Are There Pet insurance Alternatives?


  • There’s no specialist puppy insurance – you just need to take out a normal pet insurance plan for your dog
  • Insurance for your puppy works the same as any other pet insurance
  • It’s best to take out pet insurance on your puppy as soon as possible so they’re more likely to be covered if they have a health issue
  • Find out how much different providers cost below

Are you one of the 87 million pet owners in the United States? Are you looking for an alternative to pet insurance for your pet’s health care needs?

There are a few options available that may be able to help you cover some of the costs associated with veterinary care.

Are there any alternatives to pet insurance that can help cover the costs of veterinary care? 

The answer is yes! 

But before we look into these options, why would you even consider looking for alternatives to pet insurance? 

Well, the answer varies from person to person, but the most common reasons are: 

  • The cost of pet insurance is too high 
  • The coverage offered by pet insurance plans is too narrow
  • They do not meet the needs of their particular pet’s health situation
  • The pet is not eligible for traditional pet insurance due to age, breed, or pre-existing conditions

Fortunately, there are a few alternatives to pet insurance that may be able to help cover the costs of veterinary care: 

  • Setting up a savings account specifically for pet healthcare expenses
  • Participating in a Pet Healthcare-sharing program
  • Purchasing an affordable Veterinary Discount Plan or Card
  • Applying for Government Assistance programs
  • Seeking out Non-Profit organizations that provide financial assistance for veterinary care

NAPHIA statistics show that only around 2.5% of pets in the US are covered by pet insurance. Understandably, pet owners may be put off by the cost of insurance premiums, or by a failure to find suitable coverage for their pet’s needs. However, veterinary bills can be very costly, and it’s important for pet owners to have a financial plan to cover these costs. If you’re a new pet owner, ask yourself the question “if I had a $1000 vet bill to pay tomorrow, could I pay it?” and make sure you have a financial strategy in place – whether that’s pet insurance or an alternative option. 

Dr. Lizzie Youens, Veterinary Surgeon

Savings accounts for pet healthcare expenses

A great way to save money on your pet’s healthcare costs is to set up a separate savings account specifically for those expenses. 

You make deposits into this account each month, so you have money aside for unexpected veterinary bills. It’s a great way to get ahead and prepare for potential medical emergencies and an excellent way to budget, but it requires discipline and commitment. 

The biggest drawback to this option is that you’ll be paying your pet’s healthcare costs out of pocket. This means if you haven’t saved enough to cover the whole cost, you’ll have to find another way to pay. If you take this option, it’s best to start as early as possible, so you have some reserves saved before your pet starts aging, the time when they are potentially more likely to incur veterinary costs.

You don’t have to set up an account with a traditional bank. You can use an online bank like Ally, Capital One, or Goldman’s Marcus to set up the account. 

Participating in a Pet Healthcare-sharing program or cooperative

A pet healthcare-sharing program is an alternative to traditional pet insurance that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. It works by pooling funds from different members to help cover the costs of veterinary care for all participating pets. 

Members usually have to pay a monthly or annual fee, and depending on the program, there may be additional limits or eligibility requirements. Similarly to insurance, you may have to pay a deductible, and only be reimbursed for a certain percentage of your costs. 

And while you may not get the same level of coverage as a traditional pet insurance plan, it can be an affordable way to cover some veterinary costs. 

Veterinary Discount Plan or Card

These plans usually offer 10-15% discounts on veterinary services such as office visits, surgeries, and routine care. They may also offer discounts on pet medication and supplies. 

These plans are typically much less expensive than traditional pet insurance and can provide much-needed relief when covering the cost of veterinary care. 

But remember, they won’t cover all your pet’s healthcare costs – a discount of 10% on a $1000 bill is a significant saving, but still leaves you with a large financial cost.

Government Assistance Programs

In some cases, there are government assistance programs available for pet owners who need help covering their veterinary care costs. 

These programs can vary from state to state, so it’s best to check with your local government or human services office to find out what options may be available in your area. 

Examples of a government program include:

As with many public assistance programs, eligibility requirements must be met to receive assistance. 

Non-Profit Organizations That Provide Financial Assistance for Veterinary Care

Finally, several non-profit organizations offer financial assistance to pet owners who need help covering their veterinary care costs. 

As non-profits, these organizations may provide grants or low-interest loans to help cover the cost of veterinary services. Still, they typically have specific eligibility requirements, such as low household income. 

Some examples of these organizations are:

  • The Pet Fund: Set up to help those who can’t afford veterinary care, The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners in need. 
  • The Grey Muzzle Organization: This organization provides grants to senior dog rescue and shelter organizations that help senior dogs with medical conditions. 
  • Red Rover: Red Rover helps low-income pet owners pay for their pets’ emergency veterinary care costs. 

These are just a few of the many non-profit organizations that exist to help pet owners in need. 

Several alternatives to traditional pet insurance can be helpful when it comes to covering veterinary care costs. 

Whether you decide to set up a savings account, explore pet healthcare-sharing programs or cooperatives, purchase a veterinary discount card, look into government assistance programs, or seek out non-profit organizations that provide financial assistance, there are ways to get the coverage you need. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Insurance

Is pet insurance worth it? 

Pet insurance can be a great way to help offset veterinary costs that may arise, although it is essential to consider all of your options and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Pet insurance may seem expensive, but veterinary care can be very costly. Some policies cover preventive care or chronic conditions that could save you money in the long run.

What does pet insurance cover? 

Most pet insurance policies cover a variety of services, including unexpected illnesses and injuries. Preventive care is not usually covered, but some companies will offer additional add-ons such as wellness policies. Depending on the policy, you may also be able to choose your vet and receive partial reimbursement for certain additional treatments or procedures.

Are there any alternative options to pet insurance? 

Yes, several alternatives to pet insurance may be able to help cover veterinary costs. These include setting up a savings account specifically for pet care, exploring healthcare-sharing programs or cooperatives, purchasing a veterinary discount card, looking into government assistance programs, or seeking out non-profit organizations that provide financial assistance. 

No matter which option you choose, research and find one that best fits your needs. 

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Vivian Gerald

Vivian is a personal finance writer, passionate about helping others achieve their financial goals. She has worked in the banking and investment industries for almost a decade and has written copy for some of the world's leading financial institutions. Vivian is also a fitness enthusiast and loves spending her free time hiking and cuddling her pup, Max.