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Does pet insurance cover vet visits

The essentials

  • No two pet insurance policies are the same — The terms of your plan can vary depending on several factors.
  • Traditional insurance won’t cover vet visits — Owners will need to find a wellness plan to help with the cost of routine care.
  • Pet wellness plans may not be available on their own — They’re usually purchased as an add-on to your pet’s current insurance. 

Pet insurance comes in handy when your pet needs urgent medical attention. Unfortunately, vet visits are rarely covered under a standard insurance policy. Insurance providers have begun offering wellness plans, however, to help cover these routine vet costs.

What is a wellness plan? 

Unlike traditional pet insurance, a wellness plan helps cover routine vet care. It’s designed to spread out the costs of preventative care over a year rather than paying a lump sum during your pet’s routine checkup. On top of that, wellness plans often come with a short waiting period and little to no deductible.

What routine care is covered under a wellness plan? 

Wellness pet insurance plans cover expected veterinary costs and routine care, such as:

  • Exam fees. Pets need at least one routine wellness exam per year. These usually run between $50 and $250 without wellness plan coverage.
  • Vaccination. A round of core vaccines average around $100 each year out of pocket.
  • Dental cleanings — Dog teeth cleaning costs range from about $300 to $700 without coverage, while cat teeth cleanings cost $100 to $400.
  • Spay/neuter — You can expect to pay between $150 and $250 at a spay, neuter, and vaccine clinic. It’s even more expensive at private animal hospitals, and factors such as breed, size, age, and other medical conditions can affect the cost.
  • Microchip — A microchip can cost as little as $10 at some clinics, but the average cost is $30 to $45 per pet.
  • Heartworm testing + prevention — Heartworm tests cost $35–$75 each, and preventative heartworm tablets can another $6 to $18 a month.
  • Flea & tick prevention — A weekly flea dip or a monthly oral flea prevention pill combined with a tick collar costs between $40 and $150 per year.

Pet insurance providers that cover vet visits

While most insurers offer some sort of wellness coverage, some plans have more exclusions than others. Many providers also offer differing levels of coverage to better meet your budget and pet’s needs. The following pet insurance companies all offer comprehensive wellness plans:

  • Lemonade. Lemonade has three main wellness coverages. The Preventative Package covers your pet’s routine checkup, annual bloodwork, and more. The Preventative+ package comes with coverage for parasite prevention and routine dental cleaning. There’s also a Puppy/Kitten Preventative Package made for pets under two years old.
  • Embrace. Embrace offers a Wellness Rewards program that reimburses members for everyday veterinary, training, and grooming costs. This isn’t an insurance policy but rather works more like a budgeting tool for pet owners to give themselves a $250, $450, or $650 allowance per policy year.
  • ASPCA. ASPCA offers wellness plan add-ons to their standard pet insurance coverage for as little as $9.95 per month. Owners pay the bill out of pocket and submit a claim to receive reimbursement, much like a regular insurance policy.
  • Trupanion. Similar to the ASPCA program, Trupanion’s wellness package offers owners money back for common procedures.

Why should my pet have a wellness plan?

While pet insurance is important to have for injuries or illnesses, the cost of routine care can add up fast. A single vet trip usually runs from $125 to $500 without insurance. This could be even higher for those with puppies/kittens or elderly pets. Most add-on wellness plans only cost an additional $10 to $20 per month, and the extra coverage they offer can save you money in the long run.

Frequently asked questions

Are consultations covered by pet insurance?

Consultations and vet visit fees usually aren’t covered by traditional insurance policies.  If you specifically pay for wellness coverage, routine consultations are more likely to be covered.

What’s the point of pet insurance?

Depending on your policy, pet insurance can help cover vet expenses. Traditional policies cover accidents and illnesses, while wellness plans help with preventative care.

Does pet insurance cover regular vet visits?

No, traditional pet insurance doesn’t cover vet visits. But a pet wellness plan may cover the cost.

Should I get pet health insurance while my pet is young?

Emergencies can happen at any time, so you should buy pet insurance as soon as you get a new pet. That’s because any illness or injury your pet develops before enrolling in pet insurance will be considered a pre-existing condition and ineligible for coverage.