Lilly Brush

A Basic Guide to Pet Insurance: Everything You Need to Know!

Our pets are precious to us, and the last thing we want is for them to be injured and without care! Pet insurance is a preventative measure you can take to ensure your pet’s health and safety in case of an unforeseen accident or medical condition. As always, the world of insurance is tricky business, so we’ve broken it down for you in a basic comprehensible guide. 

How does pet insurance work? 

Pet insurance typically uses a reimbursement model: this is when you pay the immediate cost of your vet visit at the time of your appointment, and later submit a claim to the insurance company for their coverage. 

What pet insurance covers: 

The first thing to know up front is that pet insurance doesn’t cover everything under the sun. Some medical ailments are covered, where others are not. 

These are the primary conditions that pet insurance will cover: 

  • Accidents 
  • Illnesses 
  • Hereditary conditions 
  • Chronic conditions 
  • Medication 

Before you choose an insurance plan, it’s best to research the different options and compare– some plans will offer you care that others won’t. You can find a few of the most popular plans here

What pet insurance doesn’t cover: 

Generally, the conditions or procedures that pet insurance doesn’t cover are as listed below. These are considered less immediate medical needs, or needs that are not deemed necessary by insurance (whereas the needs listed above are considered necessary for treatment). 

Pet Insurance typically does not cover: 

  • Cosmetic procedures 
  • Breeding expenses 
  • Pre-existing conditions 
  • Preventative care 

Although most pet insurance plans do NOT cover preventative care, many plans have add-ons which will cover or reimburse you for preventative care needs such as vaccines and screenings. Again, it’s best to do your research before choosing a plan to see what works best for you. 

How much does pet insurance cost? 

The short answer is: it depends on the animal! There are a few factors to consider, including size, species/breed , age, and gender. For example, dogs, since they’re generally larger and more active than cats, have higher insurance costs. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to specific conditions, which may hike up insurance. Female pets are considered “lower risk” than males, so their insurance costs are generally less. Check with your local veterinarian or insurance agency to find out what your exact costs might be. 

You can also get a quote for an immediate estimate, although most pet insurance policies are different enough that you’ll want a quote or estimate from each one to compare. Plans usually range from $10 to $70 per month, depending on your coverage. 

Pet Insurance Companies 

There are a lot of insurance companies out there, so here are a few to look into to get you started! 

  • PetFirst Pet Insurance 
  • Nationwide
  • ASPCA Pet Insurance 
  • Embrace 
  • Healthy Paws Pet Insurance 
  • Petplan Pet Insurance 
  • Trupanion Pet Insurance 

There are a few comparison charts out there that do the work for you, such as this graphic from moneygeek.com. This chart compares Nationwide, Embrace, Trupanion, and Banfield. You can find more comparison charts, or make your own. Additionally, US News reviewed all of the top pet insurance companies in a comprehensible guide to specific plans, including many of the insurance companies listed above. 

Is it worth it? 

This is entirely up to you! If your pet is at higher risk than most, or already has a lot of medical needs, the likelihood is that pet insurance could be the best thing that ever happened to them (and your wallet!). 

To begin, get a quote from ASPCA! This will estimate your pet’s needs and your insurance costs and give you a better idea of what you’re getting into. 

If you’re still unsure, talk to your veterinarian or trusted pet specialist for more information.