Dog Life Insurance: Does It Make Financial Sense?

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Dog grave (caption: Dog Life Insurance)Many people get life insurance for themselves or their spouse — it can be a wise financial investment to help you with the loss of a loved one. But what about our furry family members? Can you get a life insurance policy on a dog? And what expenses do you need to consider with the loss of your pet?

We’ll answer these questions and more to help you plan ahead. Even though we don’t like to think about our pet’s death, it helps to be informed about all your options.

Article Overview

Can You Get Life Insurance For Your Dog?

Insurance companies don’t offer life insurance for dogs that’s comparable to human life insurance (meaning you get a lump sum that you’ve paid into during the life of the policy once the insured person dies).

One of the main reasons people get human life insurance is to ensure that your family is protected financially in the event of a tragedy. While dogs are invaluable to us emotionally, their death doesn’t significantly impact our financial future.

However, there are some companies that offer mortality and theft insurance for dogs, but it’s primarily geared toward valuable show, service, or breeding dogs. Although you may be able to find a policy for your family pet, it’s not worth it in most cases. Why?

With life insurance for dogs, the insurance company compensates you for the amount of your dog’s value. This is typically determined by your dog’s purchase or replacement cost or assessed value. Some insurers will also cover euthanasia, cremation, or burial costs — but for higher premiums. And then there are strict limitations on what type of death is covered.

Limitations

A significant limitation with dog life insurance is that it only covers unexpected deaths from an accident or sudden illness. So you’ll face some major policy exclusions, including:

  • Pre-existing conditions – Insurance companies require a health evaluation by a veterinarian before issuing a policy. If your pet already suffers from a serious condition, you may not qualify for coverage.
  • Hereditary conditions – Some purebred dogs are prone to serious illnesses and health conditions, and deaths caused by these conditions most likely won’t be covered by dog life insurance.
  • Age – Pet life insurance policies typically limit coverage to a set time span when your dog is less likely to develop an older age-related illness.

End-Of-Life Expenses For Pets

Many people want to memorialize their beloved pets once they’re gone. Here are some ranges for costs associated with a pet’s death to help you plan financially.

  • Euthanasia: $50-$300
  • Cremation: $150 to $250 (individual cremation)
  • Urn for your pet’s ashes: $50 to $400
  • Burial plot in a pet cemetery: $400 to $600
  • Pet casket: $100 to $500

Is Pet Life Insurance Worth It?

Unless you have an extremely valuable dog, like a rare breeding dog or a show or service dog, the premiums you’ll pay for dog life insurance will likely be much higher than the death benefit on the policy (the amount you may receive from the insurance company if your dog dies from a covered reason). Unfortunately, the emotional toll we owners face upon the death of a beloved pet doesn’t factor in with pet life insurance.

But you do have another option, which could be a financial help for you as a pet owner during the entire life of your dog — getting pet health insurance.

What Does Pet Health Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance is designed to cover unexpected accidents and illnesses, including emergencies, hereditary conditions, cancer, and chronic conditions. You pay monthly or annual premiums, like with human health insurance.

But unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance plans don’t cover wellness visits like annual exams or teeth cleaning. They also don’t cover pre-existing conditions. However, many pet health insurance companies do cover euthanasia costs, and some even cover cremation and other end-of-life expenses.

End-Of-Life Coverage

Below is a table of the pet health insurance providers we review annually that cover euthanasia and cremation. See below the table for more specific details we were able to find on select providers from their sample policies. We recommend you check with any pet insurance company before enrollment regarding what is and isn’t covered. The sample policies we read may be different from what’s active in your state.

Note that euthanasia is an approved coverage when a veterinarian deems it necessary for humane reasons due to an illness or accident. Euthanasia due to behavioral problems isn’t typically covered. And since pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, if your pet dies due to a pre-existing condition, these coverages won’t apply.

24PetWatch: Covers up to $200 total for both euthanasia and cremation.

AKC Pet Insurance: Its Support Plus Final Respects add-on covers cremation, burial, urns, and memorials.

Petplan: Reimburses you for the price you paid for your pet if your pet dies or has to be put to sleep by a veterinarian during the policy period, as a result of an injury or illness. According to Petplan: “This coverage is limited to a $1,000 annual limit. If you have no formal proof of how much you paid for your pet in the form of an original receipt, we will pay you the lesser of the current local humane society adoption fee for the species of pet named on the declarations page, or one hundred and fifty dollars ($150).” This excludes pre-existing condition, death from illness over 6 years old, and other limitations.

Trupanion: Its Pet Owner Assistance add-on covers cremation and burial fees (up to $100 due to accident).

What Are The Best Pet Health Insurance Providers?

Our experts have researched dozens of pet health insurance companies over the years. See our reviews of our top three picks and our full list of companies we review this year. And if you want to learn more about pet insurance, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide.

What kind of pet insurance are you considering for your dog and why?

About The Author:

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets). Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

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