What Does Pet Insurance Cover and How They Work

What Does Pet Insurance Cover
What Does Pet Insurance Cover

Pet insurance coverage varies greatly depending on the provider and the plan, and some exclusions could surprise you. Standard coverage frequently excludes checkups, vaccinations, and other routine treatments. What does pet insurance for dogs and cats cover, and at what cost is explained in this guide? Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits? How do they operate?

It’s important to comprehend the different plans and what they cover before purchasing the correct coverage for your pet. But since they vary in what is and isn’t covered and when it’s also a good idea to examine the specifics of comparable policies at competing providers.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Most pet insurance policies often cover unexpected diseases, accidents, surgeries, medications, tests, and diagnostics, as well as emergency care costs and checkups. However, not all costs in those areas are often qualified for reimbursement. The type of coverage and the company you select will determine the specifics of your pet insurance policy.

What Does Cat Pet Insurance Cover?

In many ways, pet insurance is similar to human health insurance. The key distinction is related to the limitations imposed on most pet health insurance policies. For instance, pre-existing conditions are rarely covered by pet insurance.

Fortunately, pet insurance may be acquired that gives a wide range of coverage, from routine care to major surgery, despite these limitations. Three general policy kinds offer coverage.


The best way to think of wellness coverage is routine or preventive treatment. The market for pet insurance for wellness-only coverage is very small, and it is typically added as a rider to a full policy. Most wellness plans or riders offer a certain dollar amount (or percentage) for each type of covered procedure, which frequently covers the following and often does not have a deductible:

  • Spaying/neutering
  • annual medical exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Tick and flea prevention
  • Heartworm prevention
  • Certain tests
  • Teeth cleaning


This coverage covers care when your pet mistakenly ingests a foreign substance, is struck by a car or sustains other bodily harm. Owners of older pets who have outgrown comprehensive coverage choose accident-only coverage, representing just 2% of the pet insurance market. Typical procedures covered are as follows:

  • Bloat
  • ingesting foreign objects
  • Car collision
  • cruciate ligament tear
  • Poisoning
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Prescription drugs (for a covered event)
  • snake or insect bites
  • eye damage
  • Sprains
  • Bone fractures

Comprehensive (Accident and Illness)

This kind of policy, often known as accident and illness coverage, provides coverage for accidents and illnesses or diseases like cancer. 98% of pet insurance policies are comprehensive, occasionally including wellness coverage or offering it as an add-on. Everything offered under accident-only coverage is also covered, in addition to 672.

  • Conditions specific to breed
  • Cancer therapy
  • Chronic diseases
  • Diagnostic testing and imaging
  • ER and specialized treatment
  • Hospitalization, nursing care, and surgery
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental disease

Coverage Options

Within each primary classification, some insurers offer supplemental coverage as an alternative, usually at an additional cost. The list varies by insurer; however, a few typical examples are as follows:

  • Emergency out-of-country treatment
  • Liability coverage for bites or injuries caused by your pet (typically part of homeowners insurance, but a few policies offer it as an option.)
  • The prize for a stolen or lost pet (typically part of life and theft coverage, but sometimes offered as an option.)
  • Pet care and boarding if you are unable to care for them.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover and Cost

According to the NAPHIA, a dog in the United States paid an average monthly premium of $44.67 for accident and illness insurance in 2017 and $15.84 for accident-only coverage. Also, cats’ average monthly rates in 2017 were slightly lower at $12.72 for accident-only coverage and $27.93 for accident-and-illness plans.

The cost of pet insurance will vary depending on several variables, often including:

  • The breed, species, and gender of the pets. Because some breeds are more likely to develop specific ailments, pet insurance premiums will rise. For instance, the cost of medications for large dog breeds is higher, and they are more prone to heart and hip problems.
  • The animal’s age As your pet ages, it is more probable that it will need to visit the vet, resulting in increased pet insurance rates when it comes time to renew your coverage.
  • Existing medical conditions. Generally speaking, medical issues before purchasing pet insurance are not covered. However, some pet insurance policies cover illnesses that come back later.
  • Where you are, the plan’s cost will be influenced by local average veterinary expenses.
  • Types of coverage. Compared to a plan that solely covers accidental injuries, a comprehensive plan that covers accidents, illness, and regular wellness will cost more.
  • The degree of the reimbursement deductible. A lower deductible and higher reimbursement level will increase your costs. For instance, a plan with a 90% reimbursement rate will be more expensive than one with a 70% reimbursement rate.

A dog typically costs more to insure than a cat does.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits?

Exam costs are often excluded from a typical plan. Still, your pet insurance policy may cover some portions of your pet’s visit to the veterinarian, such as tests and treatment for an illness or injury. If you want coverage that pays for texts, consider purchasing a pet wellness plan. A wellness plan often pays for routine veterinary visits, test costs, and preventative care over a predetermined threshold.

