What does pet insurance cover?

March 11, 2021 - 7 min read
Cat Sitting In a Box

We hope your pet never needs insurance.

That may sound like a strange sentiment coming from a company that offers pet insurance, but we get it: When you bring your new cat or dog home, you’re envisioning years of cuddles, snuggles and wagging tails. You’re not imagining a day when you’ll have to feed them medication or take them to the vet for life-saving surgery.

But it’s all part of being a pet parent. Like us, our four-legged friends get sick and injured without warning — and getting them healthy again can be incredibly expensive. So even though we hope your pet never needs insurance, we also know that life can throw us unexpected bones. In fact, in a worst case scenario, insurance might be the only thing that lets you choose treatment over euthanasia.

To understand why this is, first you need to know what pet insurance covers. Let’s dive in.

Pugs side-by-side

What Are The Different Types of Plans?

Broadly speaking, a pet insurance policy covers accidents and/or illnesses. At the risk of insulting your vocabulary, we’ll go ahead and define those terms:

Accident: Any unexpected and unintended incident, including road accidents and poisonings. If your pup chases a squirrel into traffic or your cat hurts its paw jumping from a tree, their condition may qualify for accident coverage.

Illness: This is any sickness or disease that isn’t accident-related. Your four-legged friend may be covered for anything from an ear infection to the dreaded Big C.

(There’s also “condition,” a catch-all term that encompasses both accidents and illnesses.)

Now here’s where things get odd: Some pet insurance companies specialize in accident-only coverage, which would be perfect for a pet who can’t get sick. But since that’s not a thing, we don’t think accident-only plans make much sense. Many, if not most, unanticipated veterinary costs are illness-related. That’s why ManyPets offers nose-to-tail coverage for both accidents and illnesses.

You can check out our policy here.

Golden Retriever dog

So What Does an Accident and Illness Plan Cover?

First, we’ll give you an overview — then we’ll answer some specific questions.

The ManyPets insurance policy reimburses pet parents for:

  • Veterinary examinations or consultations: Anything that’s required to help treat or diagnose an illness or injury

  • Medication: Any necessary veterinarian-prescribed meds approved by the FDA

  • Surgeries: Any procedures needed to treat illnesses or injuries

  • Diagnostics: Lab work, x-rays, MRI’s, blood work, and other necessary tests

  • Treatments: Rehabilitation, acupuncture, or chiropractic treatment administered by a vet

  • Supplies: Any medically necessary items, as determined by your veterinarian

  • Hospitalization: Boarding at a veterinary clinic as required by your veterinarian

  • Euthanasia and cremation:
    ...But for now, let’s just think about keeping your pet safe as long as possible

Bottom line: We’ll reimburse you for any approved claims related to an unexpected accident or illness. It doesn’t matter whether a car grazes your dog’s leg, your cat develops a respiratory infection, or your pet experiences any number of other unexpected conditions — we offer both accident and illness coverage under one comprehensive policy.

Oh, and there’s no limit to how many claims you can file.

Dog lying on bed

Does Insurance Cover Pet Diagnostic Services Like Blood Tests or X-Rays?

We’re kind of surprised by how often we get this question, because we think the answer should be pretty straightforward: Yes, of course! Diagnosing medical conditions is a pretty important part of treating them. Covering treatments without covering diagnostics would be kind of like painting a house without building it first.

And diagnostics are only getting more important. In recent years, technological advancements have led vets to adopt a more and more sophisticated slate of diagnostic tools. But as these tools get more sophisticated, they also get more expensive. X-rays or blood tests can cost hundreds of dollars. Biopsies or MRIs can cost thousands. Nowadays, diagnostics account for a pretty big chunk of overall pet healthcare costs. In some cases — for instance, when your vet examines a tumor that turns out to be benign — diagnostics can wind up being your primary expense.

So it’s a very good thing that ManyPets insurance covers this testing — including blood work and other lab work, MRIs, urinalysis, ultrasounds, CT scans, biopsies and more —  whenever it’s needed to diagnose or treat an accident or illness. We want to help you get your furry friend back to full friskiness in no time. But first you’ll need the resources to help your vet figure out what’s wrong with them in the first place.

IV fluid at veterinarian

Does Pet Insurance Coverage Include Cancer Treatments?

Not all pet insurance companies do, but for ManyPets the answer is an emphatic yes.* A pet insurance policy that didn’t cover cancer wouldn’t be much of a policy at all.

(Just FYI, it’s wise to insure your pet when they’re still young — that way, serious health conditions like cancer won’t pre-exist your pet’s policy, and you won’t have to worry about exclusions from reimbursement.)

Look, no one wants to think about their four-legged friend getting the Big C. But cancer is all too common in our pets: About 1 in 4 dogs and about 1 in 5 cats will be diagnosed at some point in their lives.Not surprisingly, cancer is one of the leading causes of death for both dogs and cats.

