How to get pet insurance

Key Takeaway
Pet insurance can help make sure your furry friend receives the care they need, while protecting your bank account from unexpected expenses. But choosing the right policy can be overwhelming. Our guide will explain everything you need to know and walk you through the process of comparing, evaluating, and choosing a pet insurance policy.

Get the best pet insurance in 2024 - How to get pet insurance.

Pet insurance can keep you from being stuck with huge bills when your furry friend gets sick, but choosing the right policy can be overwhelming. We’ll walk you through choosing the best pet insurance policy for your pet's needs, ensuring they are covered no matter what life has in store.

Key takeaways

  • Understand pet insurance options and your pet's pre-existing conditions.
  • Look at policy features, create a must-have list & compare quotes to find the best fit for your pet’s needs.
  • Think about cost of premiums and potential savings on vet care to decide if it's worth it.

Understanding pet insurance options

There are three main types of pet insurance policies: Accident & Illness Policies, Accident-Only Policies, and Wellness Plans.

Accident & illness policies

Accident & illness policies are the most popular choice for pet owners because they provide comprehensive coverage for both accidents and illnesses, excluding pre-existing conditions. These policies are available for a wide range of pets, including cats and dogs, as well as:

  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Small mammals

An accident & illness policy typically covers veterinary care expenses resulting from accidents, like Fluffy being hit by a car or swallowing your favorite sock, as well as illnesses like cancer and pneumonia. But, pre-existing conditions, vaccinations, and teeth cleanings aren't usually covered. On the other hand, treatments like extractions and reconstruction due to injuries are often included in these policies.

Many pet insurance companies, such as Healthy Paws, Pets Best, and Nationwide, offer accident & illness policies, and each policy has it's own quirks. Thinking about factors like coverage, exclusions, and cost, will help you find the best fit for your pet’s needs.

Accident-only policies

Accident-only policies are more affordable than accident & illness policies but only provide coverage for accidents. These budget-friendly plans are for pet owners who want to protect their pets (and wallets) from accident-related expenses without the higher cost of illness coverage.

Keep in mind that an accident-only plan won't cover any expenses if your pet gets sick. Check out coverage options, exclusions, costs, waiting periods, and customer reviews from different insurance providers to find the most suitable insurance for your pet.

Wellness plans

Wellness plans can help cover the cost of routine care, like vaccinations and dental cleanings, without waiting periods or deductibles. These plans are designed to help pet owners cut the the cost of preventive care.

Pets Best, Nationwide, and other pet insurance companies offer wellness policies with different coverage levels and options. But, some pet owners may forgo pet health insurance plans due to the high premiums associated with the pet insurance. Don't forget to take advantage of discounts and compare plans to help stretch your budget.

Evaluating pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions are health problems your pet had before they were insured, like cancer, allergies, or diabetes. Some insurance companies include conditions your pet showed symptoms of or was diagnosed with during the waiting period before your policy takes effect. Knowing how pet insurance companies deal with pre-existing conditions is key for making sure your pet is covered.

Pet insurance policies usually don’t cover pre-existing conditions. This is a real bummer, especially when the pre-existing condition was the reason you were looking for pet insurance in the first place. But, some companies, like Nationwide, offer exceptions for curable pre-existing conditions if your pet has been symptom-free for a certain amount of time. Make sure you review the waiting periods for your policy so you're not faced with any unexpected expenses.

When you're choosing a pet insurance policy, make sure to check out their policies for treating pre-existing conditions and the waiting periods for various conditions, such as hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament issues (you definitely don't want to be stuck paying for that!) Once you have all of the info, you can make an informed decision about the best policy for your pet.

Analyzing policy features and mechanics

When choosing a pet insurance policy, you'll need to research how the company handles out-of-pocket expenses and reimbursement for vet care. The annual maximum, deductible amount, and reimbursement percentage are the three key numbers you'll want to know since they'll determine the amount of money you'll receive when you file a pet insurance claim.

Different insurance companies offer different reimbursement options, such as Figo Pet Insurance, which provides reimbursement options up to 100%. Some policies offer additional features, like Figo’s personalized pet cloud service, which allows you to securely store your pet’s records. This can be super helpful if you move often.

Understanding how pet insurance policies work will help you choose a policy that fits your budget while making sure Fido gets the care he deserves.

Assessing your pet's specific needs

healthy puppy

When choosing a pet insurance policy, make sure to think about your pet’s specific needs, such as their age, breed, and any pre-existing conditions. Keeping these things in mind will help you chose the best policy for your furry friend (that won't break the bank.)

Creating a must-have list

Picking pet insurance is like picking a partner. There are "must-haves" that are non-negotiable, and then there are things that are just "nice-to-have." When making your list think about things like:

  • Coverage options
  • Exclusions
  • Costs
  • Waiting periods
  • Customer reviews

Also consider any optional coverage options that may be important for your pet, such as prescription coverage, behavioral treatment, or loss/theft coverage. Thinking through your priorities can make deciding on the best policy for your pet much easier.

Comparing quotes and policies

Now that you know what your pet needs, and have your must-have list ready, it's time to compare quotes and policies from multiple insurance providers. This will make sure you’re choosing the best pet insurance plan in terms of:

  • Annual limits
  • Deductibles
  • Reimbursement percentages
  • Any additional coverage options.

