Why Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover Spaying and Neutering – Business Insider


A photo of a veterinarian holding a puppy.

Spaying and neutering procedures for dogs and cats can cost up to $400.
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  • Pet insurance covers unexpected accidents and illnesses, like broken bones and infections.
  • Most insurance companies offer add-on or standalone pet wellbeing plans that cover routine and preventive veterinary care.  
  • Wellness plans cost an average of $27 per month, but some plans cost as little as $10.

Pet insurance plans generally cover unexpected accidents and illnesses, like broken bones and infections. But spaying plus neutering surgeries are planned procedures — meaning you could be on the hook for the entire price, even if you have pet insurance policy.

However , many pet insurance companies sell health and fitness plans as add-ons to their standard insurance policies. Some even allow pet owners to purchase them separately. These plans provide some reimbursement for routine and preventive care, including dental cleanings, heartworm screening, plus spay or neuter surgery.

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Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

Standard pet insurance policies — known as comprehensive plans — don’t cover spaying and neutering because they’re considered elective procedures. However , a wellness plan generally provides some reimbursement for your furry friend.  

Wellness plans aren’t technically pet insurance. Instead, they’re usually sold as policy add-ons or standalone policies to cover routine and preventive treatment.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is a healthcare policy for your furry and feathered companions. Policies can cover cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, exotic birds, reptiles, potbelly pigs, plus various rodents. Like health insurance for people, pet policies have monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, and limits. And plans are usually reimbursement-based — meaning you pay your vet bill, submit a claim to your insurance provider, and get cash back.

Pet insurance plan covers things like broken bones, knee injuries, foreign object ingestion, urinary tract obstructions, infections, surgeries, lab tests, and X-rays, says Edwin Plotts , director of marketing at Pawlicy Advisor.

Plotts says that many people get a big vet bill and try to enroll in pet insurance to help with treatment costs, but it usually doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis, allergies, or torn ligaments. Nor does it cover routine or preventive care, including checkups, vaccinations, and flea, tick, and heartworm medications.

Enrollment timing is crucial, as many policies require your pet to be at least eight weeks old and under 14 years old to qualify for coverage.

What pet insurance covers spaying and neutering?

You can get coverage for these procedures through a pet well being plan, which covers program and preventive care.  

Most health plans don’t have a deductible, plus coverage limits often apply to certain services. While the specifics vary by insurer and your pet’s needs, a wellness plan might cover costs associated with:

  • Checkups and veterinarian consultations
  • Dental cleaning
  • Grooming
  • Deworming medication
  • Fecal or internal parasite tests
  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) screening
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm medications
  • Heartworm screening
  • Microchipping
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Prescription diet food
  • Routine lab tests to check blood cell counts, organ function, and more
  • Routine spaying and neutering
  • Vaccinations

Here are a few pet insurance companies offering add-on wellness programs that cover spaying plus neutering:

  • ASPCA : ASPCA’s preventive care coverage gives you cash back for routine services, including up to $150 for spay/neuter surgery. Plans cost as little as $9. 95/month for an annual benefit of $250 or even $24. 95 per month for a $450 annual benefit.
  • Embrace : The Wellness Rewards strategy reimburses you for preventive treatments and care, including up to $250 for spay/neuter surgery. You can choose a maximum allowance of $250, $450, or $650 per policy year, starting at $18. 75 per month.
  • Figo : Figo’s Wellness Powerup covers up to $75 for spay/neuter surgical treatment. The company offers two tiers of coverage. The Basic program costs $9. 50 per month for an annual benefit of $135; the Plus plan runs $16. 50 per month for any $250 annual benefit.
  • Lemonade : Lemonade offers three preventive care plans. But you’ll need the Puppy/Kitten Preventative plan for spay/neuter surgery coverage — and your pet must be under age two to be eligible. Prices and coverage limits vary.
  • Spot : Spot’s Platinum Preventive Care plan reimburses up to $150 for spay/neuter surgery. The plan costs $24. 95 per month and provides a total annual benefit of $450 in routine care allowance.

Is a pet wellness plan worth it?

Family pet insurance can help you save thousands of dollars in vet bills if your companion animal gets sick or injured. But wellness plan benefits typically max out at about $400 per year.  

While the wellness plan probably won’t save you a ton of money, it can help you budget for your fur baby’s routine vet visits. And those visits can help your veterinarian detect and treat problems like diabetes and hyperthyroidism before they become serious.

According to Spruce Pets , pet wellness plans price an average of $27 per month. Meanwhile, spay/neuter surgery typically operates anywhere from $200 to $400 for a cat, according to Daily Paws . For dogs, the cost depends on the procedure . Spaying typically costs upwards of $400 at a privately owned veterinarian office, while neutering runs from $35 to $250, depending on your own dog’s breed, age, and where you live.

It may not be worth buying a wellbeing plan just for the spaying/neutering benefits. But if you plan to use the other benefits — like dental cleanings and vaccinations — it’s worth considering.

“Puppies and kittens, in particular, will benefit the most from a wellness plan, as they’ll take advantage of all the vaccines on top of any spaying or even neutering, ” Plotts says.

Remember that numerous nonprofits and local animal shelters offer discounted or free spay/neuter services to those who qualify. The ASPCA has a list of low-cost programs nationwide, including its own free solutions for qualified residents.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

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