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Home > General > Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits in 2024? Standard Policies & FAQ

Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits in 2024? Standard Policies & FAQ

dog at vet

In the last several years, there’s been a significant increase in pet owners with an insurance policy on their furry, feathered, and finned friends. Not surprisingly, there’s one question most pet owners ask before getting a policy: does pet insurance cover vet visits? Also, is paying for vet visits a standard on pet insurance? The answer is that most pet insurance policies cover a variety of vet fees, including vet visits for various reasons. For example, it’s standard for a pet insurance policy to cover emergency veterinarian visits, medical testing, and various medical procedures. The best pet insurance plans also cover hereditary conditions, chronic illnesses, surgeries, and behavioral therapy.

On the other hand, pet insurance doesn’t cover routine vet checkups, and some require an add-on policy for dental treatments. You can also get accident-only pet insurance which covers your pet in case of an accident but nothing else. One last option is wellness insurance for your pet to cover their wellness care. Like accident-only insurance, this insurance only covers wellness visits.

In short, yes, pet insurance covers various veterinarian visits. Also, vet visits are a standard on most pet insurance policies, but most don’t cover routine visits, check-ups, and wellness care. Read on if you have more questions about pet insurance, how it works, and what it covers.


What Is Not Covered by Pet Insurance?

Knowing what an insurance policy doesnt cover is sometimes easier than knowing what it does. It’s the same with pet insurance policies. Below are some of the standard exclusions you’ll find on the typical pet insurance policy:

Grooming Services

Few pet insurance policies cover grooming services like baths, nail clipping, flea dips, etc.

Nutrition Services and Products

Any special dietary needs your pet has are usually not covered. However, some pet policies will cover some supplements and, if necessary, prescription pet food.

man checking dog food label
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

Expenses not Related to Veterinary Care

Most insurance won’t cover the cost if a vet isn’t involved. That includes waste disposal, licensing, and training.

Pre-Existing Illnesses or Conditions

Insurance companies won’t cover your pet’s health problems before your pet insurance policy. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. For example, Nationwide Pet Insurance will cover your pet if they have been cured of a problem and it returns, but you would need to provide proof your pet was healthy for 6 months or more.)

Although most policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, its still worth comparing their plans to see what they do cover.

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Treatment that’s Experimental or Investigational

Any vet treatments that are considered out of the norm of standard care, including experiment and investigational treatments, aren’t covered by pet insurance policies.

dog and vet
Image by: LightField Studios, Shutterstock



What Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Although all policies differ, the average pet owner pays between $30 and $55 per month for pet insurance. Wellness plans can be as low as $10 per month, and full-coverage plans can rise as high as $100 per month. Surprisingly, pet insurance policies for dogs are about 74% higher than those for cats. That is mostly due to the size difference, which means horses and other large pets are also more expensive to insure with a pet insurance policy.

Does Every Vet Take Pet Insurance?

One of the major differences between health insurance for humans and pet insurance is how the claims process works. Because it’s significantly different, most veterinarians accept most insurance plans. That’s great news if, for example, you move to a new home. You won’t have to worry about picking a new plan or “switching vets” because your new vet will likely cover just as much as your old vet.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

In many ways, pet insurance is very similar to insurance for humans. As we mentioned earlier, there is one significant difference, and that is the way the insurance claims process works. In the case of medical insurance for humans, the doctor submits the insurance claim. With pet insurance, the pet owner submits the insurance claim, not the veterinarian. Also, the pet owner usually pays the vet directly at the time of the service, then submits their claim and waits for reimbursement.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Vaccines?

Vaccinations are considered wellness care and are not covered by most pet insurance plans. However, some insurance companies offer discounts when you can prove your pet has been fully vaccinated.

veterinarian giving injection to a cat
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Does Pet Insurance Cover Neutering and Spaying?

As well as vaccines, most pet insurance plans do not cover neutering and spaying. Both neutering and spaying are considered elective procedures. There are, however, some pet insurance wellness plans that cover neutering, spaying, and vaccines.

What Does a Pet Wellness Insurance Policy Cover?

Around 98% of pet owners who have pet insurance have comprehensive pet insurance that covers accidents and illnesses. A wellness insurance policy is usually added to a comprehensive policy and covers preventative or “wellness” care. These services prevent future problems rather than curing or treating existing ones. Vaccinations are covered, for example, as well as spaying, neutering, and even dental care. Some pet owners decide only to purchase a wellness care policy, but most add it to their existing pet policy.

Does Spaying or Neutering your Pet Lower your Insurance Rates?

With some insurance companies, you can get a small deduction if your pet is neutered or spayed. The reasons include that your pet will stray away from home less frequently and have less risk of contracting health problems from other animals. For dogs, the risk of biting, attacking, and other aggressive behavior is lower if they are “fixed.”

spaying cat
Image Credit: De Visu, Shutterstock

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Here are three factors that make pet insurance worth the cost and three that don’t. It’s an easy and fast method to help you decide if it’s right for your pet.

Pet insurance IS worth it if:
  • Your pet is young, healthy, and likely to live for many years.
  • Your budget does not account for a large vet bill in case of a bad accident or illness.
  • You feel better knowing your pet is covered by insurance “just in case.”
Pet insurance is NOT worth it if:
  • Your pet is older and already in poor or deteriorating health.
  • Paying an expensive vet bill won’t cause financial anxiety.
  • You would rather pay the occasional vet bill than years of insurance premiums for something you might not need.

When Should You Purchase Pet Insurance?

Insurance experts recommend taking out a pet insurance policy a day or two before you bring your new pet home. However, most new cat and dog owners purchase a pet insurance policy within 6 months of adopting a new pet.

Taking out a pet insurance policy right before or after adopting offers several benefits, including:
  • It will cover everything that happens in the future since your new pet doesn’t have any preexisting conditions.
  • It will cover medical issues that are evident when your pet is young, like allergies.
  • Young pets have a higher incidence of running off, getting lost, or being hit by a vehicle. Insuring them early will cover the cost of those scenarios.
woman holding a cat and a papillon dog
Image by: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

Is Pet Insurance a Requirement?

Our research found no countries where pet insurance is required, but in the UK, all dogs must be microchipped. Even though it would be a good choice for many pet owners, pet insurance is not mandatory. If you don’t want or think you need pet insurance, you don’t have to purchase it.


Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen, most pet insurance covers vet bills, except for routine visits and vaccinations. The premiums are relatively low compared to most other forms of insurance. Also, pet insurance could be a blessing if your beloved pet needs ongoing medical care. We hope you found our article helpful and that your questions about pet insurance have been answered fully.

Featured Image Credit: ESB Professional, Shutterstock

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