How to shop for pet insurance

When shopping for a pet insurance plan, you should consider what injuries, illnesses, or medical conditions your pet may be vulnerable to based on their breed or age. The type of plan and its overall cost are also important factors to consider so you can ensure it covers what your pet needs and also fits your budget.

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What to look for when buying pet insurance

The best pet insurance policy for your dog or cat is the one that meets their needs and your budget. When shopping for a pet policy, you should consider the following factors:

1. Research conditions your pet may develop

If your dog or cat's breed is susceptible to certain diseases or conditions, you should look for a plan that will cover them. German shepherds, for example, may suffer from hip dysplasia later in life. By researching which ailments your pet is likely to develop, you can proactively make sure the treatment they'll need is covered.

2. Find the right type of plan for your pet

There are generally three types of pet insurance coverage: pet wellness plans that pay for routine checkups and vaccinations, accident-only plans that cover treatment for injuries, and comprehensive plans that cover injuries and illnesses (typically excluding pre-existing conditions). Accident-only plans, as well as wellness and routine care plans, tend to be more affordable than comprehensive plans because they cover smaller categories of medical expenses. The best option for your pet will depend on your budget and your pet's medical needs.

3. Consider the plan's deductible, premium, and more

With pet insurance, you pay a premium monthly or annually, and you typically need to meet an out-of-pocket deductible on your pet insurance plan before your insurer starts paying for a portion of your vet bills. Depending on your plan, you may have an annual deductible or a per-incident deductible that applies to each claim you file.

Most pet insurance policies also use a reimbursement system, which means you pay the vet bill out of pocket and then file a claim with your insurer to get reimbursed for a pre-determined percentage of the eligible items on the bill. In general, pet insurance plans with a high deductible and low reimbursement percentage have lower premiums than plans with a low deductible and high reimbursement percentage. The type of plan is also a big factor; comprehensive plans generally cost more than accident-only or wellness plans.

Learn more about factors that impact the cost of pet insurance.

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Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.