What Does Pet Insurance Cover? Examples & How It Works – Business InsiderWhat Does Pet Insurance Cover? Examples & How It Works – Business Insider

A photo of a long-haired cat on a veterinarian's exam table.

In general, pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses. But you can also get routine care covered for an extra fee.
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  • Pet insurance can offset the costs associated with emergency veterinary care and treatment.
  • This works on a reimbursement model where you pay the particular vet plus file a claim with your insurer to get repaid.
  • There are several types of pet insurance plans, and most exclude pre-existing conditions.

Pet insurance can help you with the particular costs of caring for your own dog or cat. If they’re hurt, sick, or otherwise need medical care, your policy can kick in and help you shoulder the cost.

But dog insurance, just like insurance with regard to humans, varies quite a bit from one policy to the next. Not all medical services are protected by every policy, and in some cases, certain problems may be excluded entirely. Understanding exactly what different family pet insurance policies protect will help you choose the best one regarding your furry friend and your budget.

So what do pet insurance plans include?

Most basic dog insurance plans cover incidents and injuries, meaning if your dog breaks a bone or is hit by a car, your own insurance company would cover some or even all of the costs of diagnosis and treatment.  

“There are many pet insurance plans you can choose from, each with its own coverage, ” says Yoni Kiehl, founder plus president associated with pet insurance company Animalia . “You can choose the one which ideal suits a person and your pet’s needs. ”

However , most pet insurance coverage policies leave out pre-existing circumstances, so if your pet has a health issue before you apply for coverage, your plan won’t cover the expenses of treating or managing it — or dealing with or managing a new illness that was caused by the pre-existing condition. Other family pet insurers exclude certain breeds altogether, as they’re more prone to health conditions.

Forms of pet insurance and what every covers

Most dog insurance companies offer a number of tiers of coverage, including a basic, accident-only plan, plus a more comprehensive option. Many also offer additional, low-cost wellness packages that provide extra protection for annual check-ups and preventive care.


Accident-only plans cover your dog in case they experience an unexpected injury, like breaking a bone or ingesting the toxin. They don’t cover up illnesses or even diseases that may arise, nor do they extend to behavioral issues or hereditary conditions.

Here’s a look at some common issues an accident-only plan would protect:

  • Broken bones
  • Bite wounds
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Foreign object ingestion
  • Toxin ingestion plus poisoning
  • Car accidents
  • Eye injuries
  • Sprains
  • Bee stings
  • Torn ligaments

If you have accident-only insurance coverage, your plan should cover X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, laboratory testing, and ultrasounds to diagnose the issue, as well as medications, emergency treatment, surgery , and hospitalization to treat it.  

Accident and sickness

With accident and disease coverage — also known as comprehensive coverage — you get all of the particular above, plus coverage intended for illness, disease, along with other wellness conditions.

These may include:

  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Lyme disease
  • Parasites
  • Parvo
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hip dysplasia

This type associated with plan will also often cover behavioral therapy, emergency dental care, care through specialists, and sometimes even alternative therapies and complementary treatments, such as acupuncture.  

“Most family pet owners select accident plus illness programs, as these people provide comprehensive coverage, inch says Kari Steere, a licensed insurance agent at Pawlicy Advisor , a pet insurance comparison site.

Wellness plan add-on

Wellness plans cover program healthcare and preventive treatments. Unlike the traditional programs, these add-on packages cover up the expenses you can regularly expect because a pet owner — not just sudden ones.

Examples of wellness plan insurance coverages include:

  • Annual exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Flea and tick preventatives
  • Heartworm preventatives
  • Spaying and neutering
  • Dental cleanings
  • Nutritional supplements 
  • Prescription food
  • Nail trimming
  • Anal gland expression
  • Grooming
  • Routine blood and fecal tests
  • Training
  • Microchipping
  • Cremation and burial 

Wellbeing add-ons typically come along with a maximum annual insurance amount or per category reimbursement limit. With Embrace pet insurance policy, for example, you get a $250 to $650 allowance per year.

How does pet insurance plan work?

Unlike human health insurance plans, when you have the pet insurance policy, your insurance provider and veterinarian won’t communicate directly. Instead, you’ll be responsible for paying the bill at the time of service and then filing a claim together with your insurance company to get reimbursed.  

“Most dog insurance policies work off a reimbursement model, which means you don’t have to worry about being in-network, inches says Steere. “You’ll pay a monthly or yearly premium to maintain coverage, as well as a deductible prior to your reimbursement rate kicks in. ”

As Steere mentioned, family pet insurance guidelines usually have a deductible. These types of policies also have a compensation rate, coverage limits, and a waiting period. Here’s what each of those mean in the context of dog insurance:

  • Waiting period: The waiting period is the particular time among activating your pet insurance plan and becoming eligible to get coverage. With Lemonade , for example , the waiting time period is in between two days plus six months, depending on the particular health condition. At Animalia, it’s just five days (or 30 pertaining to cancer coverage).
  • Deductible: Your deductible is how much you’re responsible meant for paying out of pocket just before insurance pays anything. This particular typically ranges from $100 to $500.  
  • Reimbursement rate: This is how much of each claim your own insurer will pay. An 80% reimbursement price, for instance, would pay 80% of the expenses on the covered support (after you’ve met your deductible).  
  • Policy limits/coverage amount: Your policy limit is the maximum your insurance company will spend for covered services across your protection period (usually a calendar year). Some insurers don’t have insurance coverage limits.

Because pet insurance policies are compensation plans, you’ll want to make sure you have some way to pay unpredicted veterinary bills up front, as there may become some time between submitting your own claim and receiving refund.  

“If clients are interested in furry friend insurance, I recommend that they will also find another financing option, like CareCredit or even a credit card solely for the dog, in addition to the insurance coverage, ” says Thomas Dock, director associated with communications in Noah’s Animal Hospitals in Indiana.  

“Then, when a major illness or injury happens to their animal, they can use CareCredit or the some other card in order to pay the veterinarian, [and] submit their claim to insurance, inch Dock states. “In many cases, the particular reimbursement check is sent from the canine insurance provider inside time to pay off the credit card or CareCredit before interest starts accruing. ”

Is pet insurance policy worth this?

Pet insurance plan may be worth it for many pet owners. The right choice, and right type of policy, will certainly largely depend on your emergency fund and spending budget. Do a person have enough to include unexpected vet bills in the event that your pet is harm or becomes ill? Could you foot the bill designed for a  life-saving treatment if it became necessary? If not, having dog insurance may offer a much-needed safety net.

For reference, the particular cost associated with radiation therapy for a dog with cancer is among $2, 500 and $7, 000 . Even less serious situations like a broken bone may cost thousands of dollars.

“Having family pet health insurance can help avoid any decisions on whether someone can afford the treatment their dog or cat needs to live their own best life, ” states Sean Burgess, chief claims officer from Lemonade.

The particular breed, age, and overall health of your own pet should also play a role in your decision in order to get pet insurance.

“Having the right pet insurance coverage can provide valuable peace of mind, especially for pets whose breed is known to end up being predisposed to certain genetic disorders, inches Steere claims. But it’s not meant in order to be a “last-minute respite from known upcoming costs, ” she adds, so if your pet is already sick or even injured, this may not really help.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this particular article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or even otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate with the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and might have changed, or may no longer be available.

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