Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

Healthcare foranimals canbeexpensive

You've likely heard of pet insurance and possibly understand the nuances of how pet insurance works, but is pet health insurance worth it? It absolutely can be. Pet insurance can not only help with unplanned accidents and illnesses, but also with things like routine care. You may be able to think of pet insurance like a car insurance plan: you can get reimbursed for covered and approved expenses after your pet’s care.

Let’s take a look at the most important aspects of pet insurance and how it can make it easy for you to provide your pet with great veterinary care.

Pet Ownership and Pet Insurance: Facts and Statistics

It’s no secret that pet ownership has been increasing year over year, especially since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. According to a study by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), approximately 90.5 million families own a pet, which makes up about 70% of households in the country.1

According to the same APPA study, the average cost of annual expenses and pet expenditures has increased as well. The entire pet industry was estimated to climb above $190 billion in 2022, which means the average pet owner will spend just under $1,500 a year. The biggest expense after food and treats? Vet care.

Yet according to a North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) study in 2021, only 3.45 million pets were insured — about 3% of pets.2

With these stats in mind, let’s take a deeper look at why you may or may not want to enroll in pet insurance.

What Do Vet Visits Cost?

While normal vet visits, annual vaccinations, and medicines can be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, pet insurance can provide aid after your deductible is paid for these expenses but also more expensive treatments due to accidents, emergencies, and long-term illnesses. Unexpected scenarios like heartworm, ACL surgeries, and even breed-specific diseases can cost thousands. Pet insurance can help alleviate some of these costs.

Below are some of the most common costs pet owners accumulate over the course of time.3

Unleash Savings With MetLife Pet Insurance


What You Can Save 4

You Pay


MetLife Pet Covers


Total Vet Bill


What Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of MetLife Pet insurance depends on the species, breed, gender5, and age of your pet, as well as where you live. The good news? MetLife Pet Insurance policies can start at $9 per month for cats and $15 per month for dogs.6,7,,8  Ultimately, having pet insurance can still save you money on veterinary care. What’s even better? If you have multiple pets, you can put them all under one policy — no breed exclusions or upper age limits. You can also use any licensed vet in the U.S., so there’s no need to change vets if you already have one and like them.

Pet insurance deductibles

In addition to a monthly premium, you will likely have a deductible that you’ll have to pay before your policy sets in. Deductibles can vary by plan and insurance company, but ultimately affect how quickly your reimbursements begin to kick in.

Say you have a $2,000 emergency vet visit and a $250 deductible with MetLife Pet Insurance. Once you meet that deductible, MetLife Pet Insurance we can reimburse you for up to 80% of that visit if it is covered under the terms of the policy.  This can be $1,400 back in your pocket. Learn more about deductibles and how they work to save you money.

What Pet Insurance Covers

Similar to other types of insurance that reimburse you for covered expenses, pet insurance can reimburse you for covered veterinary expenses that may accrue while taking care of your pet's health, some of which can be costly. While the amount of monthly coverage will differ based on factors like your pets breed, age, location, deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose, the savings in the long run (after meeting a deductible) can mean a fully covered bill if you select a plan with 100% reimbursement.*

Maybe you're wondering "how much pet insurance do I need?" Many insurance providers offer two types of plans: “accident-only” and “accident-illness” plans. Accident-only plans typically cover accidents, such as broken bones, whereas both accidents and illness care are covered under accident-illness plans.

If you have a puppy that’s prone to eating things they’re not supposed to eat or getting into scrapes but is not necessarily prone to illness all too often, you may want to go with an accident-only plan. If you have an older dog, accident-illness plans might make more sense for you as many breeds could become more illness-prone as they age.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what most typical pet insurance plans cover and what they don’t.

What pet insurance plans typically cover

  • Unexpected injuries and accidents (falling down stairs, broken bones, etc.)
  • Unexpected illnesses (cancer, dysplasia, etc., only through accident-illness plans)
  • Surgeries
  • Prescription medications
  • X-rays, bloodwork, tests, etc.

What pet insurance plans may not cover

For more information, check out MetLife Pet Insurance’s coverage and exclusions to see what we may cover for your pet.

Pet Insurance Waiting Periods

Another thing to consider if you’re looking to get pet insurance is that there is often a waiting period before your coverage begins. Luckily, MetLife has among the shortest wait periods for accident and illness coverage.9,10

What’s more, competitors can require a 6-month waiting period to get coverage for orthopedic conditions. MetLife does not.

Paying for Pet Expenses: Pet Insurance vs. a Savings Account

While it is true that you could get a savings account to help cover vet expenses, that doesn’t replace the need for pet insurance. In fact, it’s a great idea to have both.

