Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying or Neutering?

Adding a pet wellness plan may help pay for some procedures that pet insurance normally excludes.

Aly J. Yale
Written by
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
Written by
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and reporter covering real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. Her work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, Money, CBS News, US News & World Report, and The Miami Herald. She has a bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU and is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.
Danny Smith
Edited by
Danny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
Danny Smith
Insurance Writer
Danny is an insurance writer at Insurify. Specializing in auto insurance, he works to help drivers navigate the complicated world of insurance to find the best possible policy. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. You can connect with Danny on LinkedIn.

Updated January 19, 2023

Reading time: 5 minutes

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Pet insurance policies can be comprehensive, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a traditional pet insurance policy that covers neutering or spaying.

You’ll typically need to purchase a wellness package or preventative care add-on for spaying or neutering to be covered by your pet insurance. This will increase your premium a bit but may also cover things like annual checkups and vaccinations.

If you’re in the market for pet insurance that covers spaying or neutering, here’s what you should know.

Why does pet insurance exclude spaying and neutering?

Pet insurance includes three types of coverage levels. 

  • Basic pet insurance policies: These usually only cover unexpected accidents and injuries, like broken bones or when your dog accidentally eats a toy.

  • Accident and illness policies: These policies are still for only unplanned expenses, but they offer more comprehensive coverage, extending to potential illnesses, diseases, and conditions your pet might develop. Accident and illness policies usually cover prescriptions, X-rays, and diagnostic testing, too.

  • Wellness and preventative care plans: These are typically add-on packages to one of the above policies and are designed to cover planned expenses, elective procedures, and general medical care your pet needs. Spaying and neutering fall into this “planned expense” category.[1]

Learn More: What Is Pet Insurance?

What type of pet plan covers spaying and neutering?

Pet wellness plans, sometimes called preventative care plans, cover spaying and neutering. They’re typically add-ons to an existing pet insurance policy, but some hospitals and insurance providers offer pet wellness plans as standalone policies.

The exact cost varies by provider and animal, but according to Pets Best, you can expect to pay between $14 and $30 per month, depending on where you live.[2]

Remember:

The cost of a pet wellness plan is in addition to the premium you pay for your base pet insurance policy, so make sure to factor that in when budgeting.

Wellness plans cover most of the planned expenses of pet ownership — things like exams, heartworm preventatives, microchipping, and, yes, spaying and neutering — up to your total allowance for the year. Your policy may also have limits as to how many of each service your pet can receive (like two vaccines per year, for example) or a dollar limit per each item.

Like traditional pet insurance policies, wellness plans are reimbursement-type plans, so you’ll take your pet for the service or care they require and file a claim, and your insurer will pay you back at a later date. The exact process for reimbursement depends on your insurer.

What a pet wellness plan covers

Pet wellness plans don’t cover everything, but they’re usually quite comprehensive.

Depending on your provider, you can expect a wellness plan to include:

  • Physical exams

  • Flea and tick preventatives

  • Heartworm preventatives

  • Vaccinations

  • Spaying and neutering

  • Microchipping

  • Grooming

  • Anal gland expression

  • Prescription food

  • Fecal exams

  • Blood tests

  • Nutritional supplements

  • Medicated shampoo

  • Deworming

Some wellness packages even include teeth cleanings and other dental services, so be sure to shop around if this is something you’d like covered for your pet.

Learn More: Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

What a pet wellness plan excludes

Wellness plans are separate from accident, injury, and illness plans, so they won’t cover the various services and treatments that fall under those umbrellas.

Pet wellness plans will likely not cover:

  • Treatment for unexpected illness or injury

  • Treatment of chronic conditions

  • Cancer treatment

  • Surgery

  • Emergency veterinary care

  • Hospitalization

  • X-rays and diagnostic testing

  • Prescription medications

Generally speaking, any unexpected or sudden costs aren’t typically covered by wellness plans.

Read More: 10 Dog Breeds With the Least Health Problems

Are pet insurance and wellness plans worth it?

