Pet Insurance Coverage Options

What does Pet Insurance Cover?

Man Thinking About Pet Insurance

Pet insurance policies offer varying degrees of coverage. Some of the most common options available include basic coverage for common illnesses and accidental injury, wellness plans for routine immunizations and preventative care.


There are three general levels of coverage in pet insurance:

  • Basic Coverage
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Wellness Plans


Basic Coverage

Most pet insurance policies cover new illnesses. The good news is that if your pet develops a condition after you purchase the insurance, it should be covered. However, the bad news is that there are many exceptions to this rule.

If your pet already has a health condition ("pre-existing condition"), it will not be covered. No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions, but a pre-existing condition will never prevent you from obtaining pet insurance coverage. Whether your pet's pre-existing condition is curable or not will determine your coverage options for that condition.Some providers, such as ASPCA, will cover conditions that have been cured and have shown no symptoms for at least 180 days.

One important exception to the new illnesses coverage is when it comes to breed-specific conditions, such as a congenital disorders or hereditary health conditions. If you have, for example, a Golden Retriever, Hip Dysplasia would not be covered. That is because the condition is most likely to affect that particular breed. As a rule of thumb, parents of purebred pets might want to find out whether any specific diseases are excluded. See a guide to congenital and hereditary conditions by breed by Humane Society Veterinary Association for a list of conditions that might affect your pet.


Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive Coverage usually is at least twice as expensive as basic. It covers hereditary and congenital disorders, and often doesn't have limitations and exclusions for diagnostics and testing.  Comprehensive Coverage is often recommended for pure breed dogs.


Wellness Plans

Pet Wellness Plans offer coverage for routine treatments and prevention, including annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and flea and tick preventatives. You can add wellness plan to comprehensive coverage for additional monthly premium.

Most experts agree that purchasing wellness plan doesn't make sense a financial point of view. The insurance works best when you are planning for unexpected and unlikely expense, while routine treatments are very much expected and known. You will just end up paying in insurance premiums what you would have paid directly to the vet, plus also paying for the processing and infrastructure expenses of insurance company.

However, if you know yourself well, and you know that you are more likely to follow through on preventive care if you pay for it in advance - the wellness plan is for you.


Brief summary of general Pet Insurance coverage options:


Coverage Plan




Accidents & illnesses



Hereditary & congenital




Depends on provider


Dental diseases


Behavioral treatments


Rx therapeutic diets & supplements


Alternative & holistic treatments


Wellness exams




Flea & heartworm prevention


Blood work





In addition to the coverage you select and your dog's breed, age, and zip code, your monthly premium will depend on your deductible, coverage % and annual limits. See pet insurance cost factors to learn more about how to select pet insurance that's right for you.


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