Is Pet Insurance Right for You?

Owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Not only are you responsible for feeding, watering, and protecting your animal from harm, you are also responsible for providing essential medical services along the way. This includes things like vaccinations, well-pet visits, and medical treatments. You are also responsible for damage your pet does to property and people, should those occur.

The right pet insurance can make a huge difference for you and your family, financially speaking.

What is Pet Insurance?

People see the term "pet insurance," and they often have a single thought. The truth is that there are different types of pet insurance. You are likely to need more than one type of pet insurance to get full protection for and from your pet.

There are two main types of pet insurance.

  1. Pet health insurance. This insurance meets the health and medical needs of your animal and comes with differing levels of coverage. You should explore plans, prices, and protections before choosing this policy.
  2. Pet coverage for your personal insurance. This is usually part of your home or renters insurance and covers you for any damages or injuries caused by your pet to others. However, your insurance may require a rider policy for pet coverage if you own certain animals or certain breeds.

If you own particularly valuable pets, like championship show dogs, horses, or cats, you will need to notify your insurance carrier. They might have different coverage options for these types of animals. This is also the case if you own police, military, or specially trained service animals

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Pet health insurance varies according to the specific type of coverage you purchase. You can typically buy one of three types of coverage.

  1. Basic coverage provides limited assistance and reimbursements for particular procedures and often has coverage caps for incidents as well as a total reimbursement cap for the duration of the policy.
  2. Comprehensive coverage is more generous with larger reimbursements, higher caps, and discounted rates for particular services, such as vaccinations, prescriptions, lab fees, etc.
  3. Premium coverage is more like health insurance for humans and extends to things like preventative care and treatments, physical exams, vaccinations, well-visits and may even provide for certain medical services and treatments with a minimum deductible.

Some people purchase veterinarian care discount plans that offer a reduced fee for certain services. This is not insurance but can be helpful in some instances, provided you understand that the protection is not nearly as robust as even most basic coverage plans.

For the most part, you pay monthly for these services and get the benefit of pet insurance in return. Pet liability and property damage coverages are often wrapped into your homeowners' or renters' insurance policy. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you have one, you do not need the other. Each type of pet insurance is unique and does not extend to protection for the other.

Should I Get Pet Insurance?

If you own a pet or are thinking about pet ownership, pet insurance is a good investment. In fact, you need both types of pet insurance. Purchasing pet insurance for young pets in good health is far less costly than insuring your aging pets. Start the process early for the best benefits.

When it comes to liability and property damage protection for your pets, the costs may vary significantly from one breed to the next. Be aware that some pets have negative reputations, whether deserved or not, for things like biting, digging, eating furniture, and otherwise destroying personal property. Those pets typically cost more to insure than those who do not have these negative reputations. Some pet insurance companies go so far as to not offer insurance for specific breeds, like pit bulls, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, wolf-hybrids, and others.

Where Do I Begin?

Your best bet for getting started with pet health insurance is with your veterinarian. They usually have already established relationships with specific providers. He or she can make recommendations based on those relationships and customer experiences.

When it comes to theft or liability insurance protection, your best bet is to work with your home insurance company. They understand the risks pets represent and can steer you in the right direction for optimal insurance protection.


There are many different types of pet insurance products and protections available today. This is what you need to know to help make informed decisions about buying pet insurance.

  1. Most pet owners need pet insurance.
  2. Pet insurance comes in two major forms: pet health insurance and pet liability protection.
  3. You likely need both types of protection if you own pets.

Pets bring years of joy and love to their families. Pet insurance is a small price to pay to protect what your pet has to offer.

Information presented in the Northwest Financial Wellness Center is provided for educational purposes only and is not related to actual Northwest products or services. Northwest makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Northwest recommends you consult a professional for any specific guidance you are seeking.