What Does Pet Insurance Cover? Insurance Plans Explained

Family with a pet

If you’re a pet owner, you know that your furry friend is more than just an animal – they’re a beloved member of your family. And just like any other family member, you want to make sure they’re protected in case of an unexpected illness or injury. That’s where pet insurance comes in. But what does pet insurance cover, exactly?

Veterinary care can add up quickly, from routine check-ups to emergency surgeries. That’s where pet insurance comes in – to help manage the financial burden. It’s meant to cover a range of expenses, including vaccinations and chronic conditions, giving you peace of mind.

In this post, we’ll break down the basics of pet insurance coverage so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you and your furry friend. We’ll cover the most common types of plans, what they typically include, and what you can expect to pay. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what pet insurance covers and how it can help keep your pet healthy and happy for years to come.

Table of Contents:

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

As a pet parent, you want the best for your furry family member. But vet bills can add up fast, especially if your pet gets sick or hurt. That’s where pet insurance comes in. 

If the unexpected happens, pet insurance has got you covered. You can focus on getting your furry friend the care they need, without worrying about the hefty vet bills.

Accident and illness coverage

Most pet insurance plans cover accidents and illnesses. This includes things like broken bones, cuts, cancer, infections, and more. 

Coverage varies by plan, but generally includes diagnostic tests (like x-rays and blood work), medications, surgeries, and hospital stays related to a covered accident or illness.

I still shudder thinking about the time my dog Max ingested an entire sock (don’t ask.). Luckily, I had invested in pet insurance cover, which spared me from financial ruin when he needed emergency surgery and a hospital stay. That financial cushion was a lifesaver.

Hereditary conditions

Breeds can be prone to certain genetic health issues, which can be a costly surprise for pet owners. Take hip dysplasia, heart defects, and eye disorders, for instance – these common problems can really add up financially.

Fortunately, many pet insurance plans cover hereditary conditions. As long as the condition isn’t pre-existing before you enroll. 

So if your Lab develops hip dysplasia down the road, you can get help with those vet bills. Just be sure to check your specific policy, as some have waiting periods or limitations for hereditary conditions.

Prescription medications

Owning a pet comes with its fair share of expenses, and medication costs can be a significant burden, especially when dealing with chronic conditions like allergies, arthritis, or thyroid issues.

With pet insurance, you can get reimbursed for prescription meds to treat covered conditions. Most plans have an annual limit, but it can still save you a bundle. 

I can totally relate to the financial strain of caring for a pet with allergies. The vet bills pile up fast. But pet insurance has been a total game-changer for me.

Testing and diagnostics

Vets have a detective’s toolkit at their disposal to diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries. Blood tests, urinalysis, x-rays, and imaging technologies like ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans help them get to the bottom of what’s going on.

Bulk up your pet’s health plan with diagnostic tests that deliver accurate results – even if they come with a hefty price tag. That’s where pet insurance steps in to help cover those costly bills for eligible conditions.

My cat Lily stopped eating, and I was frantic. Thankfully, my pet insurance cover kicked in, covering the cost of her ultrasound and biopsy. It turned out she had inflammatory bowel disease, and I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis without worrying about the hefty bill.

Types of Pet Insurance Plans

Not all pet insurance is created equal. There are a few different types of plans to choose from, depending on your budget and your pet’s needs. Let’s break down the options.

Accident and illness plans

When unexpected accidents or illnesses strike, you want to be prepared. That’s why these popular pet insurance plans are designed to cover both unexpected injuries and sicknesses, giving you peace of mind.

Accident and illness coverage can help with a wide range of health issues. From ear infections to cancer, broken bones to chronic conditions. They often also cover congenital disorders, prescription meds, and alternative therapies.

Of course, premiums are higher than accident-only plans. But if your pet develops a serious illness, you’ll be so glad you have the coverage.

Accident-only plans

An accident-only plan is just what it sounds like. It exclusively covers injuries from accidents, not illnesses or diseases.

Think accidents or unexpected mishaps – broken bones, deep cuts, bite wounds, or swallowing something that shouldn’t be inside you. Not stuff like earaches, skin rashes, or other everyday sicknesses.

Accident-only plans are more affordable than comprehensive policies. They can be a good choice if you’re on a tight budget but still want some protection for emergencies.

Wellness plans

Think of wellness plans as a budgeting buddy for routine vet care. They’re not technically insurance, but more like a financial safety net.

For a monthly fee, you get reimbursed for expected costs. Like annual exams, vaccines, preventive dental cleanings, and flea/tick meds.

Some pet insurance companies offer wellness plans as an add-on. This can help you save on preventive care, which isn’t covered by regular insurance. But you’ll still need an accident/illness policy for unexpected health issues.

What Isn’t Covered by Pet Insurance?

While pet insurance covers a lot, it doesn’t cover everything. Knowing what’s excluded can help you plan for potential out-of-pocket costs. Here are some common things that aren’t covered.

Pre-existing conditions

Pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Meaning any health issue your pet had before you enrolled or during the waiting period.

For example, if your dog is already being treated for hip dysplasia when you sign up, that condition won’t be eligible for coverage. Even if you switch plans later.

The good news is, many pet insurance plans will cover “curable” pre-existing conditions. If your pet is symptom-free and treatment-free for a certain period (usually 6-12 months). Just not for knee or ligament issues.