The cost of pet insurance — plus a wellness plan — may be worth it for some pet owners. Though spaying and neutering procedures vary in cost depending on location and the type and weight of your animal, you can expect to pay between $75 and $200 for a dog and between $55 and $80 for a cat.[3]

While the cost of pet insurance and wellness plans alone will most likely exceed these costs, if you use your plan for other covered services, it may work in your favor. The average premium is $348 per year for cats and $564 per year for dogs.[4]

Additionally, wellness plans can have other benefits that aren’t financial. They can help ensure your pet gets regular care and screenings, which can mean a longer, healthy life for them. They can also help you prevent unwanted pet pregnancies, which can strain your wallet.

Learn More: Is Pet Wellness Insurance Worth It?

The cost of common pet health procedures

If you use your pet wellness plan to its full extent and take advantage of all your covered services each policy period, it could save you a significant amount of money over the course of a year.

For a better idea of what your coverage could save you, here’s a look at what common preventative veterinary care services cost:

  • Spay/neuter: $75 to $200 for dogs; $55 to $80 for cats

  • Microchipping: $25 to $90

  • Vaccinations: $15 to $22 each, $75 to $100 total

  • Annual checkup: $32 to $49

  • Fecal test: $20

  • Heartworm test: $25

  • Anal gland expression: $19

The exact cost of each service will depend on the size and type of your animal, as well as where you live and get veterinary care. Higher-cost areas may see higher veterinary costs.[5] [6]

Learn More: Puppy Vaccination Schedule: What Shots Does Your Puppy Need?

Pet insurance and spaying FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about pet insurance, as well as spaying and neutering your pet. 

  • Pet insurance costs an average of $29 per month for a cat and $47 per month for a dog, though the exact premium can vary quite a bit. Your animal’s size, breed, age, and other characteristics will play a role in the cost you pay. Your location, the type of plan you select, and the insurer you choose for your policy will also influence your premiums.[4]

  • Pet insurance coverage varies by plan. Basic policies cover treatment for unexpected injuries and accidents, while more comprehensive plans also cover illnesses like cancer or arthritis. Wellness plans, which you can add to pet insurance policies, cover preventative care, like annual checkups, spaying, neutering, and vaccinations.

  • You can save on pet insurance in many ways, like choosing a higher-deductible or higher-limit plan. You can also apply for pet insurance discounts. Insurers often offer premium reductions to seniors and members of certain organizations or for policyholders who insure multiple animals in a single policy period.

    You should shop around and compare pet insurance companies before purchasing a policy. Premiums can vary quite a bit from one company to the next, so comparing a few options is critical to getting the best deal.

  • There are many reasons to spay or neuter your pet. Studies show sterilization increases a pet’s lifespan and decreases the risk of death from cancer — namely uterine and testicular cancer — and infectious diseases.[7] It can also have behavioral benefits and reduce your pet’s roaming and aggression (in male dogs).[8]

    Spaying and neutering can also help reduce the population of pets in your community without homes, as well as eliminate the chance of your pet producing costly offspring you can’t afford to care for.

  • The best time to spay or neuter dogs is between six and nine months of age, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. You can also do the procedure on adult dogs, though there’s a higher risk of post-surgery complications. Cats should be neutered or spayed before five months of age to eliminate any chance of pregnancy.[9]

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Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts about pet insurance." Accessed January 13, 2023
  2. Pets Best. "Routine Care and Pet Wellness Coverage." Accessed January 13, 2023
  3. Houston Humane Society. "SPAY/NEUTER." Accessed January 13, 2023
  4. American Animal Hospital Association. "Pet Insurance Resources." Accessed January 18, 2023
  5. American Kennel Club. "Your Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations." Accessed January 13, 2023
  6. First Coast No More Homeless Pets. "Veterinary Services Pricing." Accessed January 13, 2023
  7. PLOS One. "Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs." Accessed January 13, 2023
  8. Humane Society of North Texas. "Why You Should Spay / Neuter Your Pet." Accessed January 13, 2023
  9. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Spay/Neuter Your Pet." Accessed January 13, 2023
Aly J. Yale
Written by
Aly J. Yale
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Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and reporter covering real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. Her work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, Money, CBS News, US News & World Report, and The Miami Herald. She has a bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU and is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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Danny Smith
Edited by
Danny Smith
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Insurance Writer

Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
Danny Smith
Insurance Writer
Danny is an insurance writer at Insurify. Specializing in auto insurance, he works to help drivers navigate the complicated world of insurance to find the best possible policy. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. You can connect with Danny on LinkedIn.