What's covered & not covered under pet insurance?

When shopping for pet insurance, you’ll want to compare the different policy options that are available and also find out what the policy doesn't cover.

Covered conditions

Some policies cover medical expenses for:

  • Accidents
  • Surgeries
  • Prescription
  • Emergencies
  • Illnesses
  • X-rays
  • Hospitalization
  • Wellness checks


Some companies pay the vet for covered services, but you have to pay the full bill when your pet is treated. The company then reimburses you for the covered amount.

Pre-existing conditions

  • Review the policy to make sure it covers pre-existing conditions (certain hereditary and medical conditions).
  • For pre-existing conditions, the company may enforce a wait period before coverage kicks in.
  • For other conditions, such as diabetes or cancer, they may exclude it entirely or cover it only on a limited basis.
  • Also, a vet may have to examine your pet to certify its health before you can insure it.

Renewable benefits

If your pet's treated for a covered condition during the policy term, some companies will then consider it a pre-existing condition when the policy renews. As a result, the company may exclude coverage for that condition in the renewal policy.


Treatments the plan won't cover vary by type of pet or breed. Not all plans cover:

  • Preventive care
  • Dental care not associated with an accident or injury
  • Treatment for behavioral problems
  • Breed-specific hereditary conditions
  • Elective procedures
  • Congenital conditions
  • Limited benefits may apply to treatment for a condition your pet is born with (congenital) or a hereditary condition.

Veterinarian networks

  • Some plans require you to use a specific network of veterinarians.
  • Make sure there's a veterinarian in your area or that your family veterinarian is in your network if you don’t want to change.

Updated 07/23/2014

See also

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