Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering?

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7 min read
7 min read

Updated - Jan 31st, 2023

New pet parents have plenty of questions about spaying and neutering their fur babies, with a top concern being whether or not pet insurance will cover this procedure.

The spay/neuter procedure is a cost that comes really early on in your pet’s life, and many pet parents aren’t prepared for it.  Spaying/neutering your dog or spaying/neutering your cat can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars, depending on a number of different factors.

Needless to say, finding out that your pet insurance plan doesn’t cover spay/neuter surgery can be disappointing. However, it’s important to understand that this isn’t unique. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find a standard pet insurance plan that covers the cost of this service. This confusion often stems from a misunderstanding of what pet insurance is and what it’s designed to cover. We’re here to help clear things up!

Why should I consider spaying or neutering my pet?

Spaying or neutering a pet means that they undergo a small operation to prevent them from reproducing. Spaying is the term for female pets, and neutering is the term for male pets. 

Getting your pet spayed or neutered is an important step towards taking care of their overall health and well-being. Alongside other preventive care services like vaccines and parasiticides, the spay/neuter surgery is often one of the first forms of routine care pet owners experience at the vet. 

Many health benefits come with spaying or neutering your pet, such as a longer lifespan, and a reduction in dangerous behaviors driven by your pet’s hormones and instinct to mate. The procedure also removes the risks that come with pregnancies and whelping. While professional breeders are equipped to give litters of puppies and kittens great care, chances are most pet parents would be a bit overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of 3-5 extra kittens or up to 12 puppies or more!

Why standard pet insurance plans don’t cover spay/neuter procedures

You may be wondering, why is an important procedure like this not covered by pet insurance? If you’re new to pet insurance or need a refresher, it’s important to know what pet insurance is and why it exists

Pet insurance is designed to cover unexpected accidents & illnesses. It’s not designed to cover routine care or preventive care that you expect your pet to get every year such as wellness exams, dental cleanings, or heartworm prevention. This means that standard pet insurance plans reimburse you for your pet’s eligible health care costs only if they are for diagnosis or treatment of an unexpected accident or illness. For example, your pet insurance plan may not cover joint support supplements for general wellbeing, but it will cover medicine for an unexpected eligible illness.

Many standard pet insurance policies generally exclude elective surgeries such as spay/neuter procedures. Of course, as nearly any veterinarian will tell you, keeping up with routine preventive care is just as important as emergency care for an injury or illness. In fact, many pet insurance providers also offer optional wellness plans that are additions to their plans. These pet wellness plans can help you pay for crucial preventive care such as fees for annual physical examinations and parasite screening tests.

Although we want our fur babies to have just as good health care as we do, the truth is that pet insurance is not the same as human health insurance. Pet insurance actually falls under the umbrella of property and casualty insurance, which means that coverage is intended for unforeseen incidents, not general care and health maintenance. The fact that spay/neuter procedure is excluded has less to do with pet insurance companies and more to do with the nature of pet insurance in general.

Even still, enrolling your pet in a pet insurance plan is one of the best ways to proactively protect their health. It helps give you peace of mind that if unexpected accidents and illnesses happen, you have help getting the care your pet needs. It can also help alleviate the financial burden that can come with expensive vet bills for covered conditions.

Tip: Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans pay you back 90% of eligible vet bills!

What are some affordable spay and neuter options for pet owners?

If you’re concerned about how much spaying and neutering costs, we always recommend consulting with your vet first. They’ll be able to tell you what’s best for your pet and help you form a plan. 

Fortunately, there are organizations that will subsidize the cost of spaying or neutering your pet if needed. For instance, the ASPCA offers low-cost spaying and neutering to underserved communities in several metropolitan areas across the country. Their goal is to save the lives of animals and reduce the number of stray cats and dogs on the streets and in overcrowded shelters. If you live in New York City, Los Angeles, or Asheville, North Carolina, the ASPCA’s low-cost spaying and neutering clinics may be able to help you get the procedure done for less than you would spend at a vet.

If you’re not located in one of these areas, there are other great low-cost options! PetSmart offers a tool that allows you to search for affordable options based on your location. If you’re adopting a pet, keep in mind that some shelters or rescue groups may even cover the cost for you.


What are the negatives of spaying and neutering?

Recent studies have shown that if a pet is spayed or neutered too early in life it may cause health issues down the line such as obesity or orthopedic issues. However, implications vary by species, breed, and size. If timed correctly, however, it is actually a form of preventative care as it can reduce the risk of cancers, uterine infections, and more.

How risky is spay/neuter surgery?

As with any major surgery, there is always a risk, however, this procedure is one of the most commonly performed on both cats and dogs alike. The AVMA states that “Sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low.” It also produces many long-term benefits as we mentioned before.

Is it worth it to get pet insurance?

No matter how pet-obsessed you are, it’s natural to wonder, “Is pet insurance worth the cost?” Though it’s dependent on each individual and their unique situation, it’s hard to put a price on the ability to say ‘yes’ to the best care possible when unexpected accidents or illnesses arise. We recommend doing your research, grabbing a quote or two, and deciding on the best plan for your fur family.

The bottom line

Pet insurance is a great way to help future-proof your pet’s health care, and make it easier for you to get the care your pet may need for unexpected accidents & illnesses that may pop up. Unfortunately, it generally will not cover spay/neuter procedures. 

Even so, spaying or neutering your pet is a crucial procedure that offers multiple health benefits. Not only does it help prevent serious health issues later in life, like ovarian cancer or a uterine infection for females and testicular cancer for males, but it also prevents unexpected litters from being born, which can cause overpopulation, animal shelter surrenders, and families of strays. It also prevents female cats and female dogs from going into heat, which is an added element of care that not every pet parent is prepared for.

As a responsible pet parent, you want to do what’s right for your furry friend. Remember that there is no better advocate for your pet’s health than your veterinarian. When in doubt, ask them what the best options are for you and your pet.

If you’re considering pet insurance but not sure what the best pet insurance plan is for you, check out our no-frills comparison page to help you make the right choice for you and your pet.

And if you’re ready to build a plan provided by Pumpkin – get a quote here!


Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (Pumpkin) (NPN#19084749) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses.

Pumpkin Team

Pumpkin Team

Passionate Pet Experts & Parents
We are a team of writers, designers & product developers who all double as passionate (ok, obsessive) nerds of the pet world.
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