Is Pet Insurance Worth It?


Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

2 min read
Jun 14, 2022

Health care for animals can be expensive, but pet insurance can help you cover those expenses and give your pet the care you want and they deserve. See how easy and affordable MetLife Pet Insurance1 can make it for you to provide your pet with great veterinary care.

You've likely heard of pet insurance and possibly understand the nuances of how pet insurance works. But is pet insurance worth it? It absolutely can be. That’s because pet insurance can not only help with unplanned accidents and illnesses, but also with things like routine care.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of pet insurance and how pet insurance 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.2

According to the same study, the average cost of annual expenses and pet expenditures has increased as well. The entire pet industry is 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.

And 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.3

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

What Do Vet Visits Cost?

Owning a pet can be an expensive venture. Below are some of the most common costs pet owners accumulate over the course of time:4

  • Checkups and vaccines: $25 – $150
  • Consolations and X rays: $150 – $250
  • Average cost of emergency vet visit: $800 – $1,500
  • Long-term hospitalization: $600 – $3,000
  • Emergency surgeries: $3,000+

While normal vet visits, annual vaccinations, and medicines are typically on the lower end of the cost spectrum, accidents, emergencies, and long-term illnesses can cost a pretty penny and be aided by pet insurance. Unexpected scenarios like heartworm, ACL surgeries, and even breed-specific diseases can garner medical bills upwards of $5,000+.

This is why you should at least consider pet insurance in order to alleviate some of these costs.

What Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet insurance depends on things like species, breed and age of your pet, as well as where you live. The good news? MetLife Pet Insurance policies1 can be as low as $9 per month for cats and $15 per month for dogs.5,6 And, ultimately, having insurance can still save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on veterinary care.

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.

What Pet Insurance Covers

Similar to health insurance for a person, pet insurance offers reimbursements for many big-ticket expenses that may accrue while taking care of your pet's health. While the amount of monthly coverage will differ based on factors like your pets breed, age, etc., the savings in the long run (after meeting a deductible) can mean a fully covered bill depending on the coverage you select.

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

If you have a puppy that’s prone to eating things it’s not supposed to eat or getting into scrapes, 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.

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, displasia, etc) (only with accident-illness plans)
  • Surgeries
  • Prescription medications
  • X-rays, bloodwork, tests, etc

What pet insurance plans typically don’t cover

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Annual checkups
  • Teeth cleanings
  • Vaccinations
  • Spay/neuter surgeries

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 Pet Insurance has among the shortest wait periods for accident and illness coverage.7,8

What’s more, while other insurers may require a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions. MetLife Pet Insurance1 does not.7

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, a savings account doesn’t automatically 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 can take time to save up enough to cover costs when an unexpected expense, like a vet bill, arises. Pet Insurance, on the other hand, is ready and waiting when you and your pet need it.
  • 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, but then your faucet springs a leak or your car breaks down, you may not have those savings when you need them.
  • Savings accounts may not have enough to cover expenses: No one likes to think about their pet getting sick or injured, but it can and does happen. Sometimes your pet can even have an unlucky year and get 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 Be a Complement to Pet Insurance: With pet insurance, you pay the vet bill and then submit you claim for reimbursement. You can use the funds in your savings account to pay the vet bills, and then replenish the account with the claim reimbursement you receive. This way your wallet and your furry family members are protected.

Bottom Line: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

So, is cat or dog insurance worth it after all?

For many pet owners, the answer is “yes”.  Pet insurance offers a stress-free layer of protection when it comes to dealing with your pet’s health. Pet owners with young to mid-age pets may find that pet insurance is especially great for them as it can help mitigate the costs of any health issues that arise throughout the course of their pet’s life.

It may not be worth it for older pets who already have pre-existing conditions, though a quick chat or phone call with one of our pet-care specialists can help you easily make your decision.

While the need for pet insurance will be based on your unique scenario, the easiest way to see if it’s worth it for your family is to get a free quote now.

(Looking to purchase a policy through your employer? Get a free 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 Insurance1 for pet parents. Each pet's premium will be unique based on the species, breed, age,9 and ZIP code, as well as the coverage amount selected.10 You can have a year with a large claim, or several small claims without worrying that your premium will be impacted by that. Just one more reason that pet insurance is worth it!

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 does happen. And when it happens, pet insurance can  help- whether it’s something big like or something more common like an ear infection. It can also help cover the costs of preventative care, which benefits most pet parents. Pet insurance can help cover expenses up to 100%, depending on the plan you select.

If you’ve been impacted by a large vet bill, you already know that how valuable pet insurance can be. But you 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 can customize coverage to best meet their own and their pets’ needs.

Need Pet Insurance?

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. 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), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

National Pet Owners Survey, American Pet Products Association, 2022

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

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

5 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.

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

7 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 2022  review of publicly available summary information about competitor's offerings. Competitor's did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

8 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.

9  IAIC policies have gendered rates.

10 For IAIC underwritten policies only, premium will also be based upon the pet’s gender.