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Insurance Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance for Adopted Dogs and Cats

Updated Jul 13, 2023   |   8-min read

These days, veterinary medicine allows cats and dogs to receive most of the same types of surgeries and procedures available to humans. There are special eye doctors, MRI machines, and cardiac and orthopedic surgeons for pets.

Just as these procedures can be expensive for humans, they are expensive for pets. If you are concerned about how you would pay for all of this medical care in the event your pet needed it, you should consider pet insurance for adopted dogs or cats. Pet insurance reduces the cost of medical services for an annual premium. Here’s what you need to know about getting pet insurance for adopted or rescued pets.

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Pet Insurance for an Adopted Dog or Cat

Compare Pet Insurance Options

Embrace Pet Insurance Logo

Best for quick coverage

  • Provides comprehensive coverage with an optional preventative care plan
  • Get reimbursed up to 90% for covered conditions
Spot Logo (Oct 2021)

  • Offers a great selection of annual limits
  • No maximum age restrictions
ASPCA pet insurance logo

  • Has been offering pet insurance since 2006
  • Plans include accident and illness or an accident-only policy

Below you will find some top-rated pet insurance companies that can be a good start for finding coverage for your pet.

Embrace: Best for quick coverage

  • Deductible: $200, $300, $500, $750, or $1,000
  • Reimbursement: 65%, 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Benefit limit: $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, or $30,000

Embrace Pet Insurance provides personalized plans and unique benefits allowing you to find the right coverage for your adopted pet. The company was our selection as offering the best for quick coverage for pets.

  • Age limit: 6 weeks14 years (for new enrollments only)
  • Medical exam: Yes, if your pet hasn’t visited the vet in the past 12 months
  • Discounts: 10% for each additional pet insured and a 5% military discount (military discount no available in NY & TN)
  • Waiting period: 14 days for illness, two days for accidents, and six months for orthopedic conditions
  • Policy options: Accident and illness, accident-only, and optional wellness coverage
  • Benefits: Will cover curable pre-existing conditions and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee

Spot: Best selection of terms

  • Deductible: $100, $250, $500, $750, or $1,000
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Benefit limit: $2,500, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, or unlimited

Spot offers pet insurance that can help cover conditions such as accidents, medications, diagnostics, exams for covered conditions, and treatment––even alternative therapies. The company’s focus is to provide pet owners with the tools they need to help create a world of healthier pets and happier owners.

  • Age limit: At least 8 weeks old
  • Medical exam: Not required to enroll
  • Discounts: 10% for each additional pet
  • Waiting period: 14 days for both accidents and illnesses
  • Policy options: Accident and illness, accident-only, and optional wellness coverage
  • Benefits: Microchip implementation is covered, 30-day money-back guarantee, exam fees for covered conditions are reimbursed, distinguishes between incurable and curable pre-existing conditions

ASPCA: Best for reliability

  • Deductible: $100, $250, or $500
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Benefit limit: $3,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, or unlimited

ASPCA offers pet insurance that covers exam fees, diagnostic costs, treatment for accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, and behavioral issues, and more. Once enrolled, members can use the ASPCA app to submit and track claims, find a nearby vet clinic, review your benefits, and more.

  • Age limit: At least 8 weeks old
  • Medical exam: Not required to enroll
  • Discounts: 10% for each additional pet
  • Waiting period: 14 days for accidents and illnesses
  • Policy options: Accident and illness, accident-only, and optional wellness coverage
  • Benefits: 30-day money-back guarantee and distinguishes between incurable and curable pre-existing conditions

To compare additional options, you can check out our picks for the best pet insurance.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

In order to get pet insurance, you fill out an application online or by phone. The insurance company verifies the information provided with your vet, and then your policy is active. Typically, there is a short waiting period before you can make a claim.

Unlike human health insurance companies, most pet insurance policies do not make payments directly to the provider. To make a claim on your pet insurance policy, you pay the provider directly and then submit the claim and receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement.

What Types of Pet Insurance Can You Get for an Adopted or Rescued Pet?

