What does pet insurance cover?

Key Takeaway
Pet insurance is health insurance for your pets. Getting a policy when your pet is still young helps ensure you're covered for everything. If you want to maintain your pet healthy without going over budget, read this comprehensive guide by Homebody.

One of the most common question pet owners ask is: What does pet insurance cover?

In this comprehensive guide, you will get answers to that question and more, exploring pet insurance coverage, how it works, the associated costs, and the benefits it offers you as a pet owner.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover

Let’s start with the basics. Pet insurance is designed to cover various veterinary expenses associated with accidents and illnesses.  As you may know, not all pet insurance policies and coverage are alike. You’ll certainly find plenty of differences between major insurers, with a lot of variety between policies. So, how do you know what to look for in pet insurance coverage? To help you understand your coverage, here are some common areas that pet- insurance companies typically cover:

Accident and Illness Coverage

Most pet insurance plans provide coverage for unexpected accidents and illnesses. This includes: 

  • Diagnostic tests
  • Laboratory fees
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Hospitalizations
  • Specialist consultations

In some cases, pet insurance may also cover alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or physiotherapy, to aid in your pet's recovery.

Pre-existing Conditions

It is important to note that most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. 

A pre-existing condition refers to any illness or injury your pet had before the insurance coverage began or during the waiting period. 

This means that the sooner you get a policy, the better.

Pro tip: Enroll your pet in pet health insurance plans at a young age or as soon as possible to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Routine and Preventive Care

While most pet insurance plans focus on accidents and illnesses, some providers offer optional coverage for routine and preventive care. 

This may include:

  • Vaccinations
  • Wellness exams
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Dental cleanings
  • Spaying/neutering procedures

As you may have guessed, these additional coverage options vary between insurance companies and may be available as add-ons or separate wellness plans.

Prescription Medications

You’d be surprised by just how much pet medication costs to keep your furry one in good and perfect health!

Pet insurance may cover the cost of prescription medications prescribed by a licensed veterinarian for your pet's specific condition or treatment. 

This can significantly down vet bills and alleviate the financial burden of long-term medication requirements—especially for life-long illnesses.

  • One lifelong illness that may require ongoing medication for dogs is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the dog's thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Medication in the form of synthetic thyroid hormone, such as levothyroxine, is commonly prescribed to manage this condition in dogs.
  • For cats, one lifelong illness that may require medication is chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a progressive condition where the kidneys gradually lose function over time. Cats with CKD often require medications to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These medications may include drugs to control blood pressure, stimulate appetite, and manage electrolyte imbalances.

Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

Certain pet insurance policies cover hereditary and congenital conditions inherited or present at birth. These conditions can include hip dysplasia, heart disease, or certain types of cancer. 

Remember that dogs, cats, and other animals vary in terms of what conditions are covered by illness pet insurance plans versus those that are not. 

Purebred animals, for instance, tend to have higher rates of hereditary diseases that may not be insurance—or they may end up costing you an arm or a leg (or a hoof and a paw, for that matter!).

Therefore, it's important to carefully review the policy's terms and conditions to understand the extent of coverage for such conditions. 

What is Usually Not Covered by Pet Insurance?

I know you want to enjoy all the benefits of pet insurance. But you need to know that there are some ‘stuff’ that pet insurance will not cover.

While pet insurance provides valuable coverage for a wide range of expenses, it’s not the end-all-be-all for providing your pet with coverage throughout their life. 

In other words, you should understand the limitations and exclusions commonly associated with pet insurance policies. 

Here are some aspects that are typically not covered by many pet insurance companies and what you should discuss with your pet insurance company or agent:

Spaying and Neutering 

Most standard pet insurance policies do not cover routine spaying and neutering, as they are considered part of responsible pet ownership. However, some insurers may offer optional coverage for these procedures.

Pre-existing Conditions

As mentioned before, pre-existing conditions are generally not covered by pet insurance. Any illness, injury, or symptom before the purchase pet insurance policy's effective date or during the waiting period is considered pre-existing and will be excluded from pet insurance cost coverage.

