Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Insurance Pet Insurance That Covers Heartworm Treatment Updated Dec 06, 2023   |   11-min read Written by Cassidy Horton Written by Cassidy Horton Expertise: Banking, insurance, home loans Cassidy Horton is a finance writer passionate about helping people find financial freedom. With an MBA and a bachelor's in public relations, her work has been published more than a thousand times online. Learn more about Cassidy Horton Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Expertise: Insurance planning, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, military benefits, behavioral finance Erin Kinkade, CFP®, ChFC®, works as a financial planner at AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust. Erin prepares comprehensive financial plans for military veterans and their families. Learn more about Erin Kinkade, CFP® Heartworms can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health, leading to severe complications if not addressed. It’s essential to treat this condition, but it can be expensive, costing nearly $2,700 on average for dogs, according to PetMD. Pet insurance that covers heartworm treatment can be a significant relief to your mind and wallet. Below, we’ll delve into the specifics of heartworm coverage, highlighting how top insurance providers handle this critical aspect of pet care. In this guide: Does pet insurance cover heartworm treatment?Will pet insurance cover heartworm prevention?Which types of plans will cover heartworm treatment and prevention?How top insurance companies handle heartworm treatment coverageDoes buying pet insurance coverage in case my pet gets heartworm make sense?What to do if you can’t afford heartworm treatmentFAQ Does pet insurance cover heartworm treatment? Standard pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses, which include heartworm disease. If your pet develops heartworms while covered by such a policy, the treatment would likely be included, minus any deductibles or copays. But if your pet contracts heartworms before you buy insurance or before your waiting period ends, it may be considered a pre-existing condition. Most pet insurers exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage, meaning treatment for that ailment won’t be covered. Even if your insurance covers heartworm treatment for your pet, you might face additional costs. Some insurers don’t reimburse you for exam fees, taxes you pay on the treatment costs, or routine heartworm screenings. However, services needed to diagnose the severity of heartworms, such as an X-ray or ultrasound of the heart, are often covered. Likewise, if your pet needs specific medications for treatment and your policy includes prescription drug coverage, you’ll likely be reimbursed for those costs. Will pet insurance cover heartworm prevention? Most pet insurance policies focus on unexpected illnesses and injuries, so routine care, such as heartworm prevention, is often not covered. But many providers offer optional wellness plans to help cover the cost of heartworm prevention medication and annual screenings. Prevention involves regular medications to stop heartworm disease before it starts, whereas treatment addresses a heartworm infection in your pet. It’s always cheaper and safer to prevent heartworm than to treat it. Giving your pet monthly heartworm medication might cost several hundred dollars a year, depending on the medication brand and your pet’s size. Heartworm treatment medication alone can cost $500 to $1,500, not including the testing, monitoring, and exams that go with it. If your pet has a severe case of heartworms, treatment can run $3,000 to $6,000—or more. Investing in preventive care protects your pet’s health and can save you from facing hefty vet bills in the future. Which types of plans will cover heartworm treatment and prevention? When it comes to pet insurance, understanding the nuances of coverage can make a big difference. Let’s break down which plans typically cover heartworm treatment and prevention: Regular pet insurance: Standard pet insurance plans focus on accidents and illnesses. These policies tend to cover the treatment of heartworm disease because it falls under the illness category. If your pet develops heartworms while you have an active policy, the treatment costs may be covered in part or in full. Wellness plans: Heartworm prevention is a form of routine care, so it’s not part of regular pet insurance. Instead, it’s often covered under wellness plans. Most pet insurers have preventive care packages, aka wellness plans, that include heartworm prevention. Most pet insurers structure their wellness plans as add-ons. In this setup, you first buy a pet insurance plan and then add on a wellness plan to cover routine care such as vaccines, routine exam fees, heartworm screenings, and prevention medication. Although less common, some vet clinics and insurers offer standalone wellness plans you can buy without pet insurance. How top insurance companies handle heartworm treatment coverage If your pet gets heartworms, many of the best pet insurance companies will cover treatment as long as it’s not considered a pre-existing condition. But you’ll need to buy a separate wellness plan for heartworm prevention and screenings. Click the company name in the table below to find out more about the company’s pet insurance policy and its coverage of heartworms. CompanyHeartworm treatment coverage included in standard pet plan?Optional wellness plan available for heartworm