What does pet insurance not cover?

Key Takeaway
Understanding the restrictions and exclusions of pet insurance is crucial to make sure you don't get surprised at your next vet visit. Learn how pre-existing conditions, cosmetic surgeries, wellness checks, and various treatments factor into your pet insurance policy

Pet insurance is a valuable resource for you as a pet owner.

However, unlike renters and human health insurance, pet insurance has some limits and exclusions. 

While not everyone is a pet insurance policy expert, it’s essential to know about your pet insurance cost and what it covers so it provides what you’re expecting it to when it matters most for your pet.

To get you up to speed, Homebody offers this comprehensive guide. 

Throughout, you will learn the limitations and exclusions of pet insurance, ultimately helping you make informed decisions about your pet's healthcare needs. 

Also, you will know about standard procedures and conditions not covered by pet insurance and the disadvantages of pet insurance. 

By the end, you'll understand what to expect from your pet insurance policy. Plus, there is an FAQ to briefly answer questions if you don’t have time to read this guide thoroughly. Also, don't forget to learn about how to choose the right pet insurance.

Limitations and Exclusions of Pet Insurance

While pet insurance offers coverage for various veterinary expenses, you need to note certain limitations and exclusions. 

Here are some key areas that pet insurance may not cover:

  • Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Cosmetic Procedures
  • Routine Wellness Exams and Preventive Care
  • Preventive Medications and Nutritional Supplements
  • Certain Chronic Conditions
  • Waiting Periods
  • Expensive Vet Bills

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you are wondering what pet insurance does not cover, a pre-existing condition is one of them. These are health issues that your pet had before the start of the insurance policy. 

If your pet has a chronic illness or condition before obtaining a pet insurance claim, it will be excluded from coverage.

To help you understand what pre-existing conditions are most commonly excluded, here are three easy-to-read tables for dogs, cats, and exotic animals:

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Dogs

puppy in basket
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash
Hip Dysplasia

A genetic condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to joint instability and potential arthritis.


Dogs may develop allergies to various substances, including pollen, food, or specific materials.

Ear Infections

Common in breeds with floppy ears, ear infections can cause discomfort and recurring issues.

Skin Conditions

Dogs may suffer from skin conditions like dermatitis or hot spots, often due to allergies or environmental factors.

Dental Disease

Dental problems such as periodontal disease or tooth decay are prevalent in dogs and can impact your pet's overall health.


A degenerative joint disease can develop with age or due to previous injuries.

Urinary Tract Issues

Dogs may experience urinary tract infections or other urinary issues, especially in senior dogs.

Cushing's Disease

An endocrine disorder that affects the adrenal glands and hormone production.

Diabetes Mellitus

A metabolic disorder resulting from insulin deficiency or insensitivity.

Heartworm Disease

A parasitic infection transmitted through mosquito bites affects the heart and lungs.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Cats

cat in blanket
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

A group of conditions affecting the urinary system, including urinary blockages or bladder inflammation.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A progressive condition that impairs kidney function over time. It is more common in older cats.

Dental Issues

Dental problems like gingivitis or periodontal disease are prevalent in cats, especially those with poor dental care.


An endocrine disorder caused by an overactive thyroid gland, leading to increased metabolism.

Feline Herpesvirus

A common viral infection in cats that causes upper respiratory symptoms and eye issues.


Cats can develop asthma, leading to breathing difficulties and coughing.


Cats may suffer from allergies to various triggers, including food, fleas, or environmental factors.

Diabetes Mellitus

A metabolic disorder resulting from insulin deficiency or insensitivity.

Ear Infections

Cats may experience ear infections due to various factors, including parasites or allergies.


A degenerative joint disease that can develop in aging cats or those with previous common injuries.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions for Exotic Animals

reptile on stairs
Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash


Feather Plucking - A behavioral condition where parrots excessively preen or pluck their feathers due to stress or boredom.


Dental Problems - Rabbits have continuously growing teeth, and dental issues such as overgrowth or malocclusion are common.


Metabolic Bone Disease - A condition resulting from calcium or vitamin D deficiency, leading to weakened bones in reptiles.

