Pets: do you need to be insured?

To avoid unpleasant surprises at the veterinarian, insuring the health costs of your dog or cat can be useful. Our advice for finding the right contract.

Are you, like more than one in two French households, the proud owner of a pet? According to I-Cad, the national identification file, in 2020, there were 9.5 million dogs and 6.7 million cats chipped or tattooed.

However, while the French do not skimp on their own health cover, only 7% of pets are insured for their health expenses. They would be nearly a third in the United Kingdom and even 75% in Sweden, “two countries where veterinary costs are much higher”, relativizes Thomas Legrand, founder of the blog Le Mammouth déchaîné which follows the evolution of veterinary prices.

It is not compulsory to take out health insurance for your four-legged friends (lack of care is however punishable by a fine of 750 euros*). However, it is a very useful way to smooth out veterinary expenses, the bill of which can quickly climb. The law against animal abuse, adopted on November 18, 2021, should facilitate awareness of this significant budget.

This law provides for the signing, seven days before the adoption of the animal, of a “certificate of commitment” listing the obligations of care, vaccination as well as the costs linked to the possession of an animal.

A substantial veterinary budget

“For a cat, it takes an average of 430 euros for the first six veterinary acts (vaccination, sterilization, consultation, etc.) and 700 euros for a dog”, estimates the blogger. Prices impacted by the rise in the price of analgesics and other new surgical techniques. Today, sterilizing a female dog under laparoscopy costs up to 600 euros and operating on a cat for a broken paw (pins, living expenses, etc.) costs 1,500 euros!

In Paris, you will even have to pay 585 euros for the first six veterinary acts for a cat against 407 euros in Lille and much less in small towns.

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Our advice : analyze the average prices charged by veterinarians around you. If they are higher than the national average, you will certainly be a winner by taking out a contract. Same calculation if you live in the heart of town or on a high floor where the frequency of accidents or falls is higher.

Prices according to breed and size

All that remains is to find one’s bearings in this still immature animal health insurance market where prices range from simple to fivefold. Pricing is mainly established according to the breed, some being deemed more “fragile” than others, or according to the size of the animal. Operating a Chihuahua is cheaper than a Belgian Shepherd! In the second case, the amount of painkiller needed will be greater and the use of an assistant to handle the sleeping animal will be mandatory.

Ask for quotes via comparators on the Internet with an increasingly wide choice of insurers or brokers, including neo-insurers who stand out with veterinary teleconsultations or the absence of deductible. For an exhaustive tour of the market, don’t forget the banking networks and large retailers who can offer competitive rates (see table at the end of the article).

Depending on the formula chosen, the level of support is not at all the same. The higher the premium, the more you will be covered. The basic formulas, at a few euros per month, only insure accidents, not treatment following an illness.

“Read the contracts carefully. What types of care do they cover? What is the amount of the deductible? Are there any exclusions?, details Olivier Moustacakis, co-founder of Assurland.

Too often customers think that their contract will settle everything, but, as with car insurance or complementary health insurance, there are deductibles, annual ceilings, etc.

For example, euthanasia costs, although high, are rarely covered. Also pay attention to the exclusions of congenital diseases for certain breeds of dogs or cats and the waiting periods.

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Beware of superfluous services

There is also no question of taking out insurance when your animal is already suffering from an illness. A false statement would of course lead to the termination of the contract. Finally, it is difficult to insure an animal over eight years old for the first time.

Income recommends that you cover it young, when the risk of an accident is highest. Premium contracts offer interesting prevention packages (vaccines, descaling) and more superfluous services (alternative medicine, search for the lost animal), or even organize its care if you are hospitalized.

Beware of duplicates: your own complementary health insurance may already offer you this service! In any case, you will have to pay the veterinarian before being reimbursed by the insurer, third-party payment being almost non-existent.

These guarantees will only cover your animal if it is identified (tattooed or chipped). As for new pets (NAC) such as parrots, rabbits, ferrets or reptiles, health coverage remains expensive (more than 20 euros per month) while care does not exceed a few tens of euros given their small size. It is therefore better to provide a small kitty, in case of need.

*According to article R. 215-4 of the Rural Code “is punished with the fine provided for 4th class offenses the fact, for any person who raises, keeps or keeps domestic animals or tamed wild animals or in captivity […]to leave them without care in case of illness or injury”.

Health insurance from 9 euros per month

Price / month

Annual ceiling

European cat – Female – 1 year old – Chip

Mutual credit
Higher (sickness and accident) 22 euros 2,500 euros 20% of costs Accident: 30 days Sickness: 3 months One of the rare bancassurance companies on the market. Good value for money with an economical formula at 6.89 euros / month.

Intermediate (illness and accident) 12 euros 1,000 euros None Accident: 2 days Illness: 45 days Surgery(1): 4 months This new digital player stands out for the absence of deductibles.

Intermediate (accident and surgery in case of illness) 10 euros(2) 1,500 euros 20% of costs Accident: 2 days Illness: 45 days Surgery(1): 4 months Optional 9 euros/month for treatment and 3 euros/month for the prevention package.

Economic (illness and accident) 9 euros 1,000 euros 40% of costs Accident: 2 days Illness: 45 days Surgery(1): 4 months Inexpensive, but high deductible and low ceiling. No prevention package.

Intermediate (sickness and accident) 21 euros(2) 1,500 euros 20 euros/year and 30% of costs Accident: 2 days Sickness: 45 days Surgery(1): 6 months This historic player includes a prevention package of 30 euros/year.

Australian Shepherd – Male – 6 months – Chip

Superior (sickness and accident) 24 euros 1,500 euros None 60 days for any Prevention package of 50 euros, optional (5.90 euros / month) a death benefit.

Animal Health (Finaxy)
Intermediate (sickness and accident) 27 euros 1,500 euros 25% of costs Accident: 2 days Sickness: 45 days Surgery(1): 4 months Prevention lump sum of 30 euros/year and medical euthanasia costs.

Assur O’poil
Economic (accident only) 16 euros(2) 1,300 euros 20% of the costs (minimum 15 euros / procedure) Accident: none Illness: 45 days The historical leader is distinguished by its absence of deficiency in the event of an accident. Descaling if medical.

Intermediate (accident and surgery in the event of illness) 14 euros 2,000 euros 20 euros and 20% of costs Accident: 15 days Illness: 2 months Death guarantee in the event of an accident, custody of the animal in the event of hospitalization. Three months offered at the beginning of November.

Economic (illness and accident) 21 euros 1,500 euros 30 euros / year Accident: 2 days Illness: 45 days Surgery(1): 6 months New actor. One euro donated to the association of their choice and reduction on food purchases.

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(1) Surgery following an illness or certain acts for dogs (rupture of ligaments, etc.). (2) Additional administration fees.

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