Pet insurance is often an afterthought or viewed as an unnecessary
luxury, but a high-quality pet insurance policy within your budget can
save you money and headaches in case of a pet-related medical emergency.
No one wants to be susceptible to major medical expenses if they can
Your pet is part of your family, so it deserves the best care possible.
A standard pet healthcare policy can offset some of the medical expenses
and even prevent you from having to make the difficult decision of
denying your pet medical care or putting your pet down. In the rare case
of a serious accident or injury, a
comprehensive pet insurance plan can protect your
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet health insurance helps protect you from expensive veterinary costs
in case of an illness or injury. Pet insurance companies will cover
a pre-determined percentage of qualified treatments. You will have to
pay monthly insurance premiums that cover certain medical expenses
although many common pet treatments are excluded.
Similar to your health insurance, pet insurance requires you to pay a
small amount, also known as a deductible, of the costs and the insurance
company covers the rest. Your pet will have to get treatment and you
will have to pay out-of-pocket first. Afterward, you can file a claim
with your pet insurance company and get reimbursed within a few days or
couple of weeks.
Types of Pet Insurance Plans
Most pet owners want the best for their trusty companion. If
you’re thinking of a purchasing pet insurance plan, do some
preliminary comparison shopping to determine the ideal plan for your
pet’s needs. The following are the most common types of pet
- Accident-Only Plans
As its name suggests,
accident-only plans only cover medical treatment in the event of a pet
accident. Accident-only plans may cover broken bones and scrapes, but
not a major illness. Only a small percentage of pet owners opt for
- Accident and Illness Plans
Accident and Illness
pet insurance plans cover both accidents and illnesses including
infectious diseases, cancer, digestive issues, and allergies. This
plan accounts for the majority of pet insurance plans purchased.
- Insurance with Embedded Wellness
Also referred to as Wellness/Preventative Care, insurance with
embedded wellness covers accidents, illnesses, and some preventative
treatments like vaccinations, heartworm tests, rabies, flea/tick
prevention, and teeth cleaning.
Some pet insurance companies may
offer endorsements, or add-ons, to your insurance plan that extend
your coverage. Common endorsements include cancer coverage and
wellness add-ons like acupuncture and physical therapy.
Make sure to read the fine print before signing a pet insurance
contract. Standard pet insurance policies will cover most illnesses
and accidents, but some will exclude common conditions that affect many
pets. From standard vaccinations to alternative therapies, many services
are not covered and may require you to purchase insurance endorsements.
Common exclusions can also include genetic testing, prosthetics, cell
replacement therapy, and organ transplants. In addition, travel and
boarding expenses, micro-chipping, and elective surgeries are typically
Some of the most common pet insurance exclusions include the following:
- Dental Disease
Dental disease or damage is
typically not covered in most standard pet insurance policies. This
means that you won’t be able to be reimbursed for the costs of
your pet’s broken tooth, gingivitis, or dental cleaning.
Insurance with embedded wellness will cover dental accidents and
- Pre-existing Conditions
Any illness or injury
that existed before the required waiting period is considered a
pre-existing condition. If a veterinarian finds a pre-existing
condition in your pet, it won’t be covered. They may however
offer care for curable pre-existing conditions under certain
circumstances. Some companies do make distinctions between curable and
incurable pre-existing conditions.
- Behavioral Issues
Behavioral issues like separation anxiety, aggression, barking,
or chewing aren’t covered under most pet insurance policies. You
won’t be reimbursed for pet training or behavioral modification
- Routine Check-Up/Preventative Care
Preventative exams, treatments, and procedures are not covered
in a standard pet insurance plan, unless you are paying for a wellness
plan or wellness endorsement.
- Infectious Diseases
Most pet insurance companies
won’t cover infectious diseases such as canine hepatitis or
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Infections caused by ticks,
worms, or fleas are excluded as well.
Any costs relating to a pet’s
pregnancy won’t be covered under a pet insurance policy.
Treatment costs for procedures such as planned caesarian births,
artificial insemination, prenatal examinations, and fertility
treatments will also not be reimbursed.
- Hip Dysplasia
Even though large dogs commonly
suffer from hip dysplasia, or deterioration of the hip joints, some
insurance companies won’t cover hip dysplasia if it’s a
pre-existing condition. Many insurance companies will cover it if the
illness is found after insurance coverage begins.