Guinea Pigs

Respiratory Infections - Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory infections, especially in inadequate living conditions.


Dental Problems - Chinchillas have continuously growing teeth, and dental issues can arise if they are not correctly cared for.


Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome - A genetic condition in hedgehogs that affects their nervous system, leading to loss of muscle control.


Adrenal Gland Disease - Ferrets are susceptible to adrenal gland problems, leading to hormonal imbalances and hair loss.

Sugar Gliders

Parasitic Infections - Sugar gliders, such as mites or intestinal worms, may contract parasites, impacting their health.


Respiratory Infections - Snakes can develop respiratory infections, especially if their enclosure's temperature and humidity are inappropriate.


Respiratory Infections - Tortoises may experience respiratory infections, mainly when kept in cold or damp environments.

Cosmetic Procedures

Pet insurance generally does not cover cosmetic procedures or elective treatments that are not medically necessary. 

It includes procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, or claw removal performed for non-medical reasons. 

If you want to make your pet more appealing, pet insurance does not cover that. Sorry, buddy.

Routine Wellness Exams and Preventive Care

Many pet insurance policies do not cover routine wellness exams, vaccinations, flea prevention, or other routine preventive care measures. 

These expenses are typically part of your responsibility as a pet owner to maintain their health.

However, you can get routine preventative care if you purchase full coverage or negotiate a customized pet insurance plan. 

It depends on the insurer, so get a quote with Homebody to find the right insurance plan now! 

Preventive Medications and Nutritional Supplements

Most pet insurance plans may not cover certain preventive medications and nutritional supplements, such as heartworm preventives or joint supplements. 

These items are often considered part of the routine care and maintenance of a pet's health, so check your policy’s fine print to see what’s covered versus what’s not.

Although many pet insurers might take a while to respond, the case differs with Homebody - sharp response to correspondence.

Certain Chronic Conditions

Some pet insurance policies may have exclusions for specific chronic conditions. These conditions may be excluded from coverage, or coverage may be limited to a particular period. Examples of chronic conditions include allergies, diabetes, or arthritis.

Waiting Periods

The waiting period is a common misconception about pet insurance coverage: Even if you purchase a policy, it doesn’t go into effect immediately.

Most pet insurance policies have waiting periods before coverage begins. Any illness or condition that develops is considered a pre-existing condition and will not be covered during this time. 

Waiting periods range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the same insurance company, provider, and policy.

Expensive Vet Bills

While pet insurance can help offset the cost of veterinary care, there may still be substantial out-of-pocket expenses. 

Deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits apply to all claims, so you’ll need to calculate how much you’ll need to have on hand if vet bills start to rack up. 

Best Practices for Using Pet Insurance: Understanding Exclusions and Limitations

Ok, pet insurance isn’t all doom and gloom. It is not all rosy

It’s one of the most affordable and valuable things you can have for your beloved pet. The only catch is you have to know how to wield the power of pet insurance well. Don’t worry; it’s super easy, especially with Homebody!

Now that you know what pet insurance doesn’t cover, it is time to know some of the best practices you should follow to ensure that pet insurance works for you and your fluffy loved ones:

  • Know the Policy Inside Out
  • Consider Your Pet's Health History
  • Opt for Comprehensive Coverage
  • Explore Additional Riders and Add-Ons
  • Enroll Your Pet Early
  • Plan for Preventive Care Expenses
  • Stay In-Network
  • Maintain Regular Vet Check-Ups
  • Keep Detailed Medical Records
  • Be Prepared for Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Know the Policy Inside Out

Before enrolling in a pet insurance policy, thoroughly review the terms and conditions, paying particular attention to exclusions and limitations. 

Luckily, Homebody has already done that in this guide, so you’re ahead of the curve for most pet lovers!

Essentially, you’ll want to understand what is covered and what is not, including pre-existing conditions, elective procedures, and certain chronic illnesses. 

Knowing your policy details will prevent surprises when it comes time to make a claim (kind of like the “presents” your dog or cat brings you when you’re least expecting it).

Consider Your Pet's Health History

If your pet has pre-existing conditions or a history of specific health issues, choose a pet insurance plan offering coverage for these conditions. 

