What Does Pet Insurance Cover? All You Need to Know in 2023

Pet insurance coverage varies greatly depending on the supplier, and it frequently covers less than what pet owners expect.

Pet insurance has gained in popularity over the last year, but not all policies are made equal.

Some companies may offer comprehensive policies at low prices, while others may only offer basic policies with optional coverage.

This article explains what most pet insurance policies cover and what they don’t.

Check out this top pet insurance recommendations for 2023 if you want to know which businesses offer the finest coverage options for your pet.

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is a type of health insurance that pays a portion of your pet’s medical bills if your coverage is adequate. Nobody, including cats and dogs, expects to be hurt or sick.

Because illness or broken bones can be painful, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead when it comes to your pets.

While the love you have for your cats or dogs is priceless, visits to the veterinarian are not. These costs can be made more manageable with pet insurance.

Is Pet Insurance a Good Investment?

Veterinary bills and medical expenses resulting from accidents or illness can be costly, and pet insurance can help cover some of these fees.

For example, if your active canine pursues a ball too hard and tears their rear ACL, the medical costs of surgery might be thousands of dollars.

A $3,000 procedure would cost you only $400 out-of-pocket if you had accident coverage with a $100 deductible and a 90% reimbursement level ($100 deductible + 10% cost of surgery = $400).

However, while pet insurance might save you a lot of money in the event of a major accident or injury, it’s also a cost you should think about. Over a ten-year period, you would pay $5,000 in pet insurance premiums if you paid $500 per year on average for accident and illness coverage.

Some pet owners opt to put money aside in a savings account for their pet’s medical expenses.

If saving thousands of dollars for your pet isn’t an option, pet insurance can help you avoid having to use your credit card to pay for a significant payment due to an unexpected injury or illness.

While the cost of pet insurance varies depending on a number of criteria such as your pet’s age, breed, and coverage options, the good news is that you can usually find a policy that covers specific medical costs while staying within your budget.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Pet insurance is based on reimbursement. When you pick up your pet, you’ll pay the vet directly and then submit your bill for reimbursement.

According to my pet tutor, states that depending on your insurance plan, your policy may not cover every condition/expense your pet has, and it is important to find a plan that covers your pet’s breed-specific health risks. 

Traditional insurance does not work the same way as pet health insurance. If your pet’s insurance plan covers your pet’s medical bills, the pet insurance provider will reimburse you for a proportion agreed upon via your insurance plan whenever you see your certified veterinarian.

The reimbursement amount will be determined by the options you selected for your policy after the bill has been reviewed and approved. These are some of the possibilities:

Maximum annual payout: the total amount paid out by the insurance for all claims filed during the policy year.

After the deductible is met, the reimbursement percentage is the percentage of the bill that the pet insurance policy will pay, up to the maximum annual amount.

Deductible: the amount you must pay before the company will begin reimbursing you.

You set a deductible, often between $200 and $1,000, and must pay it before the insurance kicks in, just like with human health insurance.

Pre-existing Ailments

Pre-existing conditions are typically not covered by insurers, and each one has its own definition of what defines one.

Even if your pet has a veterinarian diagnosis, your pet insurance company may sell you coverage; nevertheless, it will not cover you for anything connected to a pre-existing or chronic ailment.

You can read this: What is the Pet Insurance that covers Preventive Care in 2023?

Waiting Times

Waiting periods exist for a simple reason: they prevent pet owners from rushing to cover their animals as soon as a diagnosis or symptom appears.

Except for hip dysplasia and other diseases that have their own waiting periods, most pet insurance policies have a 14-day waiting period.

Policy Restraints

The majority of products require you to select certain coverage limitations. These include a yearly reimbursement cap, usually between $5,000 and $30,000 – the higher the limit, the higher the cost.

Because covered costs are usually a specific percentage — commonly 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent — it’s rare for a policy to cover the entire cost of any care.

You must also choose an annual deductible to be paid upfront before reimbursement kicks in, like with much other insurance. These are usually in the $250, $500, or $1,000 range.

Finally, many insurers have coverage age restrictions, which means that coverage on a current policy will end after a particular age. Similarly, some pet insurance firms refuse to issue new covers to animals over a particular age.

What Does Pet Insurance Actually Cover?

Accident-only coverage, accident and illness coverage, and wellness coverage are the three main coverage areas that insurers mix and match. Because the specific benefits and limitations within each area vary by company, we cover pet insurance costs separately.

For example, while all of the companies we looked into cover hip dysplasia, some have an age limit on treatment and won’t cover older dogs. For the same illness, others have no limits.

1. Coverage for only accidents


  • Monthly premiums that are more cheap
  • Only accident-related injuries are covered.
  • Young, healthy pets who are unlikely to have a hereditary ailment are the best candidates.


  • There is less coverage.
  • Illnesses and basic medical treatment are still considered out-of-pocket costs.
  • Procedures with the lowest reimbursement level

What does accident-only insurance cover?

Accident-only coverage covers the costs of treating injuries or diseases caused by incidents, regardless of whether the animal or its owner is to blame.

You’re also protected if your dog has specific habits that can lead to mishaps like consuming non-food items that require costly surgery to remove.

While the cost of correcting such behaviors will not increase your monthly premiums, the track records of specific breeds for self-harm, as well as their medical predispositions, may have an impact on how much you’ll spend to insure them.

What does accident-only insurance not cover?

