Pet insurance covers you for any unforeseen accident or illness your pet may suffer from in the future. Just like you insure your own health in case of a future condition, your pet can get insurance the same as you can. Pet insurance though doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions except in special circumstances – see below question ‘Does any insurance company cover pre-existing conditions?’ This means you ought to be insuring them as young as possible as there’s much less chance they will have a pre-existing condition versus when they are older.
Sure, pet insurance covers accidents such as poisoning, sprains, or ACL ruptures. It covers illnesses such as ear infections, vomiting and diarrhea, or more serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. It covers chronic illnesses such as allergies, arthritis and skin conditions, hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia, eye and blood disorders. Additionally x-rays, MRI’s and CT scan testing is covered along with other diagnostics such as ultrasounds and blood tests. On the more expensive scale, surgeries and chemotherapy are covered, as well as alternative therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic and laser therapy treatment. Hereditary and congenital conditions are also covered.
As you would expect, each insurer is different and the best place to see what’s covered on each plan is to go to the ‘What’s covered’ section which you can find in the ‘View full policy information’ area under any result when you get a quote.
A hereditary condition is passed down from your pet's parents. Pure breeds are particularly susceptible. Examples include: elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia and epilepsy.
A congenital condition is a symptom that your pet was born with. Examples include a heart defect or liver disease.
There are a few factors that affect the cost of pet insurance. Your pet’s breed, where you live and your pet’s age are the main ones, and then it’s down to the type of plan and coverage levels that you choose. The policy limits, level of deductible and reimbursement % are also big variables. It’s possible to get pet insurance for under $10 per month, but you ought to make sure that you’re getting the best coverage you can afford combined with what’s appropriate for your pet’s breed, age and health level.
Policy limits are the maximum amount you can claim for annually on the policy you choose. It’s important to remember that vet bills can be really expensive. Bills over $1,000+ just for exams are common and surgery can be really expensive. For example, surgery on a broken elbow or hip can easily be close to $10,000. Being underinsured is a position you don’t want to find yourself in.
A deductible is the first amount of a claim that you pay. If you have an annual deductible then you will only pay up to that figure annually, regardless of how many times you go to the vet. If your policy comes with a per-incident deductible then you’re responsible for the deductible amount for every claim you make for a different incident. You don’t actually pay the deductible, rather the insurance company pays your reimbursement, less the deductible.
The reimbursement % is the % of the claim amount you get back after your deductible. For example, if you have a 90% reimbursement and a $250 deductible and then you make a claim for $3,000, you will get back $3,000 less $250 which = $2,750 multiplied by 90% which comes to $2,475.
Yes, dental trauma is covered which includes having their teeth out and reconstruction if necessary. This is covered under the Accident section of your policy. Additionally, your policy will also cover other dental issues such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.
If you have insurance then you’ll be glad you bought it. This can run up a big bill, think $8,000+ for TPLO surgery (the best surgery). Included in this cost will be pre-surgery bloodwork, anesthesia, the surgery itself, post surgery care and medications.
If you don’t have insurance, we feel for you as this is one of the most expensive surgeries your pet can have. Ask your vet about Care Credit, a service that is only available via licensed vets than let’s you spread payments, usually interest free, over a couple of years. Interest kicks in after that but it’s well worth investigating.
The sad fact is that cancer is the no.1 disease related killer of pets. Cancer can very easily run to well over $10,000 in costs and often up to $30,000. Unless you choose an accident only policy, your policy will cover cancer, up to the annual limits of the policy you choose. Certain breeds of pet’s are more susceptible to cancer (talk to your vet if you’re unsure) and so you really want to make sure you have enough coverage to protect against the financial consequences of not having coverage in place.
Just because your pet is only 2 or 3 years old and looks healthy now, they can be in a vehicle accident, get cancer, a broken leg, swallow a toy, have allergies or any other condition that’s expensive to treat at any age. Imagine if your pet gets in trouble with any of these conditions, or indeed anything else and you can’t afford the $$$$ to treat him, how are you going to feel knowing that you could have protected him for as little as $1 per day?
If you’re pet is a dog and you’re unsure, select ‘Mixed Breed Small/Medium/Large’, depending on how much you think they’ll weigh as an adult.
The minimum age you can insurer a pet is 2 months old. Congratulations when you do this, you’re the most responsible pet owner as there is way, way less chance of a condition being pre-existing compared to a more senior pet.
The maximum age you can insure a pet is 18 years old. In our experience, pet insurance doesn’t really go up after 10 years old, so don’t be too worried!
A pre-existing condition is any illness or injury that your pet had before you took out a pet insurance for them. If you’ve been to the vet – it’s definitely pre-existing. See the question ‘Does any insurance company cover pre-existing conditions?’ below.
Good news and bad news. Here’s the bad. Pre-existing conditions generally aren’t insurable. Think about it this way; if insurers covered pre-existing conditions then nobody would insure their pet until there was a reason to claim which means they wouldn’t be in business for long. Examples of pre-existing conditions are
And now for the good news! Not all pre-existing conditions are permanently excluded. If you have medical records from your vet showing that your pet’s condition has been cured for at least 6 months (some insurers are 12 months), you may be able to get it covered. Examples of conditions that may be coverable include respiratory infections, urinary tract infections (UTI’s), vomiting, ear infections, diarrhea and bladder infections.
Usually, when you enroll for a pet insurance plan, you can request a medical history review and in this case experts at the insurance company will determine which pre-existing conditions can be covered in future.
