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When’s the Best Time to Get Pet Insurance?

Pet Insurance

Considerations for Every Age and Stage of Life

A whopping 67 percent of households in the U.S. have cats or dogs, and of those, 3.1 million pets are covered by a pet health insurance policy.

And while more dogs than cats are covered by a plan, cat parents are buying policies at a faster rate than dog parents.

So many Americans simply cannot be wrong about the importance of having a pet health insurance policy. So should you get pet insurance? And when should you sign up? Only you can decide.

To help you make your choice, let’s look at common reasons you may want a pet health insurance policy at every age of your precious pet’s life.

Puppyhood and Kittenhood
If you adopted a puppy or kitten, then you’re bringing home your furry friend early on in their development. Raising your pet from infancy is a memorable experience that creates lifelong bonds.

But baby animals can get into a lot of trouble that can affect their health! Are you ready?

Young animals are not always old enough for a full round of vaccinations. The months they spend unvaccinated can leave them prone to getting sick from contagious illnesses.

Puppies in particular are also vulnerable to blockages and other internal injuries because of their drive to chew and consume things they shouldn’t. And let’s not forget how delicate kittens are! Although cats are generally lower maintenance pets, young kittens need lots of human interaction and care to avoid illnesses that tend to infect them, especially if they’ve just come home from the shelter.

Many people opt to purchase pet health insurance starting the day they bring their pet home, so that they’re covered for these early-in-life illnesses and injuries.

Young Adulthood
As your dog or cat goes through adolescence, their personality changes from sweet baby to young adult. This is when some pets tend to act out as they learn how to properly interact with their human parents and other pets in the household.

It’s in adolescence – after vaccinations are complete – that people tend to start taking their pups to the park, the dog-friendly restaurant patio, and around the neighborhood. Without the right preventative care, your dog is at risk for picking up parasites like giardia and heartworm. Depending on the severity of their infection, treating them can be costly and lengthy.

During adolescence is also when genetic diseases may begin to show, especially as your pet reaches their mature size.

At this stage of life, especially for dogs, pet parents take out health insurance policies because they know that interacting with other pets and people could potentially expose their furry friend to things that will require veterinary care.

Middle-Aged Pets
For both cats and dogs, middle age tends to be a relaxing time! They’re used to their household habits; you have them house- or litter-trained, and they’ve completed obedience training or learned the rules. Their activity level is a little lower.

Even in middle age, your pet may begin to show signs of issues that affect them as they age, such as vision and hearing changes and joint problems. Your pet may need x-rays of their legs, hips, or shoulders to make sure a new limp isn’t anything to worry about.

And their teeth start to show signs of wear and tear, with some pets requiring veterinary intervention in the form of teeth cleanings or extractions.

Some pet parents opt to take out a pet health insurance plan at this point, before their pets get any older and prior to any major diagnoses. This is, in part, because some pet health insurance plans will not cover pre-existing conditions – a factor you should consider when determining when it’s time to buy a policy.

Senior Pets
Pets in their golden years tend to be more easy-going than younger ones, but you can expect more age-related illness to descend on your household.

Older pets still need your endless love and some veterinary care as they develop dementia, heart problems, incontinence, kidney issues, and more. Older pets also tend to be more prone to cancer and other incurable diseases.


At this stage of life, your pet and your wallet can greatly benefit from having pet health insurance because it will allow you to take really great care of your pet, even as you’re visiting the veterinarian’s office more frequently.

So, When Is the Best Time?
As you can see, there are great benefits to purchasing a pet health insurance plan at any stage

of life. However, if you want to truly be prepared for whatever comes your cat or dog’s way throughout their entire lifetime, your best bet is to purchase a policy as soon as you bring them home.

Most pet health insurance policies have a 10- to 15-day waiting period before coverage begins. But once you have coverage, you can enjoy the benefits of pet health insurance, including reimbursement on care, a low deductible that limits how much you’ll pay out of pocket, and an affordable monthly premium.

Shop Around to Get the Best Deal
The right pet health insurance policy for your neighbor isn’t always the right one for you and your pet. That’s why it’s important that you shop around to find one that will work best for you and your cat or dog. With so many pet health insurance options available today, you’re sure to find one that fits your budget and your needs.