Coverage types

Just as with any other insurance policy, there are choices to be made when settling on coverage for a pet, and there are costs associated with those choices. The Insurance Information Institute notes that accident-only plans, which cover accidents, injuries and some procedures, are the least expensive options. Such policies include annual deductibles and may have caps on reimbursements.

More comprehensive accident-and-illness policies are costlier, but offer better benefits while covering prescriptions, and services like tests and lab fees. Deductibles may be lower, but many of these policies do have caps on reimbursements. Wellness care coverage, meanwhile, offers reimbursement for preventive measures, like exams and vaccinations.

The surest way to find an affordable option that provides the services you need is to shop around and compare prices from multiple pet insurers.

Pet age

Factors related to your pet’s health and wellbeing will impact the price you pay for coverage. Age is one of those factors. The older a pet is, the costlier the pet is to insure, and in some cases insurers may choose to not cover pets above a certain age. The animal’s health history will also be considered.

The sample monthly rates in the table below show how a pet’s age can impact rates paid for insurance. In our sample policy for Embrace, which is tied with Spot at No. 2 in our rating of the best pet insurance companies, rates vary according to the age of the pet. Sample average rates are provided for illustrative purposes only. Actual rates vary based on numerous factors, including coverage options chosen.


The cost of pet insurance is based on the age of your pet, their health and health history, and the level of care included in the policy, among other things. Many companies allow you to customize your premium by adjusting things like your annual coverage limit, the rate at which you’re reimbursed, and your deductible.

There are several different types of pet insurance deductibles:

  • Annual. Plans that pay for covered services once you hit the deductible, like your own health insurance plan.
  • Per-incident. Per-incident deductibles require you to pay a certain amount for each claimed incident before coverage kicks in.
  • Per-condition. Once you meet the deductible for a condition such as hip dysplasia, that condition will be covered for the life of the pet. For each new condition, you must pay the deductible before coverage kicks in.

Annual limits

Several aspects of a pet insurance policy determine its cost. Some factors are specific to the pet being insured, such as age, breed and overall health. Customers must also settle on the policy’s deductible, reimbursement percentage and annual limit, all of which can vary by plan and insurer.

A pet insurance policy’s annual limit determines the amount a policyholder can claim within a year. Some companies do offer the option of an unlimited annual coverage limit.

Reimbursement levels

One of the basic functions of a pet insurance plan is reimbursement of eligible veterinary expenses after the pet owner submits a claim. The level of reimbursement is determined by the terms of the policy, and so are the types of care eligible for reimbursement. Basic plans may only pay for accidents and illnesses, but policies or optional add-ons with wellness components will reimburse policyholders for services like immunizations.


A number of factors go into determining the premiums one pays for pet insurance. One that some customers may be surprised by is location. But as with many other types of insurance, where a person lives — and also in this case, where a pet lives — can impact rates.

Pet Insurance for Dogs: What to Know Before You Buy


Many insurers offer discounts for insuring multiple pets, and some have discounts related to military service, adopting a shelter pet, and being claim-free. There are also some membership-based services that provide veterinary discount plans, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). These are not insurance policies. Pet owners pay into these plans in exchange for reduced rates for vet visits, procedures, and pet products. The III notes that these types of discount plans are not regulated like pet health insurance plans.

The table below shows how some companies stack up in terms of discounts commonly offered as part of pet insurance plans.

Pre-existing Conditions

Most insurers don’t cover preexisting conditions, and many have various other types of coverage exclusions. You’ll want to research those. And pet insurance plans have waiting periods before coverage takes effect. The waiting periods vary by insurer, and in some cases, by condition. But one thing that’s consistent: if an illness arises during a waiting period, it’s generally considered a preexisting condition and won’t be covered by your policy.

Most pet insurance companies allow policyholders to use the licensed veterinarian of their choice.

When determining if you should purchase pet insurance, first consider how the pet insurance deductible works and whether certain claims will be excluded. Then, decide which extra services are important to you and don’t forget about accident coverage.

“People think about pet insurance for illnesses like cancer, but there are accidents and you might want them to be covered,” Ruiz says. “People take their pets with them on vacations and car rides, so they are exposed to all of the same types of accidents that family members are exposed to.”

Pet insurance is as much for the vets as the pets |

By Aban

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