The Quick-Start Guide to Pet Insurance

The Quick-Start Guide to Pet Insurance

Do Your Pets Need Insurance?

I am sure we can agree that our pet’s health is essential, and sometimes we are more concerned about their health than our own.

girl in pajamas with big white dog in her lap


There are over 85 million pets in the US, but according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), only 2 million of them are covered by pet insurance. The cost of treating a sick or injured pet can climb into the thousands of dollars, yet 87% of pet parents are paying out of pocket for expensive trips to the vet. We have health insurance for ourselves and our families, so why not for our beloved furry pals?

A majority of American pet parents view their furry pals as members of the family, driving the nearly $70 billion in annual spending for things like food, vet visits, and accessories to keep our pets happy and healthy.

tattooed man holding grey tabby kitten


The cost of caring for a pet has increased as well, driving more pet parents to seek cost saving solutions like wellness programs, delaying vet visits and buying pet insurance. In fact, over 5,000 corporations now include pet insurance as a part of their work benefits package, largely at the request of their growing Millennial workforce.

Today I am going to introduce you to pet insurance, explain to you why it’s crucial for both the pet parent and your fur babies and show you how to take the next steps in getting them covered.

Pet Health Insurance Simplified

“In Plain English” - Pet health insurance is protection for the health of your pet. Pet Insurance will cover things such as illness, medications, hospitalizations, accidents and some even offer preventative care. Traditionally these policies only cover cats, dogs, and horses but you can find it for more ​exotic pets like birds and gerbils as well.

As you can see, In this case, the words pet health insurance really do define the meaning. For more detailed information about pet insurance, check out our Pet Health Insurance guide.

husky and man outside on sunny day


Coverage Is For Them (Not You)

I was recently speaking to a new friend, and we were discussing why people don’t take the final step to purchase pet insurance, and more precisely why she didn’t. I asked her this simple question “Who are you buying the pet insurance for?” her response was “I want to say..., Myself... to give me peace of mind."  

This is how a majority of us feel when it comes to insurance in general. We buy it to give us peace of mind in case something happens to someone in our family. But insurance is designed to keep the insured healthy, which is the real peace of mind we gain from having that coverage. I told her, the reason she didn’t buy the insurance is because it’s easier to buy something for someone you love than it is for yourself. We will spend more time and money on the ones we love, than ourselves. 

When you look into pet insurance, you are not buying it for “you”, it’s for your pet - to ensure they can get the vital care they need if something bad happens. When you are seriously considering purchasing pet insurance, but are unsure, look at your pet and remember, you are buying this coverage for them, not for you.

black cat holding arm of person using computer keyboard

Pet Insurance 101

Pet insurance works very similarly to how coverage for a pet parent works. The only difference is that it is governed by the property & casualty insurance sector, not the life & health insurance sector. This is mainly because unfortunately, in the eyes of the insurance industry, our pets are still considered our property. 

What do you need to know about pet insurance?

Monthly Premium - This is going to be how much you pay on a month to month basis. You can pay monthly or annually depending on the company you choose.

Deductible - Your deductible is​ the ​amount of money you must pay before the insurance company ​starts sharing in the costs of your pets’ coverage.​​​

Reimbursements - Unlike health insurance for pet parents that have what is called “Co-Insurance,” pet insurance has “Reimbursements.” This is because some Vets may require you to pay everything up front instead of going through the insurance company to get the difference.

You would then be reimbursed back from the insurance company. The process has become much faster, and now most pet insurance companies offer reimbursement through direct deposit.

Annual Maximums - Your annual maximum is the maximum amount of care that the pet insurance company will pay out per year. The amounts range from $5,000, $10,000 or Unlimited. I would suggest going with the Unlimited version of any plan you look at; however, the lower options are more affordable.

Claims - Once your pet has been treated, you will want to keep copies of the receipt so that you can file a claim to be reimbursed for the amount you spent based on how your plan works.

The faster you submit a claim, the quicker you can be reimbursed. Some companies now offer the ability to file a claim by just taking a picture with your phone and submitting the request from an app. 

two vets holding a puppy and a kitten

Lower Your Vet Bill

Overall the main thing we are trying to do is increase our pets health and well being and lower the cost of our vet bill every year as well. The cost of pet health care is on the rise, and some reports have shown that it may outpace health care for pet parents.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance did a case study showing that the two most common reasons pets are going to the vet are Stomach Issues and Skin Conditions. On average the vet cost for stomach issues can climb up to $6,500, and vet costs for skin conditions can cost up to $4,000.

dad and daughter playing on bed with beagle


With pet insurance, you would pay less than half of that bill, or even lower, depending on your policy. Since both our pets’ health and our financial health are vital to us, it makes sense to look at ways to lower the costs of that unexpected injury or illness. Pet Insurance policies can be more affordable than you think and eliminate high vet bills as well. It’s like getting two benefits for the price of one.

The most important thing for you to do is become more educated on this topic by doing your research. Feel free to reach out to me at Simply Insurance and also check out reviews on health insurance products for pets. Also, get quotes for pet insurance so you can compare them side by side. Once you have compared a few quotes, take the next step and get your pet covered.

More Pet Insurance Resources

Still need convincing? Here are several other articles that outline why pet health insurance is a good investment for the health of your furry pals AND your wallet.


This is a guest post by JC Matthews, Co-Founder of Simply InsuranceJC Matthews is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance, a Digital Insurance Agency. He is also a Licensed Life and Health Insurance Agent with over 10 years of experience.

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