Pet Insurance and Preventative Care

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 24, 2022

Pet insurance is a fantastic resource that can protect you financially from major vet bills; however, it may not be right for everyone. It’s important to know that preventative care may not be covered in your pet insurance plan. If you are looking for help covering these costs, you can find options. As is the case with any type of insurance, you need to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you choose a pet insurance plan. 

What Does Pet Insurance Traditionally Cover?

For a typical pet insurance policy, coverage can sometimes be limited. While policies offer coverage for some of the more expensive procedures and treatments, it is likely that your policy won’t cover every single condition or treatment that your pet may have. For example, if your pet has any type of pre-existing condition when you sign up for a pet insurance policy, your insurance provider will probably include a clause in your contract that specifically excludes that condition from coverage. 

Most plans offer coverage only for unexpected illnesses or injuries. Scenarios may include ingestion of a foreign object, a broken bone, cancer, hip dysplasia or parvovirus. Coverage may also include some surgeries such as cataracts and cruciate ligament tears. Basic care such as x-rays and blood tests, as well as medications, are also traditionally covered if they are received as part of your veterinarian’s care plan to treat an injury or illness. In addition, fees from emergency exams are typically covered as well. 

While traditional pet insurance plans usually only cover accidents and injuries, many add-on treatments and services can be covered separately and added onto your policy. Some examples of add-on protections may include coverage for hospital boarding, behavioral modification, nursing and whelping and acupuncture. These are not traditionally covered but are still available to most policyholders to add on. Keep in mind that you will need to pay an additional fee to ensure that these services are included in your policy.   

What is a Preventative Care or Wellness Plan?

Preventive care plans or wellness plans are insurance plans that can help you pay for your pet’s routine care. Routine care services are similar to what an annual physician exam is for humans. It’s suggested for all pets to see their veterinarian at least once a year for their annual wellness exam; however, it is not typically covered by pet insurance. Some other services that are considered routine care include vaccinations, dental cleanings and spaying or neutering.

Because routine preventative or wellness care does not fall under the unexpected accident and illness coverage category, it’s not traditionally covered. However, you can buy plans that are geared specifically to cover these sorts of expenses. These wellness plans are considered preventative because they help to pay for things that can prevent further issues, such as heartworm tests and teeth cleaning.     

Why is Preventative Care Important for Pets?

Preventative care is important for pets because it stops minor issues before they become major issues. For example, teeth cleanings are considered preventative care because if the teeth are not cleaned properly then they could build tartar, which can lead to not only infections of the teeth, but sometimes an infection that spreads to other parts of the body. Teeth cleaning prevents these infections from happening. 

Other services that are considered preventative care include steps to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary in your furry friend’s body, which is crucial for a pet's health. In addition, preventative care includes annual wellness exams that allow a pet to be examined to see if there are any issues arising. This is a crucial component of preventative care plans, as catching a developing illness or injury early can potentially help save your pet’s life by stopping it before it becomes more serious. 

Advantages of Pet Insurance

Several advantages come with maintaining a pet insurance policy, which is why these plans are a popular choice for pet parents. The peace of mind alone is a solid advantage. In the same way that health insurance helps you feel at ease knowing that you won’t be stuck with a million dollars in medical debt should you need emergency treatment, pet insurance also helps put your mind at ease should your pet be injured. 

Some of the advantages that come with having pet insurance include the following.

Never needing to forgo care because of your financial situation: Ensuring care for your beloved pet is by far the biggest advantage when it comes to pet insurance. If the injury or illness your pet develops is covered, you won’t have to worry about paying your entire bill out of pocket. This assurance allows you some relief knowing that you never have to forgo the care for your pet just because you can’t afford it at that moment.  

Billing is fairly simple: The process of paying for your pet’s care through pet insurance is pretty straightforward. The most common way for expenses to be covered is for you to pay for the services at the time, then submit a claim and get a reimbursement. Some plans pay the vet directly, but reimbursement is the much more common method. The reimbursement funds are usually deposited directly via direct deposit, or you can choose to receive a check.  

You choose the vet: Unlike with human healthcare plans where you may have to choose a doctor within the insurer’s network, you can choose whatever veterinarian you want with pet insurance. You don’t have to worry about starting over with a new vet when you get insurance, as you can go to any veterinarian’s office you wish. The only specification is that the vet must be licensed, but you should be going to a fully licensed vet regardless. 

Additional expenses covered: Some pet insurance plans offer coverage for more unique expenses, such as advertising or rewards if your pet is lost. The coverage from some plans goes beyond just the medical expenses, which can help provide more for your money.    

Drawbacks of Pet Insurance

Just as with anything else that has advantages to it, there are drawbacks to pet insurance. Whether the advantages outweigh the drawbacks is up to you to decide, but here are a few drawbacks you should consider.  

Limited coverage: While all pet insurance plans do offer a list of common coverages, they do not offer coverage for everything. One of the main things that most plans do not offer coverage for is wellness care. Wellness costs are a huge part of your pet’s health, but coverage is nonexistent unless you specifically pay for a wellness care plan. In addition, each plan has exemptions – and if your pet ends up needing a certain procedure or gets diagnosed with a condition that is not covered, the insurance policy won’t be much help. 

Restrictions for pets: Plenty of plans are available for cats and dogs, but there are limited options for more exotic animals, such as snakes and birds. Even for dogs and cats, there are certain restrictions regarding age and breed. Most plans require your pet to be a certain age, and some even have an age limit for when the pet must be enrolled, so older pets may have a harder time getting covered. 

It can be expensive: Plans that offer the most comprehensive coverage may be outside your budget. If you have multiple pets, you’ll need to purchase an individual plan for each animal, and your pet insurance bills will be much higher. In addition, you may be paying for insurance that you never even take advantage of. Just because you’re paying for the coverage doesn’t mean that your pet necessarily needs that coverage or that you will use your benefits.    

Compare Pet Insurance

Benzinga offers insights and reviews on the following pet insurance providers. If you’re considering purchasing a plan for your furry friend, use the links below to begin your research. 

  • securely through Chewy Care Plus's website
    securely through Chewy Care Plus's website
    Best For:
    Annual Check Ups
  • securely through Wagmo's website
    securely through Wagmo's website
    Best For:
  • securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's website
    securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Families with multiple pets
    Read Review

    Limitations apply. For terms and conditions, visit Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (NPN#19084749) (“Pumpkin”) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Preventive Essentials is not an insurance policy, and is not available in all states.

  • securely through Spot Pet Insurance's website
    securely through Spot Pet Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Prescription food and supplements
    Read Review
  • securely through Pets Best's website
    securely through Pets Best's website
    Best For:
    Prompt Claim Payments
    Read Review

Frequently Asked Questions


What is an annual deductible for pet insurance?


An annual deductible is the amount of money you must pay towards your pet’s covered care costs before your insurance kicks in and starts paying for your bills. For example, if you have an insurance policy with a $200 deductible and you receive a veterinary bill for $500, you’d first pay $200 towards your care costs and your insurance would pay the remaining $300. Your deductible resets annually, so you only have to pay it once per year. Many pet insurance providers allow you to choose your own deductible.


Is pet insurance worth it?


Pet insurance can be worth it in many circumstances. If you would have trouble paying a veterinary bill with your savings right now, you should consider some form of pet insurance.