Some policies may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions altogether, while others may impose waiting periods before they become eligible. 

As a general rule, the more likely your pet is to need medical attention, the higher the premiums and other costs will be. 

‍Are you still on track, or have I lost you?

Opt for Comprehensive Coverage

While budget constraints may tempt you to opt for a basic plan, consider investing in comprehensive coverage for your pet–the slightly higher premiums are certainly worth it from a financial perspective.

Comprehensive coverage protects your furry loved one from various unavoidable health issues. 

Comprehensive plans often cover accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, and chronic diseases, providing peace of mind and complete protection for your furry friend.

Explore Additional Riders and Add-Ons

Many pet insurance providers offer optional riders or add-ons to enhance your policy's coverage (often under “custom coverage”).

These add-ons may include wellness care, dental coverage, or alternative therapies such as acupuncture. 

Assess your pet's specific needs and lifestyle to determine if these additional options are worth considering to supplement your primary policy.

Enroll Your Pet Early

The sooner you get pet insurance, the better. Start your pet's insurance coverage early to avoid potential exclusions due to pre-existing conditions. 

Insuring your pet at a young age, preferably before any health issues arise, ensures they are covered for future medical needs. 

Only after your pet is older or has developed health problems may lead to coverage limitations or higher premiums. Just to it.

Plan for Preventive Care Expenses

Most pet insurance policies do not cover routine wellness exams, vaccinations, or flea prevention. 

Budget separately for these preventive care expenses, as they are essential for your pet's overall health but may not be included in your pet insurance company or coverage.

Stay In-Network

Choosing veterinarians within your pet insurance provider's network can lead to cost savings and smoother claims processing

Verify that your preferred veterinarians are part of the network, or consider switching to in-network providers for routine care and non-emergency service.

Maintain Regular Vet Check-Ups

The best medicine is prevention, and even your grandparents know this. Routine check-ups can help detect and address potential health issues early on, avoiding exclusions due to pre-existing conditions in the future. 

Regular visits to the veterinarian also demonstrate responsible pet ownership, which may reflect favorably on your insurance coverage.

Keep Detailed Medical Records

Maintain up-to-date and detailed medical records for your pet. Comprehensive records can streamline the claims process and provide evidence of your pet's health history, especially if they develop a new condition requiring medical attention.

As a tip, keep your documents digitally and physically organized. If there are digital documents, print them; vice versa, digitize any physical documents so you have a handy reference when dealing with the claims process. 

Be Prepared for Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Even with pet insurance, avoiding out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, co-pays, or annual limits, is impossible. 

Create a pet emergency fund to cover these unexpected costs and ensure you can provide immediate care for your pet when needed. 

While you may be paying $20 in premiums, setting aside an equal amount in a savings account will be helpful when paying out of pocket. 

Expanding Coverage with Homebody's Pet Insurance and Other Offerings

At Homebody, we are committed to creating a better renting experience for you (a pet owner) and your friend (pet). 

Our current and upcoming services are designed to save money, providing flexibility and protection for everything you cherish–especially your furry ones!

Renter’s Insurance and More

In addition to pet insurance, Homebody offers valuable supplements to enhance your renting experience:

  • Deposit Alternative: Forget massive security deposits! Instead, pay small insurance premiums (around $10/month) to save hundreds of dollars upfront.
  • Rent Credit Reporting: Build your credit by paying a small monthly fee. Homebody reports your on-time rent payments to credit bureaus, giving you a simple yet powerful way to boost your credit score.
  • Renters Insurance: Protect your belongings with ease. Our renters' insurance signup process is quick (about seven clicks, under five minutes), and you can even sign up during the leasing process to be insured the day you move in. Enjoy peace of mind with comprehensive coverage for your rental space!

The Homebody Learning Hub

At Homebody, we believe in empowering our pet owners and renters with knowledge and information. 

Our website is equipped with plenty of resources where you can find educational content on various topics. 

From renting, insurance, pet health, and more, we want you to make informed decisions for anything insurance-related. 

