What Exactly Is Pet Insurance And How It Works?


Pet insurance helps pet owners handle the rising costs of veterinary care. More pet owners are now getting pet insurance for their pets. This is because the costs to treat your furry friends are growing.

Today, over 5.36 million pets in the U.S. have insurance. This is more than in the previous year. Most of these pets are dogs. Owners prefer plans that cover accidents, illness, and wellness.


With pet insurance, you pay the vet first. Then, you ask the insurance company to give you back the money you spent. But, some plans, such as Trupanion, pay the vet directly. This makes it easier for you when money is tight.

What your pet insurance covers depends on the policy. It could cover check-ups, accidents, and not-so-common illnesses. For example, it might help with allergies, cancer, and even arthritis.

Key Takeaways

  • Pet insurance can provide valuable financial security, with the average emergency vet visit costing between $800 and $1,500, and potentially reaching up to $5,000 or more.
  • 1 in 3 pets will require emergency care each year, and the unfortunate reality is that one-in-three pets will need emergency medical treatment throughout their lifetime.
  • Even regular vet visits are becoming increasingly difficult to afford due to recent economic inflation, with a 10% spike in prices from 2022 to 2023.
  • Pet insurance can offer peace of mind by ensuring the cost of treatment never stands in the way of your pet’s access to critical care.
  • The number of pets insured in the United States grew to 5.36 million in 2022, with most owners choosing comprehensive accident and illness plans or embedded wellness plans.

Understanding Pet Insurance


Pet insurance is like a safety net for pet owners. You pay a certain amount each month to your insurer. In return, they help cover the bill when your pet gets sick or hurt. Knowing how pet insurance works can help you figure out the best way to take care of your pet and your wallet.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance works by having pet owners pay a small amount regularly. Then, when their pet needs the vet, they pay the full price upfront. After that, they can ask their insurance company to pay some or all of that back. This depends on what’s written in their policy.

Types of Pet Insurance Plans

There are three main types of pet insurance plans. First, there are accident-only plans. These come in handy for injuries, like broken bones. Next, accident and illness plans cover accidents and illnesses. If your pet gets an infection or has allergies, you’re covered. Lastly, there’s routine wellness or preventative care plans. These help pay for regular check-ups and shots, but you buy these separately or as an add-on.

How Pet Insurance Works

With pet insurance, you usually pay the vet in full at the time of your visit. Then, you send a claim to your insurer. They’ll review it and pay you back the covered amount. Some insurers, like Trupanion, pay the vet directly, so you only pay what’s not covered. When you buy a plan, you pick your deductible, how much you want to be reimbursed, and your annual limit. These choices affect how much you pay every month and how much you can claim back in a year.

Pet Insurance Coverage

pet insurance coverage

What Pet Insurance Covers

The coverage of pet insurance changes based on your chosen plan. Accident-only plans will help with vet costs for accidents. This includes when a pet eats something it shouldn’t or gets hurt while playing. Comprehensive plans, though, cover a lot more. They can help with allergies, cancer, and even arthritis.

Pre-Existing Conditions and Waiting Periods

No pet insurance plan will cover pre-existing conditions. These are health issues your pet had before getting insurance. But, some plans might help if your pet shows no symptoms for a set time, like six or 12 months.

All pet insurance also has a waiting period for accidents and illnesses. This is the time you have to wait after getting your policy. So, if your pet gets sick within the waiting period, you can’t get money back for the vet visit until after the waiting period is over.

Pet Insurance Exclusions

pet insurance exclusions

Pet insurance covers many vet expenses, but not everything. Some conditions and costs are usually not covered in the standard plans. It’s good for pet owners to learn about these upfront. This knowledge helps them choose a plan that’s best for their pets.

Conditions Not Covered by Pet Insurance

Pre-existing conditions are often not covered by pet insurance. This means any illness or injury your pet had before getting insured. There are a few exceptions for curable conditions, but rules are strict.

Stuff like wellness checkups, shots, and spaying aren’t usually included. Some plans let you add these for an extra charge. They also don’t pay for breeding costs or certain surgeries like tail docking.

Accidents or illnesses from dangerous activities usually aren’t covered. This includes things like fighting or neglect. Also, experimental treatments may not be included in basic plans.

