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Other Insurance | 2 min read

Protect Your Furry Friends with Pet Insurance

If you’re anything like me, your pets are considered valued members of the family, and, like kids, they can be expensive! Between high-quality organic pet food, trips to the groomers, lavish toys, and vet bills, our pets’ bills pile up. According to Investopedia, “There are 179 million pets in North America that create an estimated $58.5 billion in annual spending. Vet care is the third largest expenditure in the category, costing pet owners about $15.25 billion per year.”

Pet health insurance addresses the potentially high costs of medical care due to illness or injury to dogs and cats by reimbursing the consumer anywhere from a good portion to all of the veterinary bills incurred. Did you know that the canine TV star Lassie™ was the first dog to have a pet insurance policy in the country, back in 1982? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the ease and value of getting a health insurance policy for your pet.

Love doesn’t cost a thing—but vet bills do

Pets are unpredictable. It's impossible to know if your dog is going to develop a taste for plastic or if your cat will get bitten by a snake. Accidents happen and unfortunately, some pets will contract chronic illnesses that require x-rays, surgeries, and even overnight stays at the vet's office.

The cost of an emergency vet visit can range from $500 to $2,000 or more. Advanced surgery can range from $1,500 to $5,000. It is devastating to have to decide to have a beloved pet euthanized because you simply can't afford their vet bill. Even taking emergency situations out of the equation, the cost of routine veterinary and preventative medications and supplements for Scout can easily cost several hundred dollars annually. It varies, but veterinary technician, Jenna Stregowski, RVT, estimates that dog owners should budget between $500 to $1,000 per year for routine veterinary care and another $100 to $300 for supplements and preventative medication.

When you get a health insurance policy for your dog or cat, it can cover a good portion of vet expenses and medications. Pet insurance can make an otherwise exorbitant bill manageable, opening up treatment and potentially life-saving options for your pet.

Pet Insurance—what’s covered?

Some people may consider a pet health insurance policy a non-essential expense, and that may very well be the case for some pet owners. Depending on your situation, it may be something that you should seriously consider. Pet health insurance policies vary, but the following situations are typically covered under most programs:

  • Accidents

  • Cancer

  • Breed-specific and genetic conditions

  • Chronic and recurring conditions

  • Emergency and specialist vet visits

  • Laboratory and diagnostic tests

  • Surgery, hospitalization, and nursing care

  • Rehabilitation therapy

Some policies will also help cover the cost of routine wellness care (including vaccinations), prescription medications, dental cleaning and care, and even an occasional grooming.


Before you decide to get health insurance for your pet, you should talk to your provider about age limits, pre-existing conditions, breed limitations, and what type of services are covered under their specific policy. Remember, all of the charges, including co-pays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained to you so you fully understand the policy and its limitations. Determining whether or not pet insurance is really worth it can be a calculated decision, but it's not one you want to regret if your fur baby gets sick or injured. They’re definitely worth it!

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Joan Cleveland

Joan Cleveland, CLU, ChFC, REBC leads SWBC Life Insurance Company as President and CEO. With more than 30 years of experience in the life insurance industry. She holds her Agent licenses for Life, Accident, Health Insurance, and has multiple FINRA securities Licenses. Joan is a frequent industry speaker and media spokesperson. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankers Insurance Association, and co-chair for their Government Relations Committee. In addition she is chair of LIMRA’s Strategic Marketing Issues Committee.

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