The Ultimate Guide to Pet Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Are you a pet owner? If so, you know that pets can be expensive to take care of. The costs can add up quickly, from vet bills to food, toys, and more. That’s why it’s essential to have pet insurance coverage. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about cat insurance and dog insurance. We’ll cover what it is, how it works, the different types of coverage available, and more!

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance generally is a type of insurance (similar to human health insurance) that helps pet parents cover the costs of their pet’s care. For example, it can help pay for vet bills, medication, and more. There are a variety of pet medical insurance plans available, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

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How Does Pet Insurance Work?

How does pet health insurance work? Pet insurance works by you paying a monthly premium. This premium is based on your pet’s age, breed, and health history. If your pet needs medical care, you will pay a copay or deductible. The insurance company will then reimburse you for the remaining costs.

What Types of Coverage Are Available?

There are a few different types of pet insurance coverage available. The most common is comprehensive plan coverage, which helps cover various medical expenses, including exam fees, vet visit, emergency care, accident, and illness coverage. There are also accident-only plans, which as the name suggests, only cover accidents. Some complete coverage plans also offer wellness coverage, which helps pay for routine care like vaccinations and check-ups.

Rehabilitation Coverage

Rehabilitation coverage helps cover the costs of physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and more. This can be an excellent option for pets who have been injured or are dealing with a chronic illness.

Emergency Care Coverage

Emergency care coverage helps pay for unexpected veterinary expenses, like if your pet needs surgery or has been in an accident. This type of coverage typically has a higher deductible than comprehensive plans.

Hospitalization and Surgery Coverage

Hospitalization and surgery coverage help pay for the costs of your pet’s hospital stay and any necessary surgeries. This type of coverage typically has a higher deductible than comprehensive plans.

Specialist Care Coverage

Specialist care coverage helps pay for the costs of visiting a specialist, like a cardiologist or an oncologist. This type of coverage typically has a higher deductible than comprehensive plans.

Diagnostic Testing Coverage

Diagnostic testing coverage helps pay for the costs of X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tests. This type of coverage typically has a higher deductible than comprehensive plans.

Prescription Drugs Coverage

Prescription drugs coverage helps pay for the costs of your pet’s prescription medications. In addition, this type of coverage typically has a lower deductible than comprehensive plans.

What Are The Benefits Of Pet Insurance?

Pet medical insurance coverage benefits are peace of mind and financial protection if your pet becomes ill or injured. With insurance, you can choose the level of coverage that best meets your needs and budget, and you will have peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected.

Dental Illness and Injury Coverage

One of the most common claims filed with pet insurance companies is for dental illness or injury. Dental coverage helps reimburse you for the cost of your pet’s dental care, including cleaning, x-rays, and more.\

Breed-Specific, Congenital, and Genetic Conditions

Certain breeds of dogs and cats are prone to specific health conditions. For example, Boxers are susceptible to hip dysplasia, and Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer. Some insurance companies offer breed-specific coverage for these conditions. Additionally, many pet plans cover congenital and genetic conditions.

Cancer Treatment Coverage

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in pets. Pet insurance can help cover the costs of your pet’s cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and more.

Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions are those that are recurring or long-term. They can include conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and more. Many pet insurance plans cover chronic conditions.

Preventable Conditions

Routine care can prevent preventable conditions like vaccinations and flea/tick prevention. In addition, some pet plans cover avoidable conditions.

Orthopedic Conditions

Orthopedic conditions are those that affect the bones or joints. They can include conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and more. Many pet plans cover orthopedic conditions.

Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Plan

When choosing a pet insurance plan, you should keep a few things in mind. First, consider what type of coverage you need. If your pet is healthy and unlikely to need much medical care, you might not require comprehensive coverage. However, if your pet has health problems or is prone to accidents, getting a more comprehensive plan might be good.

You should also consider your budget when choosing an insurance plan. Pet policies can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you can afford the monthly premium. You should also look at the copay or deductible and be comfortable with it.

Finally, please read the fine print of any insurance policy before you purchase it. This will help you understand what is and isn’t covered.

Types Of Pet Insurance Plans

There are a few different types of pet insurance plans available.

Comprehensive Pet Insurance Coverage

This is the most popular type of policy. It helps cover various medical expenses for your pet, including vet bills, medication, preventative care, and more.

