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Do All Vets Accept Pet Insurance

Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Published on
Monday 30 January 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Do All Vets Accept Pet Insurance
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If you’re looking for a pet insurance policy, you may wonder – do all vets accept pet insurance? The good news is that any licensed veterinarian will accept pet insurance. However, each veterinary practice has its own policy on how they handle insurance. For example, some will accept vet direct pay, while others will not.

So, while every vet accepts pet insurance, there are restrictions and rules surrounding the process. Specific policies will not pay out for illness, while others may not for routine procedures like wellness exams. Ready to find out more about vets accepting pet insurance? Read on with us today for everything you need to know and to avoid misconceptions about pet health insurance.

Can You Go To Any Vet With Pet Insurance

When it comes to using pet insurance, all licensed veterinarians will allow it. Your insurance does not need to be “accepted” by the vet. Instead, pet insurance reimburses you for costs as long as your vet is licensed. There are a few times when insurance cannot help, however.

For example, most insurers will not reimburse you for pre-existing conditions. Depending on the insurer, you may be able to claim if you can prove that your pet’s illness has been “cured” or your dog is symptom and treatment-free for 180 days to 12 months. As well as this, some insurance plans will only cover your pet for accidents and not illnesses. Check what your plan covers to avoid unexpected costs later on. 

So, all licensed vets accept pet insurance. However, not every vet partners with companies that offer Vet Direct Pay. If you’d rather pay your vet directly instead of waiting for reimbursement, look for a veterinarian who partners with a Vet Direct Pay insurer.

How Does Pet Insurance Work

Pet insurance can cover the costs of veterinary treatment if your dog is injured or becomes ill. Most insurers will also pay out if your dog is lost or stolen. These payments can help to cover the costs of putting up posters and paying a reward for your missing dog. Most insurers will also pay out if your dog dies – you may need assistance covering the costs of euthanasia, cremation, and burial. So, overall, a good insurance policy will help you pay for unexpected veterinary fees and other emergencies involving your pet.

Of course, you’re usually expected to pay your veterinary bills up-front. After you do this, you can submit a claim for reimbursement from your insurer. Once the claim is approved, your insurer will reimburse you for the amount paid up to a specific limit, minus your deductibles. You will need to provide an itemized receipt from your vet and a claim form. Some insurers use Vet Direct Pay, which means they will pay your vet directly rather than reimburse you with a claim form.

Which Pet Insurance Companies Pay Vets Directly?

If you prefer an insurance policy that pays your vet directly, it’s important to find out if your vet partners with an insurer that offers Vet Direct Pay. There are several insurers who will pay your vet directly, including Trupanion, Healthy Paws, and Pets Best.

Trupanion

Trupanion can pay your veterinary bill at the time of checkout. If your vet partners with Trupanion, your vet will submit a claim with them at checkout. After this, Trupanion pays your vet directly. Trupanion’s Express checkout is a standout in the insurance industry, as it’s the only vet direct pay option that allows for quick payment at checkout. You are, of course, responsible for paying any remaining portion of the bill at checkout.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws can pay your vet directly on a claim-by-claim basis. If your vet works with Healthy Paws, they will need to contact the company by phone to give access to your pet’s records and process the claim. However, direct payment is only available during the insurer’s business hours. Any vet from any network can use Healthy Paws.

Pets Best

Pets Best is another insurer that may partner with your vet for direct payment. Typically, you will need to fill out Pets Bests’ vet direct pay release form and have your veterinarian sign it. You will then send the form along with your claim, which can be done through the mobile app or email. After five days of sending the claim, your vet receives the payment. You will still need to pay any deductibles and other items not directly paid for by Pets Best.

Types of Pet Insurances Accepted By Vets

There are several types of pet insurance that you can obtain for your dog. Most insurers will offer three basic types: accident-only, accident and illness, and wellness care.

Beyond this, you’ll also find other sub-types, including:

  • lifetime policy,
  • annual policy (time-limited), and
  • maximum benefit policy.

A lifetime policy covers your dog for life, but the cost may increase as your dog ages. An annual policy covers your dog for 12 months, after which you can choose to swap to a cheaper policy if you wish. A maximum benefit policy provides reimbursement for a set amount per condition.

Wellness Care

Wellness plans, also sometimes called preventative plans, are usually marketed as an add-on to your standard policy. Such a plan often covers routine and preventative care like flea and tick products, heartworm medication, spay and neuter surgery, urinalysis, dental exams, vaccinations, microchipping, and annual wellness exams.

This type of pet insurance policy is the most comprehensive, as it covers most aspects of your dog’s veterinary care. However, it is often more expensive to maintain this type of plan as you are more likely to claim money from the company frequently.

Accident-Only

Accident-only pet insurance covers any condition that is considered an accident. This insurance comes with a smaller monthly fee and can cover large, unexpected veterinary bills.

Unfortunately, we pet parents know that accidents can be extremely expensive. They always come as a shock and can be challenging to find the money for. Therefore, this option is best for pet parents who need a cheaper policy but still want cover for emergencies.

And, if you can already cover veterinary bills for illnesses, checkups, and medications but would struggle to find larger amounts to pay for accidents, accident-only plans may be right for you. However, the downside is that accident-only insurance will not cover ongoing illnesses, diseases, or pre-existing conditions. Different insurers may also have different ideas of what counts as an accident.

Accident and Illness

Accident and illness policies are much more comprehensive than accident-only plans. These plans typically cover accidents, illness, disease, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and surgeries. Depending on the insurer, they may also cover prescription costs and breed-specific conditions. Be sure to check your policy thoroughly before signing up.

Some insurers will offer two types of accident and illness insurance: lifetime and time-limited.