Any mishap that may be linked to the pet owner, such as intentional injuries or those resulting from organized sports, will be excluded from coverage.

Similarly, any accident caused by a pre-existing ailment will not be covered.


  • Accidents involving motor vehicles
  • Taking in foreign objects
  • Sprains and lacerations are common injuries.
  • Bones are broken.
  • For diagnostic purposes, MRIs and x-rays are used.

May not be Covered

  • Poisoning
  • Animal cruelty that is done on purpose
  • Organized battles or races result in injuries.

Because poisoning and flea or tick bites are frequently the consequence of owner negligence, not all policies cover them.

Accident-only coverage also doesn’t cover normal care like vaccines, spaying, or neutering. Consult company policies to see what is and isn’t covered, just as you would with any other sort of insurance.

2. Coverage for Accidents and Illnesses


  • Accidental injuries are covered.
  • Covers illnesses or diseases that have been diagnosed by a veterinarian.
  • Breeds with a history of health concerns are a good fit.
  • For an additional cost, a wellness rider may be added.


  • Premiums are greater than for accident-only coverage on a monthly basis.
  • Routine care, such as check-ups and teeth cleanings, is frequently not covered.
  • Per accident and per illness, reimbursements are limited.

What Does Accident and Illness Insurance Cover?

Although some insurers classify illness as a separate category, it is far more common for it to be bundled with accidents. Accident and illness insurance covers a wide range of conditions, from the small — such as vomiting and diarrhea, even if the reason is unknown — to the serious, such as cancer.

They can also cover all veterinary consultation and examination bills, as well as hospitalization, treatments, surgery, and prescription medicine charges.

Unfortunately, some insurance exclude specific medicines, such as those for behavioral issues, and charge the pet owner for the test.

Most of these insurance policies also cover breed-specific hereditary and congenital problems, such as torn ligaments. This is only true if your veterinarian discovers the problem after the policy is in place.

Any of these conditions that your dog had prior to enrollment will be considered “pre-existing” and will not be covered.

Certain insurance covers specific conditions, but only after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, an insurance company might pay for hip dysplasia surgery if it is done at least six months after the coverage begins to take effect.

Other serious illnesses that are frequently covered by insurance

Almost all pet accident and illness insurance policies cover cancer and specialty care of any kind.

Other chronic and inherited conditions for dogs and cats that you can expect coverage for are listed below, however not every insurer will cover all of them.


  • Hepatitis, Arthritis, and Allergies to the Skin
  • Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint.
  • Elbow dysplasia is a condition that affects the elbow joint.
  • Hypothyroidism


  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a disease that affects the kidneys (PKD)
  • Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats (FLUTD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) (linked to obesity)

What is and Isn’t Covered by Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive plans combine ordinary accident and illness coverage with wellness coverage, which can be purchased separately or as an add-on.

Alternative therapies, as well as a variety of other covered treatments, such as behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, as well as laser therapy and hydrotherapy, are all examples.

Some plans also include dietary supplements and meals that are required to address your pet’s medical condition.

The one catch is that, despite its name, complete coverage typically excludes routine examinations, immunizations, and flea and heartworm treatment.

3. Medical Insurance


  • Preventative (routine) care reimbursements
  • Normally, there is no deductible.


  • It’s usually an add-on or a rider to a main policy.

What Does Medical Insurance Cover?

Wellness coverage, often known as “preventive care,” is provided as an add-on or “rider” to a broader policy or, in some cases, as separate stand-alone insurance.

Typically, many regular veterinary care treatments are provided. Other services, including as grooming and training, are sometimes provided.


  • It’s possible that you won’t be insured.
  • Vaccinations, pregnancies, and other costs associated with breeding and whelping
  • Preventatives for fleas, ticks, and heartworm
  • Anal-gland expression is a common occurrence.
  • Grooming or training Microchipping
  • Spay/neuter surgery is a procedure in which animals are spayed or neutered.

Money staff obtained information from pet insurance businesses’ websites and complemented it with various sorts of research.

Also, you can check this: 15 Best Pet Insurance that Covers Routine Care | 2023

What Is the Cost of Pet Insurance?

In most cases, pet insurance is reasonably priced. The average monthly premium for a cat is $29, while the average monthly premium for a dog is $47.

However, there is a broad variety in price (many see rates as low as $12/mo, while others see rates as high as $100/mo) depending on a few crucial parameters.

Rates are influenced by a number of factors.

Dimensions (height, weight), Breed, Age (in comparison to its average lifespan), and Location, the area’s most common indoor and outdoor dangers, Insurance policy term and duration, Reimbursement Rate, Deductible, Payout Limit, Plan Type, and Policy Provider are all factors to consider.

Enrolling your pets in pet insurance while they are still young will save you money in the long run because your monthly payments will be lower. If you agree to make annual payments rather than monthly payments, some pet insurance providers will give you a discount on your bill. Others will give you a discount if you insure numerous pets with the same company.

Another approach to keep your premiums low is to choose a higher deductible but bear in mind that you’ll have to pay that deductible out of pocket before your insurance plan will begin to reimburse your veterinarian expenses.

Similarly, you can save money by choosing a lower reimbursement rate or a smaller coverage limit, but this will limit how much your insurer would pay out if your pet becomes critically ill or injured.


  • money.com – What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
  • pawlicy.com – What Is Pet Insurance, How Does It Work, & What Is Covered? A Pet Parent’s Guide


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