To most of us, our pets are like family. Yet due to the skyrocketing expenses associated with veterinary services, too often medical care decisions for our loyal companions are driven by cost. Pet insurance can help you manage the costs of routine care, medications and emergency expenses for your dog, cat, bird or exotic pet.

girl wtth a dog

pet insurance terminology

Here are some commonly used terms you might see when you’re looking at pet insurance plans.

  • Designated maximum – The total amount an insurance company will pay under a certain insurance policy.
  • Multi-pet discount – Reduced rate offered to a policy holder by an insurance company when more than one pet insured under a policy.
  • Policy term – The period of time covered by an insurance contract.
  • Preventive care – Routine office visits, exams and immunizations that help deter illness.

what pet insurance covers

Pet insurance can offset veterinary costs associated with unexpected illnesses, accidents and — in some states — preventive care. While how much a plan covers is different depending on the plan you select, covered expenses generally include:

  • Most office visits
  • Treatments and prescriptions
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Lab fees
  • Surgeries

And if you travel with your pet, don’t worry. Most policies move with you, as long as you continue to see a licensed veterinarian, even when you’re away from home.

dog on couch

how pet insurance works

Aside from savings potential, one of the top reasons pet insurance is becoming so popular with pet owners is the flexibility. Premiums can often be paid all at once or broken up into smaller monthly payments. Also, if you insure more than one pet, you could get multi-pet discounts.

Many pet insurance companies have streamlined the claims process, making it more convenient. You can now get paid back for bills faster than ever before. You can even keep claims forms in your file at the vet, which makes it faster and easier to get your vet’s signature. When you submit a claim for a covered expense, you’ll pay a deductible. Then, you will receive payment for some of your overall vet bill up to the policy’s maximum.

Pet insurance premium rates will vary based on the insurance company you choose, your pet’s age, overall health profile and the level of protection that you wish to buy.

The information contained herein is being provided as-is and without representation or warranty. The enclosed information is not intended as legal, tax or financial planning advice. Any discussion of tax or accounting matters herein (including any attachments) should not and may not be relied on by any recipient or reader. The recipient/reader should consult his/her tax adviser, legal consultant and/or accountant for a statement of tax and accounting rules applicable to his/her particular situation and for all other tax and accounting advice.