We’ve all heard the say­ing “A dog is a man’s best friend” and we know it’s true! Pets give us uncon­di­tion­al love, com­pan­ion­ship, and joy. But, are we will­ing to pay the price when a hefty vet bill comes along? Pet insur­ance may help you stom­ach that unex­pect­ed emer­gency room charge due to Fluffy’s uncan­ny abil­i­ty to eat any­thing with­in reach—even if it’s rotten!

In 2017, over $16.62B were spent on vet­eri­nar­i­an bills in the Unit­ed States. In that same year, Amer­i­cans also spent over $1B on pet insur­ance. This begs the ques­tion “is pet insur­ance worth buy­ing?” While this mar­ket con­tin­ues to grow, 99% of pet own­ers report NOT hav­ing pet insur­ance. The num­ber one rea­son? Cost. Pre­mi­ums are at their low­est when you own a pup­py or kit­ten and increase as the pet gets old­er. This results in the insured only keep­ing pet insur­ance for an aver­age of 3 years. The cost of insur­ance can increase 5‑fold between the pup­py and adult years.

Pet insur­ance is one of the fastest grow­ing mar­kets in the US. This insur­ance can be pur­chased with increased lev­els of cov­er­age. The most basic lev­el may cov­er treat­ments for some com­mon ill­ness­es or acci­den­tal injury. The mid-range cov­er­age could cov­er pre­ven­ta­tive care as well as immu­niza­tions. An exam­ple of pre­mi­um cov­er­age is sur­gi­cal cost and lia­bil­i­ty for if the pet injured some­one. Prices for these lev­els range from $15/ month to $45/month.

Pet insur­ance is now becom­ing a more com­mon­place employ­ee ben­e­fitContingencies.org says that 6500 employ­ers in the US and Cana­da offer pet insur­ance to its employ­ees. A report by SHRM says that of those offered pet insur­ance as an employ­ee perk, only 6% of pet own­ers uti­lized that ben­e­fit in 2012. By 2017, that num­ber rose to 9%. Employ­ees say this is an impor­tant ben­e­fit because, for many, pets are con­sid­ered part of a fam­i­ly and if you insure a human mem­ber of a fam­i­ly, why wouldn’t you also insure your pet?

If your com­pa­ny does not offer pet insur­ance, here are some tips on what you should look for when con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing pet insurance:

  1. How much do my pre­mi­ums increase as my pet ages?
  2. What is cov­ered and not cov­ered? Does the plan include pre-exist­ing conditions?
  3. Can you pur­chase just acci­dent cov­er­age for if your pet injures someone?

With our pets being a vital part of our fam­i­ly, hav­ing pet insur­ance can give you peace of mind that you don’t have to shoul­der the entire cost of an injury or ill­ness of a pet. Not hav­ing to make deci­sions for their care based on mon­ey is a bless­ing to their fam­i­lies. For over 6,000 com­pa­nies and their 80,000 employ­ees this perk is worth every penny.