Illness-Only Coverage

This type of policy only covers illnesses. It doesn’t cover accidents or routine care. This might be a good option if your pet has chronic health problems or you’re on a budget.

Routine Care Coverage

This type of policy helps cover the costs of routine care, like vaccinations, teeth cleaning, and more. This might be a good option if you want to supplement your comprehensive coverage or if you’re on a budget.

Accident-Only Coverage

This type of accident policy only covers accidents. If your pet becomes ill, you will not be covered.

Accident and Illness Coverage

This coverage covers both accidents and illness but does not cover wellness and routine checkups.

Wellness Coverage

This type of policy helps pay for care like vaccinations and check-ups. However, it does not cover accidents or illnesses.

Why Do I Need Pet Medical Insurance?

Is pet insurance worth it? There are a few reasons why you might need pet healthcare insurance.

  • First, pet owners can help you pay for a vet bill. If your pet becomes ill or has an accident, the costs can quickly add up, including emergency care. Pet healthcare insurance can help reduce these sudden costs.
  • Second, pet healthcare insurance can give a pet parent peace of mind. If something happens to your pet, you’ll know that you’re covered. This can help you focus on your pet’s recovery instead of worrying about the financial implications.
  • Finally, pet healthcare insurance can help you budget for your pet’s care, including vet exam fees. By paying a monthly premium, you can spread the cost of your pet’s care over time. This can make it easier to afford your pet’s needs, such as a vet visit and wellness benefits.

The Pros And Cons Of Pet Insurance

There are a few pros and cons to pet insurance.

Pros:

  • Can help you pay for unexpected vet bills
  • Can give you peace of mind
  • It can help you budget for your pet’s care

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • May not cover everything
  • The fine print can be confusing

Best Pet Insurance Companies

Some of the best pet insurance providers include:

  1. Healthy Paws: Healthy Paws is a great way to ensure your pet gets medical care. Their top-rated cat insurance and dog insurance plans cover accidents, illnesses, cancer, emergency care, genetic and hereditary conditions, pet’s breed-specific conditions, and alternative care.
  2. Pets Best: Pets Best offers insurance policies that cover accidents. This includes if your pet swallows a new chew toy, breaks a bone, or needs surgery. You can also add pet wellness and routine care coverage to help pay for annual check-ups, vaccinations, etc.
  3. Embrace: Embrace pet insurance agency covers your pet in the event of an illness or injury. Embrace also offers routine and preventive care coverage for your pet.
  4. Figo: Figo pet insurance base plans cover emergency care, surgery, and more. This includes coverage for diagnostics, treatment, and prescriptions to help your pet feel better. Our Wellness Powerup covers exams, vaccines, and other routine care for happy and healthy pets.
  5. Trupanion: We will now cover all new injuries and illnesses. The hospital will get paid directly, so you don’t have to worry about reimbursement. And we will continue to pay for your pet’s care for the rest of their life.
  6. Petplan: PetPlan offers comprehensive coverage that includes health advice from licensed vets in the U.S. and Canada. We have a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot, which means our customers are happy with our service. Plus, there are no fees or add-ons, and you can cancel your policy.
  7. Nationwide: Nationwide’s plans start from $35/month, and you can use any vet. This policy already protects more than a million pets.
  8. American Modern Insurance Group: American Modern Insurance Company can help you pay for your dog’s or cat’s costs if they get sick or hurt. If your pet needs to go to the vet, the insurance company will pay up to 90% of the bill.
  9. Independence American Insurance Company: Independence American Insurance Company helps you quickly get coverage for your pet. We also have some of the best policies in the industry, with shorter waiting periods and better coverage for curable pre-existing conditions. You can also get optional add-on policies to meet your specific needs.
  10. ASPCA: Every pet is different, and they don’t all need the same kind of coverage. They have other plans that can be customized to fit your pet’s needs. Cats and dogs are unique, so their coverage should be unique too!
  11. Insurance Agencies: Metlife pet insurance, Geico, Allstate, State Farm, Progressive, and Delaware Insurance Company offer insurance through these companies.
  12. Veterinarians: Banfield. Petsmart and Petco offer plans.
  13. Club Memberships: Costco, BJ’s, USAA, and Sam’s Club offer coverage for their members.

What Is The Cost Of A Pet Insurance Policy?