Unfortunately, in some cases the treatment process can cost pet parents as much as $15,000. If you know anything about how cancer is treated in humans, this price tag shouldn’t surprise you: Modern veterinary cancer regimens now involve treatments that are very similar to the ones used on humans, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

And those are just the treatments. Remember everything we said about diagnostics? Well testing has gotten particularly sophisticated — not to mention expensive — when it comes to canine and feline cancer. Both before and after diagnosis, your veterinarian may order blood tests, urinalysis, X-rays, ultrasound, tissue aspiration, or biopsy — or even all of the above. On top of that, tests done by your local veterinarian might need to be repeated at a cancer specialty center.

Tragically, many pet parents are forced to choose euthanasia over treatment; not everyone has $30,000 lying around. As common as cancer is in our pets, it undoubtedly would be less deadly if pet parents always had the financial resources to treat it.

That’s why any high-quality insurance policy should reimburse you for the full range of cancer diagnostics and treatments, including biopsies, blood tests, radiation, chemo, surgery, hospitalization, and more. With a ManyPets accident and illness policy, you’ll be able to pay for even the costliest cancer treatments — though we sure hope you’ll never have to.

* Coverage is for non-pre-existing conditions. ManyPets can only reimburse claims if your pet has been free of treatment, symptoms and diagnosis for at least 18 months prior to purchasing your policy.

Dog wearing mask

How Do Pet Insurance Plans Treat Hospitalizations, Surgeries, and Medications?

It should go without saying that the ManyPets pet insurance policy will reimburse you for the medications or surgeries that your veterinarian requires to treat an accident or illness. This includes any vet-prescribed meds that are FDA-approved, and any procedures that are medically necessary.

Our plan also covers hospitalizations — that is to say, any instance when your cat or dog is boarded at a clinic or hospital on a veterinarian’s orders.

Reclining dog wearing cone

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

For most pet insurance policies, the answer to this question is an unqualified “no.” But unlike most other policies, ManyPets does make one big exception: We’ll cover your pet, even for a pre-existing condition, if they’ve been free of symptoms, treatment, and diagnosis for 18 months.

Of course, we’d love to see your pet covered without any exceptions, and the best way to make that happen is to get a policy when your pet is still young.


Pre-existing conditions and insurance - how does it work?

ManyPets has exclusions for pre-existing conditions, but past conditions don’t always prevent future coverage. Get the details.


“I always advise new pet owners to obtain pet insurance during their first visit with me,” said Dr. Katie Grzyb of Skyline Veterinary Specialists in Matthews, North Carolina, who recently spoke to ManyPets.

It’s great advice. There’s no such thing as a pre-existing condition if you insure your pup or kitten before they’ve ever been sick.

Dogs in the grass

How Do Insurance Policies and Wellness Plans Differ?

As you may have noticed, we’ve used the words “accident” and “illness” throughout this article. That’s what our policy coverage includes, after all. But that does leave out preventive and routine care.

And preventive care is essential for all pets at any age. For puppies and kittens, establishing a vet visit schedule ensures that they receive all critical vaccines and boosters they need. Young adult pets need regular veterinary care to protect against parasites, infections, and diseases. And many pets intentionally hide problems or pain, so ongoing preventive care might help you diagnose problems you’d never have picked up on otherwise.

Fortunately, you can also purchase the ManyPets Wellness plan, which will reimburse you for:

  • Wellness exams and routine vaccinations, including rabies, Bordetella, DHPP, FVRCP, and Lyme

  • Flea/tick/heartworm prevention, including heartworm testing

  • Dental cleaning, including brushing, scaling, and polishing

  • Holistic care, including supplements and treatments to help with stress, anxiety, skin, coat, bone and joint care

ManyPets will reimburse you for up to $150 per year in each of these categories — $600 worth of savings total. Purchasing our Wellness Plan to your insurance policy is very likely to help you save money in the long run.

Dog in the car

So What Are Some Things That Pet Insurance Won’t Cover?

It’s an important question, and we want to make sure that you’re fully informed. In fact, we’ve got an entire article answering this very question, which you can check out here. But for now, we’ll just mention some of the most common exclusions we’re asked about. We won’t reimburse you for grooming or elective procedures like cosmetic surgery (although we definitely hope you can keep your pet clean and beautiful). As for dental coverage, we do cover procedures that are needed after an accident, or for an unforeseen illness like periodontal disease. And while our insurance policy doesn’t cover routine dental cleanings, our wellness plan does.

Cat and dog nuzzling

So Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

When your pet’s treatments are covered under a pet insurance policy, you’ll never have to empty your savings account just because your four-legged friend got hurt or sick. Just as important, you won’t have to avoid treatment — or worse, choose euthanasia — just because you can’t afford treatment. And with a wellness plan, you can even get reimbursed for a lot of the inevitable, routine costs of preventive veterinary care.

If you’re serious about keeping your four-legged friend safe, or even if you just want peace of mind, you should absolutely look into getting your pet covered.

David Teich
Lead Content Editor

David Teich is Lead Content Editor at ManyPets. He loves pets, Scrabble, Oxford commas, and typing loudly.