Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Written by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

Dr Pippa Elliott BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years experience in companion animal practice. In 1987 she graduated from the University of Glasgow, with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. A love of the sea meant accepting her first job in the port town of Portsmouth, England. A fter working in private practice for two years, her next position was as a vet at the People’...

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Reviewed by Dr. Pippa Elliott BVMS, MRCVS
Veterinarian Dr. Pippa Elliott BVMS, MRCVS

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2021

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Pet Insurance U receives compensation from the third parties included on this site. This includes payment for clicks from our site to insurance providers’ sites and quote requests generated. Our rankings and reviews are not affected by payments from the insurance companies. The compensation we receive allows the site to be free and regularly updated. Our goal is to review every pet insurance provider, but not all companies are listed on the site.

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We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about pet insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything pet insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by pet insurance experts.

It’s the moment of truth.

You made the smart decision to enroll in a pet insurance policy.

Now you expect it to pay out for any illness or condition that your dog or cat might encounter.

And then it happens…

You suspect that your dog has an ear infection, so you take him to the vet.

Sure enough, your vet does an exam, finds out that your dog does have an ear infection, and has prescribed treatment to help cure the infection.

You pay the bill.

And now…  it’s time to put your pet insurance to the test!

To be reimbursed, the next step would be to file a claim.

Every company is a bit different, and be sure to check your pet insurance company’s site to see how they work, but here are the general steps to filing a pet insurance claim.   If you’re concerned at all about whether they’ll pay out, be sure to see step 3!

Need Pet Insurance?

FACT: Pet insurance pays up to 90% of vet bills when your pet is sick or injured!

The Essential Steps In Filing A Pet Insurance Claim

Most pet insurance companies will make it really easy for you.

The best companies, like Healthy Paws and Figo, have easy to use mobile apps where you can upload your claim right from your phone.

Unlike human health insurance, you need to pay the vet bill first and then you will be reimbursed.

Trupanion is one of the few pet insurance providers that pay your veterinarian directly.

But these the are the general steps to filing a claim.

#1 – Pay Your Vet Bill

You need to pay your vet or hospital bill first before you can be reimbursed.

Then you will fill out a claim and either send it by fax, email or regular mail to your pet insurance provider.

Remember that with the first vet bill of your policy year, you will need to pay your deductible first and then your pet insurance provider will reimburse you according to the percentage level that you chose.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

#2 – Check The Details Of Your Policy

Your policy should tell you if the certain condition or illness you had treated is covered.

If the condition was pre-existing than it won’t be covered. Some pet insurance policies even exclude some hereditary or congenital conditions.

Some policies will even cover the medical expenses for alternative therapies, or if your pet gets sick when you are on a vacation and have to take them in for emergency treatment.

Not sure if the policy will pay?  See #3.

#3 – Contact Your Pet Insurance Company

It’s always best to contact your company as soon as possible because you will need to make a claim within a certain time period.

Your policy documents should tell you what the time frame is to submit a claim but most companies allow you to file a claim within 90 days of your vet visit.

If you aren’t sure about the coverage, contact your pet insurance company. Their customer service should be able to answer all your questions.

Not sure your policy will cover the treatment?

You can get a preapproval in some circumstances for a particular visit.

If you are concerned about an upcoming veterinary visit, you can get a preapproval in some cases.  For example, Embrace Pet Insurance has a “pre-certification” process which completely takes out the guesswork.

#4 – Save All The Invoices

In order to file a claim, you will need to have all the medical records for the vet visit and all the invoices.

Some insurers allow you to take photos of these documents and upload them via their app.

Or with most, you can email them, fax or send all the documents via regular mail.

Always keep copies of whatever you send into the pet insurance company until the claim has been paid fully.

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#5 – Submit A Claim

Once you have finished all of the above, now you can submit your claim.

With all of the documents in hand, you can either email them to your pet insurance provider, upload them via their app or mail in the documents.

There is usually a claim form to fill out and send with all your documents.

You can then follow up in a few weeks to see where the company is in processing your claim.

Some of the pet insurance providers have apps that can show you in real-time where the company is in the process of reimbursing you.

Always submit any claim that you might have that is covered by your pet insurance provider.

Even if the invoice is just a small amount, it could add up in applying towards your deductible.

#6 – Reimbursement

If your company has all the required documents, you should be reimbursed within a month.

There are different methods of reimbursement.

Sometimes the company will send you a check in the mail.

Or send your reimbursement via automatic deposit to your checking account, just like direct deposit.

This is the best way to get reimbursed and a lot of pet insurance companies have this option.

Need Pet Insurance?

FACT: Pet insurance pays up to 90% of vet bills when your pet is sick or injured!

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Summing Up How To File a Claim

Filing a claim is fairly simple. Pet insurance providers want to make you happy and reimburse you in the quickest way possible.

Now that you have gone through the claims process, you can see why it is really important to choose a pet insurance provider that will be able to cover the costs for any possible condition or illness that might occur.

If you are looking for a new pet insurance company that processes claims quickly and has great coverage, out top 10 pet insurance companies of 2020 is a great place to start!


Other articles you may find helpful: 


Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


Pet insurance is similar to other insurances but does have some major differences as compared to your health insurance. Below you will find a definitive list of frequently asked pet insurance questions to help in your decision.


What is Pet Insurance

Types of Pet Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive Pet Insurance Explained

Accident Only Pet Insurance

Pet Wellness Plans

Insurance vs. Wellness Pet Insurance Plans

Is Pet Dental Insurance Worth the Extra Cost

How does Pet Insurance work

Best Pet Insurance Plans with Shortest Waiting Periods

Pet Insurance Deductibles

Pet Insurance Coverage Exclusions and Limits

Pet Insurance Reimbursements

Pet Insurance Benefit Limits Explained

How to Make a Claim on your Pet Insurance

Is my Pet too Old for Pet Insurance Coverage

Top Reasons to Purchase Pet Insurance

How much does Pet Insurance Cost

Is Pet Insurance Worth It

Compare Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance for Multiple Pets

Pet Insurance that Covers Spaying and Neutering

Does Pet Insurance Cover Shots

Pet Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions