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How Does Dog Insurance Work?

Updated: September 2019

Pet Insurance may help you better manage veterinary expenses if your dog gets sick or injured. Just as with "people" health insurance, pet insurance for dogs comes with different plans, policy features and price factors to consider. Some providers may offer a discount for enrolling more than one dog in a policy.

Here are some things to keep in mind about how dog insurance works.

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Types of Pet Insurance Coverage

Plans are available to cover a wide spectrum of pet health-care needs, such as:

Coverage for accidents and illnesses:
This type of policy covers worst-case scenarios, such as poisoning, dental trauma and illnesses, including cancer. The Insurance Information Institute (III) advises consumers to check if a policy covers breed-specific conditions, such as hip dysplasia common in bulldogs and other large breeds. Some policies exclude dogs with pre-existing conditions, according to the III.

Wellness coverage:
This type of plan addresses the "basics" behind most routine vet office visits: vaccinations, dental work and tests, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). Some well-care plans may have no or low deductibles for these preventive services and routine care.

Prescription coverage:
These plans may help cover out-of-pocket prescription expenses for your dog. For example:

  • A round of antibiotics
  • Medication for a chronic condition like asthma
  • Medication to treat a serious illness, such as cancer

Comprehensive coverage:
A comprehensive plan will likely include the above coverages, plus extra services. For example, some insurers may cover alternative therapies (acupuncture, chiropractor, etc.), prosthetic limbs, visits to a veterinary emergency hospital and consultations with specialists.


Several features of dog insurance will sound similar to "human" health insurance policies. For instance, pet insurance policies typically include:

  • Premiums, or the amount you pay for coverage
  • Deductibles, your out-of-pocket expense toward a covered claim before insurance benefits are applied
  • Coverage limits, the maximum amount your policy will pay toward a covered claim
  • Waiting period, meaning coverage does not begin for your pet until a specified period of time after you buy a policy

But, there also are a couple of key differences to keep in mind:

Pet insurance policies typically pay claims on a reimbursement basis.
Pet owners usually pay a veterinarian's bill at the time of service and then file for insurance reimbursement afterward, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Reimbursement for covered treatments will kick in after you've met your deductible.

Pet insurance companies reimburse for claims in different ways.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners(NAIC), reimbursement amounts may be based on:

  • Amount spent by the policyholder: The insurer pays a set percentage of the total bill
  • Schedule of benefits: The insurer pays a set price for a given treatment
  • Schedule of usual, customary and reasonable charges: Bases reimbursement on the average cost for common services in the policyholder's area

Read the fine print to figure out which reimbursement method your pet insurance policy follows.


Insurers evaluate a number of factors to price their policies. According to the NAIC, pet insurers will look at:

  • Your dog's age
  • Your dog's breed
  • Where you live
  • The coverages you select
  • The deductible you choose

You can typically adjust the deductibles, coverage limits and reimbursement percentages on your policy. That way, you can reach a policy premium to fit your budget and make you comfortable about the coverage your policy provides for your four-legged family member.

By understanding the insurance options for your dog, you can find the pet insurance plan that works best for your entire family.

Related Resources:

* Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC, provides quotes from American Modern Home Insurance Company and American Southern Home Insurance Company on this site. These entities are not affiliated with Allstate or Ivantage Select Agency, Inc, an Allstate affiliate. Ivantage Select Agency, Inc (ISA), an Allstate affiliate, refers consumers to Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC, which offers and administers pet insurance and is underwritten by American Modern Home Insurance Company and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Please visit to review all available pet health insurance products underwritten by American Modern Home Insurance Company and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Please refer to your declarations page to determine the underwriter for your policy. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products. Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and its insurers are not affiliated with Allstate or Ivantage Select Agency, Inc, an Allstate affiliate. Allstate and its affiliates are not responsible for the insurer or coverage selections, policy issued, claims, the content or operation of other's websites, or how others handle or use your information. Information you provide to others is subject to their privacy policies and website terms of use and may be shared with us. ISA receives compensation from Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC that may vary based on the policy you buy.

This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Pet Health Insurance is not an Allstate product. The policy is offered under the expanded market program and is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance and underwritten by American Modern Insurance Group, a third-party company not affiliated with Allstate.

The Expanded Market Program provides access to products underwritten by non-Allstate companies. Allstate does not operate or control any company that provides policies through this program. In this program, Allstate does not have any financial responsibility to you for any policy purchased, is not responsible for any claims you may make with such companies, and makes no representations nor accepts any liability related to the operations of such companies, including, but not limited to, their financial condition and claims handling.

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2020 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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