For many people, providing their pets with the best possible care is very important. While care at home regarding affection, play, toys, treats, and food are all routinely assessed, it is easy to forget that medical care also plays an important part in making sure our pets live healthy, happy lives. One of the worst circumstances for pet owners to find themselves in is an urgent, unplanned visit to the vet. Surprise medical care can quickly become a stressful event for pet owners, but pet insurance can be used as a tool to help with these unplanned costs. As loving pet owners, no one wants to be placed in a position where cost becomes a factor in adequate treatment plans. Pet insurance companies can help with not only chronic conditions or accidents, but many also cover preventive care and wellness visits.

Pet health insurance is available through many different companies, but there are three main plan variations.

    1. Accident & Illness – These plans can cover unexpected accidents or illnesses requiring diagnostics and treatment.
    2. Accident Only – Coverage for accidents and associated care.
    3. Wellness – These plans offer the most variety in coverage based on company; some can cover routine visits & vaccines, preventive care plans, or even dental procedures.

Some plans will cover pre-existing conditions or breed-associated illnesses, but these are less abundant and require in-depth knowledge of the coverage conditions.


An important difference between human health insurance and pet health insurance is that pet health insurance operates on a reimbursement basis. Almost all companies do not offer any coverage of payment at the time of service, only after submission of a claim do they evaluate the services for coverage. Many things also need to be considered before committing to an insurance plan: age, breed, cost of treatment, co-pays & co-insurance amounts, premiums, effects of aging pets on coverage, and coverage changes based on location.


Choosing the right coverage is an important consideration. Knowing the approximate cost of services in your area along with common conditions that affect your pet’s breed will allow you to sift through the various companies and plans for the coverage you may need. Getting several quotes and reading through the conditions & treatments that are covered and not covered will also help narrow down options. Always read through your policy and insurance documents for details of the benefits and significant exclusions of the policy.


Pet health insurance can offer many owners peace of mind for veterinary care, whether it covers only unexpected accidents or more chronic care. The AVMA endorses the concept of pet health insurance with several standards that the insurance policies should uphold. Researching all of the options and choosing the best plan for your pet may help alleviate some financial stress for owners or spark thoughts about preparing alternative plans for unexpected pet illnesses or accidents. Regardless whether you decide if pet health insurance is best for your pet, the goal of providing the best possible care for our pets remains.



North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s Insurance Buying Guide

NAPHIA’s Steps to Pet Health Insurance Coverage


Article written by: Brittany