Pet insurance is a health insurance policy for your pet that pays for medical expenses and sometimes other costs. Pet insurance plans are typically reimbursement-based, meaning you pay up-front for the pet’s vet bills and submit a claim to the insurance company. A few companies can pay the vet directly, which helps keep your out-of-pocket payments low.
There’s usually a deductible before coverage starts. For example, you might pay the first $500 in vet bills before the pet insurance starts to pay.
Even after your deductible is paid, the pet insurance may not pay 100% of vet bills. You can typically choose your reimbursement level. Common reimbursement options are 70%, 80% or 90% of your vet bills.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
What’s covered by pet insurance will depend on the type of plan you buy. Pet insurance plans are generally available in three varieties:
- Accident and illness plans (the most common)
- Accident-only plans
- Wellness plans for routine care such as vaccinations, usually available as an add-on
Accident and illness plans generally cover injury or sickness such as broken bones, cancer, hereditary conditions and congenital conditions, and more. Accident-only plans cover only accident-related problems, like a broken bone.
You can add a routine wellness plan to many pet insurance policies. This will offset the cost of the annual vet wellness visit, vaccinations, heartworm treatment and other routine care costs that help keep your pet healthy.
Pet insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions, meaning conditions your pet had before the policy went into effect, including any waiting period. Ask whether there’s a look-back period so that conditions before the look-back period can be covered.