Accident-only plans, which only cover injuries due to an accident.
  • Accident/illness plans, which cover both injuries and illnesses.
  • Wellness plans, which allow you to add this option to cover the costs of routine vet visits, and also covers procedures such as booster shots, vaccinations, dental care, and spaying/neutering.

When To Get Pet Insurance

Short answer: if you're planning on getting pet insurance, now is the time.

Don't delay insuring your pets once you bring them home. The longer you wait, the higher the premiums and overall expenses will become when you finally decide to get coverage.

Moreover, it's important to note that most pet insurance providers do not cover pre-existing conditions. So, the sooner you obtain insurance, the more coverage your pet will have for future incidents. (However, it's worth mentioning that Pumpkin offers coverage for curable pre-existing conditions that have been treated and symptom-free for 180 days.)

By getting pet insurance early on, you ensure that your new furry family member is protected right from the start, especially if they are young. Puppies and kittens are more prone to accidents and generally have weaker immune systems compared to older pets. It's much easier to secure pet insurance now for preventative care rather than waiting until your pet falls ill.

Remember to research all your options and choose what works best for you and your pet. It's essential to make an informed decision and prioritize your pet's well-being.

Not sure where to start? See our top providers here.

Is pet insurance worth it?

If your pet unexpectedly falls ill, pet insurance can cover some or all of the costs, potentially saving you thousands. Having that coverage can help out your pet and give you peace of mind.

Should I consider pet insurance?

You should always consider pet insurance to help you cover veterinary costs, since it could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run. If you have multiple pets, this could save you an immense amount over their lifetime.

When should I get pet insurance?

Typically, the best time to insure your pet is when you first get them, especially if they are young and healthy. As they age, premiums will increase.

The sooner you get it, the better, since you can keep yourself from incurring any unexpected vet costs.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

The Latest Articles

Read Articles