To compare quotes, gather info from two or three pet insurance companies (or more if you're feeling ambitious,) and evaluate their:

  • Coverage limits
  • Deductibles
  • Reimbursement rates
  • Available coverage add-ons

Keep in mind that the cost of pet insurance varies depending on factors such as your pet’s age, health, and location.

Comparing quotes and policies gives you a clearer picture of the available coverage options and prices, allowing you to choose the best pet insurance policy for your pet’s specific needs.

Applying for pet insurance

Once you’ve chosen a pet insurance policy, it’s time to apply. The application process typically involves customizing your policy by selecting the deductible, reimbursement percentage, annual coverage limit, and any available coverage add-ons.

Next, you'll submit your pet’s medical records, since most insurers require this information to determine coverage eligibility and any waiting periods. Remember, coverage won’t start until all required waiting periods have passed.

After completing the application process, review your policy details to make sure you understand the coverage and exclusions. This will help you make informed healthcare decisions for your pet and avoid any surprises when it comes to reimbursement.

Cost of pet insurance

Factors such as coverage, deductibles, and reimbursement levels influence the cost of pet insurance. On average, the cost of pet insurance for a dog is around $35 per month, while for a cat, it’s roughly $28 per month.

The specific cost of your pet insurance policy will depend on the pet insurance company, the type of policy you select, and your pet’s age, health, and location. Keep in mind that the premium for your pet’s policy may increase upon renewal as they age.

While pet insurance is an additional expense, having it can give you financial security and peace of mind. The right insurance plan can help by reducing healthcare costs and making it easier for you to get your pet the care they need.

Timeframe for obtaining pet insurance

Getting pet insurance can be a quick process, with policies often issued the same day you apply. But, remember that waiting periods are in place before coverage starts for specific conditions, including curable pre-existing conditions.

Different pet insurance companies have varying waiting periods, such as the 14-day waiting period offered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. It’s crucial to review and understand these waiting periods when applying for pet insurance, as coverage for specific conditions will not begin until the waiting period has passed.

Coverage after diagnosis

Once your pet sees the vet and receives a diagnosis, pet insurance coverage will vary depending on the policy and provider. Typically, pet insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, which are injuries or illnesses that your pet had before the policy issue date or during the waiting period.

However, some pet insurance companies may provide coverage for a pre-existing condition if it is curable and does not reoccur within a stipulated timeframe. Because of this, it's important to review the terms and conditions of your pet insurance policy to understand what it covers.

Determining if pet insurance is worth it

Pet insurance helps protect you from emptying your bank account in case of emergency care or expensive treatments for your pet's accidents and illnesses. Choosing the right policy allows your pet to get the care they need without straining your finances.

Weighing the cost of pet insurance premiums against potential savings on vet care, considering factors like your pet’s age, breed, and overall health, are all super important when deciding if pet insurance is right for you. After thinking it through, you may decide that saving money in a dedicated savings account for unexpected vet expenses may be a better option for you than pet insurance.

Coverage details

Pet insurance policies generally cover accidents and illnesses after the waiting period, with certain exclusions and limitations. It is essential to review your policy details carefully to understand what is and isn't covered, since pre-existing conditions and specific exclusions are typically not included in pet insurance coverage.

Understanding your pet insurance policy’s coverage details helps you make the best decisions about your pet’s healthcare and prepare for any unexpected vet expenses.

Pet insurance process

Pet insurance is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance provider. This contract outlines the reimbursement of vet care expenses for your pet based on the policy you choose. Once you’ve paid your deductible, you can submit claims to the pet insurance company for reimbursement. Reimbursements will be issued until the maximum amount for the plan year is reached.

Different pet insurance companies have varying processes for submitting claims. For example, Healthy Paws allows you to submit claims by simply taking a photo of your veterinary bill and uploading it to their website or mobile app. Most claims, such as those with Figo Pet Insurance, are typically resolved within three business days.

Understanding how pet insurance works, and how to get your reimbursement are key for making sure you get the most out of your policy.


Choosing the right insurance policy for your pet is an important decision that can reduce stress from unexpected vet expenses. Take the time to research and choose the best pet insurance policy for your furry friend and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pet (and your bank account) are protected.

Frequently asked questions

How much is dog insurance?

Pet insurance typically costs between $20 and $50 per month for accident and illness coverage for dogs, and roughly $14 to $25 per month for cats. Rates may vary based on species, breed, age, location, and other factors.

What are the primary types of pet insurance policies?

Pet insurance policies come in three main forms: Accident & Illness Policies, Accident-Only Policies, and Wellness Plans..

How do waiting periods affect pet insurance coverage?

Waiting periods can delay coverage for pre-existing conditions, meaning it may take some time before a pet is covered for certain medical treatments. Waiting periods can affect pet insurance coverage in a significant way.

Are pre-existing conditions covered by pet insurance policies?

Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, though some may provide coverage for curable conditions after a waiting period.

How is the cost of pet insurance determined?

The cost of pet insurance is determined by the type of coverage, deductible amounts, reimbursement levels, and your pet's age, health, and location.

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