What pet health insurance covers
Most pet health insurance policies cover costs for treating illnesses and accidental injuries, plus costs for “wellness”
procedures, including vaccinations, screenings, spaying/neutering and other treatments. However, a few policies may
cover accidents and illness only.
While there are many common features in pet health policies, there are distinctions you should ask about, including:
The scope of covered services: Are there any restrictions on coverage for certain services, such as surgery,
hospitalization or prescriptions? Is there coverage for palliative care for terminal illnesses and end-of-life
Pre-existing conditions: Are there any restrictions for hereditary, congenital or incurable conditions? How
would a newly arising condition impact the renewal of a policy?
The method of coverage: Is there a waiting period for coverage to start? Is there a network of preferred or
mandatory veterinary providers? What are the deductible and copayment requirements? Are payments made
directly by the insurer or on a reimbursement basis?
There are a few things you should consider when purchasing a pet health insurance policy:
The species of your pet: Dogs and cats are the most popular species insured, but other species of animals
can be insured, too, and this will affect your coverage.
The breed of your pet: Certain breeds of animals are more prone to costly illnesses than others. Make sure
you know these risks when determining the level of coverage you need.
Cost of treatment: Talk to your vet about how much it may cost to treat the common ailments of your pet’s
breed. This will help you when figuring out the limits to your policy.
Waiting period: A lot of policies will have a mandatory medical exclusion period from the start of the policy.
This is called a “waiting period” and could be anywhere from 10-30 days.
If your pet is severely injured
If your pet is injured or dies in an accident in your home, for instance in a house fire, there will be no coverage for
your loss under your homeowners insurance. Although homeowners and renters policies cover damage to household
contents, animals are explicitly excluded from that coverage.
What about when your pet is in your car? Some auto insurers now offer an option to purchase “pet injury” coverage
that covers the cost of treating your pet if it’s injured while riding in your vehicle. This coverage is subject to its own
limit and does not apply to injuries to someone else’s pet struck by your car. That would be covered under your basic
auto liability coverage if you are at fault.
So, is there any insurance for the loss of your pet?
Owners of horses, livestock and special breeds buy insurance to cover the monetary cost of an animal if it dies or is
incapacitated in an accident. They also purchase “animal mortality insurance,” which is like life insurance in that it pays
policyholders in the event an animal dies of natural causes.
Pet health insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. And if something happens to your beloved animal, you
want to give them the best treatment they can get. Talk to your insurance broker today about the pet health
insurance options available for you.