Comprehensive pet insurance: What's covered? |

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Comprehensive pet insurance

Shave costs on the widest medical coverage your pet needs.


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Sick dog on the floor

A comprehensive policy makes sure your pet has a wide variety of protection from incidentals to routine vet care. But not every pet needs this broad coverage, especially if they have a low risk for developing breed-related health problems. If you do want to max out coverage, consider lowering your annual limit. That way you can cover more with less money out of your bank account.

What’s covered under comprehensive pet insurance?

You probably won’t find a top tier of pet insurance called a comprehensive policy as its formal name. But the idea of buying comprehensive insurance means wide coverage against a variety of medical problems. Comprehensive coverage often includes accident, illness and routine care.

The good news is you can build a policy with that coverage and more:

  • Covers vet fees from physical injuries like burns, broken bones or animal bites.
  • Reimburses you for sickness, disease or hereditary conditions like digestive issues, cancer or hip dysplasia.
  • May provide an annual limit to spend on routine expenses like vaccines or teeth cleaning. Most routine care comes as an add-on, but a few policies include it.
  • Pet ownership benefits. Gives you coverage for pet liability, emergency boarding needs, vacation interruption, lost pet rewards or funeral benefits.

Who needs comprehensive coverage?

You might want comprehensive pet insurance if:

  • Your pet is prone to accidents and illnesses.
  • Your pet might develop multiple genetic conditions.
  • You own an expensive or rare breed.
  • You expect to use many of the benefits.
  • You never want to put down your pet because of expensive vet costs.

You might not want comprehensive coverage if:

  • You own a low-risk or even-tempered pet.
  • You keep your pet indoors.
  • You have budget concerns.
  • You don’t expect to use many benefits.
  • The cost of insurance exceeds reasonable vet costs.

What should I look for in a comprehensive pet policy?

To get comprehensive pet insurance, you can find companies with a variety of coverage included or available as an option. Look at a few specific factors when choosing the right policy for you:

  • Few health problems excluded. Check each company’s list of excluded health problems. If you spot a long list or an exclusion your pet’s at risk for, that company may not have the right coverage for you.
  • More reimbursement. Pet insurance reimburses you a certain percentage of medical costs, typically 80% or 90%. Wide coverage means snatching up the highest reimbursement possible, as long as you’re charged a reasonable cost.
  • High maximum amounts. The annual limit is the total amount you can claim each year. Typical limits provide $10,000 or $15,000 of coverage, but higher limits give you more comprehensive coverage. Sub-limits may apply to specific areas like dental procedures.
  • Routine care embedded or optional. You might find a policy that charges less for accident and illness with routine care coverage than if you bought the two policies separately.
  • Dental procedures included. Since many pets face dental diseases, you could benefit from having this coverage included in your policy.
  • Lifetime renewability. Seek out companies without age restrictions. You could wag your head at premium surcharges because of your pet’s age. Or your pet might get insurance well into old age as long as you buy a policy before the age limit.
  • Coverage for curable pre-existing conditions. If your pet has received vet care in the past, make sure your insurance will cover those conditions again. Many will if your pet stays cured for a certain time period like one year.

You can find wide coverage like this:

CompanyAmount reimbursedAnnual limitsRoutine care availableAllows curable pre-existing conditionsDental coverage included
EmbraceUp to 90%Up to $30,000YesYes, if cured for one yearYes, up to $1,000 per year
PetFirstUp to 90%Up to $10,000YesNoSpecific procedures excluded
PetplanUp to 90%No annual limitsNoNoYes, non-routine procedures

Compare the best comprehensive policies for your pet

Name Product Pets covered Seniors accepted Hereditary conditions Chronic illness
Dogs, Cats
For $19/month, access 24/7 vet support and $3,000 for one pet emergency a year.
Dogs, Cats
Cover unexpected vet bills from emergency exams, injuries, surgery and more.
Dogs, Cats
Enjoy extra benefits with coverage for exam fees, curable conditions and wellness visit reimbursement.
Pet Assure
Dogs, Cats, Horses, Exotic pets
Save up to 25% on all vet bills including wellness and dental visits for as little as $10/month.
Pets Best
Dogs, Cats
Get up to 90% of your vet bills reimbursed directly into your bank account. Plus, access coverage options with no annual limit.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much will a comprehensive policy cost?

A typical accident and illness policy will set you back $24 a month for cats or $40 a month for dogs. However, adding extra coverage increases that cost. Some wellness policies cost anywhere from $8 to $40 per month based on the annual limits you choose.

A few companies include pet ownership benefits in their accident and illness policies, helping you save money if you need that coverage.

What exclusions should I watch out for?

Insurance companies can differ on the conditions they’ll cover or exclude. That means some companies cover the areas below with your accident and illness coverage or with another add-on. Others don’t include protection at all for:

  • Behavior training, socialization or alternative therapy
  • Breeding or pregnancy care
  • Day-to-day costs: pet food, accessories, nail trimming, grooming
  • Elective procedures not prescribed for a specific condition
  • Injuries or illnesses from the pet’s work or competition
  • Medical expenses for pre-existing conditions
  • Treatments not recommended by your vet
  • Wellness care

How do I get cheap comprehensive pet insurance?

You can use the above options to help tailor your policy’s costs to suit your needs, but it’s also a good idea to consider other ways of reducing costs.

  • Sniff out discounts. Look for policies that lower costs for having multiple pets, no history of claims or a healthy pet.
  • Lower your annual limits. You can buy more coverage for the same price if you lower your annual limit. This helps you cover the most common vet expenses and may work well for low-risk, healthy pets.
  • Dig for no-cost benefits. If you’re looking for a specific benefit like dental coverage, try to find a policy with it included for free.
  • Check out discount plans. One way to knock down costs for nearly any medical expense is to find a plan that negotiates discounts on a variety of services. The drawback is that you’ll get lower savings per vet visit, but you could save money on insurance premiums.

Bottom line

You might benefit from the most comprehensive insurance plan especially if you own an expensive breed or one prone to hereditary conditions. But no matter how high or low your pet’s health risks, you can build the pet insurance policy that fits them best.

Common questions about comprehensive pet insurance

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