Comparing Pet Insurance Plans: Finding the Right Coverage for Your Pet


Ru Chen

- Updated February 20, 2024

Key Takeaways

When seeking pet insurance coverage for your pet, the key considerations include:

  • Your pet’s breed and age
  • The insurance premium and deductible
  • If you only need the standard accident-only pet insurance
  • If a wellness plan or comprehensive coverage will help
  • The reputation of the pet insurance company
Comparing Pet Insurance Plans: Finding the Right Coverage for Your Pet

Pet insurance helps ensure the health and well-being of beloved pets by offsetting the financial burden that can come with veterinary expenses. Emergency pet bills can create substantial challenges for pet owners. With pet insurance, you can save substantial money in case of emergencies or frequent vet visits.

Choosing the right insurance can be difficult. Pet insurance involves different coverage types, deductibles, and reimbursement rates. In this guide, we go over the pros and cons of each type of pet insurance and how to choose the right coverage for you and your pet.

Understanding Pet Insurance

Pet owners can purchase pet insurance policies, which help cover financial expenses related to pet care. If you are billed a covered expense by a vet, you can file a claim with your pet insurance company.

There are many different types of pet insurance. Coverage is typically offered in the following types:

  • Accident-only coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Wellness and pet health maintenance

Let’s dive deeper into the different pet insurance types.


Types of Pet Insurance Plans

Accident-Only Coverage

Accident-only pet insurance only reimburses expenses related to covered accidents that your pet gets in. Common accidents that are covered by pet insurance plans include:

  • Lacerations and bite wounds
  • Swallowing a foreign object (e.g. a toy)
  • Food poisoning
  • Heat strokes
  • Broken bones


An accident-only plan is advantageous if you have a pet that is not prone to breed-specific, inherited, or age-related conditions. If your pet is an outdoors pet that may encounter vehicles or other risks, an accident-only plan can be beneficial.


The limited scope of an accident-only plan can be unfortunate. It means that in case of a non-covered peril or vet expense, your pet insurance will not be able to provide you with financial assistance.

Accident and Illness Coverage (AKA Comprehensive Coverage)

With an accident-and-illness plan, you will typically receive a broad coverage of animal illnesses and diseases. Illness coverage typically includes coverage for:

  • X-rays
  • Medications
  • Necessary surgeries
  • Emergency vet care and exams
  • Blood work
  • Cancer treatment
  • Alternative care (e.g. acupuncture, hydrotherapy)
  • Diabetes
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye and ear infections
  • Arthritis
  • Gum disease

For chronic conditions and age-related conditions, the plan may or may not cover them based on the insurer’s policies.


Comprehensive coverage is usually the plan that pet owners want if they don’t want to worry about their vet expenses not being covered by insurance. Most plans will cover a wide range of conditions and vet expenses that regular, accident-only insurance will not cover. The increased scope of coverage can be greatly beneficial, especially if your pet falls ill due to an unidentified cause.


Comprehensive coverage is relatively more expensive than basic pet insurance plans. This can place a strain on your budget, which may not be worth it if your pet is healthy and not likely to get sick.

Wellness Care

Pet wellness care is not usually a standalone insurance product. Instead, it is an add-on to your comprehensive or accident-only pet insurance policy. Wellness and health maintenance pet insurance covers routine pet checkups and preventive care.


Covers vaccinations, microchipping, deworming, dental cleanings, and other routine care. A wellness care add-on could save you plenty of money in the long run, especially if you expect to frequently visit the vet for regular pet checkups.


Wellness care add-ons may come with a list of exclusions. For example, most plans do not cover pet pregnancies, cosmetic surgeries, grooming, or chronic conditions.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pet Insurance Plan

Pet's Age, Breed, and Health Status

The number one factor that determines what kind of pet insurance plan best suits you is, of course, your pet. Consider your pet’s unique circumstances, breed, and overall health.

Age: How old your pet is can significantly impact what type of plan to get. For example, a senior pet might benefit more from comprehensive coverage, whereas younger pets might only need accident-only protection.

Breed and species: Some animals are more susceptible to health issues due to predispositions. For example, large dog breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Saint Bernards are more likely to suffer from orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia. Make sure you choose a pet insurance plan that covers your pet breed’s most common injuries and conditions.

Current health and conditions: If your pet has any pre-existing conditions or diagnoses, it is crucial that you check whether any ongoing treatment costs will be covered. Often, pet insurance policies will exclude coverage for existing treatment that you are already paying for, incentivizing pet owners to buy insurance policies before they feel like they truly need it. Choosing a suitable policy can help you save money and provide suitable care for your pet.

Coverage Limits and Deductibles

As with human health and car insurance, there are coverage limits and deductibles when it comes to pet insurance. Understanding how insurance works can help you choose a plan that effectively safeguards your financial needs without spending extra money on non-essential coverage.

A pet insurance coverage limit is how much your pet insurance provider is willing to pay out to you in a year after you’ve met your deductible. Pet insurance typically comes with deductibles between $50 and $250, though some policies have deductibles up to $1,000.

