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What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance covers medicine, diagnostic tests, hospitalization and other expenses if your pet gets hurt or sick.

Types of pet insurance coverage

When shopping for pet insurance, you’ll likely see the following three types of plans.

Accident and illness

The most common type of pet insurance plan covers accidents and illnesses. So if your dog is hit by a car or gets a urinary tract infection, his treatment would be covered, up to your plan limit. Below are some of the scenarios that an accident and illness plan could cover.

Accidents

  • Animal bites.
  • Bee stings.
  • Broken bones.
  • Car accidents.
  • Cuts or lacerations.
  • Eye injuries.
  • Fractured teeth.
  • Poisoning.
  • Ruptured ligaments.
  • Swallowing a foreign object.
  • Torn nails.

Illnesses

  • Allergies.
  • Arthritis.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Ear infections.
  • Heart disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Note that accident and illness plans cover only things that go wrong with your pet’s health. They won’t reimburse you for preventive care like annual checkups and vaccinations unless you buy a wellness add-on (more on that below).
Why choose this type of coverage: Accident and illness plans cover the broadest range of problems that your pet could have. They’re also the most customizable and widely available, which means you’ll have plenty of options to find the coverage you need.

Accident-only

Accident-only plans are more limited than accident and illness plans. They’ll pay to treat accidental injuries like the ones listed above but won’t cover expenses due to cancer, infections or other illnesses. They tend to be cheaper than accident and illness plans because they cover so much less.

Not all pet insurers sell accident-only plans.
Why choose this type of coverage: In some cases, accident-only plans may be the only option for pets who are too old at the time of enrollment to qualify for an accident and illness policy. An accident-only plan may also be a good choice if you can’t afford accident and illness coverage but you still want some emergency insurance for your pet.

Wellness

Wellness or preventive care plans are typically sold as add-ons to an accident and illness policy (or, less commonly, an accident-only policy). They generally offer a set list of routine services for which they’ll reimburse you, along with an annual limit for each.
Depending on the plan, those services might include:
  • Wellness exams.
  • Vaccinations.
  • Bloodwork.
  • Heartworm or FeLV/FIV test.
  • Fecal or internal parasite test.
  • Flea, tick and/or heartworm medication.
  • Microchipping.
  • Deworming.
  • Dental cleaning.
  • Spay or neuter surgery.
Why choose this type of coverage: Wellness coverage may save you money if you know you’ll need all or most of the services it covers. Otherwise, you may end up paying more for the coverage than you get back in reimbursements. Do the math before you commit.

Check out these pet insurance providers

CompanyWhat We LikeLearn More
Embrace Pet Insurance - SEM

Embrace

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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

Spot

  • 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

ASPCA

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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).
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on ASPCA
MetLife Pet Insurance - SEM

MetLife

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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

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers treatment when your furry friend gets hurt or sick. As long as the animal’s condition is covered by your plan, your insurer will generally reimburse you for prescription medicine, surgery, diagnostic tests, hospitalization and emergency care.
But beyond these basics, coverage can vary quite a bit among plans. Your pet insurance may cover:

Alternative and rehabilitative treatment

Some plans cover physical therapy and a wide range of alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. Others charge more to add this coverage. There’s no standard definition of alternative care, so read the details to find out exactly which treatments your pet is eligible for.

Behavioral therapies

If your vet recommends treatment for issues such as aggression or compulsive behavior, some plans will cover the expense, and some won’t. Others may charge extra for a package that includes this coverage.

Congenital or hereditary conditions

A congenital condition is an abnormality your pet is born with that can lead to later complications. A hereditary condition, such as hip dysplasia or patellar luxation, is passed down to an animal from its parents. Many plans will cover such conditions as long as your pet didn’t show symptoms before you bought the policy. Other plans may limit coverage for these conditions.

Exam fees

Some plans reimburse you for procedures and drugs but don’t cover exam fees when your pet is sick or injured. Others may offer the coverage for an additional charge.

Prescription diets and supplements

If your vet prescribes a certain type of food or supplement to treat your pet’s medical condition, some plans will pay for it. Others won’t, or they will charge extra for the coverage.

Dental care

If you want to keep your furry pal’s chompers in good shape, read your policy’s fine print about dental coverage. You might find, for instance, that your insurer will cover certain issues such as broken teeth or congenital conditions but not dental diseases like gingivitis. Or your carrier may cover dental disease only if your pet has had a recent cleaning under anesthesia.
Pet insurance generally won’t cover routine dental cleanings unless you have a wellness plan.

Final expenses

The end of your pet’s life may bring not only heartbreak but also expenses associated with euthanasia, cremation or burial. Depending on your plan, pet insurance may cover some or all of these costs.

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