Does Pet Insurance Cover Surgery?

Pet insurance may cover surgeries that are necessary to heal your pet or save their life — but only if the surgery isn’t related to a preexisting condition.
Pet insurance can help pay for surgery if your pet gets hurt or sick. This could include surgeries for broken bones, cancer, objects stuck in their stomach, emergencies, ligament problems or some dental issues. If you buy a wellness plan, you may also have coverage for spaying or neutering.
But pet insurance almost never covers surgeries for preexisting conditions or elective procedures like tail docking or dew claw removal.

Surgical procedures that pet insurance typically covers

Pet insurance policies typically pay for surgical procedures needed to treat an accident or illness. Depending on your policy, this may include:

  • Cancer treatments like tumor removal.
  • Removing objects like rocks, toys or sticks that pets accidentally swallow.
  • Emergency surgeries for life-threatening situations like bloat or internal bleeding.
  • Dental surgeries like tooth extractions or root canals caused by an illness or accident.
  • Surgeries for ruptured knee ligaments or hip dysplasia.
  • Procedures to treat hereditary and congenital conditions such as luxating patellas.
  • Check out these pet insurance providers

    CompanyWhat We LikeLearn More
    Embrace Pet Insurance - SEM


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    on Embrace
    • Covers curable pre-existing conditions.
    • Many ways to customize your plan.
    • Orthopedic waiting period can be reduced with a vet exam.
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    on Embrace
    Spot Pet Insurance - SEM


    • Covers things some insurers don’t, such as prescription food and behavioral modification.
    • Covers some pre-existing conditions if they have been cured and treatment-free for 180 days.
    • Unlimited annual coverage option available.
    ASPCA Pet Insurance - SEM


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    on ASPCA
    • Covers horses in addition to cats and dogs.
    • Standard plans cover alternative therapies, behavioral issues and congenital conditions.
    • Shorter waiting period than most plans for cruciate injuries (14 days).
    Get a quote
    on ASPCA
    MetLife Pet Insurance - SEM


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    on MetLife
    • Deductible goes down each year you don't make a claim in some states.
    • Accident coverage starts right away, with no waiting period.
    • Includes coverage for holistic and alternative care.
    Get a quote
    on MetLife

    Surgical procedures that pet insurance typically won’t cover

    Pet insurance plans usually have a wide range of exclusions and limitations. Accident and illness plans often won’t cover:
    • Surgeries to treat conditions your pet had before coverage began.
    • Cosmetic or elective procedures like ear cropping, tail docking, gastropexy (a surgery to prevent bloat), microchipping, declawing or dew claw removal.
    • Breeding-related procedures like cesarean sections, spaying or neutering.

    Some pet insurance companies offer preventive care plans that will cover some of the procedures above (such as spaying, neutering, microchipping or gastropexy).

    Common pet surgical procedures

    While pet insurance doesn't cover every type of surgery, it can help you save money on many procedures caused by accidents or illnesses. Here’s a look at common pet surgical procedures and whether insurance generally covers them.

    Can you buy pet insurance before surgery?

    Yes, you can buy pet insurance before your pet needs surgery, but that doesn’t mean your policy will pay for the procedure.
    Pet insurance doesn’t cover preexisting conditions, so any medical condition your pet was diagnosed with before you bought the policy won't be covered.
    Pet insurance plans also have waiting periods, the length of time between when you buy your plan and when insurance will start covering eligible treatments. Common waiting periods are 14 days for illness coverage and 48 hours for accident coverage.

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