You may think of pet insurance as more of a luxury rather than a necessity, especially with the high cost of living in California. With a high cost of living may come high veterinarian bills, particularly if something were to happen to your furry friend. Pet insurance can help relieve that burden and let you focus on caring for your pet instead of stressing about medical bills.
From San Diego to Crescent City, California pet owners are looking for ways to ease the cost of pet ownership. MetLife’s Pet Parent study found that 62% of Gen Z and millennial pet parents agree that the costs associated with owning a pet cause stress. A potentially great way to combat that stress is by getting pet insurance. California pet parents can read on for a rundown of how pet insurance can work for them.
Why Pet Insurance May Be a Good Idea If You Live in California
If you’ve ever gotten a vet bill, you know that pet healthcare can be expensive. This can be especially true in the Golden State, where the cost of living has increased in the past several years. Pet insurance helps you cover these vet bills by reimbursing you for certain medical costs.2 Essentially, you pay a monthly premium for an insurance policy for your dog or cat. Then, whether your pet has a one-time medical emergency or a chronic illness that needs consistent treatment, you submit the bill for reimbursement.
The Golden State spans nearly 900 miles of Pacific coastline, from the Mexican border all the way to the snowy Cascade Mountain range. Depending on where you live in California, your pets could experience anything from frostbite to heatstroke. There are also wildfire and snake seasons to be wary of in certain parts of the state. This isn’t even accounting for all of the illnesses and injuries pets can get in general, regardless of where you live.
With so many potential issues, protecting your pet (and your wallet) against everything from wildfire smoke inhalation to broken bones can provide you with a valuable peace of mind.
Why Choose a MetLife Pet Insurance Policy?
It’s hard being a pet parent in California and having to choose the best pet insurance. California’s unique challenges may feel overwhelming. We can help! MetLife Pet Insurance was awarded "Pet Insurance of the Year" in the 2022 Pet Independent Innovation Awards.
At MetLife Pet Insurance, we empower and enable you to be financially prepared to care for your cat or dog in any situation. Here are a few of the things pet owners love about us:
- We’re the only pet insurance that covers up to three pets (you can mix and match cats and/or dogs) on the same policy.3
- We cover all breeds of dogs and cats.
- We cover pets of all ages.
- We have no such thing as “in-network” or “out-of-network” providers.
- We cover medical expenses with any licensed vet, emergency clinic, or pet hospital in the U.S.
- We process and reimburse for the majority of our claims in less than 10 days.5
- We offer a short waiting period for accidents and illnesses coverage.6,7
How MetLife Pet Insurance Works for Californians
Take your pet to any licensed vet in California (or outside the state) to get a check-up, diagnosis, treatment, surgery, or
You’ll need to pay the bill up front, then submit a claim with the invoice and any vet records.
We’ll confirm the information with your vet, then process your claim, and reimburse you in less than 10 days.5
MetLife Pet Insurance Is Available in California. See What’s Covered
Different policies are designed to cover different things. We can get you started with a basic plan that can cover a lot of pet healthcare basics, or you can jump right in with an extensive policy. These policies have customizable limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates. It all depends on what you think your dog or cat will need.
While some policies will offer more coverage options, here are a few things our standard pet insurance policies cover:
- Diagnostic tests, X-rays, and ultrasounds
- Exam fees
- Holistic care and alternative therapies
- Special diet pet foods
Check out our dog insurance and cat insurance pages for even more details on how our Metlife Pet Insurance plans can help protect your pets.
How Much Is Pet Insurance in California?
MetLife Pet Insurance policies are designed with YOU in mind. You can customize your pet insurance policy to be as low as $9 per month for cats and $15 per month for dogs.8
The cost of pet insurance in Cali will vary, with a Los Angeles pet insurance policy costing significantly more than a Guerneville policy. The true cost is also determined by which deductible options and reimbursement packages you choose, how many pets you have on the plan, as well as your pets’ ages, breeds, genders9, and species.
Explore some of MetLife Pet Insurance’s options by getting a free quote now.
Pet Insurance Claims We Paid in California
Let’s pull back the curtain on a few of our significant California pet insurance claims and explore what makes our pet insurance worth it. Here’s a list of a few real-life examples of veterinary medical visits, treatments, and their respective reimbursements.10
- About $10,000 paid — A hospitalization for a bite wound in a 1-year-old small cat outside of Santa Clara, CA.
- About $1,600 paid — A surgery to remove a meibomian cyst from a 6-year-old medium dog in San Diego, CA.
- About $700 paid — Setting a fracture in a 2-year-old cat in San Diego, CA.
- About $600 paid — An exam to treat environmental allergies in a 2-year-old bull terrier in San Diego, CA.
- About $200 paid — A prescription medication for a heart murmur in a 10-year-old mixed dog just outside of San Diego, CA.
Notable Claim in the Golden State
Just one month after adoption, poodle puppy Riley went for a hike. The curious pup ingested foxtail, a non-toxic but still incredibly dangerous grass. Ingesting foxtail can do a lot of damage to a dog, including traveling up to the brain to cause swelling or traveling down to puncture a lung.11
When Riley started to develop symptoms, they were rushed to an emergency vet, where they were treated and monitored. The entire vet visit cost Riley’s parents about $4,500, but their MetLife Dog Insurance policy covered about $3,300 of it. Thankfully, Riley bounced right back from the treatment and still loves to hike with their parents.10
Pet Injuries and Illnesses Typically Found in California
The vastness of California lends to a diversity in injuries and illnesses your pet may experience. As pet owners, it’s important to be wary of potential dangers to your pet. Here are some things California pet owners especially need to be aware of.
