Is it possible to get life insurance for a dog or a cat? The concept sounds like the basis for a Saturday Night Live sketch about overbearing pet parents, but these policies do exist and are something that some owners may want to consider.
As with human life insurance, ensuring your pet’s life will cover funeral costs. Pet insurance policies also cover the animal’s value if stolen or otherwise disappears, which is a surprisingly specific event given the high cost of many purebred pets. And, for the elite animals that parade in front of judges at events like the Westminster Dog Show, this pet insurance provides the same important benefit as life insurance for people: the replacement of future income, in this case from product endorsements or breeding fees.
Here’s what you should know if your cat seems like a good candidate for life insurance – or if you’re just intrigued about this strange segment of the insurance industry.
Pet Life Insurance vs. Other Forms of Protection
Ensuring your pet’s life protects it against risks that most other insurance, pet or otherwise, do not cover.
Regular pet insurance, essentially animal health insurance, covers vet expenditures, but the chances of receiving a payout if the animal dies are minimal. This is because most pet insurance policies do not cover the pet’s value or the expense of burial or cremation, and even if they do, total payouts are sometimes limited.
If burial/cremation is covered, as it is by a few companies, you will likely be reimbursed only for expenses in excess of the policy’s yearly deductible, which is often $250 or $500 per year. To get paid, you must spend at least the deductible in the same year that your pet dies, which, to be honest, maybe the case if the pet’s end-of-life medical bills are considerable.
Nationwide, at least, offers a limited refund for the value of the pet if it dies, is stolen, or is lost. However, there are some constraints. The maximum reimbursement is $1,000, and you must provide documentation of the amount you spent for the pet. Furthermore, animals that have been euthanized or are over the age of eight years for a dog and ten years for a cat are ineligible for reimbursement.
Insurance on your home and its goods will not aid your animal. Even if you don’t enjoy thinking about it that way, a pet is technically your ownership. However, homeowners and renters insurance rarely, if ever, cover the worth of an animal’s value if it dies, even in the event of a fire or other household tragedy.
“Typically, property insurance only covers pets in terms of liability,” explains Imani Francies, a pet insurance specialist at ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. “If [animals] cause bodily harm or property damage to a third party, the insurance carrier will cover it; but, the death of a pet is unlikely to be covered.”
What the Life Insurance Policy Insures
You ensure your pet’s life with, formally as mortality and theft insurance. According to Dr. Claudine Sievert, a veterinarian and CatPet Club adviser, policies are typically purchased for working pets. “Most pets with an economical worth acquire life insurance,” she explains, citing show dogs as an example. Those animals may not profit directly from their victories, but their celebrity can translate into a six- or even seven-figure lifetime income through breeding and product endorsements.