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A Veterinary Pet Insurance Primer: Everything You Need To Know!


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Last Updated on October 29, 2020 by Aimee

Veterinary Pet Insurance: What does pet insurance cover?

Typically, pet insurance can cover medical costs if your dog or cat becomes unexpectedly sick or gets into an accident.

Like human health insurance it is important to know what you need to have covered so you can pick the right insurance for your person needs.  It is the same for your pet. There are a lot of things that may not be covered with pet insurance.  Pet insurance does not normally cover routine checkups and rabies shots. And like human insurance it often doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

3 Types of Plans

  1. Accident-Only Plans Covers
  • incidents and injuries such as ingestion of foreign objects, poisoning, if your pet was hit by a car, or ligament tears.
  1. Accident and Illness
  • covers accidents and illnesses including digestive issues, allergies, cancer, and infections.
  1. Insurance with Embedded Wellness – The most comprehensive plan
  • A comprehensive plan that covers accidents and illness, and may cover heartworm prevention, vaccinations, cremation and burial, dietary consultations, flea and tick medication, and dental care.


  • can be purchased to cover things not offered on any plan such as cancer or wellness add-ons.

Like car insurance pet insurance is tiered and this makes things a little more complicated because each company has their own standard unlike our car insurance.  This makes is difficult to compare side by side. One’s standard coverage may be another’s gold standard coverage.  It makes it easier take a look at what they don’t cover. This won’t be at the top of the page; this will be in the legal mumbo jumbo in the fine print.  But it is a great way of ruling out which companies you don’t want.  If they don’t cover x and that is the primary reason you are purchasing coverage, then look to the next company.

Exclusions, restrictions, and requirements

  • Most pet insurance require you pay upfront and then do paperwork to get re-reimbursed. Look into turnaround time for claims as well as ease of filing claims.

Age Limits

  • Many plans don’t cover older pets if they haven’t been covered before. Puppy and kittens are welcome, but if you are trying to ensure an elderly pet, accident-only insurance may be the only option.

Pre-existing condition

  • if it has been cured. Or your pet has shown no symptoms in the last, say, six months or year.


  • will also play a part in the cost of your insurance, some breeds are more prone to specific conditions increase your costs so the coverage will be more expensive.

Pet Insurance is NOT Pet Liability insurance.

Pet liability is different than pet insurance, which covers your pet’s health and wellness. Liability covers if your pet damages property or another person or dog.  Pet insurance does not cover another person’s pet injured by your dog.

How Much Does Veterinary Pet Insurance Cost?


Per the NAPHIA, the average monthly premium for a dog in 2019 in the U.S. with accident and illness insurance was $54.67, and $21.84 for an accident-only plan.


Average monthly premiums for cats in 2019 were a bit lower at $29.95 for accident and illness plans, and $14.22 for accident-only coverage.

And like health insurance for humans, you have deductibles, monthly premiums, and co-payments. Some plans have yearly deductibles with annual limits, and will cover treatments up to a certain amount.  You’ll need to pay your yearly deductible before your insurance sets in. Other plans a schedule of benefits, which have a cap per treatment or procedure within a given time period, so you’ll need to read the fine print. And like most insurances the lower your monthly premium, the higher your deductible and co-pays tend to be.

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