What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance covers unexpected expenses relating to your pets, such as accidents, illnesses, and injuries. Primarily designed for dogs and cats, pet insurance normally does not cover routine expenses like annual checkups, teeth cleaning, or grooming. More comprehensive coverage is available through some plans or add-ons, but preventative care is excluded from most policies.

Instead, pet insurance focuses on serious, unexpected events that produce expensive vet bills.

For example, pet insurance can help cover expenses if your pet:

  • Breaks a bone
  • Ingests something dangerous
  • Is injured by another animal
  • Develops a UTI
  • Gets diagnosed with cancer 
  • Needs x-rays or surgery



Rarely does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions. It also does not cover liability. For instance, if your dog bites a neighbor and they have to go to the hospital, pet insurance will not help cover any of those costs.

The two most common types of pet insurance are:

  1. Accident Only
  2. Accident and Illness

As the name implies, Accident Only exclusively covers expenses that are related to a pet accident. Examples include getting hit by a car or swallowing a foreign object.

On the other hand, Accident and Illness covers both accident-related and illness-related expenses, from broken bones to ear infections and cancer.


How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average premium costs for pet insurance in the U.S. last year were as follows.

Accident Only insurance:

  • $16.17 per month for a dog
  • $10.51 per month for a cat

Accident and Illness insurance:

  • $48.78 per month for a dog
  • $29.16 per month for a cat

The difference in cost between these two types of insurance can be attributed to the scope of coverage. Accident and Illness plans cover a wider variety of expenses. As a result, the premiums are higher.

In addition to scope of coverage, other factors can influence pet insurance premiums and related costs. For example, owning certain breeds may result in higher insurance costs. If the breed is predisposed to certain illnesses or conditions, such as French bulldogs or pugs, pet insurance may cost you more.


dog standing in grass


Should I Get Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular, growing at a rate of 22.1% over the past 5 years according to NAPHIA. In fact, nearly 3 million pets are currently covered by pet insurance in North America.

Furthermore, according to Petplan, an unexpected visit to the veterinarian can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500 on average. This could be a significant financial setback for many pet owners.

So, is pet insurance something you should consider?

It depends. It may be a good investment if you have a pet at higher risk for illnesses and injuries, such as older pets or pets who spend a lot of time outdoors. If your pet experiences a covered event, pet insurance can end up saving you a good deal of money at the vet.

However, if your pet is younger, healthy, and at minimal risk for an accident or medical emergency, pet insurance may not be worth the cost. Money spent on premiums may be better used towards the preventative care that isn’t covered by insurance. This includes things like checkups, teeth cleaning, flea and tick treatments, vaccinations, and heartworm medication.

In the end, whether or not pet insurance is right for you depends on the specific needs of you and your pet.

When exploring pet insurance options, be sure to read each policy closely. Specifically, make sure you are aware of any exclusions. This will help ensure that your pet insurance plan meets your expectations and you obtain the coverage your pet needs.


About Mployer Advisor

At Mployer Advisor, our focus is creating transparency in the insurance and insurance broker, consultant and advisor space to the advantage of the employer. Analytics is our core and we will bring to light new information, tools and resources to aid employers in making more cost-effective decisions. As a phase I, we are here to help employers find the right broker or consultant and the right insurance company for them. Giving choice and initial transparency is a first step in creating an employer centric insurance marketplace.