There are three categories of pet insurance:
  1. Accident only
  2. Accident and illness only
  3. Accident/ illness + wellness (add-on)

Accident only

This is the cheapest type of insurance because it offers the least amount of coverage. It only covers accidents, such as getting hit by a car.

Accident and illness only

This is the most common type of pet insurance, and it only protects against emergency vet bills, caused by both accidents and illnesses. Emergency vet bills balloon up quickly, and this is especially true for any dogs that are diagnosed with a long term illness that will require ongoing care. More than 98% of expenditure in the pet insurance space is in this category. While it does not cover any preventative care, you can expect coverage for almost all other scenarios. 

Accident/ illness + wellness (add-on)

This category is quickly becoming more popular among new pet owners that are seeking preventative coverage for their pets. It’s the most comprehensive plan, but much more expensive. This plan does not usually cover pre-existing conditions either, so it should not be viewed as a way to get health insurance after a diagnosis. 


It’s very important to understand any exclusions to the health insurance you are purchasing. This can include medical conditions or services that are not covered. At the most basic level, you’ll want to understand whether you are purchasing accident only, accident-illness only, or accident-illness with a wellness add on. Then, you should dive into the policy to understand what medical conditions and procedures are excluded, such as hip dysplasia or hospital boarding. This is especially true for any conditions your breed is a high risk for.