post off: do you have pet insurance?


I picked up rather an alarming brochure at my vet the other day: “101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet.” Plants! Cleaners! Foods! Objects! Even holidays are on the list of potential pet hazards. Not that these aren’t real dangers, but the brochure is printed by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, so yes, they are trying to sell me something. Even though I once had a cat who ended up costing me $4,000 in medical bills over the course of his lifetime, I have yet to purchase health insurance for my pets. If it were offered as part of my health insurance plan, I might. What about you? –Mary T.

Photo by Benjamin Earwicker

From our partners

Did they mention walking your dog in a wild area without a leash and coyotes?

In my opinion, pet insurance is a sucker’s bet. It doesn’t cover routine expenses like neutering and most vets that I’ve asked don’t even accept it! You can get discounted vet care at places like the ASPCA to keep costs down.

How long did your cat live to cost you $4,000? If you’d had pet insurance you would have spent more than $4K on the insurance premium alone . . .


I live in Canada and have pet insurance for both of my cats. While I take measures to make sure they are healthy (vaccinated, indoor cats only, get lots of exercise, and quality food), I still made the choice to have pet insurance.

While I may never need to use my insurance, I want to make sure that in the event there are large expenses due to an accident or illness, I make care at the end of life decisions based on quality of life, not because I can’t afford it.

To me, I have house insurance, car insurance and life insurance. My pets are a part of my family – why wouldn’t I have health insurance for them?


Over a year ago I bought pet insurance after a bite on the ear at the dog park set me back $600. Each month I try to decide if it’s worth it. Then we had to take a trip to the emergency vet last month and the policy paid for itself then. So we’re keeping it.

Having worked at an emergency animal hospital for 4 years, I can say if you have a pet you should either contribute to a savings account every month or have pet insurance.
For dogs, it’s critical. At some point during your dog’s life, he most likely will get in trouble. Hit by car, swallow something he shouldn’t, step on glass on a walk and get seriously infected, get bit by another dog…they are outside a lot and interact with other animals a lot and it just increases the risk of danger.

I don’t mean to scare people but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen an owner come in and have to decide whether they can pay to save their pet or not. And not even hugely large bills. We are talking $600.
I have 8 pets(yes, it’s a side effect of working with animals) and all have pet insurance because I know I’m the type of person who couldn’t live with herself if I put down my cat for a $600 bill.

A typical 2 day stay at an emergency clinic in an urban area will cost you well over $1,500. If you have a the cash lying around, God bless you, but for most of us, we should prepare and set up a savings account you contribute once a month to *and* have pet insurance.


I had pet insurance for a few yrs after one of my cats had a pricey surgery that cost upwards of $2500. Problem is, that his condition then became a pre-existing condition and anything further that happened to him that could have any connection to his surgery- was not covered. After spending $40/mo. on pet insurance for a few years, and getting measly payouts on the claims I filed therafter (after the decuctible I literally was getting like a $5 reimbursement per cat for yearly physicals!), I decided that it wasn’t worth it.


I’d recommend setting up a savings account for pet medical expenses and contributing a bit each month. Then you’d have a cushion for emergencies. And it’s a good idea to start it well before getting a pet.

My sister just adopted a dog that, unknown to her, was very sick at the shelter. She spent more than $2,000 in the first eight days of dog ownership trying to save the dog.

Tiffany S.

I love the idea of the Pet Savings account instead of buying a policy. Maybe you can get interest, and you can use it for something else at any time (or once the pet, you know…).


No, but we set aside extra money for emergencies. I guess puppy costs would come out of that. We had a Lab for 10 years and never had any major vet bills so will probably just take our chances!

From what I know, it’s a bit of a scam and you are better off setting up a flexible spending account of some kind to cover the potential costs of vet bills. First off – if your pet has ever had any kind of issue – they won’t qualify and you cannot get coverage. Secondly, certain breeds who are known to develop issues, are required to set up coverage BEFORE you even bring the animal home. Now I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have that kind of foresight.

My girlfriend has it and she says it’s pretty much worthless but she keeps it just for those “in case” potential disasters.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » post off: do you have renter’s insurance?

[…] that the odds that one will ever need it are slim. We entertained a similar debate on pet insurancepet insuranceand the verdict seemed to favor putting money in savings over purchasing a policy. In my case, I […]