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Pet insurance: how it works and how much it costs

Pet insurance can help offset the costs or even cover them entirely.

LWA/Larry Williams/Blend Images/Getty Images


If you’ve ever had a sick or injured pet, then you know that vet bills can add up quickly.

Fortunately, pet insurance, a type of health insurance that’s just for cats and dogs, can help offset those costs or even cover them entirely.

You can easily get a quote to see if this is right for you.

Do you have a furry friend and don’t want vet bills to leave you dry? Here’s what pet insurance does and how it can help.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is a type of health insurance policy you can get for a domestic cat or dog. Just like human health insurance, you pay a monthly premium and in return get coverage for a variety of medical treatments, prescriptions, and sometimes preventative measures as well.

These policies generally work on a reimbursement basis. Therefore, you will pay your vet directly and then file a claim with your insurer. They will then process that claim and reimburse you accordingly. Depending on your policy and treatment, it may be the full amount or a percentage of what you were originally charged.

In some cases, pet insurance policies have a deductible. This means you have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurer contributes.

If this sounds like something that could benefit you, consider providing some basic information to get a free quote.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance costs vary widely, but with most companies, you’ll pay between $30 and $70 per month for a dog and $15 to $40 per month for a cat.

The exact price you pay will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of animal you have.
  • The breed and sex of your pet.
  • The age of your pet
  • Where do you live

The insurance company you choose is also important, so it’s important to shop around when getting pet insurance. Always compare at least a few quotes to make sure you get the best deal and coverage.

You can also get pet insurance through an existing insurance company you work with (the one that provides your car insurance, for example). Many companies offer discounts for consumers with multiple lines of coverage.

What does pet insurance cover?

Coverage varies by insurer and plan, but in general, pet insurance covers emergencies and unexpected injuries, as well as larger items like surgery, for example.

Here’s a look at what most insurance companies cover:

  • Accidents and injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, or swallowed objects
  • Illnesses, including allergies, infections, and diabetes.
  • Surgery
  • Treatment for hereditary and congenital diseases, such as hip dysplasia, cherry eye or glaucoma
  • Treatment for behavioral problems, including walking, chewing, or licking
  • Alternative therapy, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care
  • Tests and diagnoses, such as blood tests, MRIs, and X-rays.
  • Emergency exam fees
  • cancer treatment
  • Certain prescription drugs and foods

Keep in mind that all pet policy plans will have coverage limits, a maximum amount that the insurer will contribute annually. You will need to take this into account when choosing your policy.

What pet insurance does not cover

Pet insurance typically doesn’t include routine care, like vaccinations, heartworm/flea prevention, or annual checkups, at least not automatically. However, many insurers allow you to add coverage for these items for an additional fee.

Pet insurance generally also does not cover pre-existing conditions. Therefore, if your pet has a documented condition prior to purchasing the policy, treatments related to it will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Types of pet insurance

There are many types of pet insurance plans. Some insurers offer accident-only plans, which only cover treatment for injuries and accidents, such as a snake bite or ingestion of a toxic substance, for example. These tend to be the cheapest options, as coverage is limited.

Companies also often offer a more comprehensive plan, which includes accidents and injuries, as well as any tests, diagnoses, medications, and other medical treatment your vet deems necessary.

Finally, many insurers also have a routine care or wellness package that you can add as a supplement to your main policy. This will cover things like annual checkups, vaccinations, microchipping, and more.

You have more questions? Consider contacting a pet insurance expert for more information.

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