Cosmetic procedures

When it comes to pet insurance, there’s a clear distinction between what’s covered and what’s not. Elective procedures like ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, and dew claw removal typically fall outside the scope of standard coverage.

Most plans also exclude grooming, nail trims, and anal gland expression. Unless they’re medically necessary.

Routine dental cleanings usually aren’t covered either. But some plans offer dental illness coverage for things like tooth extractions or gum disease.

Breeding costs

Thinking of breeding your pet? Know that expenses related to breeding and pregnancy aren’t covered by pet insurance.

Pregnancy and childbirth are intricately linked with healthcare costs, and certain expenses are explicitly excluded from coverage. This can include fertility treatments, prenatal care, c-sections, and postnatal complications. Plus, plans often won’t cover illnesses or injuries that arise from breeding or whelping.

If you’re thinking of breeding, be prepared for a costly venture. Breeding comes with a lot of financial responsibilities, so make sure you’ve got a solid plan in place to avoid going broke.

Key Takeaway:

When considering pet insurance, think of it like a financial safety net: it covers unexpected vet bills and medical expenses, allowing you to focus on your pet’s recovery, not the cost. So, choose a plan that fits your budget and your pet’s needs, knowing that accident and illness coverage, prescription medications, and diagnostic testing are often included, while pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding costs typically are not.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

If you’re considering getting pet insurance, you’re probably wondering about the cost. I get it. As a pet parent myself, I want to make sure my furry family members are protected without breaking the bank.

The truth is, the cost of pet insurance can vary quite a bit. But don’t worry, I’m here to break it down for you.

Factors affecting cost

Your zip code, your pet’s age, and their breed all play a significant role in determining your pet insurance premiums. The cost of vet care varies by region, and certain breeds are more prone to specific health issues.

Older animals and certain breeds that are prone to health issues may have higher premiums. And of course, the level of coverage you choose and your deductible and reimbursement settings will affect your monthly cost.

Average monthly premiums

So, what can you expect to pay? According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average monthly premium for an accident and illness dog insurance policy in the U.S. in 2021 was $48.66. For cats, it was $28.57 per month.

Accident-only plans are cheaper, averaging $18.93/month for dogs and $10.85/month for cats. But keep in mind, these averages can vary a lot based on your specific pet and policy choices.

Deductibles and reimbursement levels

Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Higher deductibles usually mean lower monthly premiums. Most plans have annual deductibles from $0 to $1,000.

Reimbursement level is the percentage of the vet bill the insurance company will pay after you meet your deductible. Common options are 70%, 80%, or 90%. The higher your reimbursement, the more you’ll get back – but your premium will also be higher.

I get it, the thought of insurance costs can be overwhelming. But trust me, the relief you’ll feel knowing your pet is protected is priceless. It’s not just about avoiding financial stress; it’s about giving your furry friend the best possible care, no matter what life throws your way.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? As someone who’s had pet insurance for years, I can tell you – it depends. There are definitely pros and cons to weigh.

Pros and cons

On one hand, pet insurance can be a lifesaver (literally) if your pet has a serious accident or illness. It can allow you to say “yes” to treatments you may not be able to afford on your own. Plus, it offers peace of mind knowing you have a safety net.

The costs can really add up over time, and you’ll need to foot the bill upfront before getting reimbursed. And let’s not forget about the exclusions – things like pre-existing conditions or certain inherited health issues that might not be covered.

Financial protection

Ultimately, pet insurance is about managing risk. If your pet is generally healthy and you have a solid emergency fund, you may decide to self-insure. But if the thought of a $5,000 vet bill keeps you up at night, pet insurance can provide valuable financial protection.

A sudden vet emergency or managing chronic conditions can quickly drain your wallet. Luckily, I’ve got pet insurance, which means I can prioritize my pet’s health without worrying about the financial burden.

Peace of mind

For me, the biggest benefit of pet insurance is the peace of mind. I love my pets like family, and I never want to be in a position where I have to choose between their health and my budget.

Having insurance gives me peace of mind as a pet parent. It lets me focus on what’s best for my furry friends, rather than stressing about the cost. I can make decisions that put their well-being first, not just what my wallet can handle.

When it comes to pet insurance, the question on everyone’s mind is: is it worth the cost? In my opinion, the financial safety net and peace of mind it provides are priceless.

Key Takeaway:

Think of pet insurance like a safeguard for your wallet and your pet’s health – carefully weighing the cost against the peace of mind and financial protection it provides can help you make an informed decision that’s right for you and your furry friend.


So, what does pet insurance cover? The answer is: it depends. Different plans offer different levels of coverage, so it’s important to do your research and choose a policy that meets your specific needs and budget.

Having pet insurance can be a lifesaver – literally. It helps you avoid the gut-wrenching decision of choosing between your pet’s health and your bank account when disaster strikes.

While pet insurance can be a lifesaver, it’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Your furry friend still needs a balanced diet, regular check-ups, and timely vaccinations. But with the right plan, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any health issue that comes your way.

If you’re a pet owner, consider this: an unexpected vet bill can be financially crippling. Pet insurance could be the safeguard you need to protect your wallet – and your four-legged family member’s well-being.



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