What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover?

The following list of typical pet insurance exclusions:

  • An existing medical condition is a condition that your pet had before your insurance coverage began. Pre-existing conditions might not be permanently excluded from some policies. For instance, nationwide pet insurance may extend coverage if you have medical records demonstrating that your pet has been free of a condition for at least six months.
  • Medical experimentation This covers diagnoses and therapies regarded as novel, investigational, or not up to the veterinary medical board of your state’s approved standards of practice.
  • Grooming. Typically, pet insurance doesn’t cover grooming procedures like baths, dips, shampoos, or nail trimming.
  • Food, dietary supplements, and nutritional aids. Most insurance policies do not pay for your pet’s feeding costs; however, some cover prescription supplements and food.
  • Non-vet-related costs. This covers costs related to trash disposal, record access or copying, licenses or certifications, and adherence to laws or regulations (such as a dog license).

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pet Liability?

What happens if someone gets bitten by your dog or if it damages someone else’s property? Your homeowner’s insurance typically covers these kinds of occurrences. For instance, your house insurance’s liability coverage would typically cover medical costs and even legal defence if your dog bites someone and you are sued.

Your pet insurance provider might be able to provide you with some liability protection. For instance, up to $25,000 in property damage caused by a pet is covered under Trupanion’s Pet Owner Assistance package.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

The reimbursement process for pet insurance is not the same as it is for human health insurance. It’s unlikely that you would be able to pay merely a copay at the time of treatment for your pet, unlike with your insurance coverage. Furthermore, you will need to pay the full amount of the bill and wait to be reimbursed for the predetermined percentage outlined in your insurance policy.

Like human health insurance, pet insurance policies include deductibles you must meet before coverage begins. The deductible amount, which commonly ranges between $200 and $1,000, is up to the policyholder. (However, generally, the larger the premium, the lower the deductible.)

Pre-existing conditions

Insurance companies typically won’t cover pre-existing conditions. That is to say, generally speaking, you cannot claim the cost of treating an animal’s medical condition if it existed before you enrolled the animal in insurance.

However, if your pet has been symptom-free and considered to be cured for a predetermined period, frequently 180 days, it may eventually cover some diseases. A pre-existing condition is defined differently by each insurer. Therefore, it pays to research this information before purchasing insurance.

Waiting intervals

Waiting periods are necessary for one simple reason: they prevent pet owners from rushing to insure their animals as soon as a diagnosis or symptom appears. Except for hip dysplasia and other disorders with unique waiting periods, pet insurance policies typically have a 14-day waiting period.

Policy boundaries

The majority of insurance demand that you select specific coverage limitations. These normally feature an annual cap on expenses that can be reimbursed, usually between $5,000 and $30,000; the higher the cap, the higher the premium. Also, occasionally set are lifetime restrictions.

Numerous insurers also have age restrictions on coverage. This implies that coverage under current policies will end once a specific age has passed. Similarly, some pet insurance providers won’t offer new plans for animals that have reached a specific age.


A policy that covers every cost associated with any care is uncommon. The most affordable pet insurance will often cover a predetermined amount, usually 70%, 80%, or 90%.

You must also choose an annual deductible to be paid in full before reimbursement begins, much like many other insurance types. Typically, these cost $250, $500, or $1,000.


How much reimbursement can you anticipate after paying your monthly premiums? In particular, is pet insurance worthwhile? Depending on your plan, reimbursement percentages might range from 70% to 90% of the entire claim. Furthermore, claims under accident and illness plans in the United States received an average payout of $278.

The funny thing is, even though joining a plan when your pet is young and healthy will cost you the least money, you’ll probably need it when they get older. Additionally, rates typically rise yearly for several reasons, including the likelihood that your pet will get sick as they age and rising veterinarian expenditures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does insurance cover on a dog?

What does pet insurance cover? Most pet insurance policies typically pay for unexpected diseases, accidents, surgeries, medications, tests, and diagnostics, as well as emergency care costs and exams.

What types of things do pet insurance cover?

coverage for canines and felines

  • Accidents. When your pet is wounded, accident insurance might help you take care of them without having to worry as much about the cost.
  • Illnesses.
  • Congenital and hereditary diseases.
  • Various Therapies.
  • Behavioural Problems
  • Chronic Illnesses.
  • Prescription Medication. 
  • Prescription Food & Supplements.

What are the 3 types of insurance coverages for animals?

Wellness, accidental, and comprehensive coverage are the three primary categories. Different treatments and procedures are covered based on the type of policy and level of coverage. Numerous insurers provide multiple tiers of add-on coverage for each type of coverage.

What does it mean if your pet is insured?

Pet insurance is a type of insurance that pet owners can get to assist offset the overall expense of high medical bills. This coverage is comparable to human health insurance plans. Also, the frequently expensive veterinarian procedures will be partially or totally covered by pet insurance.

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