- Smoke inhalation: California’s wildfire season can cause respiratory distress in cats and dogs that are exposed to smoke. Even if you’re away from the fire path, wind patterns may put your pets at risk for smoke inhalation. In such cases, it’s important to keep your pets indoors in a space with clean air.12
- Valley fever: This lung infection is caused by a desert fungus that primarily affects dogs. More severe infections can also affect dog’s bones and joints. It’s typically treated with a vet visit and antifungal medications.13
- Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection can be contagious and often spread through pet daycares or boarding kennels. It presents in cats and dogs with a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice. The best course of treatment is antibiotics while keeping your pet isolated and hydrated. After an leptospirosis outbreak in Los Angeles in 2021, the vaccine is now considered a core vaccine and recommended for all dogs in the city.14
- Dog flu: There are two strains of dog flu: H3N8 and H3N2. Since California consistently has outbreaks of both, it may be wise to get your dog vaccinated. While there’s no cure, work with your vet to give your pet the best support and care for their symptoms as you let the virus run its course.15
- Rattlesnake bites: Dogs are about 20 times more likely than people to be bitten by a rattlesnake. The snake’s bite is hemotoxic, meaning it destroys red blood cells and causes significant bleeding. Symptoms can set in within hours, and it’s important for dogs to get treated quickly before they go into shock.16
- Gila monster bites: The Gila monster is the only venomous lizard in California. When they bite, their jaws lock onto their victim’s flesh and often need to be pried off. Their bites may cause bleeding, swelling, and an abnormal heart rhythm in cats and dogs. They may also leave teeth in their bite mark, which a vet will have to remove. Generally, vets will clean the wound, then treat your pet with IV fluids and antibiotics to prevent an infection.17
California Plants That Can Be Toxic to Cats and Dogs
From the sunny coasts of SoCal to the foggy Pacific Northwest, the Golden State is home to a diverse range of plant life. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) , many of these plants are toxic to cats and dogs. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested one, it’s important to take them to a vet immediately. Here are a few toxic plants for pet owners to be wary of:18
- Evergreen azaleas
- Sago palm
- Aloe vera
The Most Popular Dog Breeds in the Gold Rush State
Everyone has their favorite dog breeds, and Californians are no exception. With so many different lifestyles also comes a variety of beloved dogs. Some pet parents live in Beverly Hills with a designer pooch, while others are die-hard surfers who even take their bulldogs surfing in Huntington Beach. Let’s take a look at five dog breeds with the highest adoption rates in the state along with some of their most common ailments.19
- Chihuahua: These small dogs are typically diagnosed with patellar luxation, dental problems, heart murmurs, and hypoglycemia.
- Pit bull: A loveable pit can suffer from allergies, hip dysplasia, retinopathy, and congenital heart disease.
- Labrador retriever: This breed is susceptible to tumors, seizures, obesity, hip dysplasia, and eye diseases.
- Mutt: Mutts can be predisposed to different injuries and illnesses depending on their genetic makeup.
- German shepherd: This breed is susceptible to hemophilia, knee dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, diabetes, and gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Find Your Next Cat or Dog
Whether your lifestyle has you looking for one of the top five dog breeds in the state, researching a different breed of dog entirely, or even getting excited for a cat, we’ve got you covered. Check out PetFinder’s tool to find your newest best friend.
Grab your laptop, make some tea, and curl up to scroll through dogs up for adoption and cats up for adoption in the Golden Poppy State. Who knows? Maybe your next pet is only a click away.
If You Live in Cali, Consider Insuring Your Pet
Between the earthquakes and wildfires native to California, people in this state understand the value of being prepared. Pet owners should be equally prepared to care for their dogs and cats.
MetLife Pet Insurance can help cover diagnosis, treatments, medications, and more, so you can focus on loving your pet and giving them the best care possible.2 After all, pets in the Golden State deserve the gold standard of healthcare.
Get started with a free quote for pet insurance in California right now.
Ready? Start your free quote
There is no substantive difference between a MetLife Pet Insurance policy in California and a MetLife Pet policy in another U.S. State
1 “2022 Pet Insurance of the Year Award” Winners, Pet Independent Innovation Awards
2 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.
3 Based on a January 2022 review of publicly available summary information about competitors’ offerings. Competitors 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.
4 We do not cover all pre-existing conditions; just those covered by the previous provider.
5 Approximately 80% of claims are processed within 10 days or less.
6 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.
7 Accident coverage and Preventive Care coverage (for those who select it) begins on the effective date of your policy. Illness coverage begins 14 days later.
8 Based on an internal sampling of MetLife Pet Insurance data
9 For IAIC policies only
10 All claims paid amounts are based on MetLife internal claims data from October 2022.
11 “Foxtail Grass and Your Dog,” Fetch by WebMD
12 “How Do Wildfires and Smoke Affect Dogs?,” American Kennel Club
13 “Valley Fever in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
14 “Leptospirosis in Dogs in Los Angeles County in 2021,” County of Los Angeles Public Health
15 “Dog Flu Outbreak Map,” Dogflu.com
16 “Prevention and Treatment of Rattlesnake Bite in Dogs,” Animal Medical Center of Southern California
17 “Lizard Venom Poisoning in Dogs,” PetMD
18 “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List,” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
19 “Americans Favorite Dog Breeds by State, Ranked,” TOP Data
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