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Home > General > Does Pet Insurance Cover Surgery? Standard Policies & FAQ

Does Pet Insurance Cover Surgery? Standard Policies & FAQ

a dog about to undergo surgery

Suppose you’ve thought about purchasing a pet insurance plan to help cover the costs of medical care for your furry family members. In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that pet insurance plans typically cover necessary surgeries. Invasive medical treatments like surgery are usually among the most costly procedures and generally are required for the animal’s continued survival.

However, there are some limitations surrounding what surgeries will be covered by insurance plans. So, it’s best to check with your insurance agent to get a comprehensive view of the program.


Surgeries Typically Not Covered By Insurance

Most insurance plans will not cover surgeries considered optional or elective. For instance, if your dog gets a case of bloat and its stomach twists, pet insurance will usually cover the surgery to right the position of the stomach. However, if your veterinarian suggests performing a gastropexy—stitching the stomach to the inside of the abdominal wall—to prevent further cases of bloat, this surgery will not be covered as it’s considered preventative and optional rather than necessary.

Additionally, procedures related to any “pre-existing conditions” will not be covered by typical insurance plans. If you’re unclear whether an insurance plan would cover a specific system, it’s best to ask the company providing your dog’s insurance directly; which conditions are considered “pre-existing” and are determined individually between companies.

Another consideration is your pet’s spay or neuter procedure, another standard procedure that is not covered by the majority of insurance plans. However, since these surgeries tend to be very common, most veterinary practices offer them lower prices than less common surgeries.

Dog surgery
Image By: Olimpik, Shutterstock

Surgeries That Are Covered By Insurance

Most insurance plans will cover medically necessary surgeries, especially if they’re required on an emergency basis. Any emergency procedures needed to save your pet’s life will be covered, up to and including surgical interventions. However, if a surgical intervention is typically paired with a preventative surgery—like our previous example of a gastropexy to prevent bloat—the preventive surgery will likely not be covered.

Comparing policies is the best way to know if you are getting the coverage that you need.

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If your pet has a surgical procedure you intend to file for reimbursement, speak with your veterinarian beforehand to ensure that the surgery won’t be paired with a secondary procedure that won’t be covered.

How Do I Get My Pet’s Procedure Covered By Insurance?

Pet insurance uses a reimbursement model that will likely be alien to humans who have never had insurance that uses it. Unlike human health insurance, which directly pays the doctors, pet insurance reimburses a portion of your pet’s medical costs back to you after you file your case.

The reimbursement you receive will be based on two factors: your annual deductible (how much you are expected to pay yearly for your pet’s medical costs) and your reimbursement percentage. Different companies offer different reimbursement percentages. So, shop around to see what you can get for your pets.

Pet insurance form close up
Image Credit: Ekaterina Minaeva, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Getting pet insurance is one of the best ways to ensure that your pets have the best care possible at all times. By buying pet insurance, you’ll never have to worry about whether you can afford to get the treatment when they get sick. Nowadays, there are several options out there for insurance care for your pets. With a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the perfect plan to protect your furry family members for life.

Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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