7 common misconceptions about pet insurance

Some of your reasons for not insuring your pet might be incorrect

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross h…

More than 90.5 million households in the U.S. have pets[1]. And yet, based on a 2022 report, only 4.4 million pets were insured[2]. Many pet owners are hesitant to invest in pet insurance, due to the cost or concerns about coverage or reimbursement, and in some cases these concerns might be misconceptions.

Whether it’s the mistaken belief that your furry friend doesn’t really need it because she's always healthy or the assumption that plans cost too much, these false assumptions could be costing you, and possibly even more importantly, your pet’s health. It can be difficult to distinguish between facts and myths, so read on to debunk some of the most common pet insurance myths.

Misconception #1 - Pet insurance is too expensive

Many pet parents believe that pet insurance is too expensive to fit in their budget. You are the best judge of what you can and cannot afford; however, the average monthly premium for an accident and illness pet insurance plan in the U.S. in 2022 was $53.34 for dogs and $32.25 for cats[2].

Pet insurance can actually be very affordable, and in the long run can save pet owners thousands of dollars in unexpected veterinary bills. The cost of pet insurance varies depending on the policy and the coverage selected, but many companies offer customizable plans to fit any budget. By investing in pet insurance, pet owners can rest assured that their furry friends will have access to the best veterinary care without breaking the bank.

Misconception #2 - Pet insurance only covers medical emergencies

One misconception is that your pet insurance policy only covers medical emergencies. While, it’s true that pet insurance will cover the costs of unexpected medical emergencies, it can also cover other aspects of your pet's health from wellness check-ups, routine care and even preventative treatments. There are a number of types of pet insurance coverage and add-ons:

  • Comprehensive: This is generally the most broad policy and covers your pet with very few exclusions. Such policies are likely to cover hereditary conditions, vaccinations and illnesses such as cancer.

  • Accident only: This policy type does only provides coverage if a pet is injured in an accident or in the event of emergency, but wouldn’t cover things like illnesses or routine care.

  • Accident and illness: This policy type will cover emergencies and costs related to illness.

  • Wellness plan: This covers wellness care including check-ups, routine visits and vaccinations. It may not cover illness or emergency pet care.

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Misconception #3 - Pet insurance only covers dogs

Pet insurance providers don’t just cover dogs. Cats and other exotic pets are also covered. Exotic pets that are most often covered include reptiles, pigs, ferrets, rabbits, birds and domestic rodents. Some animals and particularly species of birds may face some exclusions. It’s important to check with your insurance agency about your particular pet species.

Misconception #4 - Pet insurance is a waste of money if your pet never gets sick

Imagine being faced with a huge vet bill that you are not prepared for. That's where pet insurance comes in handy. It can give you peace of mind and financial security in case your pet needs costly medical care. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and pet insurance can ensure that you are always prepared for the unexpected.

While some policies may not cover routine services like annual check-ups, vaccinations, and heart worm tests, many plans do provide coverage for preventive care. In fact, several reputable pet insurance companies offer comprehensive plans that cover everything from preventive care to emergency treatment. With the right plan, pet owners can rest easy knowing that they can take proactive steps to keep their furry friends healthy without incurring sky-high veterinary bills.

Misconception #5 - Pet insurance is only for older pets

You might think it’s silly to get pet health insurance for your robust and happy puppy, but the truth is getting pet insurance early in your pet’s life may be cheaper and easier to get. After all, the older your pet gets, the more likely they are develop pre-existing conditions that may be excluded from policies. Some policies may also have age limits. Additionally, health issues can strike at any age, so it’s never a bad idea to have even your young pet protected.

Misconception #6 - You don't need pet insurance if you have veterinary savings accounts

Another common fallacy is that pet insurance is unnecessary if you have a veterinary savings account. While it's true that having a savings account specifically set aside for your furry friend's healthcare needs is a smart move, it's important to understand that it's not a replacement for pet insurance.

Veterinary savings accounts are meant to provide financial assistance for routine or unexpected veterinary bills. However, they don't cover all expenses, such as costly surgeries or treatments. Pet insurance, on the other hand, can help you shoulder the burden of such expenses and ensure that your pet gets the care they need without breaking the bank. In short, a savings account is a great supplement to pet insurance, but it shouldn't be substituted for a comprehensive insurance policy.

Misconception #7 - Pet insurance limits where you can seek care

Pet insurance differs from human health insurance in several critical ways. One is that you don’t have to worry if you’re in-network or out-of-network. Most pet insurance policies will allow you to make a claim and be reimbursed for treatments provided by any licensed veterinarian. That means you can take your pet to wherever you believe they will get the best care.


Pet insurance can seem intimidating and even overwhelming, but it is an important part of taking care of your pet's health and wellbeing. By understanding the many misconceptions about pet insurance, you can better ensure that your pet is covered in the case of any emergency or accident. With the right company and plan for you, pet insurance can provide peace of mind knowing that your four-legged friend will be taken care of in case anything ever happens.