Does Pet Insurance Cover Kidney Transplants?


  • Kidney disease and kidney failure are common issues for pets, affecting around 10% of dogs as they age.
  • A kidney transplant for your pet can as much as $20,000, and you may need to adopt the donor animal.
  • Most comprehensive pet insurance policies cover kidney transplants, though there may be limits or exclusions for things like pre-existing conditions.
  • Before you buy coverage, be sure to review policy details, including annual coverage limits, deductibles, and coinsurance.

No pet owner wants to watch their animal suffer. Yet, as many of our pets age, they develop health complications that are difficult or expensive to treat. Even when your pets are young, healthy and playful, you should plan ahead and consider how you’ll handle any major complications.

Kidney disease or kidney failure is one such complication, and it’s one of the leading causes of suffering and death among pets. Once developed, it leads to a range of symptoms and complications, including lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration and more.

Treatments for kidney failure are limited, but kidney replacement is one option. This procedure is less common with dogs, as matching the right kind of breed is more difficult and rejection rates are high. Still, it does happen — and either way, it’s expensive. A transplant can cost between $15,000 and $20,000, and you may also need to pay to adopt the donor animal. 

Given the cost, it’s no surprise that many pet owners wonder whether pet insurance covers kidney transplants. In many cases, insurance can indeed help you cover these medical expenses for your pet. Bet there are a few things you should know before you buy.

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How Does Pet Insurance Coverage Work for Kidney Transplants?

Pet insurance helps you reduce the chances that will happen by covering many of the typical costs of veterinary care. While some policies only cover treatment for accidents, others provide comprehensive coverage for all sorts of common medical issues. If you’re concerned about your pet’s long-term kidney health, you’ll want the latter type of coverage.

Comprehensive pet insurance policies tend to cost more than accident-only plans. On the plus side, though, many of these policies cover a variety of pet health problems, including hereditary issues, stem cell therapy, pacemaker implants, and — yes — kidney transplants. 

This type of coverage typically costs around $49 per month for a dog or $29 per month for a cat, and most policies include deductibles, coinsurance and annual coverage limits. When you file a claim, you’ll usually be reimbursed according to your policy terms and up to the annual limit. So, for example, if your policy has a $10,000 annual limit and 80% reimbursement and your cat’s kidney transplant costs $15,000, you’d receive $10,000 toward the procedure, maxing out your coverage before you reach 80%.

Factors That Affect Pet Insurance Coverage for Kidney Transplants

Not all pet insurance policies cover kidney transplants in all situations. As noted above, an accident-only policy wouldn’t cover this type of procedure unless your pet’s kidney failure were the result of an accident.

Even with a comprehensive policy, there may be some restrictions on coverage for kidney failure. For example, most policies exclude preexisting conditions from coverage. So, if your pet has already been diagnosed with kidney disease or failure, pet insurance won’t cover treatment. If you’re trying to insure an older animal, you may have to pay more to ensure you can get coverage for a kidney transplant. 

As always, it’s important to read the details of your policy before you sign up, especially if you have a cat or think your dog could develop kidney issues down the road. Some treatments are less effective or more expensive, and kidney transplants have a low success rate in dogs, so there may be specific limitations or exclusions built into your specific policy. Keep in mind, too, that some policies include waiting periods for any special conditions such as kidney failure.

Comparing the Top Pet Insurance Providers for Kidney Transplant Coverage

These days, there are enough pet insurance options on the market to make your head spin. Many of these providers offer great coverage, so it comes down to finding the plan that fits your pet’s unique health needs and your budget. 

Embrace offers some of the best benefit options out there. You can choose anywhere from $5,000 to unlimited annual benefits, with deductibles as low as $100. The company even offers a diminishing deductible, meaning your deductible will shrink each year you don’t file a claim. If you have an older epet, Embrace’s unlimited plan may be worth it, since you’d only be out your deductible plus as little as 10% of the procedure cost if you eventually had to file a claim for a kidney transplant.

Other insurers offer different options. Healthy Paws, for instance, automatically includes unlimited annual coverage but offers more variety in terms of deductibles. ASCPA and Lemonade offer more choices for annual coverage limits. Be sure to review all plan features to get a comprehensive idea of your potential out-of-pocket costs.

Tips for Finding the Right Pet Insurance for Kidney Transplants

Your pets become an integral part of your family. And, just as you would with a family member, you want to be sure you have the coverage you need before a health issue crops up. Don’t wait until your cat or dog develops kidney disease to see if you’re covered, as it may already be too late. 

Instead, be sure you research policy options from the beginning. Carefully review how coverage works and what’s excluded. Look for details about kidney treatments and transplants, specifically. 

It’s also important to discuss your treatment and insurance coverage options with your vet. They can help you sort out all the potential costs so you know exactly what you’ll have to pay out of pocket. For instance, the vet can explain whether a transplant will also require you to adopt the donor animal — a cost that likely won’t be covered by your pet insurance. 

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Luke Daugherty

Luke Daugherty is a freelance writer, editor, and former operations manager. He covers personal finance, operations, marketing, and sustainable business, as well as many of his personal passions. His work, bylined and ghostwritten, has appeared in The Balance, CNET, CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur, and more.