Pet Wellness Guides > Can I Put My Dog On My Health Insurance - Pet Insurance Review

Can I Put My Dog On My Health Insurance

Posted: 05/25/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Many pet parents wonder, “Can I put my dog on my health insurance?” 

Unfortunately, you can’t add your dog to your regular health insurance plan. These plans are designed to cover medical expenses for humans only.

However, there is a pet insurance option that works similarly to human health insurance. Pet insurance can help you manage veterinary costs if your dog gets sick or injured.

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of pet insurance so you can understand exactly what it is, how it works, and what is and isn’t covered.

What is Pet Insurance Exactly?

Pet insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps pet parents pay for the cost of veterinary care when their fur baby becomes ill or injured. These policies provide peace of mind and financial security by limiting the financial risk that often comes with costly and unexpected vet bills.

We all want to believe that our fur babies will never get really sick or have a bad accident. But sadly, it happens all too often, even with the best care. In fact, did you know that 1 in 3 pets require emergency veterinary care each year? And if you haven’t had to take your pet into an emergency vet clinic or animal hospital, you may be unpleasantly surprised to learn just how much care can cost!


These high, surprising costs can create a real financial hardship for many pet parents, forcing them into the agonizing decision of whether they can cover their pet’s critical treatment.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Pet insurance helps pet parents save on veterinary care by reimbursing a portion of their eligible expenses (we’ll get to what is and isn’t covered in just a second). While every policy is different, this is how pet insurance works pretty much across the board:

Step 1 – Visit any licensed vet or animal hospital when your pet becomes ill or injured. Pay the vet bill at the time of service. (Many pet parents choose to put expenses on a credit card or care credit, knowing they will quickly get a reimbursement to pay that balance off).

Step 2 – Submit a claim to your insurance provider (usually via an app or internet browser). Some pet insurance companies require paperwork or your pet’s medical history review to process your claim. Always be sure to save ALL receipts and documentation you receive during treatment in case you will need to submit these with your claim.

Step 3 – Receive a reimbursement payment, usually between 70% and 100% of covered expenses (depending on which plan you choose). Typically these payments are sent within 5 – 10 days after submitting a claim.

The benefit of an insurance plan that requires you to make upfront payments and submit a claim for reimbursement, is that you don’t have to worry about finding an “in-network” vet. You can take your fur baby to any licensed vet or emergency clinic anywhere in the United States. This means even while traveling!

Having said that, if you would really rather not have to pay upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement, there are insurance providers that pay the vet directly. 

And that’s really the basics of how pet insurance works. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what is and isn’t covered.

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What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Each pet insurance company offers different policies, so no two will be exactly alike. Having said that, the best, most comprehensive plans cover costs related to both accidents and illnesses. These are called Accident & Illness plans (go figure!)

In general, pet insurance can cover:

  • Unexpected injuries/accidents (like foreign object ingestion, broken bones, and more)
  • Unexpected (and chronic) illnesses (like cancer, glaucoma, parvovirus, and more)
  • Surgery (like cruciate ligament tears, cataracts, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Tests/diagnostics (like x-rays, blood tests, MRIs, and more)
  • Emergency exam fees

Some Pet Insurance Plans Also Cover:

  • Alternative therapies
  • Behavioral modification
  • Hospital boarding
  • Lost pet advertising/reward
  • Nursing/Whelping
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy

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What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover?

It’s important to understand that there are some veterinary expenses that are not typically covered by pet insurance:

  • Pre-existing conditions (your pet was diagnosed with something before enrollment)
  • Routine care/Wellness exams
  • Preventative care
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Vaccinations
  • Exclusions

Many providers have begun to offer Wellness Plans that may be added on to your existing Accident & Illness policy, or Accident-Only policy to cover the costs associated with routine exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter and more.

In addition, while no provider will cover pre-existing conditions, there are some that will cover curable conditions after a certain waiting period, provided your pet has no recurring symptoms. Also, we want to mention that pets with pre-existing conditions are still eligible for insurance, it’s just that their coverage would exclude the specific condition they were diagnosed with.

And this is why it is SO IMPORTANT for pet parents to sign their fur babies up while they are still young and healthy. It’s also important to find a plan that covers your pet’s breed-specific health risks. If you’re not sure what those are, speak with your vet to understand what health conditions your fur baby may be looking at as they age.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Pet insurance is probably more affordable than most people think. According to recent data, pet insurance costs $60 per month for dogs and $32 for cats on average. While these are the average costs, it’s important to remember that there is a wide range in pricing. For instance, someone may be quotes a dog policy for as low as $25 a month while someone else may be required to pay $100.

So what gives? 

There are a few key factors that go into determining how much a pet parent will spend each month on pet insurance. Those factors include:

  • Breed
  • Age (compared to its typical life expectancy)
  • Zip code
  • Common indoor and outdoor risks in area
  • Term and length of insurance policy
  • Reimbursement Rate chosen
  • Deductible
  • Payout Limit
  • Plan type
  • Policy provider

While you can’t change your fur baby’s breed or age, or where you live, you can control how high or low your premium is by choosing a higher or lower deductible and reimbursement rate. 

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So Is Pet Insurance a Good Idea Overall?

If you are one of the lucky few who is financially secure and wouldn’t be sidelined by an unexpected vet bill in the thousands of dollars, then maybe pet insurance isn’t really a necessary safeguard.

If, however, you’re like one of many pet parents who don’t know how they would afford potentially life-saving treatment for their fur baby, then yes, pet insurance is definitely a good idea!

Here are just some authentic pet parents reviews that highlight the benefits of pet insurance:

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Getting a quote from multiple providers is quick and easy. And, should you enroll your fur baby into a policy, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you can offer them the help they need when they need it most.

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The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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