There’s no arguing your pet needs regular vet checkups, vaccinations and other routine care. But there may be a debate on whether or not such routine care needs to be part of your pet insurance plan. Wellness coverage refers to the routine vet visits and related procedures that help to maintain an overall happy and healthy furry friend.
Plans may offer wellness coverage as an add-on or rider with which you can supplement your policy. Wellness coverage can be a beneficial add-on, or not, depending on several factors.
New puppies and kittens may be prime candidates for wellness coverage since they typically require extra vet visits for vaccinations as well as spay and neuter surgeries. Wellness plans may also save you money overall if the amount of money you’d pay out-of-pocket for the care is more than the amount of extra premium you’d pay.
Any extras you add to your pet insurance plan will increase the premium, and wellness coverage is one of those extras. The annual cost of routine care typically stays the same year after year, which makes it easy to set aside money in the budget. Pet insurance is most helpful in the case of unexpected emergencies and massive vet bills, neither of which applies to routine wellness care.
What Wellness Care Generally Covers
Although specifics can vary from company to company, most wellness options generally cover items such as:
- One or two routine vet visits
- Select vaccinations
- Some medications
- Spay/neuter surgery
- Fecal exams
- Routine blood tests
- Nail trimming
- Other items, depending on company
Note that plans may have a vaccination payout of something like $15 per vaccine, which would not cover any additional charges for the vet visit unless you were using that visit as one of your annual visits.
Plans with Wellness Options
Out of the top five pet insurance plans we reviewed, three of them offered some type of wellness option. Another plan that made it into our comparison chart also offers wellness coverage, giving us four out of seven companies that provided a wellness option.
Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace offers Wellness Rewards, which gives you an annual allowance you can apply to any eligible routine care options of your choice. You can choose from three different levels of allowances, with the cost per year based on your pet’s age, health, breed, location and other factors. Allowances are:
- $250 allowance per policy year, with cost based on specific factors
- $450 allowance per policy year, with cost based on specific factors
- $650 allowance per policy year, with cost based on specific factors
Nationwide Pet Insurance
Nationwide offers two pet wellness options you can add onto your policy: the Wellness Basic and Wellness Plus. Both cover the same type of routine care, with the plus version having higher payouts for each item. Each item has on the list has a maximum payout limit, such as the $40 maximum payout for microchipping.
- Wellness Basic: $400 maximum limit, costs $12 to $18 per month
- Wellness Plus: $500 maximum limit, costs $17 to $22 per month
Pets Best has a single wellness option for pets called BestWellness Routine Care Coverage, with a different annual payout for dogs and cats.
- Dogs: $505 maximum limit, cost varies by state
- Cats: $565 maximum limit, cost varies by state
Pet Premium offers Routine and Advance wellness options, with the Advance option having higher payouts and a few additional procedures covered.
- Routine: $200 maximum limit, costs $120 but may vary by state
- Advance: $500 maximum limit, costs $400 but may vary by state
Important Wellness Notes
The wellness option from Embrace is the only one that lets you apply the allowance to the procedures of your choice. Other wellness options allow for a specific payout for each procedure, such as $40 for a vet wellness exam, with the maximum total calculated if you used every single procedure offered.
You may not need each procedure every year, with a major case in point being spay or neuter surgery. Some plans may let you cancel your wellness plan at the anniversary date of your policy, but you’d need to read the fine print to confirm.
The only way to truly determine if optional wellness coverage is worth it is to do the calculations. Add up how much you would expect to spend on wellness care without insurance. Then compare the amount to the cost of the premium you’d pay with wellness coverage. Make sure to take maximum payouts per item into account, as you may still have to pay for part of an item if the maximum payout doesn’t cover the full cost your vet charges.