  • Saving money takes time. Accumulating savings doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to get enough saved up to help cover costs for an unexpected expense like a vet bill. On the other hand, pet insurance can be ready when you and your pet need it for covered expenses.
  • Savings accounts can get used for other things. Life happens and unexpected expenses, unrelated to pets, often pop up. If you have savings that you plan to use for your pet’s needs, but your faucet springs a leak or your car has a breakdown, you may have to use that money for those needs. In those cases, you may not have those funds to use for your pet if the worst happens.
  • Savings accounts may not have enough to cover expenses. No one likes to think about their pet getting sick or injured, but it can happen. Sometimes your pet has an unlucky year and gets sick several times. Pet insurance can help protect your savings and ensure that you can afford to get your pet the care they need when they need it.
  • Savings accounts can supplement and work in conjunction with pet insurance. The way our insurance works, you pay the vet bill and then submit claims for reimbursement. You can use the funds in a savings account to pay the vet bills, and then replenish the account with an approved claim reimbursement. This way your wallet and your furry family members can remain protected.

Bottom Line: Should I Get Pet Insurance?

So is cat or dog insurance worth it after all?

In many cases, pet insurance can be worth the cost, as it can help to alleviate added stress that can come with dealing with your pet’s health expenses. Pet owners with young to middle-aged pets may find that pet insurance is especially great for them as it can help mitigate the costs of paying for treatment for any health issues that arise throughout the course of their pet’s life.

While the need for pet insurance will be based on your unique scenario, one easy way to see if it’s worth it for your family is to get a free quote now from MetLife Pet Insurance. Looking to purchase a policy through your employer? Get a free MetLife Pet Insurance quote for employees here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will my pet insurance premiums go up because I have a claim?

No! This is one of the best things about MetLife Pet Insurance for pet parents. Each pet's premium will be unique based on the species, breed, age, gender5, deductible, reimbursement rate, and ZIP code, as well as the coverage amount selected.  

Isn’t pet insurance only really for catastrophic events or illnesses?

While no one wants to think about their pet being sick or getting injured, it can happen. If it happens, pet insurance can be there to help, whether it’s to reimburse you for expenses related to treatment for major ailments like cancer or a broken bone, or milder conditions like an ear infection or a hurt paw. It can also help cover the costs of preventative care, which can benefit many pet parents. Pet insurance might help cover expenses up to 100% of the cost, depending on the plan you select.

If you’ve been impacted by a large vet bill, you may have already researched how pet insurance can help. But don’t wait to have a big bill before getting your furry family member covered. With MetLife Pet Insurance, pet parents have the power of choice, and coverage can be customized to best meet the needs of pet parents and their pets. As the winner of the “Pet Insurance of the Year” Award, MetLife Pet is committed to helping you keep your pets happy and healthy, whether that means learning all there is to know about your pets or protecting them with an insurance policy.

Need Pet Insurance?

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

What are you looking for?

Resources if you are purchasing a pet plan on your own.

Resources for individual policyholders, employees, and members who receive coverage through their employer.

  • I want to get a quote and find out how much a policy may cost
  • I have an existing plan and want to file a claim

*Reimbursement options include: 70%, 80%, 90% and 100%. In addition, there is also a 50% option for MetGen underwritten policies only and a 65% for IAIC underwritten policies only.

1 National Pet Owners Survey, American Pet Products Association, 2022

2 Pet Insurance in North America, North American Pet Health Insurance Association, 2021

3 How Much Do Americans Spend on Their Pets?, LendEDU, 2020

Examples are for illustrative purposes only. Please note that these examples do not include or account for any premium expense required to pay the pet policy. Actual premium rates may vary based on pet age breed, location, deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose. Examples are based on covered expenses on a policy with a 90% reimbursement after meeting a $250 deductible. The pet policy issued by MetGen is the governing document with respect to all matters of insurance. The specific facts of each claim must be evaluated in conjunction with the provisions of the applicable Policy to determine coverage in each individual case.

5 For IAIC policies only

Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

7  For policies issued by IAIC, coverage for these conditions is subject to a 6-month wait period. Please review your policy for complete details.

8 Calculation based upon select plans and coverages. Actual rates may vary based on pet age, breed, location, deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose. 

9 Wait period for accident coverage is midnight EST compared to 2 to 15 days for competitor's; wait period for illness coverage is 14 days compared to 14 to 30 days for competitor's, based on a January 2021 review of publicly available summary information about competitor's offerings.

10 Accident coverage and Preventive Care coverage (for those who select it) begin on the effective date of your policy. Illness coverage begins 14 days later.

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

Disclosure for Maine Residents

L1222027809[exp1224][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]

Virtual veterinary services are provided entirely by AskVet, a third-party partner; MetLife is not responsible for any pet guidance or advice provided or taken through Askvet.