Does pet insurance cover routine visits? Vaccines? Dental exams? How about spaying and neutering? If you’re wondering if insurance will cover the things that you need most for your pup, just keep reading! We’ll go over the things that are most commonly covered, the stuff that some insurance brands will pay for (but not many), and the things that most companies almost never, ever, ever pay for.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover (and What Doesn’t It)?
Pet insurance is an excellent investment for dog owners who want to be able to keep their furry friends around even if life throws them some hard times. If you’ve ever had a pet at home, then you know that they can be expensive and unpredictable. Accidents happen and illnesses pop up.
While I absolutely think that dog insurance is worth the cost, I like to know what I’m actually getting before I open my wallet.
Things That Pet Insurance Almost Always Covers
Before we dive into this part of the list, I need to remind you that every company is different. Most companies typically cover these things. However, make sure you read your potential policy very carefully before committing to anything.
- Chronic conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and so on (as long as they are not pre-existing.)
- Accident and illness pet insurance policies typically cover non-routine dental work and issues like gum disease.
- Any vet visit related to illness or injury, whether an emergency or a specialist appointment.
- Ultrasounds for eligible accidents and illnesses as long as they are not for pre-existing conditions or pregnancy.
- Surgery for eligible accidents and illnesses.
- Echocardiograms (EKG or ECG). An echocardiogram is a heart ultrasound that assesses your dog’s heart’s pumping action. It helps assist in the diagnosis of heart problems in your pet.
- Cryptorchidism, aka undescended testes, IF the vet does not notice the condition’s signs and symptoms until after the enrollment and waiting periods have passed. Otherwise, companies usually consider it a preexisting condition.
- Hip dysplasia. However, there may be limitations. Some insurance companies have waiting periods or age restrictions for hip dysplasia coverage.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) (again, as long as it’s not preexisting).
- Euthanasia. However, they typically exclude cremation and burial costs.
Things That It MAY Cover (But Not Always)
- Pet insurance companies might cover allergies if not known before enrollment. They may also cover vet-prescribed allergy shots for NEWLY diagnosed allergies.
- Your veterinarian may order blood tests to investigate your pet’s illness or injury. Fortunately, most companies cover blood tests. This usually excludes blood tests related to preexisting conditions, though.
- Pet insurance can cover genetic (or hereditary) disorders, but you should enroll your pet as soon as possible. If your dog shows signs of the condition before enrollment, chances are the company will consider it preexisting.
Things That Pet Insurance Almost Never covers
- Injuries caused by organized dog fights (no one should be organizing dog fights anyway, so this shouldn’t be an issue).
- Routine dental health care, such as tooth brushing and cleaning.
- Pre-existing conditions. Some companies, however, cover “curable” pre-existing conditions. Companies that provide this type of coverage define “curable” differently, so it varies by policy.
- Few, if any, pet insurance companies cover breeding. That includes pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. However, suppose your pregnant pet has unexpected complications during labor and needs a Cesarean section (C-section). In that case, the pet insurance company may cover the medical costs as long as the pregnancy occurred after the waiting period for the effective date of your pet’s policy.
- Pet wellness plans include coverage for eligible routine care items.; pet insurance plans do not. A wellness plan is your best option if you want to be reimbursed for a portion of your dog’s flea or heartworm prevention medication, vaccines, and other wellness items.
- Accident and illness pet insurance policies do not cover spaying and neutering (desexing). If you choose to purchase a pet wellness plan, you may be able to use a portion of the money toward desexing your pet.
With so many different companies out there, it’s hard to give you an exhaustive list of everything that pet insurance covers, and even harder to tell you what they don’t cover. This list should give you a good starting point, though. When it comes time to commit to a plan, make sure you ask questions before signing on the dotted line.
Can you think of anything else that, in your experience, should be added to any of these lists? Share your thoughts on pet insurance below!