Pet Insurance vs. Wellness Plan – What You Need to Know


  • Wellness plans cover preventative care costs like routine medical exams, vaccinations, and dental cleanings
  • Wellness plans are typically purchased alongside comprehensive pet insurance policies which cover accidents and illnesses
  • Not every provider offers wellness plans 
  • Pets don’t necessarily need wellness plans, but they might make it easier for some pet parents to anticipate the cost of care 

Pet Insurance vs. Wellness Plans

Many pet parents have pet insurance, but not all have wellness plans. This is because wellness plans are essentially insurance add-ons designed to cover part of the cost of preventative care that is not traditionally covered by typical insurance. 

A typical pet insurance policy covers accidents, injuries, illnesses, or all of the unexpected expenses that come with having a pet. Some insurance providers also offer optional wellness plans at an additional cost to cover things like vaccines, medical exams, and teeth cleaning. Wellness plans can be purchased on their own, but they’re typically bundled in with your pet’s main comprehensive insurance policy. 

Ideally, you should have a pet insurance policy as early as possible in your pet’s lifespan. Adding on a wellness plan is less essential– some owners may prefer to pay preventative care costs out of pocket instead of paying for the additional monthly deductible. 

Note that all pet insurance plans (wellness plans included) exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are defined as any ailment that was diagnosed or suspected before your pet was under your insurance coverage. We’ll delve into the differences between the two plans below: 

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance provides coverage for accidents, illness, and emergencies– more or less, the unexpected health expenses of your pets. You can purchase accident and illness coverage separately, though these are most often grouped together to provide comprehensive coverage.

Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, so it benefits interested pet parents to enroll in a policy as early as possible. Note that policy providers will not consider your pet “active” until the coverage is agreed upon, funded, and you’ve completed your waiting period (usually around 14 days). Some policies may also request a formal veterinarian exam before setting your policy as active. 

You can expect accident and illness plan to cost anywhere from $50 to $150 a month depending on your pet’s history, location, and health. Here are some quotes for some of the most popular pet insurance providers based on average accident and illness quotes for adult male pets in Dallas, Texas:

  • ASPCA: An average accident and illness plan costs $70. 
  • Banfield: An average accident and illness plan costs $50. Note that care can only be used in Banfield hospitals. 
  • Pets Best: An average accident and illness plan costs $60. 
  • Figo: An average accident and illness plan costs $60. 
  • Spot: An average accident and illness plan costs $60. 
  • Nationwide: An average accident and illness plan costs $55. 

These averages assume a $200 deductible with an 80% reimbursement rate. Also, remember that cost is not the only factor to take into consideration– each policy comes with its own coverage limits, so it’s key to evaluate each according to your pet’s specific needs. 

Wellness Plans

Wellness plans are typically purchased as an add-on to your pet’s traditional insurance policy and are designed to provide coverage for preventative care measures. For instance, wellness plans often cover items such as wellness exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, and routine dental care. 

You can expect wellness plans to cost anywhere from $10 to $100 a month, but here are some quotes for some of the most popular wellness plan providers based on average quotes for adult male pets in Dallas, Texas:

  • ASPCA: An average wellness add-on costs $10 a month. 
  • Banfield: Banfield wellness plans are one of the preventative care packages that can be purchased without accident and illness insurance. These plans average around $40 monthly. 
  • Pets Best: An average wellness add-on costs $20 a month. 
  • Figo: An average wellness add-on costs $13 a month. 
  • Spot: An average wellness add-on costs $15 a month. 
  • Nationwide: An average wellness add-on costs $20 a month. 

It’s always important to provide your pet with preventative care. Wellness plans may make it easier for some owners to anticipate associated costs, while other pet parents may prefer to pay for these fees out of pocket. 

Choosing the Right Plan: Factors To Consider 

Coverage needs will undoubtedly vary from one furry friend to another. Here are a couple of factors to take into consideration so that you can pick the right plan for your needs:

  • Plan Eligibility: Note that some pet insurance providers, like Trupanion for instance, do not offer any wellness plans. This should be factored into your decision when picking out coverage for your pet. 
  • Savings Habits: Pet parents that save regularly for their furry friends may prefer to pay out of pocket instead of using a wellness plan. On the other hand, wellness plans can help encourage saving regularly toward your pet’s preventative care costs. 
  • Cost of Care: The cost of veterinary care varies greatly based on your pet’s needs and geographic location. Pet parents in more expensive areas may reap fewer benefits from purchasing a wellness plan since coverage won’t foot the entire bill for preventative services. 
  • Your Pet’s Individual Needs: How often are you at the veterinarian with your furry family member? Pets who visit the vet more often might benefit from having an expanded scope of insurance coverage with wellness plans. 

Pet Insurance vs. Wellness Plans FAQs

Are you still having trouble choosing between a wellness plan or a pet insurance policy for your furry friend? Consider these commonly asked questions and answers to help expand your understanding: 

Can pet owners purchase both pet insurance and a wellness plan?

Yes! Wellness plans tend to cover preventative or routine visit costs like medical exams which are not covered by pet insurance. Pet insurance plans are designed to cover unexpected expenses like injuries, accidents, and illness. 

How much do pet insurance and wellness plans cost?

The cost of pet insurance and wellness plans will vary greatly based on your deductible as well as your pet’s history, breed, and overall health. Both plans typically revolve around a monthly premium that must be paid out in full on a regular basis to retain coverage

Which option is better for preventive care – pet insurance or a wellness plan?

Pet insurance policies only cover unexpected expenses, so preventative care costs are ineligible for reimbursements. Wellness plans offer coverage for preventative care costs at an additional fee, though some owners may prefer to pay these costs out of pocket. 

What is the claims process like for pet insurance and wellness plans?

The claims process for typical pet insurance and wellness plans is very similar. You pay your veterinarian upfront for the cost of care, and then submit a claim for reimbursement. Each insurance policy and wellness plan outlines your pet’s scope of coverage for reference. 

Finding the right coverage for your companion is a different process for every pet parent. Hopefully, this guide clears up the major differences between pet insurance plans and wellness plans so that you can make an informed decision for your furry family member. 

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Katharine Brunotts

Kate Brunotts is a pet-care content specialist with past experience at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in NYC. When she's not crafting articles for pet parents, Kate enjoys relaxing with her Shih Tzu Poodle Mix, Spicy.