When's the best time to buy pet insurance?

Colin Lalley 1600


Colin Lalley

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness.

Published November 30, 2015|5 min read

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Everyone likes to consider themselves a savvy shopper. We all want the best deals on everything we buy – including pet insurance.Unfortunately, there aren’t times when pet insurance will be more affordable or you’ll have access to lower-than-normal premiums. This isn’t a Black Friday deal, after all. But there are times when you should be particularly thinking about insuring your pet.If you don’t get pet insurance when you first bring your furry friend home – which you should – the best time to buy it is before the summer and winter seasons hit. That’s when your pets are exposed to the elements and in the most danger of illness and accidents.

Pet insurance: first things first

There are a few points in the year when you could get pet insurance, but there’s one time when you really should get pet insurance: when you first get your pet.A lot of people don’t think of pet insurance as a necessity. They consider it an investment, and an expensive one at that. Which is a really silly way to think about any insurance. You don’t buy health insurance in the hopes that you’ll spend enough time in the hospital to make it worth it, or that you get into enough car accidents to match your auto insurance premiums. You buy health insurance so you won’t go broke in case those things do happen.Pet insurance works the same way. You spend $15-$30 a month so you can take care of any issues that arise, not so that your pet has $360 worth of accidents and illnesses to deal with.That’s why you should get pet insurance when you get your pet. You don’t know when the worst will happen, and you don’t want to be on the fence about taking action because of how it’ll affect your bank account.


While summer is a time for relaxation and warm vacations, it can be pretty dangerous for your pets. VPI Pet Insurance looked at customer claims and saw an increase in health-related issues during the summer.Why the rise in ailments? Pets (and dogs in particular) spend more times outdoors, and between the heat, plants, and animals out in the wild, there are a lot of opportunities for injury.


There are a lot of plants that your pets shouldn’t be eating, and a lot of them are outdoors. Eating certain flowers and shrubs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or worse.Then there are plants that can physically hurt your pet without actually being ingested. Foxtails, for example, have barbs that can dig into sensitive parts of pets like ears, eyes, nose, and feet. The barbs can also be ingested and work their way into lungs.Similar thorny plants can also pose a threat, causing scratches that can become infected if not treated.

Bites and stings

Flora is dangerous, but fauna is, too. When your pet is trekking outside, it’s vulnerable to to a lot of animals, ranging from ticks, spiders, and wasps to snakes to rabid animals like raccoons.


The dangers of heat can manifest in a few ways for pets.First: sunburn. We don’t often think about it since many of our pets are covered in fur, but there are still spots that are susceptible to burn, particularly around the face. If your pets are walking around on hot asphalt, the pads of their feet can get cracked and burned, too.Then there’s heat stroke. Remember all that fur? It keeps pets pretty warm, and just like people, pets can fall prey to hyperthermia without proper cooling and hydration. It also doesn’t help that people leave pets (and children) in the car while they’re out running errands.Of course, trying to cool off has its downsides as well, especially when it comes to swimming pools. It’s estimated that around 5,000 pets drown every year in pools – a number that likely spikes in the summer months when people spend more time in the water. And that’s not taking into account near-drowning or ear infections that can occur from water getting trapped in the ear canal.

Cold-weather protection

Okay, so summer is basically a three-month deathtrap for pets. But that means winter is great, right? They aren’t outside as much, it’s a lot colder, so things are good.Unfortunately winter presents its own challenges. If your pet managed to make it through summer unscathed and uninsured, you should still consider pet insurance before the temperatures drop.As a side note, winter is also a great time to think about pet insurance because many people give (or get) pets as gifts, and like we said: you should really be getting pet insurance when you get your pet.

Household plants

Toxic plants don’t and at the doorway. A lot of the plants we use to decorate our homes are harmful to pets, too.Common household plants that provide a benefit for humans – cleaning the air, increasing productivity, or just making the place look nice – look like tasty treats to pets. If they’re ingested, though, they can cause some of the same ailments as outdoor plants. If cabin fever strikes your cat or dog while they’re staying out of the cold, they might be tempted to nibble on something they shouldn’t.


Just as extreme heat can be an issue for pets, extreme cold can be just as bad. There are obvious threats of the cold being...well, just cold. Hairless or short-haired pets are particularly in danger of illness or even hypothermia. Limiting their time outdoors or investing in cold weather gear like this can help.Then there are the human-caused side effects of cold weather. As we attempt to combat the cold, we cover the ground with salt or chemicals like antifreeze. These get onto your pet’s paws and fur, where they might be licked and ingested, or work their way into cracks and cuts in paw pads.There are times when you could get pet insurance – when the weather is getting extreme and you’re thinking about your pet’s well being, why not look into it then? – but it’s important to note that there’s obviously no wrong time to get pet insurance. Unlike Obamacare’s Open Enrollment, you can get pet insurance throughout the year.So if you have a pet, or are thinking about getting one, check out our guide and buy pet insurance today. There’s no need to put it off any longer.