Pet insurance deductible refers to how much you need to pay before pet insurance will kick in and cover the rest of the expenses (up to your policy’s coverage limit). It is important to choose a suitable deductible that balances affordable pet insurance premium with reasonable deductible amount.

A higher deductible means a cheaper monthly premium, but you will need to pay for more pet expenses out-of-pocket before insurance will provide coverage and reimburse the rest. On the other hand, a lower deductible pet insurance plan means you won’t have to pay as much out-of-pocket in case you are billed covered pet expenses. Insurance will be able to cover a portion or all of the remaining bill, allowing you to avoid large upfront bills.

Reimbursement Rates and Co-Pays

The pet insurance reimbursement rate determines how much you can receive as reimbursement for covered claims. For example, a pet insurance plan with a reimbursement rate of 80% will reimburse 80% of your total vet bill after you meet your deductible.

The co-pay refers to how much you still need to pay for covered claims. If your co-payment is $25 for routine eams, that is how much you need to pay once you’ve hit your insurance deductible.


Note that pet insurance policies often come with a long list of exclusions. When receiving itemized vet bills, if an expense is considered an insurance exclusion, your claim for that portion of the expense will not be accepted by the insurance company.

Here are some example exclusions that are commonly excluded by pet insurance:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Injuries and expenses resulting from pet abuse where the pet owner is at fault
  • The pet was subjected to organized fighting or racing
  • Negligence resulting in repeated vet visits (e.g. the pet frequently swallows poisonous food)
  • Preventive care
  • Breeding complications

Waiting Periods

If there is a waiting period, it will affect when insurance coverage is applied to your account. The waiting period varies based on what insurance company you have chosen, and it is rare to not have any waiting period. During this time, the insurance company will review your application and the pet’s medical records to make a decision.

Some insurance providers only have a few days of a waiting period, whereas others will take up to 30 days before coverage kicks in. If you urgently need pet insurance, make sure you choose an insurance company with a short waiting period.


Tips for Choosing the Best Pet Insurance Plan

Research Multiple Providers

Different pet insurance companies have different reputations, coverage details, and optional add-ons. It is critical to research and compare different pet insurance providers. While pet insurance premiums are relatively cheap compared to human health insurance, switching often between pet insurance companies can result in lapses in coverage.

When researching pet insurance providers, consider the customer reviews and reputation of the company. Take a look at our expert pet insurance reviews to get started with selecting the best pet insurance for your pet.

Some pet insurance companies even offer discounts and guarantees to their insurance policyholders. These can be a good way to dip a paw into the world of pet insurance if you and your pet have never obtained pet insurance coverage before.

Customize Coverage to Fit Your Pet's Needs

If your pet has any specific needs, make sure you select suitable insurance plans. Make sure your pet isn’t a restricted species or breed, and falls within the age of pets that the insurance company agrees to insure.

To experience better insurance coverage, consider add-ons for preventive care or wellness benefits. Needing to pay less for routine vet visits can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Read and Understand Policy Details

It’s a good idea to thoroughly review your pet insurance documents before signing the contract. If you’re confused by any terms or conditions, clarify with the pet insurance provider. Remember to look at important details such as the coverage exclusions, deductible, reimbursement rate, copay, and restrictions.

Should you at any point feel pressured by a pet insurance provider to purchase an insurance product, take a step back. Some time and distance can help insurance shoppers see the bigger picture and what aligns best with their financial and pet care needs.

Consider Long-Term Costs and Benefits

Only you can make the final decision whether pet insurance is truly worth it. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each type of coverage to determine what choice makes the most sense to you.

The pet insurance premium refers to how much you will need to pay for insurance. The more comprehensive the coverage of your chosen plan, the more expensive the premium will be. However, you and your pet will be much better protected by the financial safety net of pet comprehensive insurance.

In general, the affordable prices of accident-only pet insurance make it a popular choice for many pet owners. Some types of accidents and illnesses can cost pet owners thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to treat.

In case of a pet emergency, not having pet insurance could be devastating. For example, emergency dog surgery can cost over $20,000, which is a daunting number that overwhelms many pet owners. With the help of insurance that covers accidents, you can avoid expensive financial catastrophes in case your pet gets seriously injured.

If you’re worried about your pet’s predisposition to catching certain illnesses or developing health issues, a more comprehensive coverage type might be advantageous. Comprehensive coverage with a wellness plan can help you save meanginful money over the years, allowing you to take care of your pet without worrying about the financial impact of visiting the vet.



Pet insurance is an affordable way to prevent devastating financial costs of emergency pet visits. It can also reduce the overall costs of routine pet care.

Make sure you compare different pet insurance providers to find the right coverage for your pet. Do you only want coverage for accidents like broken bones, or do you also want pet illnesses to be covered in a comprehensive coverage plan? Would you benefit from a wellness plan add-on that covers routine and preventive care?

With many high quality pet insurance providers available, there’s a suitable plan for every pet owner.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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