Pet insurance policies have a variety of choices with respect to deductibles, annual premiums, and coverage options. Here are some of the most popular coverage options.

  • Wellness: A wellness plan only covers what is considered to be part of a typical annual check-up with the vet. This includes things like the wellness exam, microchipping, routine blood work, vaccinations, and preventative care against heartworms, fleas, and ticks.
  • ​Medical: Medical insurance plans do not cover any of the basic wellness expenses that would be part of a wellness plan. Medical plans provide coverage for expenses that arise from an injury or illness. Types of care typically covered by the medical insurance policy can include infections, allergies, dental care, skin growths and tumors, fractures and tissue injuries, and diseases.
  • Complete/Comprehensive: A complete pet insurance policy combines both wellness care and medical care coverage. While medical plans limit or exclude coverage for the treatment of hereditary disorders, complete insurance plans do cover these treatment costs. In other words, these plans can cover almost every medical-related pet expense.

Pet Insurance for Adopted Pets: What Isn’t Covered?

Pre-existing conditions and hereditary disorders are often excluded from most pet insurance plans. However, some pre-existing conditions can be waived from exclusion if a vet can provide evidence that the disorder has been cured for a specific period of time.

There may also be waiting periods for certain issues. This is particularly true for major injuries such as ligament and meniscus tears.

If your pet might require additional coverage, you should look at one of the complete or comprehensive types of insurance policies for your pet. These may cover mild presentations of congenital anomalies and disorders. Although comprehensive plans typically provide coverage of hereditary disorders, other pre-existing conditions are still excluded.

Also, keep in mind insurance is intended for wellness exams with a vet and medical problems requiring normal veterinary care. Even the most inclusive policies don’t cover expenses like training, food, boarding, and grooming.

Does It Make Sense to Get Pet Insurance After Adoption?

Whether it does or does not make sense to get pet insurance is an individual question. Before getting pet insurance, you should research all of the options and costs associated with different types of plans.

Comprehensive plans offer the greatest coverage and benefits, but also have the highest annual premium. If you have a puppy or kitten that seems pretty healthy and is not a breed typically susceptible to hereditary disorders, the cost might not make sense for you.

If you’re rescuing a pet, make sure to consider the pets age when determining whether pet insurance for a rescued dog or cat is worth it. Older pets can become more susceptible to injury or illness. However, prices for a policy will likely be more expensive than if the pet was younger.

Generally, you need to make a decision about how much you would be willing to pay out of your own pocket for major pet medical expenses. In some cases, the cost of insurance premiums over time nearly meets the amount of insurance coverage for medical treatment. Due to the exclusions of pre-existing conditions, however, it is best to buy pet insurance while your pet is still young.

Alternatives to Pet Insurance

If you are still not sure about pet insurance, there are a couple of other alternatives to consider.

Consider a pet wellness plan

Other companies, such as Eusoh and Wagmo offer alternative forms of coverage for your pets. These plans typically don’t cover catastrophic surgeries and some other forms of coverage, but they may also come with substantially lower monthly premiums.

>> Read More: Pet wellness plan vs. pet insurance

Save the Monthly Insurance Premium

Rather than paying out the premium to the insurance company every month or every year, deposit that money into a special savings account. You can even request a direct deposit into a savings account to make sure you stick to your savings plan.

If you need the money to put toward your pet’s medical expenses, you have it. If you don’t end up using all of the money during the lifetime of your pet, you can use the funds as you choose. Just keep in mind that the cost of treatment may exceed the amount you have saved.

Look Into Veterinary Care Financing Programs

Most vet offices have financing options to help you pay for more expensive services and treatments. The vet may allow you to pay a certain percentage up front and then make monthly payments on the remaining balance. Others might direct you to apply for third-party financing companies. You would then make monthly payments similar to a credit card or loan.

Recap of Pet Insurance for Adopted Dogs and Cats

ProviderReimbursementBenefit Limit
ASPCA70%90%$5,000 – Unlimited