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Life Insurance For Pets

Faith Boluwatife
Faith Boluwatife
Faith is an enthusiastic freelancer and regular contributor for a number of finance and insurance blogs where she writes valuable pieces to educate individuals on finance and other options. As a skilled writer, Faith has created content for diverse industries – if it exists, she’s likely written about it.

DollarGeek's goal is to help you make the best financial decisions. To help us do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations or ratings.

Table of Contents

Ever wondered if life insurance for pets is even a thing? We think that explains why you are here! Find out everything you need to know about pet life insurance and how these policies work.

Takeaway Points

  • Pet parents can purchase pet life insurance just like they could purchase accident and illness insurance.
  • Pet insurance is most ideal and profitable for owners of service pets, pets that generate revenue, and pets that are expensive to groom.
  • Due to its expensive nature, pet life insurance is often not worth it unless the pet provides a value that justifies the high costs of the insurance.
  • Younger pets and middle-aged pets are the best fit for life insurance. Older pets are more likely to be ineligible for the life insurance plans of most companies.
  • Life insurance does not cover vet costs, preventive care, and other costs covered in standard insurance plans.

What is Pet Life Insurance?

One thing is constant: we’re talking about life insurance here. That is, we’re talking about a special kind of insurance that offers coverage for some expenses that are incurred after the loss of a life that has been insured.

Depending on the policy and contract, life insurance may also infer that a certain beneficiary will be paid a certain amount after the loss of life or at specific intervals, such as when a terminal disease occurs.

You should expect pet life insurance to work almost the same way. Depending on the policy, the animal owner will get reimbursed during a terminal illness, or major injury, after the pet dies, or during certain other conditions that threaten the life and availability of the pet to its owner.

Can You Get Life Insurance for Pets?

Life insurance for pets? Is that even a thing? Yes, it is! Pets mean a lot to their owners, and pet parents are considered parents just by virtue of owning one pet or the other. This shows how attached owners can be to their pets.

Besides, some pets serve very specific services that make their loss an unforgettable one – one that could hinder the activities of the pet parent. For these reasons and more, pet owners seek ways they can obtain consolation during the loss of their pets. And this is what pet life insurance does.

Life Insurance for Dogs

Dogs are the most common pets to get life insurance for. This is because, in several ways, they tend to offer more to their owners than just being companions. That said, life insurance for dogs is most often purchased for dogs that generate revenue one way or the other.

These kinds of dogs include show dogs, breeding dogs, and service dogs which work in intelligence and security divisions. Asides from the revenue these dogs generate, the cost of training them to meet up with their roles and attending to their special healthcare needs is usually expensive.

Also, some breeds of dogs, like the French Bulldog, have always been uniquely expensive to maintain. Therefore, it is more common for owners of these kinds of breeds to obtain life insurance for them.

Life Insurance for Cats

Cats can also be life-insured. But we must confess, this is very rare because the value obtained from the cat is usually far less compared to the amount expended on purchasing life insurance premiums.

Also, cats are less likely to generate revenue than dogs. And even when they do, the service they provide does not generate as much income that is worth insuring for.

This does not mean life insurance for cats does not exist. Rare cat breeds as well as those that are highly expensive to groom are best fit for life insurance

Why you go for life insurance will most importantly depend on the value you place on your pet, whether it is a cat, a dog, or a ferret. When you compare the esteem you place on your pet to how much you can afford, you will be able to decide if pet life insurance is indeed an option to go for.

Why Pet Owners Get Pet Life Insurance

There are a couple of reasons pet owners might want to consider pet life insurance, some of which we’ve already hinted at. They are:

  • Grooming Costs for the Pet: Pets that are naturally expensive to maintain due to their activities or their unique breed are often insured by their parents. That way, they can obtain reimbursement for all their expenses in the case of the loss of the pet.
  • Value of the Pet: Pets that generate revenue one way or the other, or those that offer a specific service, are often always insured because their loss would not only cause grief but also loss of income or disturbance of daily living for the owner. With life insurance, the owner receives reimbursement that will go a long way to get their finances steady or get another pet that will provide a similar service.
  • Attachment to the Pet: Here is one factor that overrides the service the pet provides or how expensive it is to groom. If pet owners are so attached to their pets, they can simply obtain life insurance for them. Doing this particularly ensures a befitting funeral for the pet in the case of its loss. And this brings us to our last reason why pet owners get pet life insurance:
  • Funeral Rites: If you get your pet’s life insured, it automatically gets you covered for funeral expenses. This can be particularly consoling knowing that your pet has gotten a befitting burial and can aid the grieving process.

Funeral rites are typically costly that without insurance to cover them, pet parents just seek other less expensive options. Pet caskets for example can cost as high as $500 while getting a spot in a pet cemetery can cost about $400 to $600.

Other funeral costs like cremation and getting an urn also come with their charges. With pet life insurance, pet parents can be assured they would be able to get all of these covered for their pet and give it the final rest it deserves.

Service Dog/Animal Life Insurance

The Americans with Disabilities Act describes service dogs as dogs that are specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities.

Other service animals such as service cats and horses also exist, but are less common. Cats are also not recognized as service animals in the way that dogs are, but trained cats can sure serve as emotional support.

These kinds of animals because of the special tasks they perform and how attached their pet owners are to them are often life-insured.