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Here’s a breakdown of the most common dog breeds that may have higher insurance premiums due to pre-existing conditions:


Breathing difficulties, skin problems, joint disorders

German Shepherd

Hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy

Labrador Retriever

Obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy


Intervertebral disc disease, spinal problems


Cardiomyopathy, certain cancers, hip dysplasia

Golden Retriever

Hip dysplasia, certain cancers, heart issues

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Mitral valve disease, syringomyelia


Progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, certain skin conditions

Great Dane

Heart disease, bloat, hip dysplasia, certain cancers


Dental issues, patellar luxation

Photo by Wren Meinberg on Unsplash

Here’s a list of the most common breeds of cats with pre-existing conditions that commonly come with higher insurance premiums:


Polycystic kidney disease, respiratory issues, dental problems

Maine Coon

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia


Heat regulation issues, skin problems, dental issues


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, bladder stones


Respiratory problems, dental issues, certain eye conditions


Predisposition to certain cancers, heart disease, hip dysplasia


Progressive retinal atrophy, renal amyloidosis


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease

Scottish Fold

Osteochondrodysplasia, joint issues, ear problems

Exotic Shorthair

Polycystic kidney disease, respiratory issues

Routine and Preventive Care

You must pay more attention here if you have an accident-prone pooch or a curious cat. 

Pet insurance is a good fit for this. 

The purpose of most pet insurance plans is for unexpected accidents and illnesses, excluding routine and preventive care. 

However, if you want pet insurance for routine vet visits and preventative care, double-check your policy or bump up your coverage. 

Vaccinations, annual check-ups, and other routine procedures may not be covered unless specifically added as an optional coverage or part of a separate pet wellness plan.

Cosmetic Procedures

It’s not cheap being beautiful and furry! 

Pet insurance policies usually exclude coverage for cosmetic procedures, such as tail docking, ear cropping, or claw removal. 

These procedures are typically considered elective and not medically necessary.

Breeding and Pregnancy-related Expenses

Expenses related to breeding, pregnancy, and whelping are not covered expenses generally excluded from pet insurance coverage. 

This includes costs associated with fertility treatments, cesarean sections, or complications from the breeding process.

Why Do Pets Need Pet Insurance?

Knowledge is power when it comes to pet insurance

If you’re still on the fence about whether your pet needs an insurance policy, this section will help you decide why you should get a pet insurance policy the benefits it offers can help you make informed decisions. 

  • Financial Protection
  • Peace of Mind
  • Access to Comprehensive Care
  • Early Intervention and Preventive Care
  • Flexibility and Choice

Financial Protection

Unexpected veterinary bills can be financially burdensome, especially for emergency treatments, surgeries, or ongoing medical care. 

Pet insurance offers a safety net, allowing you to provide medical attention without worrying about the associated costs.

You’ll be glad you have pet insurance for financial protection when:

  • A day at the beach takes a bite out of your wallet when your dog nips a playmate
  • Your loveable kitty gets spooked by fireworks and makes a mess of the carpet at a luxury Airbnb

Peace of Mind

Pet insurance is more about you than your pet. 

While we put our animals first, reassurance that calamity won’t set you back or cause undue stress is priceless. 

In times of accidents, injuries, or illnesses, you can focus on your pet's well-being rather than the financial implications.

You’ll be glad you have pet insurance for peace of mind when:

  • A spider bite sends your pooch to the emergency room for treatment after you’ve been laid off from work.
  • Your cat’s sneezes require a veterinary evaluation to see what’s really wrong.

Access to Comprehensive Care

With the best pet insurance, you can provide your pet with the best available veterinary care, including advanced diagnostics, specialized treatments, and access to veterinary specialists. Insurance coverage ensures that cost is not a barrier to accessing the care your pet needs.

You’ll be glad you have pet insurance for access to comprehensive care when:

  • A reckless driver swipes your beloved in the street, requiring extensive surgery and lengthy rehabilitation treatments.
  • Your kitten fights a raccoon in the middle of the night, and you want preventative rabies treatment.

Early Intervention and Preventive Care

Pet insurance encourages you to seek timely veterinary care, even for minor concerns. 

Regular check-ups, preventive treatments, and early intervention can help identify potential health issues before they become more severe or expensive to treat.

You’ll be glad you have pet insurance for early intervention and preventive care when:

  • Your furry or feathered loved one passes health exams with flying colors!
  • You discover a tick bite on your cat’s paw and get the medication they need to avoid a serious long-term illness.

Flexibility and Choice

With affordable pet insurance here, you have the freedom to choose the most suitable treatment options for their furry companions without being limited by financial constraints. 

And Homebody does it better.

Insurance coverage allows for more comprehensive and personalized care decisions based on the pet's needs.

You’ll be glad you have pet insurance for the flexibility and choice it brings when:

  • Your old pooch is getting up in her years, and you want to boost your coverage to care for hospital visits.
  • You move to a new home, and your cat’s free to roam in a bigger space outdoors

Can I Customize My Pet Insurance Plan To Suit My Pet's Specific Needs?

