How Pet Insurance Works

You can't predict when your dog or cat will get sick or injured, but you know it could happen at anytime. Pet insurance protects your finances by covering your pet's unexpected vet bills.

dog and cat sitting together

What is pet insurance?

Pet health insurance is a pet health policy that can be purchased for your dog or cat.Having good pet insurance provides peace of mind that you can afford to get your pet the best care in the event of a costly accident or illness.

While many people try to compare pet medical insurance medical insurance to human health insurance, it’s actually more like car insurance – it’s there to prevent financial upset in the event of something unexpected. Just like your car insurance doesn’t cover routine maintenance or any accidents you got into before purchasing the policy, pet insurance plans typically don’t cover routine care costs and pre-existing conditions.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance follows a reimbursement-based model. That means that when you take your dog or cat to the vet for an injury or illness, you pay the vet bill at the time of service and submit a claim for reimbursement. Because of this reimbursement-based model, you’re free to use any licensed vet you’d like.

Like car insurance, most pet insurance plans have:

  • Deductible

  • Reimbursement percentage or copay

  • Annual or per-incident maximum

  • Waiting periods

Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, allow you to personalize factors of your pet insurance policy to best fit your budget and your pet’s needs.

What does pet insurance cover?

Most pet insurance plans cover:

It’s best to research and compare each pet insurance plan thoroughly as coverage varies from insurer to insurer. Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, also cover:

For a full list of what Embrace Pet Insurance covers, check out the Embrace Plan.

What doesn’t pet insurance cover?

Most pet insurance plans do not cover: 

  • Cosmetic, elective, or preventative procedures

  • Breeding, pregnancy, or whelping

  • Prescription diet food

Why do you need pet insurance?

According to, every six seconds, a pet parent is handed an emergency vet bill of $1,000 or more. A 2017 survey conducted by GOBankingRates showed that 57% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. Without pet insurance, that 57% could be facing a tough decision when it comes to their pet’s care. Pet insurance is the key to unprecedented protection against unexpected vet bills and pet care needs, and getting an online pet insurance quote with Embrace takes seconds.

Have more questions? Learn more about the ins and outs of cat and dog insurance using our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Should I get pet insurance?

We recommend it -- the sooner, the better. Whether you’re three years into pet ownership or three minutes, insuring a healthy pet now ensures they’ll have the most coverage available later. Choosing to insure your pet when they are a puppy or kitten will provide an ample amount of protection, especially before a pre-existing condition arises.

How much pet insurance do I need?

The amount of pet insurance coverage and wellness add-ons you should get really depends on your pet’s lifestyle. There are several pet-based and policy-based factors, such as your pet’s age, breed, maintenance needs, and more that can impact the amount of coverage you need. Our guide to Picking Your Pet Insurance Plan can provide additional help while you are evaluating pet insurance for your lifestyle.

How long does pet insurance take to kick in?

Every pet insurance plan has waiting periods to prevent fraud, and they differ by company. For example, Embrace has a 14-day waiting period for illnesses. As long as your pet makes it through this waiting period before showing symptoms or being diagnosed with an illness, they’re covered. Once waiting periods are over, your pet is covered – this period does not start over when your at policy renews.

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