Insurance · April 22, 2021

What Makes Pet Insurance Worth It

As a pet owner, you want to do your best to keep your pet as healthy as possible. But unexpected veterinary bills due to injury or sickness can put a strain on your finances, with emergency visits often costing over $1,000.

Pet insurance can help offset those costs so you can get your pet the care they need with less financial stress. This assurance makes the investment in pet insurance well worth it for many families.


How pet insurance helps

Pet insurance policies cover veterinary care for your pet if they become injured or sick. Similar to your own health insurance, you'll pay a monthly premium that covers a defined selection of services. Your policy will also have a:

  • Deductible: How much you'll pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in
  • Reimbursement percentage: The percentage of your vet bill the insurance will reimburse for covered services, usually between 70% and 90%

When you take your pet to the veterinarian for a reason that's covered by your pet insurance, you'll usually pay the vet for the cost of care at the time of your visit. Afterward, you'll submit your vet bill to your insurance provider and the company will reimburse you according to your plan's coverage. While some pet insurance plans will pay your vet directly, it's not the norm.

What pet insurance covers

What pet insurance covers will depend on the policy you purchase. There are three main types of pet insurance plans:

  • Accident-only: Covers accident-related vet bills only
  • Accident and illness: Helps pay for both accident- and illness-related vet bills
  • Accident, illness and wellness: Covers accidents, illnesses and regular pet health expenses like annual exams, vaccinations, flea and tick medications and other common needs

What typically isn't covered

Pet insurance is designed to help you pay unexpected vet bills, but there are some things these policies don't usually cover.

Unlike health insurance for people, pet insurance doesn't cover routine care—or what insurers refer to as wellness visits—by default. Unless you have a policy that includes wellness, when you take your pet to the vet for an annual exam or vaccines, you'll likely be paying out-of-pocket for these routine care expenses. However, if having routine care coverage is important to you, you can easily find plans with wellness add-ons that will cover your pet's routine care up to a certain dollar amount each year.

Pet insurance policies also don't cover pre-existing conditions or behavioral and training issues. Dental services, such as cleanings, are usually excluded without wellness add-ons.

The costs of pet insurance

With a wide variety of policies and providers out there, the cost of pet insurance can vary greatly. However, pet insurance is generally quite affordable, and there's a plan and provider out there that will fit your budget.

Premiums are typically $30 to $40 per month, with dogs costing a little more than cats on average. Those premiums are for plans that offer coverage for both illness and accidents.

Some of the factors that can affect your monthly premium are:

  • Age of your pet: Younger pets typically have lower premiums.
  • Size of your pet: Insurers tend to charge more for larger animals, particularly large dogs.
  • Where you live: Average vet costs in your area will impact what you pay each month.
  • Deductible: The lower your deductible, the higher your premium.
  • Reimbursement level: The higher percentage of a bill that your plan will reimburse you for, the higher the deductible.
  • Annual plan maximum: A higher maximum will also mean a higher premium in most cases.
  • Add-ons: Many plans offer options that will cover routine care and other common services for an additional cost.
  • Monthly versus annual premium payment: Some policies offer a discount if you pay your entire premium for the year in a single lump-sum payment.

When you shop for pet insurance, be sure to get multiple quotes so you can choose the best value and coverage for your budget.

Finding the right plan for your pet and your budget

Is pet insurance worth it? For most pet owners, the answer is usually yes. With a wide array of policies and coverage available, it's easy to customize a plan that works for both your pet and your budget. The low cost of premiums can offer you the peace of mind that you'll be able to get your pet the care they need. Instead of worrying about costs, you can focus your energy on nurturing your pet back to health.


Did you know First Citizens offers great pet insurance? Our provider Embrace has been recognized by Forbes Advisor as one of the best pet insurance plans for 2021.

Protect your four-legged family member

Cover unexpected accidents and illnesses and get access to providers worldwide with a pet insurance plan.

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