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Do all vets take pet insurance?

Pet insurance gives you the freedom to visit any vet you like. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Anyone who's ever had health insurance knows what a headache it can be to find a provider who accepts your plan.

The provider you prefer may not be in-network or may not be accepting patients if they are. Your provider could decide to stop accepting your insurance after they've accepted it for years. And if you have to visit an out-of-network provider in an emergency, the bill can be astronomical. Plus, if you ever switch providers, you may need to start the whole search over again.

Pet owners considering pet insurance may be hesitant to get it because they dread going through the same hassles. But in many ways, pet insurance works differently from health insurance. Does this hold true for which providers accept a policy? Read on to find out. 

Find out how much coverage you can get by requesting a free pet insurance quote now.

Do all vets take pet insurance?

The short answer is: Yes. Any licensed veterinarian in the U.S. will accept payment from a pet insurance policy. That means you can stick with your current vet, find a new vet or visit an out-of-town vet and still use your insurance.

The longer answer is: Technically, your vet doesn't need to "accept" your insurance as pet insurance providers don't have networks or copays. Rather, for most policies, you pay for the initial cost out of pocket, and the provider reimburses you after you submit a claim.

Considerations to keep in mind

The fact that all vets take pet insurance doesn't mean any expenses you incur will be covered. Whether your pet's medical costs are covered depends on the type of plan you choose. Typically, coverage includes:

  • Accident-only plans: Accidents and injuries, such as a broken limb or poison ingestion
  • Accident and illness plans: Accidents, injuries and illnesses such as digestive problems, dental issues and cancer
  • Comprehensive plans: Accidents, injuries and illnesses, plus add-ons like preventative care, alternative medicine and behavioral treatments

Elective procedures such as declawing and sedated grooming (if your vet performs them) typically are not covered. For expenses that are covered, how much is covered depends on the plan.

Also bear in mind that if your pet has any pre-existing conditions, treatment related to these conditions will typically not be offered. This is to prevent pet owners from getting a policy right after a costly diagnosis they know will result in hefty vet bills. This is one of the reasons it's important to get pet insurance before your pet gets sick.

The bottom line

Whether your pet is young or old, pet insurance can save you money and stress. And the freedom to see any vet you like makes it even more useful.

"Pet insurance can provide peace of mind in case something unexpected happens," says Ellen Russell, DVM, MPH. "Knowing that your pet is covered by insurance can give you the security and comfort of knowing that you won't be faced with an unexpected financial burden if something happens to them. You can also make sure that you're prepared to provide the best care possible for your pet should they need it."

When deciding which pet insurance to get, your vet can be a great resource. They can advise you on how much coverage you may need based on your pet's breed and health history. Whichever plan you choose, you can rest easy knowing your pet — and your wallet — will be better protected.

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