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A dog owner hugging their golden retriever

👉 Before you dive into the article, be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms and verbiage used regularly when talking about pet insurance in our pet insurance glossary.

The essentials

  • Most insurance won’t cover cremation  — Pet insurance providers vary when it comes to end-of-life pet care, but most policies won’t cover cremation.
  • There are three types of cremation  — You can choose from private, communal, or partitioned cremation. Communal is the cheapest option while private is the most expensive.
  • Cremation is a common choice for most pet parents — It’s the most convenient and economical option after the death of a pet. 

Losing a pet is perhaps the most heartbreaking moment for any pet parent. While it can be a challenge to focus on the next steps when dealing with such a devastating situation, it’s important to think about what you’ll want to do with your pet’s remains. If your pet has insurance, some end-of-life care may be covered. Unfortunately, cremation is typically not one of those covered expenses. We’ll walk you through the options, costs, and alternatives.

What is pet cremation?

Cremation is a common choice for pet owners when deciding what to do with a pet’s remains. The process of cremation involves heating your pet’s body in a cremation chamber to 2,000 degrees to break down their remains into ashes. According to the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, out of 1.4 million pet funerals, 99% involved cremation. When it comes to cremation, owners have three options:

  • Private. With a private cremation, your pet’s remains will be alone during the cremation process. This option guarantees that only your pet’s ashes will be returned to you.
  • Communal. During a communal cremation, multiple pets are cremated simultaneously. Pet parents may opt for this choice when they prefer not to bury a pet or keep the cremated ashes for a memorial. The communal option is a more economical and sometimes more convenient choice for owners.
  • Partitioned. While a partitioned cremation involves multiple pets, they are spaced out for remains to stay as separate as possible. It’s still possible for some of the remains to mix.

Some crematoriums allow witnessed cremation where you pay a small fee — usually $25-$45 — to be in the cremation room or a viewing room. Processing your pet’s death isn’t easy, and being a part of the cremation can help some owners find closure and comfort.

After cremation, you can choose what to do with your pet’s remains. Some of the common choices include:

  • Burial. If you decide to bury your pet’s ashes, there are more than 100 pet cemeteries in the United States from which to choose. If you plan to bury your pet at home, check your town, city, or county’s regulations first.
  • Scatter. Pet owners sometimes choose to spread their pet’s ashes at a meaningful spot, such as the hiking trail you frequented.
  • Urn. A classic urn is an ornamental vase used to store your pet’s ashes, but they come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. You can even customize your own. Urns may be purchased at the place of cremation or online.
  • Keepsake. An urn isn’t the only way to memorialize your pet. Some places have creative ways of turning ashes into jewelry or art.

How much do euthanasia and cremation cost?

While prices vary, communal cremation is generally the least expensive option, around $70 or less. Private cremation is the priciest, upwards of $250, depending on the size of your pet.

Euthanasia is seen as a humane way of relieving a severely ill or injured pet of their pain when there are no signs of getting better. Vets perform this painless medical procedure which varies in cost depending on location and your pet’s size. Euthanasia is performed in a vet’s office, emergency clinic, or at home when a vet travels to you.

In-home procedures

In-home euthanasia is a good option for immobile pets or those too large to travel. In-home procedures are generally more expensive than in-clinic euthanasia. For example, Lap of Love, an in-home euthanasia service, starts at $400. Additional fees depend on pet size, travel expenses, service date, and more.

Are euthanasia and cremation covered under pet insurance?

Some insurance providers offer coverage for euthanasia and cremation (or burial) at a premium, while others only reimburse for euthanasia or cremation, not both. Some providers offer no coverage at all, while others have limits, leaving you to pay the remainder. Research the multiple providers and coverage plans before you buy.

Insurance providers that offer cremation coverage

Knowing upfront what providers will and won’t cover prevents unexpected medical costs, the last thing you need following the loss of a pet. Here are several providers that cover some of your pet’s end-of-life care:

  • Healthy Paws. This provider pays in full for euthanasia, but burial and cremation aren’t covered.
  • Pets Best, Embrace, Trupanion, and FIGO. All of these companies cover euthanasia but don’t cover cremation or burial.
  • Nationwide. It covers all fees related to the death of a pet due to injury or illness, including euthanasia, burial, or cremation, and reimbursement for the price you paid for your pet up to a certain amount. Senior pets over a certain age aren’t covered.
  • Fetch. While Fetch’s plan doesn’t cover the cost of cremation or euthanasia, it does reimburse the full purchase price of pets (dogs and cats) euthanized due to an injury or illness.

👉 Learn more about pet insurance costs here.

Common exclusions

Most insurance policies will only cover euthanasia for humane reasons. Common exclusions that may cause pet insurance companies to deny your claim include situations when euthanasia is performed:

  • On a pet that could be treated by a vet
  • Due to pet aggression
  • Due to financial reasons

Frequently asked questions

What happens with pet insurance if your pet dies?

Depending on your policy type, you may be able to cancel your insurance plan. Some plans require you to finish the agreed-upon timeframe. For example, if your pet dies in the middle of the year for an annual paid insurance plan, you may need to finish the year. Contact your pet insurance provider for more clarity on your specific plan.

Does insurance pay for euthanasia?

Pet insurance policies vary, and not all will cover euthanasia. It’s best to check your policy.

Can funeral homes cremate pets?

Some funeral homes support pet cremation, but not all. Certain regulations may prevent a funeral home from cremating both human and pet remains.

What does it cost to cremate a pet?

The cost to cremate a pet varies based on the type of cremation chosen and the size of the pet. It ranges from $70 to more than $250.

Why would I choose a private cremation?

Private cremation is the most expensive type of cremation, but it’s also the option guaranteed to return only your pet’s remains. Communal or partitioned cremation may mean you’ll only get some or very little of your pet’s remains, or they may be mixed with other remains.

How can I honor my pet after they have been cremated?

There are multiple things you can do with your pet’s ashes: burial, scattering, displaying them in an urn, or making a keepsake with them.