Pet Insurance Explained: 3 Main Types of Pet Insurance Coverage


Pets are subject to illnesses and injuries just like us, so having a health care plan like a pet insurance policy is essential. Providing a pet insurance policy early on can be quite beneficial for you and your furry friend. Not everyone can afford high sums to treat their pets, so think carefully about purchasing pet insurance and selecting the right vet.

Luckily, there are many types of pet insurance coverage on the market, so make sure you check and understand what they cover. Below we’ll explain 3 types you should consider.

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Types of pet insurance

Accident and illness policy

This type of plan helps cover a portion of the costs of accidents and treatments for diseases and illnesses. Among all types of pet insurance coverage policies, this is the most common one and represents 98% of plans issued by the pet insurance industry. Note that the accident and illness policy won’t cover pre-existing conditions. This policy covers most vet costs for illnesses and diseases like heredity conditions, cancer, fleas and ticks, infectious diseases, and skin conditions.

Pets who have been desexed, wormed, and vaccinated can benefit the most from this policy, but remember to get it while your pet is still young. In case your furry friend starts experiencing symptoms of disease and illness before you purchase cover, it may be classified as a pre-existing condition and you may not be covered.

Accident-only policy

This type of policy provides reimbursement for emergencies related to accidents. If your pet is accidentally injured or harmed, this policy offers the most basic cover. For example, in the case of a fight with another animal or a car accident, this insurance policy can help cover a portion of the treatment costs.

This policy is ideal for pets that are vaccinated, wormed, desexed and have no foreseeable vet visits for any genetic predispositions. Note that older pets that can’t have an illness cover, can greatly benefit from this policy. Examples of injuries that this policy covers include burns, bites, falls, or car accidents.

Comprehensive cover

Comprehensive coverage is costlier than basic coverage and reimburses for accidental injuries, illnesses, and emergencies, as well as prescriptions, office visits, X-rays, lab fees, and diagnostic tests. It has a higher level of protection for your furry friend and covers up to 85% of eligible vet bills.

The perfect candidates for this policy are pets who have just been adopted and are prone to heredity diseases. It can take care of all the immediate expenses of owning a pet like desexing, vaccinations, and microchipping. It also covers unexpected costs related to illnesses and accidents that may appear later in life. Bear in mind that it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, diseases preventable by vaccination, banned breeds, and behavioral problems.

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What is a deductible?

A deductible is an amount you should pay before a claim is reimbursed by the insurance company. The deductible can reset annually or can apply to individual conditions over the life of your furry friend, all depending on the insurance plan.

Note that every insurance company handles coverage differently, so make sure you check the terms and conditions of the plan you’re researching. Charges for routine care, or related to pre-existing conditions would not be applied towards your deductible since they are not covered by the policy.

Waiting periods

Waiting periods for pet insurance exist to prevent fraud and are required for new pets. All insurance companies apply a waiting period that restricts coverage for a certain amount of time after purchasing the policy. Note that during this time you will still have to pay for any vet bill resulting from a pet injury or sickness.

All insurance companies have different waiting periods, and there are also different types. Some policies offer four types of waiting periods including accident coverage, illness coverage, wellness coverage, and coverage for specific conditions. Most pet insurance policies provide coverage in about 14 days, while some can take as long as 30 days. 

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In closing

Keeping your pet healthy is a top priority. However, you have to think about all the expenses and understand what the best pet insurance coverage plan is for them and you. It’s always good to have peace of mind that they will be well taken care of in case of illness or accident. Many pet owners take out loans to pay for unexpected medical bills, so make sure you choose the right type of coverage to avoid that.