Routine care/wellness coverage is an add on (except for the awesome Whole Pet with Wellness plan from Nationwide – see below) to your pet health insurance plan (cannot be bought on it’s own) that reimburses you up to a certain limit for conditions such as fecal exams, flea/tick meds, heartworm testing/prevention, urinanalysis, spay/neuter, teeth cleaning, microchip, rabies/giardia shots, routine screenings, vaccinations and more. Think of it this way; your main pet health policy covers all the serious, unforeseen stuff and your routine care/wellness coverage add on covers the basics.
On your results, when you click on ‘View Full Policy Information’ on any result, you’ll see a dropdown menu and on there is an option for ‘Routine Care/Wellness.’ Click this and you’ll see the reimbursement amounts per year for these conditions.
Nationwide go one better. Actually, they go ten times better. Their new Whole Pet with Wellness plan includes all of the above as part of the main plan. Unlike the other insurer add on plans, the Nationwide plan is totally unlimited. It’ll give you a straight 90% back, less your $250 annual deductible for virtually anything. Those $40 per month flea/tick meds you’re buying? Covered. What about that $800 teeth cleaning your pet had to be put under for? Covered. How about the $400 spay your super expensive vet just charged you for? You know how this goes don’t you? Yep, covered.
Nationwide is on first glance an expensive insurer. However, looking at what you get back, it’s worth it all day long. Run the figures for yourself and you’ll see. That’s why 2 of our dogs are insured with them. Last year, we paid $768 for one of our dogs to be insured with Nationwide and received back $854 in wellness care benefits alone. This is for stuff that our pet needed as part of his routine life. They’re basically giving you free unlimited health insurance on top of this.
With every wellness plan, other than Nationwide, there is no deductible for routine care/wellness coverage.
With Nationwide, as the routine care/wellness coverage forms part of the main policy, there is a $250 annual deductible for any claim for a covered condition. However, with the Nationwide Whole Pet with Wellness plan, you can claim for a lot more than with any other pet insurance plan.
See the question above for 'What is routine care/wellness coverage'
See the question above for ‘What is routine care/wellness coverage’
See the question above for ‘What is routine care/wellness coverage’
If you’ve bought wellness cover as an add-on with your main pet health insurance policy then there is no waiting time. You can get this done, up to the maximum reimbursement allowed by the insurer (see Routine care/Wellness coverage within the ‘View full policy information section under any result).
With Nationwide, there is a 14-day waiting period before the policy starts for any condition, but once it starts, so long as this it wasn’t diagnosed before the policy starts then it’s covered.
Yes, most insurance companies charge $2 approximately to pay by monthly installments. You can generally save this figure by paying for the whole year up front. You’ll see this saving when you buy your insurance and choose to pay annually.
Yes definitely. Once you get a quote for your first pet, hit the button for ‘Add another pet’ and you’ll be taken to the insurer’s website where you can select your 2nd, 3rd and 4th pets very easily. Discounts range from 5 – 10% per year.
Some insurers still send coverage information out in the mail, and some give you access to your own customer area on their website where you can see everything you need about your pet insurance plan.
Absolutely you can. Pet insurance is sold on a monthly basis and most insurers give a grace period, 10 – 30 days when you first sign up to cancel the policy in full (so long as no claims have been made on the policy) and get your money back. If you cancel after the grace period then you’ll usually get back any unused premium. You can find the cancellation period information for each insurance company within the ‘Waiting periods’ section of any result under the ‘View full policy information’ heading.
Every insurer has a waiting time for illnesses, and they’re usually 14 days from sign up. Insurers need to take precautions that you’re not signing up because your pet is sick now. For accidents there is often no waiting time at all. You can check the waiting times for any insurer by clicking the ‘view full policy information’ link on any result and then going to ‘Waiting periods.’
No, there is no waiting period for wellness coverage with any of the insurers, with the exception of Nationwide, which is 14 days, as the wellness plan forms part of the main insurance policy, rather than being an add on extension.
Pet insurance is different to car and health insurance. With pet insurance, you take your pet to the vet and have their treatment taken care of. Once your treatment is complete, you pay the vet. The vet will then give you all the paperwork you need to submit your claim to the insurance company, which can usually be done by fax, email or on an App, if the insurer offers this service. So long as it’s a covered condition under your plan then your insurer will send you reimbursement, usually, within 5-10 days, which will be based on your policy limits/reimbursement and less your deductible.
Tip: As pet owners ourselves, we always like to get a pre-authorization from the insurance company before we commit to an expensive treatment. Get in touch with your insurance company to do this, as it’s extra peace of mind for you.
Yes, you can use any licensed vet or emergency pet hospital in the USA which is great peace of mind if you’re traveling or can’t get into your normal vet.
If you need to make a claim on your pet insurance policy, then you’ll want to know how quickly you’ll be reimbursed.. You can check the average waiting times for any insurer by clicking the ‘view full policy information’ link on any result and then going to ‘Waiting periods.’
We totally understand that treating your pet can be really expensive. However, right now, there are only a few options open to you. These include using the services of a company like Care Credit, who you can sign up with via your vet. They offer a loan, which is often interest free for a couple of years, and which can be extended if needed. Alternatively, you can put the cost on a credit card and wait for the insurer’s reimbursement payment to then pay the cost down. We’ve even heard of people using crowd-funding websites to raise the money needed to pay for their pet’s healthcare emergencies.
Yes you can! Choose a plan from our law enforcement partners – Pets Best, Nationwide or ASPCA and you can get them insured. Pets Best will even cover them if they are shot on active duty (although we hope it never happens of course).
Once you’ve got your pet insurance in place then for sure, this is definitely covered. However, if your pet has been attacked before you purchased a policy then no, this wouldn’t be covered. Think about it this way; would you call the car insurance company to get covered after you’ve had an accident? Getting protected in advance is way, way safer and a lot less expensive too as this can be really expensive (think well over $5,000 in some circumstances.)