Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 7, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I’ve previously written about why I got pet insurance for Allegra and Ruby after being on the fence about it for many years. I looked at a lot of different plans, and found that there is a huge variety from plan to plan both in terms of what’s covered and what’s not, and in terms of how much is reimbursed. After making my decision and talking to people about it, I found that there are a lot of misconceptions about this topic out there. Today, I’m addressing five of the most common myths about pet insurance.

Pet insurance is too expensive

Pet insurance plans may start as low as $1 a day, depending on your pet’s age, health status, level of coverage, and the geographical area  you live in. In almost any case, pet insurance premiums will be far less than the average veterinary bill. Even a fairly simple illness can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Cats with pre-existing conditions can’t be covered by pet insurance

While it’s true that pet insurance plans won’t cover pre-existing conditions, this doesn’t necessarily mean your cat can’t be insured. Some conditions, most commonly diabetes and cancer, will limit your cat’s eligibility for coverage by an illness plan, but she would still be eligible to be covered for accidents.

My cat is too old to get pet insurance

Most plans will have age limits on coverage. They will vary by plan, but even older cats in their teens can often be insured at higher premiums. You’ll have to take your cat’s lifestyle and health status into account and do the math to determine whether it makes sense for you to pay the higher premium.

Putting money into a pet care savings account is enough

According to a recent financial study, 64% of Americans cannot come up with $1,000 in the case of an emergency. If you’re disciplined enough to set aside a good chunk of money every month for pet care expenses, than saving is absolutely the better choice for you – but how many of us will really follow through?

Pet insurance won’t let me choose my own vet

Unlike human health insurance, there are no preferred networks or HMO’s for pet insurace. Pet insurance plans are indemnity plans, which means that you pay your vet, then submit the claim to the insurance company, and the insurance company reimburses you. Pet insurance companies will never get involved in treatment decisions for your cat; they are made between you and your cat’s veterinarian.

Even though veterinary care, compared to human healthcare, is still a bargain, there’s no question that veterinary care is expensive. While pet insurance, like any other insurance, is always a gamble to some extent, it does help provide peace of mind that you won’t have to make decisions about your cat’s health based on finances.

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12 Comments on 5 Common Myths About Pet Insurance

  1. I also just got an insurance for my girl. I think it is a lot less complicated in the Netherlands, though. But I also had to do a lot of research and comparing. I did it because I have a very low income and this gives me a secure feeling. I may never get the money back that I put in over the years, but I’m also paying for my peace of mind. You never know what the future brings and Bibi means the world to me. I’d rather pay a small amount each month than not being able to take care of her when something serious happens.

  2. I have 8 cats and can’t afford $15 each per month. My one cat that needs it has a pre existing condition, stomatitis. I also have 3 with herpes virus 1. There is not multicat discount that I have found.

  3. Reading these comments I just had a thought: what if someone in our little community here (not me) were to actually do research on the different plans available and create a side-by side comparison? Years ago when my car was totaled and I needed to switch insurance companies I did that. But the work had already been done, maybe the insurance institute or whoever had a great listing with details about all the different plans out there. Maybe the people who are happy with their plan could share that info? Just an idea.

  4. I will never understand someone’s ability to pay a bill, but not set that same amount of money aside.. *shrug*

  5. Yeah i spent a fortune on pet insurance for many years….and finally decided that i didnt’ get enough back to make it worthwhile. Later my sister in law (a vet in Oregon) told me i had the ‘worst’ insurance plan –argh@! how was i to know? it’s actually quite hard to compare; they make it like comparing apples and oranges…haven’t had any insurance since then…and the vet debts are hard….

    • It is challenging to compare all the different plans, Ariana – that seems to be no different than trying to figure out human insurance.

  6. Thanks, Ingrid – just be careful which company you choose. Geographical area is vital. My daughter was told that because she lives in California she only gets reimbursed for the going vet rate in Pennsylvania where the company is located. They spent a fortune, close to $8,000 for their Golden Retriever before he died and the reimbursement was less than 20%. Just be sure to shop around. I unfortunately, cannot afford insurance for 2 cats. $1.00 a day comes to $30 a month for one cat, right? Luckily they are both in good health and are only 7 and 8 years old. They never go outside.

    • I will ALWAYS have pet insurance for my cat. I had pet insurance for my last cat but sadly, it wasn’t a very good one. They didn’t cover as much as they “insinuated” they would. She developed breast cancer and when her anniversary date came up to renew, they said she had a “pre-existing” condition now and it wasn’t covered. She left me Oct. 2010. I got a another cat and found a different pet insurance company. You never know when you will need it. He was around 3 months old. At 2 years he was diagnosed with HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and IBD (irritable bowel disease). For all the tests it was close to $6,000 over the years. He will be 5 years old in January. His insurance covers 90% with NO deductible (office visits not covered) or yearly cap. I would not be without pet insurance!!

      • who is your insurance through, Mirsades. That is an insurance I would like. My dog has to have surgery fast and the cost will be 3 to 5 thousand dollars. I am scrambling to get the money together before he dies.

  7. Thank you for this. I have looking at Pet Insurance for awhile. She got her semi-annual checkup and was pronounced healthier than I am. Not bad for a 12 year cat. The way she jumps around makes me concerned about accidents. My current issue, is that not all vets choose to accept insurance including mine. I would hate to change vet because Piper is very comfortable with her.

    • Pet insurance plans are indemnity plans, so vets can’t not accept them, regardless of who the provider is. You pay your vet bill, and then submit the bill to the insurance company. All you usually have to do is attach a copy of the invoice, and possibly a copy of the treatment record. It would be illegal for a vet to not provide that information to you.

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