Pet Insurance: The Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Pet Insurance Exclusions

Perhaps this is obvious, but it has some important implications. None of the Obamacare reforms that have been applied to health insurance for people have been applied to pet insurance policies. You could most likely have guessed that, but what it means is that pet insurance companies are still free to exclude pets from things like pre-existing conditions (or for many, many other reasons that has no rhyme or reason for that matter).

Certain treatments may also be excluded from the policy. Frequently, the most expensive treatments such as organ transplants are not covered. Extra costs incurred through pregnancy may also not be covered. Most importantly, remember that this is considered legally to be property insurance, not health insurance. If the insurer believes that the problem is due to neglect or deliberate injury, they will not pay a claim.

Other exclusions may also include behavioral therapy, limits on surgical procedures, and experimental treatments. You either agree to them on signing day or not.  Just make sure you know what they are so your not caught off guard at your most vulnerable.

Pet Insurance Options

We found a fantastic slideshare document that is a great resource.


We looked at a few options for pet insurance. These include plans that both use benefits schedules, and plans that pay a percentage. To compare these plans, we used a healthy, medium sized dog, about 5 years old. Prices might vary depending on breed and age.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers three basic levels of insurance. The least expensive was about $12 dollars a month, depending on the breed and age, and only covers injury. The most expensive plan, at just over $40, also covered illness, hereditary problems, and behavioral therapies. These are on the cheaper end of the expense scale for pet insurance.

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Hannah Renaldi wrote a quick overview that can be seen here.  Nationwide is the largest pet insurer in the US. Their plans allow you to use any vet, anywhere in the world. These plans are more representative of the cost of pet insurance. The most basic plan cost $40 a month. However, this plan had limited coverage for hereditary problems, coverage for illness and injury, and coverage for cancer.


See a quick overview of their service here.  A policy from this company was the winner of that Consumer Report study a few years ago, giving the most value when the test pup in that study incurred some vet bills. These plans are similar to Nationwide in price, with the cheapest being about $40 as well. Trupanion also allows you to customize your insurance policy by adding and subtracting coverage to find a price you like.

I’m Not So Sure – What Are The Alternatives to buying insurance?

If you’ve decided that a veterinary wellness plan or pet insurance isn’t for you, for whatever reason, you should know that there are some alternatives that might be worth looking into. While not pet insurance, these may help you pay for your pet’s care if it becomes necessary.

Written by Flo

I am a writer and pet lover living in the Pacific Northwest. I own 2 cats, Bella and Junior, and they are adorable :) I have been an animal advocate and human companion for several dozen animals over the years. I have raised Cockatiels, cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and a tortoise. Writing is my second passion and writing for Funny Pet Stop is a fantastic match for me.