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 avoid them.
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-only plans.
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
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.
Endorsements 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
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 not covered.
Some of the most common pet insurance exclusions include the
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 therapy costs.
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.
Pregnancy 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 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
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
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:
Deductible 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 bill.
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 pay out-of-pocket.
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
Species 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.
Age 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.
Breed 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.
Location 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 any.
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, visit us online to find the right pet
insurance plan, endorsements, and rates for your pet's insurance