Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying or Neutering?
Adding a pet wellness plan may help pay for some procedures that pet insurance normally excludes.
Updated January 19, 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes
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.
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.
Learn More: What Is Pet Insurance?
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.
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.
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:
Flea and tick preventatives
Spaying and neutering
Anal gland expression
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.
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
Emergency veterinary care
X-rays and diagnostic testing
Generally speaking, any unexpected or sudden costs aren’t typically covered by wellness plans.
Read More: 10 Dog Breeds With the Least Health Problems
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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. It can also have behavioral benefits and reduce your pet’s roaming and aggression (in male dogs).
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.
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.Learn More