What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

dogs going to the vetWhen we first looked into pet insurance, after price considerations, our next question was what does pet insurance cover? If you’re like us, you may be wondering the very same thing. The good news is that pet insurance has several options available, and it’s all about what works best for you.

Injuries & Illness

The most common coverage that pet owners select is the injuries and illness option. This typically covers all kinds of injuries, such as broken bones, bite wounds, car accidents, swallowed objects, and burns. The illness portion of the policy covers cancer, diabetes, ear infections, urinary issues, and some dental illnesses. However, be careful with the cancer coverage. Some companies do charge extra for that option.


Another option for those who are looking just for the basic coverage is the injury-only plan. It’s essentially the same as above, but it takes out the illness coverage. It’s cheaper, and if you insure your pet while they’re still young, it is one of the cheapest premiums available.

Chronic and Ongoing Conditions

This type of insurance requires your pet to be eligible, and each insurance company’s criteria is different. To get a good idea of how pets qualify to receive benefits on chronic or ongoing conditions, contact several companies, get quotes and information on these conditions.

Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

These conditions are ones that pets are born with or are genetically predisposed. Most people don’t realize they can get insurance for these with most pet insurance companies. As with most things, you just have to ask and include the option in the quote.

Wellness Care

There are some companies that only offer wellness care, and very little of everything else. Those types of companies should be avoided because they’re not cost-effective, nor do they provide you with enough of a benefit to make it worth your while. However, as an add-on to other insurance coverage, wellness care is quite beneficial. First of all, the wellness visits help you meet your deductible quickly. Once you do, you’ll start getting your pet’s regular visits for shots and other check-ups covered under your insurance.

Alternative Therapies

Some insurance companies offer alternative therapy coverage for those families who aren’t seeing progress through traditional means. These can include acupuncture, chiropractic care, and hydrotherapy. This is relatively new coverage, and it covers alternative therapies, so adding it on to a policy is going to make it quite a bit more expensive. Make sure it’s something you want before adding it on.

Behavioral Coverage

Another option that only some insurance companies offer is the behavioral coverage. In the event that your pet develops a behavioral issue, such as excessive licking, destructive chewing, or relieving themselves in inappropriate places, this coverage allows for consultations, exams, lab testing, and in some cases, prescription medication. Not all insurance companies offer this coverage, so if it’s something that you want, keep in mind that you may need to look at several companies before deciding.

What’s Not Covered

Figuring out what is covered by pet insurance is important, but knowing what isn’t covered is just as important, so you don’t get taken by surprise.

  • Inhumane Treatments – Many insurance companies won’t cover procedures they deem to be inhumane. This may include treatments such as tail docking, ear cropping, or claw removal.
  • Pre-existing Conditions – It’s extremely rare to find an insurance company willing to insure a pre-existing condition. In some cases, a pet can qualify for coverage if the condition is cured, and they haven’t had any symptoms for at least 180 days, but typically, insurance companies won’t take on the risk of pre-existing conditions. To be clear, pre-existing conditions are classified as those that come up before the pet is insured, or during the waiting period. It is different than hereditary or congenital conditions.
  • Fees Exceeding the “Usual and Customary” Costs – Insurance companies look into the cost of veterinary care in your area, and they use industry and proprietary data to calculate the usual and customary cost of procedures. If you tried to submit a claim that was more than these estimated costs, your claim would most likely be denied. Before you sign up for a policy, find out what the usual and customary costs are in your area. It will help you compare insurance companies so that you can make the right decision for you.

Knowing what pet insurance covers in most cases can help you determine which policy would suit you and your pet best. By comparing information and asking questions, you begin to understand how pet insurance can impact not only your financial life, but also, how it benefits your pet. At the end of the day, if you’re considering pet insurance, you’re probably concerned about their welfare and want nothing but the best for them. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure they’re taken care of when they need it.

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