This content was reviewed by our licensed insurance agent, Michelle Schenker.
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Pet insurance is designed to financially assist families with unpredictable, expensive vet care. It is not intended to cover preventive care, like vaccines, flea and heartworm control, annual checkups, etc. Instead, pet insurance shields against significant costs related to illnesses, accidents, surgeries, and emergencies. Read below to get exact answers regarding what pet insurance covers for issues you’re concerned about for your pet.
Important Note: You will read a lot of “pet insurance may cover” x, y, z. This is because every situation has a different set of circumstances, and coverage depends on your pet, policy details, pre-existing conditions, waiting periods, etc. So, while we are able to provide general information about pet insurance for different conditions and medical needs, there is no guarantee that your plan will cover your need. This is why it is crucial to read the fine print and fully understand your plan before you sign up.
Finally, as a reader courtesy, here’s an overview of our top recommended pet insurance providers, allowing you to begin the search right away for your best pet insurance policy.
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What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Here’s a comprehensive list of conditions that pet insurance may or may not cover. Click on a condition for more detail.
- Blood Tests
- Dog Attacks
- Ear Infections
- Genetic Conditions
- Hip Dysplasia
- MRI Scans
- Older Dogs
- Physical Therapy
- Pre-Existing Conditions
- Routine Care (Vaccines, Medications, Etc.)
- Spaying & Neutering
- Vet Visits
Coverage Comparison Chart
Want to know if pet insurance covers what you need and which company is best suited for your unique needs? The table below helps you see which company will best protect your pet and your wallet during the darkest times.
Please know that none of the pet insurance providers in our reviews cover pre-existing conditions, cremation and burial costs, pregnancy and breeding, or unnecessary cosmetic procedures.
All of them cover the following items when deemed medically necessary: emergency care, surgery and hospitalization, specialized exams and specialty care, X-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, CAT scans, MRIs, rehabilitation, cancer, chronic conditions, euthanasia, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, non-routine dental treatment, and prescription medications. However, this coverage may have limitations, so please check your policy.
If any of the terms we mention in this article are confusing to you, we recommend reading our pet insurance terminology cheat sheet.
Pet insurance companies may cover allergies as long as the allergy wasn’t known prior to enrollment.
Allergy shots may be covered if prescribed by a veterinarian. However, allergy shots aren’t covered if it’s required for pre-existing allergies; allergy shots are only covered for newly diagnosed allergies.
Allergy testing is not covered unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
If you choose to purchase an at-home allergy test for your dog and then decide to sign-up for pet insurance at a later date, any known allergies would need to be declared upon sign-up and would be considered pre-existing. Therefore, those allergies would not be covered by pet insurance.
Your vet may require blood work to investigate your pet’s illness or injury. Fortunately, pet insurance providers cover most blood tests unless they’re requested for pre-existing conditions or routine care.
Pet insurance companies typically cover cancer and cancer-related treatments at no additional cost. This can include surgery, follow-up visits, and more. However, if your pet has cancer when you sign up, it will be classified as a pre-existing condition and will not be covered.
When pet insurance was first rolling out, some companies charged an extra fee to have cancer coverage. But now, it is included with most basic accident and illness plans.
Cryptorchidism, a condition where one or both of a dog’s testes doesn’t drop to the scrotum, is typically covered by pet insurance if the vet did not notice the condition’s signs and symptoms until after enrollment and waiting periods.
Pet insurance doesn’t cover declawing for cats because it is typically considered an elective procedure, which is excluded in most policies.
Accident and illness pet insurance policies generally cover non-routine dental work and issues, such as gum disease. However, it doesn’t include coverage for care to maintain your pet’s dental health, such as tooth brushing and cleaning.
If you want coverage for professional teeth cleaning, consider purchasing a pet wellness plan as an add-on to pet insurance.
We’ve reviewed the best pet dental insurance policies for those of you with concerns about your dog’s dental coverage.
If the dog attack was an accident and unrelated to dogfighting, pet insurance may cover it. Injuries related to organized fighting are not covered.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Diabetes?
As long as it isn’t a pre-existing condition, diabetes is an eligible condition for coverage.
Ear infections are one of the most common claims that pet insurance companies pay out. Unless there is a pre-existing condition, your pet insurance policy most likely covers ear infections.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that is used to evaluate the heart’s pumping action. Most pet insurance policies should cover echocardiograms to help diagnose heart disorders in your pet.
Genetic (or hereditary) conditions can be covered by pet insurance, but it’s important to enroll your pet in coverage as soon as possible. As soon as a genetic condition shows any signs or symptoms, the condition won’t be eligible for coverage, and will be considered pre-existing.
