What Does Dog Health Insurance Cover?

Insurance is one of the best ways to enjoy peace of mind when it comes to health costs, and is something you should consider buying when you first welcome a dog home. Like traditional medical insurance, there are plenty of pet insurance plans available for veterinary costs as well. 

So what does dog health insurance cover? Ideally, this depends on the type of health insurance plan that your dog is on, which is usually slightly different from human health insurance

To help you find out more about dog health insurance, in today’s article, we’ll walk you through a brief overview of what dog health insurance plans cover and don’t cover. Let’s dive in!

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How Does Dog Health Insurance Work?

Dog health insurance works by making the medical expenses of your certified veterinarian covered by the plan you’re on.

Similar to human health insurance, dog health insurance will also have a deductible, which is the amount of money that you need to pay on your behalf.

Additionally, there are several conditions and terms that you agree to while signing the insurance contract for your dog. 

Moreover, most dog insurance policies have a certain coverage limit on both reimbursed expenses and premiums. 

Not only that, but different factors also affect these premiums, such as the dog’s health condition, age, etc.

What Does Dog Health Insurance Cover and Don’t Cover?

Ideally, dog health insurance may cover a wide range of unexpected illnesses and accidents as well as injuries, lab tests and diagnostics, surgeries, emergency care, and more.

On the other hand, the majority of dog health insurance will most likely not cover any of the following conditions and situations:

  • Pre-existing conditions prior to signing up to the plan, with the exception of some specified conditions as per the contract
  • Any cosmetic or elective procedures, such as claw removal, tail docking, or ear cropping

Additionally, some items are usually provided only as add-on options, such as breeding care and preventive therapy, such as vaccinations, flea medication, worms, etc.

As you can see, there’s a wide range of aspects that your dog’s health insurance can cover, but it’ll depend mainly on the type of coverage plan that you’ve chosen for your dog.

In most cases, these dog health insurance plans are split into three major types with slight differences between each insurance provider, which are:

  1. Accidents-only dog insurance
  2. Accidents and wellness dog insurance
  3. Wellness-only dog insurance

Now that you have a better idea about dog insurance types, let’s have a quick look at what each one of these dog insurance policies covers.

Woman sitting on a park bench hugging her dog

Accidents-Only Dog Insurance

The Accident-Only plan is ideal for those on a strict budget who don’t want to pay a huge premium every month or year but still want their healthy pet to be protected against unexpected accidents and their complications.

What Is Covered

The Accidents-only Dog insurance covers a wide range of unexpected injuries due to accidents as well as their complications and required medical intervention.

This includes any physical harm due to the accident, including medical care for all the lacerations, fractures, cuts accompanied or caused by the accident.

Additionally, it includes situations like intestinal obstruction due to ingestion of foreign bodies, bloating, poisoning, and any surgery needed to treat these conditions.

What Is Not Covered

As the name suggests, the policy doesn’t cover any medical conditions that aren’t directly caused by an unexpected accident. This includes any pre-existing conditions, diseases, or illnesses the dogs have.

Additionally, it doesn’t involve any injuries that are intentional, such as poisoning in some highly preventable circumstances. Moreover, routine veterinary check and care is excluded 


  • One of the most affordable plans to opt for
  • Ideal if you only want to cover the costs of accidents injury only
  • Excellent choice for healthy young dogs with no risk of hereditary diseases


  • It has the least coverage of all plans
  • Offers a relatively low reimbursement for procedures
  • Older dogs are usually excluded from this policy 

Wellness-Only Dog Insurance

This one is ideal for those who are looking for a more sophisticated policy that covers all the routine health checkups and care. They’re usually more expensive than accident-only plans, but they’re more commonly activated.

What Is Covered

This plan covers all the illnesses and costs for treatment from diseases that arise with time, such as hereditary diseases and aging conditions.

The insurance plan also covers aspects like lab tests and diagnostics, vaccines and shots, routine lab work, operations like spaying or neutering, and more.

What Is Not Covered

The wellness-only plan doesn’t cover any harms that are caused by an accident or are considered a pre-existing condition, except for a few cases that are discussed within the policy contract.


  • Usually comes with zero deductibles
  • Ideal for reimbursement for routine care


  • Rarely offered as a standalone policy
  • Doesn’t cover injuries caused by accidents
Woman hugging her Corgi

Accidents and Wellness Dog Insurance

This one is an upgrade plan that includes both kinds of insurance plans. They’re more expensive but they grant you the largest coverage and reimbursement.

What Is Covered

A huge spectrum of illnesses and diseases ranging from as mild as asthma and digestive issues all the way up to cancer and other diseases that require hospitalization and/or surgery.

What Is Not Covered

Such a plan doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions as well as some aspects that are considered add-ons per contract, such as dental care.


  • The most sophisticated insurance plan covering most illnesses and diseases under contract 
  • Ideal for breeds that have a high risk of hereditary diseases and other health problems
  • Offers a variety of bonus options for a reduced price


  • Has the highest premium of all insurance plans
  • May still not cover several aspects that aren’t typically covered by dog health insurance

How Much Is Dog Health Insurance?

The cost of a dog’s health insurance will greatly vary depending on a wide range of variables, such as the dog’s breed, age, gender, and health condition as well as policy-related aspects, including the type of health insurance, reimbursement level, and deductibles.

Despite that, dog health insurance isn’t necessarily expensive. According to the NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Association), it’s estimated that a dog’s health insurance premiums should cost an average of about $218.13 annually for accident-only plans and about $594.15 for accident and wellness plans.

It’ll be up to you to calculate whether this makes sense for you financially and shop around for different offers. Since there are many competing companies, you can often find a sign-up deal.

Wrap Up

With that said, you now have a brief answer to the popular question “what does dog health insurance cover?”

We hope this post has been helpful. Have more questions? Leave them in the comments!

PuppyLists is written by Kat, who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 15 year old Lab mix.