Pet insurance vs. pet wellness
When shopping around for pet coverage, you may run into two different types of products: pet insurance policies and pet wellness plans. While both can help you pay for a portion of your pet’s veterinary expenses each year, there are some important differences to note between each coverage type.
What pet insurance plans cover
Pet insurance policies are designed to help pay for care related to injuries and illnesses that your pet may experience. These policies generally reimburse you for a percentage of your veterinary expenses once you’ve met your deductible (either for the year or per condition), up to an annual maximum benefit.
Pet insurance plans can cover things like:
Vet visits for illnesses or injuries
Diagnostic exams (scans, X-rays, CTs, blood work, etc.)
Medical-related boarding and animal hospital stays
Broken teeth and dental abscesses
However, pet insurance plans don’t cover expenses related to routine care. They also exclude pre-existing conditions that your pet has been diagnosed with (or received care for) in the past, and some policies also exclude common breed-specific conditions.
Good to know
Keep in Mind: Most pet insurance policies require you to pay covered expenses up front and submit a claim for reimbursement. Some plans, however, will pay the vet directly.
What pet wellness plans cover
Pet wellness plans, also known as preventative care policies, are designed to pay for expenses related to your pet’s regularly scheduled wellness care. Depending on the policy, this usually means paying for things like annual vet visits, recommended immunizations, flea and tick treatments, heartworm preventatives, and even dental cleanings and groomings.
With pet wellness policies, you’ll usually be given an allotment for eligible care each year, which is either paid directly to your licensed veterinarian’s office or as a reimbursement after you pay the bill. Rather than a percentage reimbursement, you may be offered a certain number of visits or procedures, such as four scheduled vaccinations each year and one annual vet visit.
Certain care expenses may have an annual benefit attached to them, like up to $100 toward grooming each year.
Pet wellness plans are only intended for routine care that keeps your pet well. These plans do not cover sick care, such as emergency vet visits or surgery.
Here’s a look at pet insurance plans versus pet wellness plans and how their coverages compare.
| ||Pet Insurance Plan||Pet Wellness Plan|
|Routine annual exams||✅||✅|
|Urgent care visits||✅||❌|
|Dental exams and cleanings||❌||✅|
|Emergency dental care||✅||❌|
|Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention||❌||✅|
|Routine blood work||❌||✅|
|Diagnostic care related to an illness or injury||✅||❌|
See More: How Much Is a Vet Visit for a Cat Without Insurance?