Does your dog or cat need health insurance? They might

Photo (c) LWA/Dann Tardif_Getty Images

Many plans can be customized to fit your pet’s needs

Inflation is making everyday expenses more costly and pet care is no exception. Not only are food and grooming costs rising but so are veterinarian bills.

Pet experts say the national average cost for a dog’s routine check-up at the vet can run between $50 to $250. On an annual basis, Americans spend as much as $1,500 on their dogs’ routine wellness check-ups, along with dental care, lab tests and vaccines. With inflation, those costs are likely to move higher.

Pet insurance can limit the financial risk for pet owners, as well as guarantee quality care for their furry family members. Sean Burgess, chief claims officer at Lemonade, a pet insurance provider, says pet treatment costs have risen sharply in the last decade. 

“Treatments for illnesses like cancer and chronic conditions like diabetes can end up costing pet owners tens of thousands of dollars without pet insurance,” Burgess told ConsumerAffairs. “Plus, emergency medical treatments and hospital stays can set pet owners back thousands of dollars in a flash.”

There are lots of options

When shopping for pet insurance, you should know that it’s a lot like health care coverage for people. Different plans cover different things.

For example, some policies cover unexpected vet bills, such as an injury to your pet. Others cover routine health services. Some cover both. Being able to customize the coverage you want usually helps make sure your pet gets expert care while saving you money.

“Lemonade allows you to customize policies by including optional preventative care packages and add-ons, plus, when you apply you can adjust your annual deductible, co-insurance, and annual limit to find the premium price and coverage that works for you,” Burgess said.

For example, Lemonade’s policy add-ons include:

  • Vet visit fees

  • Physical therapy

  • Dental Illness

  • End of life & remembrance

  • Behavioral conditions

More pets are being insured each year

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), around 3.45 million pets were insured across the United States and Canada by the end of 2020. Increasing vet bills is likely a significant driver of the growth. 

But Burgess says it’s also indicative of the strong bond between people and their pets, who are often considered a member of the family.

“Pet insurance gives you the peace of mind that you'll have coverage when big-ticket vet bills come up, so you aren't left making decisions based on cost when it comes to your pet's care,” he said. “As opposed to a dedicated pet savings account, pet insurance offsets the costs so you aren't left draining your savings on veterinary care, so you can save towards other things that matter.”

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team has done a deep dive into pet insurance to help you pick the right coverage. Check out our findings here.

Quick and easy. Get matched with a Pet Insurance partner.