A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 15, 2022

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Can I buy life insurance for my dog? Pet insurance is a relatively new product on the market. A few decades ago, the notion of buying a life insurance policy for a dog or cat would seem absurd.

In the modern age, however, people spend a substantial sum on their furry companions and are willing to pay a lot of money to keep them healthy. Veterinary medicine has become substantially more sophisticated in recent years, with expensive treatment options like chemotherapy, dialysis, and other advanced medical care available for pets. With the rising cost of veterinary care, a pet insurance policy may be a wise decision.

Can you buy life insurance for pets just like health insurance?

If you’re wondering whether you can buy life insurance on pets, the first thing you should do is clarify what you mean by “life insurance.” For humans, life insurance is a way of providing financial security to surviving family members in the event of the insured’s death. Human life insurance acts as a replacement income. Most people who are not the primary income for the family do not require life insurance. Similarly, pets do not have an income to replace. In that regard, there is no such thing as life insurance for cats or dogs.

On the other hand, some animals are worth a lot of money as property. For example, show-winning dogs or highly successful racehorses can be worth several thousand dollars, even hundreds of thousands depending upon the breed and the animal’s show history. If you have a highly prized dog, you may be able to insure the animal at its value.

Appraisal and Life Insurance on a Dog

When buying pet insurance, you must understand that the pet will be insured at its “replacement” value or the value it is appraised at. Sometimes this will be the value you initially purchased the pet for, other times it will be based on additional appraisals. While your beloved pet may be priceless to you, the insurance pay-out will only reflect the objective value of the animal.

Generally, dog life insurance is provided through the same companies that provide pet health insurance, and you can probably buy both at the same time. When shopping for pet insurance, review the coverage and see if there is any coverage afforded on the medical policy for replacement costs; if there is, then life insurance is already included as part of your pet’s insurance policy.

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What does life insurance for dogs cover?

Usually, pet life insurance will cover a limited number of causes of death, such as accidents or sudden terminal illnesses. Hereditary diseases will usually not be covered, nor will death that is caused by old age. Most policies will only pay for the cash value of the pet, but some will also provide a small death benefit to cover costs like euthanasia, burial or cremation costs, and even grief counseling for the owner. The more coverage your pet’s insurance provides, the higher your premiums will be. Coverage will also have an applicable deductible.

Are there any ways to get life insurance for animals?

Depending on what other types of insurance you carry, you may have limited insurance for your pets. Pets are excluded from homeowner’s insurance and cannot be insured as property through those policies, but they are covered by the liability portion of your home insurance. That means that if your dog bites someone or causes damage to a person’s property, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage caused by the pet, including any medical bills or hospital stays.

Alternatively, if your dog is injured due to someone else’s negligent action, their insurance may be responsible for your veterinary bills or the replacement cost of your pet. For example, if your pet is hit by a car, the car owner’s insurance may cover your pet’s value. Note, however, that the person who hits your dog is not always at fault for the accident; depending on the circumstances of the accident and the leash laws in your state, you may actually be found at fault for the incident even if your dog obtains an injury like broken bones, or unfortunately passes away.

Also, some vehicle policies are now including coverage for animals who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. This is a relatively new feature to insurance and is not available in all areas, but if you travel often with your dogs it may be worthwhile to ask your insurance company if this is a coverage you can add to your policy.

Finally, if your pet is part of a business that you run, the animal may be covered at its appraisal value through your business insurance. For example, if you are a professional dog breeder, you may be able to cover the dogs. This is something you will need to discuss with your business insurance, however.

Bottom Line: Is life insurance on dogs worth it?

If you have a very expensive pet and will need reimbursement for the pet in the event of a sudden loss of life, insurance products such as pet life insurance may be a worthwhile investment. Generally, however, pet policies are very expensive and have limited usefulness.