For Consumers

Pet insurance

A pet insurance policy may help pay for veterinary bills if your pet is hurt, sick or needs routine preventive care. Most plans cover dogs and cats, while some plans will cover other types of animals.

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

Services that are normally covered

  • Accidents
  • Surgeries
  • Prescriptions
  • Emergencies
  • Illnesses
  • X-rays
  • Hospitalizations
  • Wellness checks

Services that may not be covered

  • Preventive care
  • Dental care not associated with an accident or injury
  • Treatment for behavioral problems
  • Breed-specific hereditary conditions (limited benefits may apply to treatment)
  • Elective procedures
  • Congenital conditions (limited benefits may apply to treatment)

Compare policy costs and limits

Find out if the policy limits payouts by incident, a yearly timeframe or your animal's lifetime.

Ask what premiums will be based on the age and breed of your pet, and the amount and type of coverage you choose. 

Be sure to also ask about deductibles, copays, coverage limits and exclusions. You don’t want to purchase a policy that doesn’t meet your needs.

Some pet insurers reimburse you after you’ve paid the vet

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

Check your policy’s coverage for 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. 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 may 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.

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.