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.

And many of the companies we review do not pay us anything. We simply rate, compare and review their plan because we feel it will be valuable to you. Our reviews are guaranteed to be unbiased, professional and advertising compensation does not influence rankings.

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.

When you decide to enroll in a new pet insurance policy, there are different levels of coverage.

There are comprehensive policies that cover all accidents and illnesses, as well as wellness plans that cover preventative or routine care.

While both plans offer very valuable procedures as well as benefits, they are very different.

It’s important to understand the difference before signing up with either plan.

Need Pet Insurance?

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

Pet Insurance Plan Coverage

With pet insurance, you get covered for all accidents and injuries and the comprehensive plan is the most well-rounded and inclusive.

An accident-only plan is structured a bit differently and is real coverage for only accidents.

Most pet insurance policies cover a minimum of the following:

  • All accidents and illness
  • Surgeries
  • Specialist Care
  • Alternative Therapy (some at an additional cost)
  • Emergency care
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Prescription medications
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Diagnostic exams

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

Pros of Pet Insurance

The reason you purchase pet insurance is to be covered for most of your vet bills or anything that might occur that is unexpected.

If your pet injures his paw, suddenly has diabetes, or is rushed to the emergency room, you know that most of your vet bill will be covered and even up to 90% (if you chose that reimbursement level).

You always want your pet to get only the best level of care and with pet insurance, you usually can do that.

It’s scary enough to have to deal with the emotional trauma of your pet becoming ill or hurt and to have the financial part covered is a huge relief.

Real Cost Savings from PetFirst Clients


PetFirst saved his parents


A happy energetic Luna one morning couldn’t hold her food down. After months of multiple costly vet visits to specialists and an endoscopy, the problem was discovered and fixed. Luna put 22 pounds back on in no time and her parents were grateful for having PetFirst by their side to pay the bills.

Cons of Pet Insurance

While pet insurance can help you save money if your pet gets sick or injured, you are paying a monthly premium even if your pet is healthy all year.

It is similar to human health insurance in that regard.  You are paying a monthly premium just in case you need that extra vet visit or emergency treatment.

Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, offer a healthy pet discount which is a discount in the event that your pet is healthy all year long and you haven’t received any reimbursements.

Some people prefer to put money aside each month in an emergency fund for their pets for just these reasons.

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Wellness Plan Coverage

Wellness plans are generally coverage for preventative care procedures or routine procedures that are not offered under pet insurance plans.

Not all pet insurance companies have pet wellness plans.

Healthy Paws, for example, doesn’t offer a wellness plan because they want all your money to go towards accidents and illness coverage.

Wellness plans are an add-on to a pet insurance plan.

Therefore, you need to sign up for a pet insurance plan to then subsequently sign up for a wellness plan.

Only Nationwide pet insurance offers a stand-alone wellness plan.

Wellness plans usually cover the following:

  • Vaccinations
  • Microchipping
  • Vet visits
  • Parasite prevention
  • Dental care
  • Deworming
  • Wellness exams
  • Routine screenings
  • Behavior training
  • Grooming

Pros of Wellness Plans

Wellness plans can help offset some of the costs of the routine vet visits and procedures that you know you will use such as vet visits and vaccinations.

While the prices are less expensive than pet insurance plans and generally range from $15 to $20 a month, they are an additional fee to your pet insurance plan.

And each plan has a payout limit per year.

If the added expense, as well as the amount of coverage you get from the wellness plan, is less than your normal routine procedure costs than wellness plans can be beneficial to you.

For example, if your wellness plan is an additional $150 a year and offers you up to $200 worth of preventative care and you know you will spend that $200 than a wellness plan would work for you.

Puppies and kittens are also good candidates for wellness coverage.

With their vaccinations and extra vet visits as well as spaying and neutering options, a wellness plan could save you money.

Cons of Wellness Plans

Wellness plans can certainly be a plus if you see your vet often for preventative care procedures.

But, they are an added expense to a pet insurance policy. And most of these expenses are easily payable out of pocket.

Wellness plans do offer dental coverage, but only a very limited amount.

For instance, most will offer a stipend of $400 to $600 for dental care and one-teeth cleaning could cost well over that.

Summing Up Insurance vs. Wellness

Now that you know the difference between wellness and pet insurance plans, you can decide the best option for you and your pet.

Not all pet insurance providers offer wellness plans but if it is of interest to you, make sure to look for a pet insurance company that does like Embrace or Pets Best.

Our top 10 pet insurance companies of 2019 offer a detailed list of the best companies and which plans they have to offer.


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