Life Insurance For Pets

Pet life insurance can cover costs related to an unexpected death, but it does have limitations. If you’re curious about whether the cost of insuring your pet is worth it, here’s what you should know.

Takeaways

  • Pet life insurance covers the cost of funeral expenses and reimburses owners for the pet’s value should something happen to them.
  • Like most insurance, there are limitations regarding how much coverage you can have and how much you can be reimbursed.
  • Pet life insurance is most often purchased by pet owners with expensive pets, like service animals and rare breeds, or pets that generate income, like show dogs.
  • For most pet owners, life insurance won’t be worth the extra expense.

What Is Pet Life Insurance?

Pet life insurance covers the cost of funeral expenses and provides reimbursement for your pet’s value if they are stolen, lost, or die. If your pet generates income — like a show dog or pet used for breeding — pet insurance will also provide reimbursement for future lost wages.

That said, there are a few limitations of the coverage, especially when it comes to assessing the value of your pet. Some insurance companies assess value at the time of the claim, not by the amount you paid upfront. Others will require you to provide proof of what you paid for your pet, so you’d need to keep that on hand throughout your pet’s life.

Additionally, some insurance companies have maximum payouts, meaning they won’t reimburse you past a certain amount, like $1,000. In cases where your pet provides greater value, a low reimbursement amount may seem inconsequential.

Why Pet Owners Get Pet Life Insurance

Pet owners tend to purchase life insurance for a few reasons:

  • Their pet was expensive.
  • Their pet is used for medical reasons.
  • Their pet brings in income.
  • For the extra mental peace knowing unexpected funeral expenses would be covered.

The Pet Was Expensive

Certain purebred pets, such as border collies, can cost you a few thousand dollars if purchased from a breeder. Likewise, certain cat breeds such as Savannahs, Persians, and Bengals can be even more expensive, with some reaching $50,000. If the value of your pet is high, purchasing life insurance may be worth it should anything happen to them.

The Pet Is Used for Medical Reasons

Pets used for medical reasons, such as service dogs, are often necessary to their owner’s wellbeing. However, they aren’t cheap to replace. In fact, the National Service Animal Registry says a service dog can cost up to $50,000 upfront. For an animal so expensive yet so integral to the owner’s life, pet life insurance is often worth it.

The Pet Generates Income

Pets used for show, breeding, or other income are considered working pets with economic value. If something were to happen to the pet, owners could lose their income, which can amount to quite a bit for high-performing pets. For working pets, life insurance is often worth it because of the potential for lost income should something happen to them.

To Cover Unexpected Funeral Expenses

Losing a pet unexpectedly brings a wave of immense grief, and worrying about the cost of a proper send-off isn’t ideal to add to the mix. Pet funerals can run you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and while costs such as cremation, an urn, and a formal burial aren’t necessary, they may be preferred for pet owners who want to honor their furry friend’s life. 

Life Insurance vs. Pet Insurance

Traditional pet insurance covers health-related accidents and injuries. Think of the standard medical expenses — surgery, medication, emergency care. Pet life insurance, however, covers costs associated with the theft, loss, or death of a pet.

Pet insurance does not cover expenses related to death, and pet life insurance does not cover everyday medical expenses.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet life insurance covers costs related to the death of your pet and reimburses the value of your pet should they get stolen, lost, or die.

Most pet life insurance plans do not cover:

  • Death caused by a hereditary disease your pet is predisposed to. For example, french bulldogs are predisposed to hereditary hip dysplasia, which if treated improperly, can lead to premature death. However, because it is a hereditary condition, a death due to such an illness would not be covered by life insurance.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Like human health insurance, pre-existing conditions are not covered. If your pet already has a condition, death due to that condition won’t be covered.
  • Death due to old age. Like humans, pets have certain life expectancies. While life insurance covers unexpected death, it does not cover death due to age. Because each breed has a different life expectancy, life insurance limits coverage to specific time spans for each breed.
  • Death by euthanasia. Animals that are euthanized are often ineligible for reimbursement by life insurance companies.

How Much Does Pet Life Insurance Cost?

On average, pet life insurance for dogs is around $250 to $900 per year. However, the cost depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The age of your pet. The older your pet, the more expensive they can be to insure.
  • The breed of your pet. More rare breeds will be more costly to insure.
  • The species of your pet. Certain pet species are more expensive to insure because of the medical conditions they’re predisposed to, their life expectancies, and other factors.
  • The value of the pet. Pets used for service, breeding, or other income cost more to insure.
  • The size of the deductible. Plans with a low deductible tend to have higher premiums, and vice versa.
  • The amount of coverage. The more coverage, the higher the premium. The less coverage, the lower the premium.
  • Your location. If the cost of pet funerals is more expensive where you live, your insurance premiums may reflect that.

Should You Get Life Insurance For Your Pet?

For most pet owners, life insurance won’t be worth the cost. In most cases, setting aside the cost of the premiums in a savings account instead is a better option. That way, you’ll be financially prepared for a funeral when your four-legged friend crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

However, if your pet is a valuable breed, a substantial source of income, or a service animal, it may be worth the cost.

Companies That Offer Pet Life Insurance

Few pet owners choose to take out life insurance for their pets for the reasons given above. This means many pet insurance companies don’t offer pet life insurance policies. 

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Nationwide is one company that offers pet life insurance. They offer a comprehensive insurance plan, complete with reimbursement of up to $1,000 if your pet dies, is stolen, or is lost.

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Grace Lemire

Grace is a lover of pups and personal finance. She’s passionate about helping people navigate the financial side of life decisions — from budgeting for a furry friend to making decisions about pet insurance.