The cost of pet health insurance varies depending on the type of coverage you choose, the deductible you select, the copay options, and the age and pet breed. For example, a cheap policy for a young, healthy dog with accident-only coverage may cost as little as $15 per month, while a policy for an older dog with comprehensive coverage may cost $100 per month or more.

Are There Any Pet Insurance Discounts Available?

Yes, some pet health insurance companies offer discounts for multi-pet households, spaying/neutering, obedience training, annual pay discount, etc. Check with your chosen pet insurance company to see what discounts are available.

What Are The Exclusions Of Pet Insurance Policies?

Most pet health insurance policies exclude coverage for a pre-existing condition, routine visits (such as vaccinations and check-ups), cosmetic procedures, and experimental treatments. Some policies also have a waiting period for coverage to begin. So be sure to read the fine print of any policy you’re considering.

How Do I Get Pet Insurance?

You can get pet health insurance through various insurers, such as 24PetWatch, Petsmart, Banfield Pet Hospital, Petco, Pets Best, AKC, Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, and more. You can also get a pet insurance quote through your veterinarian or by shopping around online.

Conclusion

Pet insurance is a great way to help cover the costs of your pet’s care. By understanding how it works and what types of coverage are available, you can choose the right plan for you. So don’t wait. Get started finding the perfect pet insurance plan for your furry friend today!

Pet Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pet insurance a must-have?

No, pet insurance is not a must-have. However, it can be a valuable tool to help you pay for your pet’s care.

Who is the best pet insurer?

There is no one “best” pet insurer. Each insurance company has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to compare different plans before choosing one.

What is the average cost of pet insurance?

The average cost of pet insurance varies depending on the type of coverage you choose, the deductible you select, the copay options you choose, and the age and breed of your pet.

What is usually covered?

Pet insurance typically covers the vet bills for accidents, illnesses, and more. Some policies also cover routine visits, such as vaccinations, exam fees, check-ups, and preventive care, including spaying, neutering, and dental cleaning.

What is usually not covered?

Most pet health insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, routine care (such as vaccinations and check-ups), cosmetic procedures, and experimental treatments. Some policies also have waiting periods for coverage to begin. So be sure to read the fine print of any policy you’re considering.

Is pet insurance a thing?

Yes, pet health insurance is a real thing. You can get it through various insurers, such as 24PetWatch, Petsmart, Banfield Pet Hospital, Petco, Pets Best, AKC, Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Embrace, and more. You can also get pet medical insurance through your veterinary care or by shopping around online.

Do pet insurance premiums go up with age?

Yes, pet insurance premiums typically go up with age. This is because older pets are more likely to experience health problems.

What do I need to get pet insurance?

To get the insurance, you’ll need to provide basic information about your pet’s age, breed, and medical history. You’ll also need to choose a policy and select deductible, copay, and coverage options. Some insurers also require that you have your pet examined by a veterinarian before they will provide coverage.

Does pet insurance pay for vaccinations?

Yes, if a comprehensive plan is purchased because it covers both accident and wellness. However, the policy will not cover vaccinations if accident-only is chosen.

Can pet insurance be backdated?

No, you cannot backdate pet insurance. Coverage begins on the date you select when you sign up for a policy.

When should I get pet insurance?

You can get pet insurance at any time. However, it’s typically best to sign up for a policy when your pet is young and healthy. This way, you can avoid having to pay higher premiums later on.

How do I cancel pet insurance?

You’ll need to contact your insurer and request a cancellation form to cancel pet insurance. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll need to send it back to the insurance company. Be sure to keep a copy of the form for your records.

How much does spot pet insurance cost?

Depending on your coverage type, spot pet insurance typically costs between $15 and $100 per month.

Does pet insurance cover general vet visits?

Yes, if a comprehensive plan is purchased because it covers both accident and wellness. However, the policy will not cover general vet visits if accident-only is chosen.

What risks does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance typically covers risks such as accidents, illnesses, and more. Some policies also cover routine care costs, such as vaccinations and check-ups.

What is not included?

Most pet insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, routine visits (such as vaccinations and check-ups), cosmetic procedures, and experimental treatments. Some policies also have waiting periods for coverage to begin. So be sure to read the fine print of any policy you’re considering.

Is there a discount for multiple pets?