If you want to customize your pet insurance policy, Homebody Insurance has the right coverage and policies to suit your pet's unique needs. 

Homebody offers different levels of coverage and the ability to add optional riders as you see fit, from basic coverage to specialized plans (and everything in between).

Best of all, Homebody specializes in rental insurance, enabling you to bundle your policies in one easy-to-use package for all the comprehensive coverage you need.

Discover personalized protection for your beloved dog, cat, or companion today at Homebody Insurance!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Pet Insurance Coverage

Now that we’ve got the basics for what pet insurance covers, what it doesn’t typically cover, and why you need it, let’s look at some more frequently asked questions to make you a pet insurance expert!

How does the reimbursement process work for veterinary bills with pet insurance?

After you pay the veterinary bill out of pocket, you must submit a claim to your pet insurance provider. The insurer will review the claim and process the reimbursement according to your policy's terms. Reimbursement is typically based on an annual deductible or a percentage of the eligible expenses after any annual deductible amount has been met.

Does pet insurance cover routine care, such as vaccinations, flea control, and dental cleanings? 

Routine or preventive care, like vaccinations and dental cleanings, is often not covered under standard pet insurance plans. However, some providers may offer optional wellness plans or riders that cover such routine expenses for an additional cost.

Is there a waiting period before I can make a claim after purchasing pet insurance?

Yes, most pet insurance policies have a waiting period. It is when you purchase the policy and when coverage becomes effective. Waiting periods vary between insurers and can be different for accidents, illnesses, and other specific conditions.

Can I use any licensed veterinarian with pet insurance, or am I limited to a specific network?

Many pet and human health insurance providers allow you to visit any licensed veterinarian. Unlike some human and pet health insurance plans, a pet insurance plan typically does not require you to use specific networks or providers. You have the flexibility to visit the veterinarian you trust and prefer. Now that’s something to bark about!

How does the premium cost of pet insurance vary based on factors such as the pet's age, breed, and location?

The premium cost of pet insurance can vary depending on several factors, including the pet's age, breed, location, and the chosen coverage level. Generally, older pets or certain breeds with a higher risk of health issues may have higher monthly premiums. Additionally, the cost of their prescription food and veterinary care can vary based on your location and accident and illness plan, which can also affect the premium.

Does pet insurance cover accidents outside my home or while traveling?

Yes, pet insurance is worth something, and most pet insurance companies' policies cover accidents that occur both inside and outside of your home, including incidents that happen while traveling with your pet.

Can I add a new pet to my existing pet insurance policy?

In many cases, pet insurance providers allow you to add a new pet to your existing policy. This can often lead to cost savings compared to purchasing separate policies for each pet.

Does pet insurance cover alternative or holistic therapies, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care? 

Some pet insurance plans offer coverage for alternative therapies, but it's not always included in standard policies. You may need an additional rider or wellness plan to cover these treatments.

Does pet insurance cover the cost of microchipping my pet? 

Microchipping is usually not covered by pet insurance since it's considered a preventive procedure. However, some insurers may offer optional wellness plans that include coverage for microchipping.

Is there an age limit for enrolling my pet in a new pet insurance policy?

Pet insurance providers typically have age restrictions for enrolling new pets. The minimum and maximum ages for enrollment can vary between pet insurance companies, so it's essential to check with the insurer.

Are there any coverage limits or caps on benefits for specific conditions?

Some pet insurance policies may have monthly premiums, annual premiums, or lifetime limits on benefits for certain conditions or types of treatment. Review the policy details to understand any coverage caps or limitations.

Can I get a discount on pet insurance if I have multiple pets?

Many pet insurance providers offer multi-pet discounts, making it more cost-effective to insure multiple pets under the same policy.

Is there a waiting period for coverage related to accidents, and is it different from the waiting period for illnesses?

Yes, pet insurance policies often have separate waiting periods for accidents and illnesses. These waiting periods can vary, so be sure to understand the specific waiting periods for each type of coverage when purchasing a policy.

Pet Insurance Coverage with Homebody Today!

As you can see, pet insurance is an essential investment for you, providing financial protection and peace of mind in the face of unexpected accidents and illnesses. 

Homebody Insurance offers comprehensive coverage tailored to your pet's needs, from accident and illness coverage to optional riders for hereditary conditions or alternative therapies.

Don't wait for accidents; be proactive and secure your pet's health with Homebody Insurance. 

Get a quote now and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your pet is protected!

Trust Guard Security Scanned