A lifetime policy covers your pet for life, and your premiums may increase as your pet gets older. Time-limited plans cover 12 months on a rolling basis. This type of policy may cost less but may also offer less comprehensive coverage. You may also struggle to find comprehensive insurance as your dog grows older.

What Is Not Included In Pet Insurance Accepted by Vets

Even the most comprehensive insurance plan will have its limits. Most insurers will not cover pre-existing (and pre-diagnosed) conditions, elective procedures, and certain breeds. Because insurers won’t pay out for pre-existing diagnoses, getting your paws on pet insurance as early as possible is essential.

Pre-diagnosed Conditions

If your dog’s illness existed before your insurance plan started, your insurer typically would not cover this. For example, if your dog already had diabetes before the plan’s starting date, any treatments for your dog’s diabetes will not come under your insurance plan.

However, insurers will split pre-existing conditions into two sections:

  1. curable, and
  2. incurable.

If your dog previously had documented symptoms of a curable illness, such as vomiting, but has been free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days to 12 months, any future bouts of vomiting are usually covered. An incurable illness, however, is usually not covered regardless of how long your dog has been symptom-free. Such incurable illnesses might include cancer, epilepsy, and allergies.

Elective Procedures

Many insurers will not cover “elective” procedures, which, in short, are procedures that are not considered typically necessary for your dog’s health and may be considered cosmetic. These might include tail docking, ear cropping, dewclaw removal, de-barking, testicular implants, and sedated grooming. As well as insurers refusing to cover them, some veterinary clinics will outright refuse to do certain elective procedures. For example, many veterinarians will refuse de-barking surgery on dogs because of the welfare implications of it. Some vets will refuse to crop a dog’s ears or dock a dog’s tail unless it is for genuine medical reasons. Overall, if there is no medical purpose for elective surgery, a vet can refuse it.

Breed Restrictions

There are times when insurance charges more or refuses to cover specific dogs. Some insurers will not insure specific dog breeds banned in your state or specific working dogs. For example, insurers may not cover dogs used for guarding, racing, and coursing. Some insurers may charge a higher monthly fee for specific breeds if they are not excluded altogether. Certain breeds may be excluded or more expensive to insure if they are also predisposed to certain medical conditions. Adding to this, some dog breeds may be covered for veterinary fees but not eligible for third-party liability, even if they have not shown aggressive tendencies in the past.

Factors That Affect Coverage

Your dog’s overall state will affect your insurance policy. For example, older dogs will be more expensive to insure in most cases. This is because they are more likely to fall ill, and you are thus more likely to make claims asking for money from the company. Certain breeds are more expensive to insure because they are also prone to specific hereditary conditions. Similarly, you may need to claim more often for reimbursement from the company, so you will be expected to pay more to them each month. Any pre-existing conditions are also taken into account. Your insurer will be able to see these through your vet’s records. If your dog already has an incurable illness, this will not be covered by your insurance. Conversely, a curable pre-existing illness is often coverable if your dog has been symptom and treatment-free for 180 days to 12 months.

Do All Vets Take All Pet Insurance: FAQ

Still wondering if all vets accept pet insurance? Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. You can always talk to your local vet for insurance advice if in doubt.

Are vet fees covered through my pet insurance?

Vet fees are generally covered through pet insurance to a specific limit. Depending on the insurer, you may be able to claim up to a specific amount every year. Some insurers will set a limit that you can claim per condition. As well as this limit, most insurers will not pay for vet fees involving pre-existing conditions. If your dog has already been diagnosed with or shown signs of an incurable illness, any vet trips after the plan starts will not be covered.

Do vets decide on pet insurance coverage?

Your licensed vet will accept any pet insurance from any company. However, some vets will partner with certain insurers to accept vet direct pay. Be sure to ask your vet about their vet direct pay options, as not all vets will offer this option. Also, your vet does not decide on your insurance policy and what it covers. This is down to your insurer.

Does pet insurance fully cover vets fees?

Every pet insurance policy comes with the maximum amount that it can pay to you. Depending on the insurer, this amount may be split between certain conditions – they may set a limit for emergencies and a separate limit for routine care, which comes to an overall amount. There may be times when you reach the limit and must pay your portion of the bill on your own.

Do veterinarians get incentives for promoting pet insurance? 

Your veterinarian does not make more money from clients by recommending pet insurance. The charges are the same, as the vet does not personally make more or less money regardless of the client’s pet insurance policy. Your vet cannot sell a policy and gains nothing from recommending insurance. However, a policy was introduced into the AMVA in 2019 that encouraged veterinary healthcare teams to educate their clients about the existence of such resources proactively.
Some vets may make time to recommend pet insurance because they see the value in it. Insurance may allow your vet to provide better care for your pet, as you may be more inclined to agree to treatments that you could not otherwise afford. This is for your pet’s benefit.

What’s the best pet insurance for vet fees?

The best pet insurance for vet fees is any policy that covers all aspects of essential veterinary care. This type is typically known as a “wellness” plan. Under a wellness plan, your pet is covered for more than just accidents and illnesses. You may be able to claim flea and tick products, heartworm medication, spay and neuter surgery, urinalysis, dental exams, vaccinations, microchipping, and annual wellness exams.

Can I still get pet insurance after a vet visit? 

You can still get pet insurance after a vet visit. However, your insurer will look at your dog’s medical records through your vet. As such, they may identify a pre-existing condition. Most dogs need to be symptom and treatment-free of a curable pre-existing condition for 180 days to 12 months before any claims can be made for future bouts of the same illness. An incurable pre-existing condition, or symptoms of one, are very unlikely to be covered by insurance once your plan starts.

A licensed veterinarian will accept your pet insurance regardless of which insurer you use. However, the option to use vet direct pay may not be available if you do not use the company they partner with.

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