Some insurers offer discounts for multiple pets, so it’s worth shopping around to see what’s available.

Does dog insurance payout if the dog dies?

No, the insurance typically does not payout if the dog dies because the coverage is health insurance, not life insurance.

What is deductible pet insurance?

Deductible pet insurance is a type of policy where you pay a deductible before the insurer pays out. For example, if your pet needs surgery and the cost is $2000, you would pay the first $500, and the insurer would pay the remaining $1500.

What pet insurance does not increase with age?

Some insurers offer level-premium policies, which means that your premium will not increase with age. However, these policies typically have a higher initial premium.

What is the annual limit for pet insurance?

The annual limit is the maximum amount that an insurer will pay out in a year. After you reach the limit, you will have to pay for any additional medical costs. Limits can be per-pet or per-policy and are typically between $500 and $2500.

Is there a waiting period?

Yes, most pet insurance policies have a waiting period of 14 days to 12 months. Unfortunately, this means that the policy will not cover any medical conditions.

What is the claim reimbursement rate?

The reimbursement rate is the percentage of covered vet bills that an insurer will payout. Most policies have a reimbursement rate of 70-80%.

What is the maximum age for a policy?

There is no maximum age for pet insurance, but policies typically become more expensive as your pet gets older. Some insurers also have age limits for coverage, so check with the insurance company before signing up.

Is there a limit on how much I can claim?

Yes, most pet insurance policies have a maximum claim limit. This is the maximum amount that the insurer will pay for any incident. Limits can be per-pet or per-policy and are typically between $500 and $5000.

Is there a co-pay?

Yes, some policies have a co-pay, which is an additional fee you must pay when making a claim. Co-pays typically range from $25 to $100.

Do you get the deductible back?

No, the deductible is not refundable.

Does pet insurance cover all animals?

The insurance typically only covers domestic pets such as dogs and cats. Some insurers will cover other animals, such as rabbits and birds, but this is rare.

How is pet insurance different between dogs and cats?

There is typically no difference in coverage between dogs and cats. However, some insurers charge different premiums based on the type of pet.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

No, pet health insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

How do the insurance companies know about pre-existing conditions?

The insurance companies have access to your pet’s medical records. They will use this information to determine if a condition is pre-existing.

What is the difference between an accident-only plan and comprehensive insurance?

Accident coverage covers accidents, such as being hit by a car. In addition, comprehensive policies cover accidents and illnesses.

Do I need to take my pet to the vet for a check-up before I can get insurance?

No, you do not need to take your pet to a licensed vet for a check-up before you can get insurance. However, it is good to do so because the insurer will have access to your pet’s medical records.

What vaccinations does my pet need before I can get insurance?

There is no set list of vaccinations that your pet needs before you can get insurance. However, most insurers require that your pet be up-to-date on their shots.

Do I need to register my pet with the government to get insurance?

You do not need to register your pet with the government to get insurance.

What is the difference between direct and indirect pet insurance?

Direct insurance is when you purchase a policy directly from an insurer. Indirect insurance is when you buy a policy through a broker or another third party.

Does the insurance company cover neutering?

Yes, if a comprehensive plan is purchased because it covers accident, illness, and wellness. For example, the pet parents can choose between a teeth cleaning or neuter in any given year but can not have both in the same year. Likewise, the policy will not cover neutering or spaying if accident-only is chosen.

What is the difference between routine care and preventive care?

Routine care is primary medical care that your pet regularly needs, such as vaccinations and check-ups. Preventive care coverage is medical care designed to prevent illness or injury, such as spaying/neutering and dental cleaning.

What is the difference between pet insurance and pet health care?

Pet insurance is a type of insurance that covers your medical expenses if your pet becomes ill or injured. Pet health care is a type of insurance that covers routine and preventive care for your pet.

What is the difference between pet insurance and homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers your home and belongings in a natural disaster or theft. Pet insurers cover your pet in the event of an illness or injury.

Do I need to insure my pet if I have homeowner’s insurance?

You do not need to insure your pet if you have homeowner’s insurance. However, it is good to do so because homeowners insurance does not typically cover veterinary expenses.

What is dog insurance?

Dog insurance is a type of pet insurance that covers your dog in the event of an illness or injury.

What is cat insurance?

Cat insurance is a type of pet insurance that covers your cat in the event of an illness or injury.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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