Remember, every insurance provider sets their own exclusions. Pet owners need to read the fine print of any policy. This ensures their pet’s needs are met without false expectations.

Pet Insurance Costs

When you think about pet insurance, it’s key to look at the costs. Pet insurance includes premiums, deductibles, and how much you get back. It also has annual limits. Grasping these can help find the right plan for your wallet and needs.


A deductible is what you pay first before insurance helps. There are two types: one you pay each year or with each new health problem. If you pick a bigger deductible, your monthly cost is lower. But, you’ll pay more at the start before getting money back.

Reimbursement Rates

Once your deductible is covered, your plan’s reimbursement rate matters. This is what part of the vet bill the insurance pays. It’s usually 50% to 90%, with many at 70% to 90%. Picking a higher rate means your monthly bill is more expensive.

Annual Limits

Each year, pet insurance has a cap on what it pays out. This can be from $2,500 to no limit. A bigger limit gives more peace of mind but costs more each month.

Monthly Premiums

The premium is what you pay every month for your insurance. It is changed by how old your pet is, its type, and where you live, plus the plan’s details. A broader coverage means a higher premium. But, a cheaper plan might be better if money is tight.

Claims and Reimbursement Process

pet insurance claim

The process for pet insurance claims and getting money back is pretty simple. First, you have to make a vet appointment and go see the vet. Then, you pay the full amount of the vet bill out of your pocket.

Now, you’ll file a claim. You can do this online or through the pet insurance company’s mobile app. Be sure to attach a copy of the bill. If the company approves your claim, they will send you money back by direct deposit or mail a check to you.

How long it takes for them to review and approve your claim varies. This could be a few days to over a month. Things like your insurance company, your policy, and the accident or illness affect the time. So, it’s good to know and plan for this wait to avoid any issues.

Some pet insurance plans work differently. With some, like Pets Best, they can pay the vet right away. This means you don’t have to pay the full price upfront and wait to get your money back. It’s a way to make things easier and pay less out of your own pocket at first.

Key Steps in the Pet Insurance Claim Process
1. Schedule a vet appointment and take your pet in for treatment
2. Pay the full vet bill upfront
3. File a claim with your pet insurance provider, including a copy of the bill
4. Wait for the claim to be reviewed and approved, which can take days to weeks
5. Receive your eligible reimbursement via direct deposit or check

“Most pet insurance plans will reimburse you, the policyholder, rather than pay the vet directly. This means you don’t have to worry about finding an ‘in-network’ vet and can benefit from your coverage at any licensed vet clinic or animal hospital in the U.S.”

Learning about how to claim and get money back from pet insurance helps pet owners. It makes it easier for them to handle their pet’s vet costs and get a smooth process when they claim their money back.

Using Pet Insurance

Utilizing your pet insurance is pretty easy. It works differently than human health coverage. You can pick any veterinarian you want, not just those in a certain provider network.

So, you’re free to go to any licensed veterinarian, specialist, or emergency clinic.

Finding a Veterinarian

With most pet insurance, you pay first, then get money back. You choose where to take your pet. This could be a local vet or a specialty center.

Submitting Claims

Here’s how to get money back: Make a vet appointment and visit them. You pay the vet bills in full. Next, file a claim online or through the pet insurer’s app. Send a copy of the bill.

If your claim is approved, you get your money back. This can come as a check or direct deposit. Remember, the time it takes to review and approve your claim can vary.

Understanding your pet insurance helps you look after your pet without worrying about costs too much.

Pet Insurance for Exotic Pets

Most pet insurance companies focus on dogs and cats. But, some providers offer plans for exotic pets like birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even small mammals and horses.

Nationwide stands out by offering avian and exotic pet insurance. This plan covers many non-traditional pets, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The ASPCA also provides options for horse owners.

If you have an exotic pet, these plans are key. They help with costs for veterinary care, which can be high for unique pets. So, whether it’s a parrot, snake, frog, or miniature horse, avian and exotic pet insurance could be your next step. It offers peace of mind and ensures your unique pet gets the care it needs.

Pet Insurance

pet insurance

Pet insurance gives peace of mind for both dogs and cats. You can pick from different plans, such as accident-only or accident and illness. There are also routine wellness or preventative care plans.

