Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Pet insurance pays for medical expenses when a companion animal is ill or has been injured. Each provider writes its own policy language, and not all policies cover the identical circumstances.

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Some of the pet insurance policies are limited to injuries sustained in an accident, while others provide a more comprehensive coverage that includes other services, such as:

  • Anesthetics
  • Cost of boarding the animal if you are unable to care for it personally
  • Transportation to and from veterinary appointments
  • Burial or cremation expenses

Some plans even have a provision where they will cover grief counseling for pet owners. When you are considering buying a pet insurance policy, keep in mind that the price you will pay is partly determined by the level of protection you choose.

Pet Insurance Basic Coverage

A basic pet insurance policy covers veterinary fees for treating a pet or an illness or injury. It would also cover related expenses, such as x-rays, anesthetic and laboratory tests. Medications and hospital care should also be covered under a standard pet policy.

The benefits payable for under the policy may be capped annually or the plan may only pay up to a set amount for a certain type of claim.

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Optional Coverage

A policy offering a higher level of benefits may provide the pet owner with protection if another person is bitten by the policyholder’s pet. The insurance company would pay out on the injured person’s claim and pay for the cost of retaining an attorney to defend the action in court, if necessary.

Another example of optional coverage is where the insurer will cover the cost of advertising or a reward if the pet goes missing. The insurance company may also pay for the cost of replacing the pet if he or she is stolen. These benefits will have a specific dollar limit attached to them, and the policyholder would be required to pay a deductible before the insurer would pay out anything on the claim.

Some insurance companies will help the policyholder find a qualified individual to care for the pet if the owner becomes ill or wants to go away on vacation. If the policyholder has to cancel a vacation because his or her pet becomes ill, some insurance policies will pay out a benefit in that case as well.

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Policy Exclusions

No matter how well-written a pet insurance policy may be, it will not provide coverage for all circumstances. Pre-existing conditions will likely be excluded by the insurer. A pre-existing condition is a health concern that the pet owner sought treatment for before the policy was issued. The pet insurance company has a list of hereditary conditions that different breeds are likely to develop, such as hip dysplasia, and these will not be covered under the policy.

There may also be a waiting period before the coverage starts once the policy has come into force. Some policies will not pay for expenses due to an illness for the first 10, 14 or 30 days after the policy is issued. The longer the waiting period you choose, the less you will pay in premiums.

The cost of spaying or neutering the animal may be excluded under the policy. If the animal requires special treatment related to pregnancy or giving birth, they may not be covered either. Diet foods probably won’t be covered, either. Dental care for pets is usually on the list of policy exclusions, along with home visits from the vet and flea treatments.

If you are looking for pet insurance for a working dog, you will likely find that insurance providers will not issue a policy in that circumstance. Racing and guard dogs are included in this category.

The cost of providing health care to animals is increasing, just as it is for human patients. Having pet insurance in place helps owners make choices about their animals’ treatment without having the decisions based solely on cost.

Before you make a choice about pet insurance, take some time to investigate different pet insurance companies and the plans they offer. Find out what each one covers, since the type and level of coverage will vary, even among insurance policies offered by the same company. Insurance can help to pay for costs of treatment for illness and injury, including surgery and hospital care. It can also pay for burial expenses, counseling after the death of your pet, and the cost of replacing the animal if it is stolen, if need be.

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