"No louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast,
When husbands or lap-dogs breathe their last."
~ Alexander Pope

People often debate the value of having medical insurance for your dog. I believe it is worth it, if you, like most Park users, would have done pretty much whatever was needed for your dog. There are many pet insurance companies and many plans. Most pay what amounts to a "discount" for your Vet fees. In Marin, the payments seem to be 30-50% of the actual charges.  However, I have almost always gotten more back each year than I paid in premiums. Premiums range from about $10 to $80 per month.

Best Insurance says:

"Before purchasing any sort of pet insurance, you need to remember that it is similar to your own health insurance plan. No matter what kind you obtain, you will always have to pay continuous deductibles and premiums. Moreover, insurance companies want to eliminate as much risk as possible. Sadly, this means that most pre-existing conditions will be excluded. In the end, it is critical to purchase these policies while your pet is still young and healthy. Waiting until your pet is in the later stages of life will only ruin your finances."

"68.7 million households include at least one pet and $24.5 billion a year is spent on veterinary care, according to a survey released this month by the American Veterinary Medical Association (2007)"


"...just wanted to remind everyone how valuable pet insurance is for our dogs. I have had VPI for Maisy with CANCER COVERAGE and they have been TERRIFIC. You must get the policy with cancer coverage before they turn 8 I believe. They have paid for 4 cancer surgeries over the past 3 years. The most recent one was a $5200 bill from Davis of which they paid $4200. Amazing!! I also have PetPlan insurance for Kacey which will pay up to 100% of her vet bills. Another great plan for you to know about." ~ Jay, Mill Valley Dog Park User,  May 11, 2009



We could have bought a small yacht with what we spent on our dog and all the things he destroyed.  Then again, how many yachts wait by the door all day for your return?  ~ John Grogan, Marley and Me, 2005


"Every six seconds, a pet owner
is faced with a vet bill for over $1,000"


How to choose a pet insurance plan

1.  Does the plan cover genetic and breed-specific conditions?

You want these covered, even for mixed breeds, because it's not clear what is and isn't hereditary or breed-specific.  This includes things like hip dysphasia, luxating patellas and cardiomyopathy.

2.  Does the plan cover chronic and recurring illnesses?

Be careful.  Some plans consider things that happened in your first year of coverage to be pre-existing in the second year.

3  What is and is not covered?

Is it clearly stated in the web site?

4.  Are there per-incident limits that limit the amount you could receive back?

Some plans have a $3000 per-incident limit, so if you had a claim for $5000, the most you would get back would be $3000

5.  What are the rules about pre-existing conditions?

Are they excluded permanently or temporarily?  If you have questions about your pet, check before enrolling.

6.  Does the plan reimburse claims based on a benefit schedule or the actual veterinary bill?

Try to find a plan that reimburses based on the actual veterinary bill. 

7.  Are there other restrictions?

Some plans may not accept pets over a certain age or may limit coverage for older dogs.




No company or plan listed here is has been evaluated or endorsed by this site.  They are listed for your information and consideration.  You should browse the Pet Insurance Review site and look for specific comments about any plan you are considering.

> Pet Insurance Review

Here are 14 companies (links preceded by > ): 

> Purina


24 Pet Watch

> 24 PetWatch Insurance



Pet Plan
Their claim is that they are the largest pet insurer in the World.


"When most of us talk to our dogs, we tend to forget they're not people."

~ Julia Glass

VPI (IAMS owns about 9 % of VPI)







> Kroger



> Trupanion


> Petassure