Accident-only plans cover vet bills from accidents, like broken bones. Accident and illness plans cover a wider range but at a higher price. They help pay for stuff like infections, cancer, and more.

Some companies offer routine wellness or preventative care plans too. They can be added on or bought separately. These cover things like immunizations and spay/neuter to keep your pet healthy.

Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Plan

pet insurance

When selecting a pet insurance policy, several key factors need to be considered. These include the choice of deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limit. These all play a big role in how much your premium costs and the most you can get back for your pet’s health care.

Factors to Consider

Deductibles in pet insurance can be annual or per incident. Per incident means you have to meet a new deductible each time your pet gets a new condition. An annual deductible works like human health insurance. You pay the deductible once a year, and the insurance covers the rest (minus the reimbursement rate).

The reimbursement rate is how much your insurance company will pay of your vet bills, from 70% to 90%. Some plans offer reimbursement as low as 50%, while others can go as high as 100%.

Pet insurance also has an annual coverage limit, setting the most you can get back in a year. These limits can start at around $2,500 and go up to unlimited. However, those unlimited plans may have a cap over your pet’s lifetime.

Comparing Pet Insurance Companies

If your annual limit is higher, your premium cost will also be higher. It’s important to know that unused coverage doesn’t carry over to the next year.

The premium is what you pay monthly or yearly for your policy. A higher premium can mean better coverage, so don’t just look for the lowest premium plan. Still, a low premium might be the best choice if you need to save money.

Also Read: Protecting Your Today: Exploring The Benefits Of Short Term Life Insurance

Factor Considerations
Deductible Annual or per incident; impacts maximum reimbursement
Reimbursement Rate Ranges from 50% to 100% of vet bills
Annual Limit Varies widely from $2,500 to unlimited; affects premium
Premium Monthly or annual fee; higher coverage means higher premium


Pet insurance is more important than ever as veterinary costs rise. It helps pet owners handle the money risks that come with having a pet. Knowing about the various types of pet insurance can help make a smart choice. This way, owners can protect their pets and save money too.

Deciding whether to choose accident-only, accident and illness, or routine wellness plans is a big decision. It’s key to look at what each plan covers and its costs. This will help you pick the right pet insurance for you. Make time to compare different pet insurance companies. It ensures your pets get the best care without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, getting pet insurance is a smart move. It gives pet owners peace of mind and helps protect their finances. Carefully thinking about what the policy includes, its cost, and the things it doesn’t cover is crucial. This ensures pets get the care they need, right when they need it.


Q: What is pet insurance and how does it work?

A: Pet insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps cover the costs of veterinary care for your pet in case they get sick or injured. You pay a monthly premium to the insurance provider, and when your pet needs medical attention, you file a claim to be reimbursed for a portion of the vet bills.

Q: How do I find the best pet insurance for my pet?

A: To find the best pet insurance for your pet, consider factors such as coverage options, premium costs, deductible amounts, reimbursement percentage, and customer reviews. It’s also recommended to get pet insurance quotes from multiple providers to compare and choose the one that suits your pet’s needs best.

Q: How much does pet insurance typically cost?

A: The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on factors such as your pet’s age, breed, location, coverage level, and deductible. On average, pet insurance premiums can range from $20 to $50 per month for cats and $30 to $70 per month for dogs.

Q: Is pet insurance worth it?

A: Pet insurance can be worth it for pet owners who want financial protection against unexpected vet bills. It can help you afford costly medical treatments and ensure that your pet receives necessary care without breaking the bank.

Q: What is the best pet insurance company?

A: The best pet insurance company can vary depending on your specific needs and budget. Some top pet insurance providers include Pets Best, Embrace Pet Insurance, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. It’s recommended to research and compare different companies to find the best one for your pet.

Q: Does pet insurance cover wellness visits?

A: Some pet insurance policies offer optional wellness plans that cover preventive care such as vaccinations, routine exams, and dental cleanings. However, not all pet insurance plans include wellness coverage, so you may need to choose a specific plan that offers this benefit.

Q: Can I get pet insurance for both my dog and cat?

A: Yes, many pet insurance companies offer policies that cover multiple pets, including dogs and cats. This can be a convenient option for pet owners with multiple furry friends to insure.

Source Links