Grooming, bathing, shampoos, baths, and
nail trims are not covered under most pet insurance policies.
Benefits of Pet Insurance
Pet health insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that you
won’t have to choose between sky-high veterinarian costs and
healing your pet. For example, cancer treatments and surgeries for accidents and
injuries can cost thousands of dollars. On very rare occasions, pet
owners are put in the precarious position of having to put their pet
down due to prohibitively expensive treatment costs.
Many pet owners may think that they can’t afford pet insurance.
Fortunately, pet insurance is within many owners’ budgets. Pet
insurance for dogs can range from $25 to $70 per month. Insurance for
cats can cost anywhere from $10 to $40 per month.
Besides protecting your pet at a low cost, pet insurance has many other
- You can save money in the case of a serious injury or illness
- You can rest easy knowing that your pet is covered
Your pet can receive all the tests needed for an accurate diagnosis
- You can choose your own veterinarian
You don’t have to dip into your hard-earned savings
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works differently than your normal health insurance.
Before insurance companies decide to cover your dog or cat, you’ll
have to go through a waiting period of a few days and be required to
get your pet checked out by a veterinarian. If no pre-existing
conditions are found, your pet insurance company will begin coverage.
As mentioned above, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket when
receiving treatment and then file a claim with your pet insurance
company. The insurance company will look over your claim and deposit
money into your account or send you a check if approved, which
you’ll receive in a few weeks, at the latest. Reimbursements
depend on the following insurance policy conditions:
A deductible is the amount of money
you have to pay for a vet bill. Depending on your policy, you may have
to pay annually or per incident. Per incident deductibles must be paid
for each new injury or illness. Annual deductibles will be paid every
year. For annual deductibles, you will not be reimbursed until you
have a total greater than your annual deductible.
- Reimbursement Level
Your reimbursement level is
the percentage of the vet bill that is covered by your pet insurance
company. Covered insurance costs range between 50% and 100% of the
- Annual Max
An annual max amount is the total
cost that your pet insurance company will cover per year. If your pet
requires more than the allotted annual maximum, you’ll have to
Pet Insurance Rates
Your pet insurance rates will depend on the type of pet
insurance plan you have and other little-known factors. For example, you
may have to pay higher-than-normal rates if you have a specific breed or
live in a certain part of the country. If you want your pet insurance
company to cover most of an incident’s costs, then you’ll
probably end up with a high monthly payment. You can pay lower insurance
premiums if your insurance company covers a limited portion of your
annual medical expenses.
Pet insurance rates are also affected by add-ons and procedures you want
to be covered. Essentially, your chosen deductible, reimbursement level,
and annual max will heavily affect your insurance rate.
Your pet insurance rates will also be affected by the following
Pet insurance is generally higher for
dogs than for cats. Male dogs will be on the highest end of the
insurance rate spectrum, while female cats will cost you the least.
As one might guess, older pets are
more expensive to insure. Your longtime pal is more prone to health
complications. Younger pets may not require pet health insurance, even
though their insurance costs are lower than older pets’.
Insurance companies may also delay coverage until your pet reaches a
certain age, usually within 6 to 10 weeks of being born. Older pets
may only have the option of accident-only coverage.
Most pet insurance rates will vary by the
breed of dog or cat. Dogs like Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, and
Labrador Retrievers will have higher rates than Beagles. Cats such as
British Shorthairs or Persian cats will be more expensive to insure
than a Ragdoll cat.
Veterinarian costs are typically higher
in larger cities than in smaller ones. As a result, insurance premiums
will be higher in densely populated cities like New York City, Los
Angeles, and Chicago.
Pet Insurance Considerations
Pet insurance can be a difficult cost to justify or pay. Pet
health coverage may not be for everyone, especially for pets that rarely
get sick or injured. The problem is that expensive conditions can happen at any
time to your pet. Consider your monthly budget cap for insurance and low
out-of-pocket costs if you want to have peace of mind with pet
insurance, but not break the bank. In addition, your pet’s medical
history will help you determine what pet insurance plan you need, if
If pet insurance is something you’re considering, don’t
hesitate to speak with a pet insurance company as soon as possible. For
comprehensive pet insurance, seek help from an agent from Acceptance
Insurance who can help you find the right pet insurance plan,
endorsements, and rates for your pet’s insurance needs.