If you have a cat in your family, you can learn about rare genetic cat conditions to be aware of.
Pet insurance policies typically include coverage for hip dysplasia; however, there may be restrictions on it. Some companies have waiting periods or age restrictions associated with hip dysplasia coverage.
Pet insurance has many restrictions on medication coverage. For example, vet-prescribed drugs are generally covered through pet insurance; however, you may have to purchase a higher-tier pet insurance policy or an add-on for prescription coverage. Additionally, prescription drugs aren’t covered for pre-existing conditions.
Two commonly prescribed drugs for dogs are Apoquel (anti-itch) and anxiety medication. Apoquel can be covered through pet insurance as long as it isn’t prescribed for pre-existing conditions. As for anxiety medication, this may or may not be covered through pet insurance. It depends if the company covers behavioral conditions, which is how anxiety is generally classified.
Did you know you could purchase RX drugs (medical prescriptions) online for your pet? Know how to keep your pet safe when you buy meds online.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is typically covered by pet insurance to treat an eligible accident or illness. But, the company may not be cover an MRI for pre-existing conditions that require diagnostic testing.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Older Dogs?
Yes, many pet insurance providers cover older dogs. However, some insurers have maximum age enrollments that may exclude older ages.
Physical therapy (PT) is often considered a form of rehabilitation, which pet insurance providers commonly cover.
Most pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. However, some companies cover “curable” pre-existing conditions. Companies that offer this type of coverage determine “curable” differently, so it varies for each policy.
The one exclusion to this answer is AKC Pet Insurance. AKC Pet Insurance offers coverage for pre-existing conditions after 365 days of continuous pet insurance coverage. This is the only company to offer this type of coverage.
Pet insurance typically doesn’t cover pregnancy or conditions related to pregnancy or breeding. However, if your pregnant pet experiences unexpected complications while birthing and requires a Cesarean section (C-section), the pet insurance company may cover the medical cost as long as the pregnancy took place after the waiting period for the effective date of your pet’s policy.
Pyometra, an infection in the uterus resulting from hormonal changes in the reproductive tract, may be covered by your pet insurance company. Pyometra is more common in pets who haven’t been spayed.
Pet insurance plans don’t cover routine care; only pet wellness plans cover eligible routine care items. If you want a portion of your dog’s flea or heartworm prevention medication, vaccines, and other wellness items reimbursed, purchasing a wellness plan is your best option.
This is something that many policyholders expect their pet insurance policies to cover because their human health insurance may cover 100% of their annual wellness visit.
Most pet insurance companies don’t cover diseases that are preventable through vaccines or prophylactic medicine. So if your dog were to be diagnosed with heartworm, pet insurance most likely wouldn’t cover any heartworm treatment because there is preventative medication that is recommended as standard pet owner care.
Spaying and neutering (desexing) aren’t covered through accident and illness pet insurance policies. However, if you opt to purchase a pet wellness plan, there may be an allotted amount that can be used toward desexing your pet.
Pet insurance covers surgery for procedures of eligible accidents and illnesses.
Soft palate surgery is a common inquiry by owners of brachycephalic, or flat-faced, breeds like Bulldogs. Your vet may recommend soft palate surgery for your dog to help her breathe normally or if your dog has an elongated soft palate. This condition is part of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). This is classified as a hereditary condition or breed-related condition, so you’ll want to make sure the policy you buy doesn’t restrict coverage for these items.
Dog training isn’t covered by pet insurance.
Looking for dog training guidance? Our experts to the rescue in our dog training guide, which helps you decide if you should get a trainer, considers various training tools and equipment, and covers house and potty training, specialty training (obedience, agility), and more.
Ultrasounds for eligible accidents and illnesses are covered by pet insurance as long as they aren’t for pre-existing conditions. If the ultrasound is required due to pregnancy, it’s most likely excluded since pet insurance doesn’t cover pregnancy.
A Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) is eligible for pet insurance coverage as long as it wasn’t pre-existing.
Learn more about how to treat a UTI in dogs.
Pet insurance doesn’t cover office visit fees for routine checkups unless you have a pet wellness plan that includes it in its coverage. Some pet insurance companies cover exam fees and consultations related to an eligible accident or illness claims.
If a company doesn’t cover exam fees and consultations and your dog is diagnosed with a chronic condition, it could result in you paying a larger portion of your vet bill over time as opposed to a company that covers exam fees and consultations.
Do you have more questions about pet insurance coverage? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll answer it as soon as we can. If you’re ready to purchase pet insurance, check out our pet insurance reviews to discover which companies made our top picks and why.Tagged With: Reviewed By Insurance Agent