Should I purchase pet insurance for my dog or cat, is it worth it?

Should I purchase pet insurance for my dog or cat, is it worth it?

Written by Dr. Melissa Magnuson

I am asked this question everyday and I believe pet insurance IS worth it. Think of  pet insurance as being  like car insurance, it works much the same way. Pet insurance covers those medical issues with pets that are “out of the ordinary” care of the pet. Just like car insurance, you car insurance does not cover your oil change or tire rotation, but if you get into an accident and need to have your car repaired, the insurance allows you to do so. This is how pet insurance works, it is there for the “out of the ordinary” care of your pet. 

Sad PuppyPet insurance has been around for about 10 years. Pet insurance helps provide peace of mind in case the unfortunate should happen. Its purpose is to help cover the costs of unexpected accidents and illnesses that may occur in the future. It is not unusual for a dog that has swallowed a stuffed toy and needs surgery to remove it to spend $3500-5000 for surgery and after care.  With insurance, the cost to the owner would only be around $500.

Unfortunately, it will not cover any current conditions your pet may have which are known as pre-existing conditions. This means that the ideal time to insure your pet is as early as possible so that anything that happens in the future will be covered.

Pet insurance is for those who want to provide their pet the best medical care possible with less worry about cost. When your insured pet becomes sick or injured, you take him to the veterinary hospital for treatment. You then submit your invoice along with the pet health insurance claim form to be reimbursed at a percentage, less your chosen deductible. It helps provide financial peace of mind and can help pet owners with the difficult decision of treatment vs. ‘economic’ euthanasia.

Policies keep getting better and better and allowing for more thorough coverage. One of the best I have seen thus far is Trupanion. It covers 90% of medical expenses after a deductible (that you choose) has been met. It has a fee you pay in monthly based on criteria for your pet.

Routine veterinary care is not covered under most pet insurance plans. The best advice I can give for routine care is to budget approximately $350 per year for a dog’s annual care and $250 per year for a cat’s annual care. This breaks down into just $30 per month for a dog and $20 per month for a cat. Save this every month and in 1 year the cost of the annual visit will not seem like that much if you have put the money aside for your pet’s care.

DVM MagnusonAbout Dr. Melissa Magnuson, DVM

Dr. Melissa Magnuson is a native of southern Minnesota, where she grew up on a small pig and cattle farm. Ever since she can remember, she’s wanted to be a veterinarian and fulfill her lifelong passion of helping animals. With a degree in biology and philosophy from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, she went on to work on a master’s degree at Southern Mississippi University. From there, she completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota in 1998.

Her internship in small animal medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine brought her to the east coast. She has a special interest in surgery, emergency medicine, and avian and exotic animal care. Because she absolutely LOVES veterinary medicine, she never feels like she’s at work. She feels very lucky to have found her passion.


Dr. Magnuson is married to her best friend, Andy, with whom she has three beautiful daughters. Her pets include four dogs, three cats, a bird, a bearded dragon, and a guinea pig. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family outdoors, biking, hiking, swimming, and reading.


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