Bundling Your Insurance Needs

You can benefit from the more extensive coverage and a seamless insurance experience by combining Homebody's renters' insurance with our other offerings. 

Homebody strives to be your trusted insurance partner throughout your rental journey, from protecting your rental space to safeguarding your pets and vehicles. 

The Future Looks Bright With Homebody

Homebody offers exciting plans to expand our insurance offerings as we grow, including home insurance, motorcycle and illness pet insurance plans, jewelry insurance, and more. 

We aim to provide comprehensive coverage options catering to your unique needs and lifestyle. By bundling multiple insurance policies with Homebody, you can simplify your insurance management, receive consolidated billing, and unlock additional discounts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Insurance Coverage

We know you love to have all the benefits for yourself, but it is important to understand what is not covered, too. 

Limitations and exclusions related to pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, routine wellness care, and certain treatments may apply. 

But the good news is that if you’ve read up to this point, you’re well on your way to having your pet insurance policy cover your loved ones’ needs. 

dog after vet
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

What does pet insurance not cover?

Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, which are health issues or injuries your pet had before getting pet health insurance. 

It also may not cover elective procedures, cosmetic surgeries, or preventive treatments like vaccines and routine wellness exams.

Does pet insurance cover human health insurance?

No, pet insurance is specifically designed to cover veterinary expenses and emergency care for your pets and does not provide coverage for human health insurance.

Is illness coverage included in pet insurance?

Yes, many pet insurance plans offer illness coverage, which covers medical expenses related to illnesses, infections, or chronic conditions your pet may experience.

What about accident and illness coverage?

Accident and illness coverage is a common feature in pet insurance policies. It helps protect your pet from unexpected veterinary expenses resulting from accidents or sudden illnesses.

Do pet insurance policies cover pre-existing conditions?

Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, so it's essential to find a policy that suits your pet's specific needs if they have any existing health issues.

Does the policy cover pet insurance costs?

Pet insurance costs, such as monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, are the pet owner's responsibility and are not covered by the policy.

Do pet insurance plans include wellness coverage?

Some pet insurance plans offer additional wellness coverage, which covers preventive care expenses like vaccinations, routine exams, and dental cleanings. 

However, not all pet health insurance plans include this option.

Can pet insurance cover multiple pets under one policy?

Some pet insurance providers offer the option to insure multiple pets under one policy, making it more convenient and cost-effective for pet owners with multiple furry companions.

What do pet insurance quotes typically include?

Pet insurance quotes usually estimate the monthly premium, deductible, and potential reimbursement rates based on the coverage options you select for your pet.

Does pet insurance work for prescription medications?

Yes, pet insurance can cover prescription medications necessary for your pet's treatment, helping to offset the cost of medication prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.

Does pet insurance cover cosmetic procedures?

No, pet insurance typically does not cover cosmetic procedures, as it is designed to focus on essential medical treatments for your pet's health and well-being.

What happens during waiting periods with pet insurance?

During waiting periods, specific conditions may not be covered by the policy. Knowing these various waiting periods and the associated terms and conditions is essential when purchasing pet insurance.

Does pet insurance cover veterinary exam fees?

Some pet insurance plans may cover veterinary exam fees as part of the policy's coverage, but this varies depending on the provider and the specific policy you choose.

What are the typical exclusions in most pet insurance policies?

Standard exclusions in pet insurance policies include pre-existing conditions, elective procedures, cosmetic surgeries, blood tests, and specific treatments not deemed medically necessary for your pet's health.

Is pet insurance suitable for covering expensive vet bills?

Yes, pet insurance can be beneficial in covering expensive vet bills, especially for unexpected accidents or serious illnesses that may result in high veterinary costs.

What does pet insurance not cover in terms of routine wellness exams?

Pet insurance typically does not cover the costs of routine wellness exams, which include vaccinations, dental cleanings, and other preventive care services. These are usually considered part of wellness coverage, which may be optional in some policies.

Does pet insurance cover CT scans?

Many pet insurance companies often cover CT scans, especially when medically necessary for diagnostic purposes. 

However, reviewing your pet insurance plan's specific policy terms and conditions is essential to confirm whether CT scans are covered and any associated limitations or requirements.

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