Note that there are usually no specific life insurance plans for service animals. However, the regular life insurance for pets will be able to cover for them.

Life Insurance vs. Pet Insurance

To better understand how pet life insurance and pet health insurance differ, it is important to understand how life insurance for pets works.

How Does Pet Life Insurance Work?

Pet life insurance used to be referred to as mortality and theft insurance. This is because it technically just insures the pet and offers reimbursement during a loss that leads to the absence or unavailability of the pet.

Pet life insurance works by reimbursing the value of the pet to the owner, covering the cost of funeral rites, and possibly replacing income generated by the pet to the pet parent.

Pet health insurance, on the other hand, which is also often just referred to as pet insurance, insures your pet for veterinary treatment and other healthcare or grooming costs.

For pet health insurance, you obtain reimbursement in a certain percentage for veterinary bills that are eligible in the policy you purchase.

There are also several pet insurance plans you can choose from, including those that cover only accident-related costs and those that insure preventive care, known as wellness plans.

Rarely, some pet insurance companies offer reimbursement upon the loss of a pet, but this often comes with limitations and the reimbursement is often not a huge amount.

Pet life insurance policies are typically way more expensive than health insurance policies. Also, life insurance often requires that you continue to pay premiums for the rest of the pet’s life if you must get a worthy reimbursement upon its demise. This is unlike health insurance that you can decide to stop purchasing at any time.

These huge expenses explain why only pets that generate high revenue or provide huge emotional and physical support are life-insured. Otherwise, pet parents who purchase life insurance for their pets are those who can really afford them or those who attach so much esteem to that particular pet.

What Does Life Insurance Cover?

What pet life insurance covers can vary slightly across insurance companies. However, the basics are always the same: theft/death reimbursement and funeral costs.

In the case of theft, you will be able to obtain reimbursement for the economic value of the pet. This also applies to death, although there are limitations. That is, not all kinds of deaths are recognized in typical pet life insurance policies.

Funeral and cremation costs can also be covered in life insurance, but they may come as special plans and incur higher premiums.

Limitations to Pet Life Insurance Coverage

There are some exclusions to deaths that are considered in life insurance policies. These exclusions can vary across companies, so you should find out properly from your insurer about the limitations that come in play before purchasing life insurance. Some of the common limitations are:

Preexisting Health Conditions: Before you complete the paperwork for a life insurance deal, the insurance company will often request you to present a health assessment document by a recognized veterinarian. If the pet already suffers from a preexisting health condition or is liable to a major disease of concern that is terminal in nature, you may not qualify for life insurance coverage.

Hereditary Diseases: Usually, your pet will not be covered for death by a hereditary disease already established that the pet is prone to. These include terminal illnesses like kidney and heart disease as well as neurological disorders that certain breeds of pets are highly susceptible to. Depending on the company, your pet may either not qualify for coverage or the coverage will not imply upon death by such a hereditary condition.

Old Age: Obtaining pet life insurance is best while your pet is still young or in its prime. That way, the death the pet is liable to will not be due to old age. Insurance companies do set coverage limits based on the age of the pet, and an old pet will mostly not get life insurance from any company.

Euthanasia: Whether euthanasia will be recognized in the insurance policy varies across companies. Some companies may and may not reimburse you if your pet dies by euthanasia.

What Does Pet Life Insurance Not Cover?

Pet life insurance does not cover vet costs, routine checks or preventive care, or even terminal illnesses that may eventually lead to the loss of the pet. These are typically covered in the standard pet insurance and wellness plans.

Since the kind of pets that are insured for life are often given special health care and attention for the service they provide, it is likely to have them visit the vet clinic more often than other kinds of pets.

This is why pets that are life-insured should also be enrolled for standard pet insurance. Otherwise, the pet parent will have to cater to every healthcare cost out of the pocket.

The Cost of Life Insurance

Average Cost of Life Insurance Premiums

Pet life insurance can cost anything from $250 to $900 per year. This means that for a pet that lives as long as 10 years, you should expect to spend anything from $2,500 to $9,000. This leaves an average of $5,750 on life insurance.

This may be no cost compared to the economic value the pet brings. However, for the average pet, this is a lot to be spent when you consider the cost of feeding and purchasing proper health insurance.

How Life Insurance Costs Work

Life insurance costs would usually vary based on the breed of the pet, the kind of service it provides or its economic value, and how much the policy covers.

Expensive pet breeds would usually cost more to insure, and a policy that includes funeral benefits asides from the reimbursement would cost more.

Another factor that influences insurance costs is location. Pet owners in big cities would typically pay more than those in small towns with a lower cost of living.

Should You Get Life Insurance for Your Pet?

It is apparent that the choice of obtaining pet life insurance is one that must be carefully decided. Ask yourself, does the economic value my pet provides really worth life insurance?

If you are to just consider the cost of purchasing the average pet, alongside the cost of grooming it and sorting healthcare, it is still always lesser than the total costs incurred for health insurance.

It is only if the breed is a highly expensive or rare one that life insurance may be worth it.

Funeral costs are another factor pet parents consider for purchasing life insurance. However, you should note that if you have enough to insure your pet just because you desire it to get a befitting funeral, you probably have enough to cover the funeral yourself without reimbursement from any insurance company.

A mental check of all these factors is enough to inform you if you should get life insurance for your pet or not.

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