The world of pet insurance is complicated. Once upon a time, the plans were relatively simple and restrictive, but pet parents have so many more options now than they ever did before. In one way, this is good because it means that you’re bound to find the right kind of policy for you. In other ways, however, it is seen as bad, as it means you have too many choices to pick from.

Why don’t we take a moment to simplify things?

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  1. What is Pet Insurance
  2. How Does Pet Insurance Work
  3. What Does Pet Insurance Cover
  4. What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover
  5. How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost
  6. Conclusion

What is Pet Insurance

When you get a new car, you also get car insurance. It covers you in case you have an accident, someone else drives into you, it gets stolen, or something else bad happens. Rather than you having to foot the bill, the insurance covers it instead.

Pet insurance is the same.

It is a type of insurance, just like health, home, cell phone, car insurance, etc. It is designed to help pet parents manage the costs of expensive veterinary care. You won’t be out of pocket because the insurance will cover the costs instead, often for a monthly or annual premium.

Pet insurance these days is an all-encompassing name for insurance-like plans for pets. Petcube’s Emergency Fund, for example, is not an insurance policy, but it does work as a security blanket when you and your pet face life-threatening emergencies.

Read more: How Petcube's Emergency Fund Saves Pets in Crisis

How Does Pet Insurance Work

Forbes research shows that more than 66% of American households contain a pet of some kind, with dogs being the most popular. Dogs are also the most expensive when it comes to pet care, medical care, and insurance, too.

Pet insurance operates similarly to other types of insurance, providing financial coverage for eligible veterinary expenses incurred by your pet.

The process starts with choosing a provider and policy for your pet, factoring in things like your pet’s breed, age, existing medical conditions, and budgetary restrictions. Not all providers and policies are the same, and a single provider can have several different policies and types of coverage on offer.

Pet insurance types include:

  • Accident-only;
  • Illness-only;
  • Comprehensive (accident, illness, and sometimes more);
  • Emergency-only alternatives (such as Petcube’s Emergency Fund).

Most providers offer additional packages or add-ons to include coverage for treatments or other types of care that aren’t included in the above three policies.

You will need to choose other things, such as how much coverage or reimbursement you get, whether you pay monthly or annually, and deductible amounts, although the options vary widely from provider to provider.

This is what those things mean in their simplest terms:

  • Coverage: Pet insurance typically covers a portion of the costs associated with veterinary visits, surgeries, medications, diagnostic tests, and other medical treatments for your pet.
  • Reimbursement: After paying the deductible, pet insurance policies typically reimburse a certain percentage (e.g., 70–90%) of the eligible veterinary expenses.
  • Deductible: This is an amount of money that you must pay before coverage “kicks in."

Read more: 3 Key Things You Can Do to Save Money on Pet Care

What Does Pet Insurance Cover

As previously mentioned, there are various levels of coverage when it comes to pet insurance. You will usually find a provider that offers pretty much everything that you’re looking for, as long as you’re willing to pay for it. (And yes, it is that simple.)

  • Accident-only insurance covers veterinary care for accidents only.
  • Illness-only covers the cost of veterinary care for pet illnesses.
  • Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for both accidents and illnesses and sometimes offers a little more than that, too. Each provider is different, so you must read the small print.
  • Emergency-only plans, which aren’t technically insurance policies, only offer coverage for life-threatening emergencies. Petcube’s Emergency Fund is one example of that. It doesn’t cover anything except emergencies.

Some policies may also cover specialized treatments like alternative therapies, dental care, preventative treatments and procedures, and breeding and pregnancy-related care and concerns. These are usually add-ons that come with additional costs.

Read more: Five Reasons Why You Need Pet Insurance

What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover

Your pet insurance will only cover you for the type you have. So, if you have accident-only insurance for your four-legged friend, you can’t claim and expect reimbursement or payment for an illness, such as cancer.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions are not covered by typical pet insurance policies. These are health issues that existed before the policy's effective date or during the waiting period. This includes chronic conditions and any symptoms, signs, or conditions noted in your pet's medical records.

Congenital or Hereditary Conditions

Conditions that are inherited or present at birth, such as hip dysplasia, may have limited or no coverage. Some policies might cover these conditions if they were not pre-existing.

Preventative or Routine Care

Basic care like vaccinations, spaying and neutering, dental cleanings, grooming, and general wellness exams are often not covered. Some policies offer optional riders or add-ons for routine care at an additional cost.

Alternative Treatments and Therapies

Acupuncture, chiropractic treatments or care, herbal medications or supplements, hydrotherapy, energy healing, massage therapy, reiki healing, and other holistic treatments are not covered in many standard plans.

Other treatments and care not typically covered by standard pet insurance policies include:

  • Treatment for behavioral issues;
  • Experimental treatments;
  • Elective treatments or procedures;
  • Preventable conditions;
  • Grooming costs;
  • Pet supplies;
  • Boarding costs;
  • Pet food or supplements.

Age will often play a factor in whether or not you can get affordable and accessible insurance for your pets. Many insurance providers won’t provide coverage for very senior dogs, aged 13–15 years and older. In such cases, Petcube’s Emergency Fund and other alternatives are the better options.

Read more: Should I Buy Pet Insurance For My Pet?

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost

The cost of pet insurance can vary massively, from a couple of dollars to several hundred dollars per month. The price depends on many factors, including your pet’s type, breed, and age, whether they have any pre-existing conditions or potential breed issues; the company you’ve purchased from, the policy type you’ve chosen; and much more.

With one provider (ASPCA), insurance for one female cat costs from $14 per month right up to $70+ per month, with different deductibles, reimbursement percentages, etc.

Some alternatives to pet insurance, such as Petcube’s Emergency Fund, offer one simple plan for one simple price: $29 per month, for $3,000 of coverage, for up to six pets, in emergencies only. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get an additional 27% off your Emergency Fund subscription as a little thank you for being a loyal blog reader. Simply use this link to learn more.

Read more: Pet Insurance for Older Pets: What You Need to Know


Although protecting your pet with insurance is a complicated affair, it doesn’t need to be. You simply need to work out what you want, need, and can afford, and then go from there. In some cases, traditional pet insurance policies will work out just fine, but those plans are not suitable for everyone or every pet. That’s why it’s good to have options, and the Emergency Fund by Petcube is just one option you can investigate further.

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