prevention? Lemonade✔️*✔️Fetch✔️*✔️Spot✔️*✔️Embrace✔️*✔️Trupanion✔️*❌ * Will likely cover heartworm treatment if it’s not a pre-existing condition. Lemonade – 4.7 out of 5 editorial rating Get a quote Likely covers diagnostics, procedures, and medications for a new case of heartworms.Preventive package covers routine checks and heartworm tests.Preventive+ package is more comprehensive and includes heartworm prevention. Lemonade is a modern pet insurance company that offers comprehensive coverage for various pet health concerns, including heartworms. Under its standard plan, if your pet contracts heartworms after the policy begins and it’s not a pre-existing condition, Lemonade will likely cover the diagnostics, procedures, and medications associated with the treatment. For those who want to ensure regular checkups and heartworm tests, Lemonade provides an optional Preventive package. This add-on focuses on ongoing care needs. If you’re looking for even more extensive coverage, Lemonade’s Preventive+ package is the go-to. It includes not only an annual heartworm screening but additional reimbursements for heartworm, flea, and tick medication and dental cleanings. Lemonade earns our best for fast claims designation. Fetch – 4.9 out of 5 editorial rating Get a quote Generally covers heartworm treatment under standard policy if it’s not a pre-existing condition.Routine costs related to heartworm prevention are often excluded.You can add a Fetch Wellness plan to your policy if you want coverage for flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Fetch pet insurance typically covers heartworm treatment as long as the heartworms weren’t present or diagnosed before the insurance policy began. Fetch’s standard policies exclude routine costs associated with heartworm prevention. However, to cater to preventive needs, Fetch offers a separate wellness plan. This wellness plan is designed to address ongoing health and preventive care, including heartworm prevention treatments. We determined Fetch offers the best coverage due to the high ratings it earns in our system. Spot – 4.5 out of 5 editorial rating Get a quote Generally covers heartworm treatment in core policies as long as it’s not a pre-existing condition.Offers two levels of preventive care: Gold and Platinum.You’ll need to get the Platinum plan if you want to get reimbursed for heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm treatment is commonly covered under Spot’s main pet insurance policies, provided the condition wasn’t contracted before the policy’s start date. For pet owners looking to be proactive about their pet’s health, Spot offers two distinct preventive care options: Gold and Platinum. The Gold preventive care plan covers the basics, such as annual exams and vaccinations, while the Platinum plan has additional benefits, including flea and heartworm prevention. Spot earns our best variety of terms designation because of its customization options related to deductibles, reimbursement rates, and benefit limits. Embrace – 4.7 out of 5 editorial rating Get a quote Generally covers treatment for heartworms under its standard policy, provided it’s not a pre-existing condition.Wellness Rewards, Embrace’s preventive care plan, allows owners to allocate an annual allowance toward routine care.Wellness Rewards covers routine visits, vaccinations, and preventive medications, including heartworm prevention. Embrace pet insurance focuses on ensuring pets get comprehensive health coverage. In its core policy, heartworm treatment is often covered, as long as the condition wasn’t present before the policy began. To complement its main policy, Embrace offers Wellness Rewards, a flexible preventive care plan. Instead of set coverages, Wellness Rewards provides pet owners with an annual allowance, which they can use toward routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive medications. We’ve determined Embrace is the best pet insurance company for quick coverage. Trupanion – 4.4 out of 5 editorial rating Get a quote Might cover heartworm treatment if it’s not a pre-existing condition.Doesn’t offer a wellness plan to help cover costs for vaccinations and heartworm medications. Trupanion expects pet owners to budget for these costs themselves. Trupanion primarily focuses on accident and illness coverage without an attached wellness plan. It doesn’t give pet owners any way to prepay for preventive care, including heartworm medications. However, it may cover heartworm treatment if the condition develops after your policy’s start date. Trupanion stands out to us as the best for direct vet payments. Does buying pet insurance coverage in case my pet gets heartworm make sense? Our expert’s take Erin Kinkade CFP® Given the cost of treating a heartworm infection, I recommend purchasing pet insurance that includes a wellness plan rider. You can then keep your emergency fund intact for other large expenses or in case of job loss or income reduction. Some pet owners can establish their own pet fee emergency fund and self-insure. Ultimately, the cost of insurance versus using a designated pet emergency fund will depend on each individual’s financial condition and budget. She recommends estimating your potential savings using the following formulas: Step 1: Estimate self-insurance costs To get a handle on self-insurance, you’ll need: The cost of heartworm prevention medicationThe approximate cost of any required vet checkupsEmergency funds for unexpected treatments Total self-insurance costs = Prevention medication + Vet Checkups + Emergency funds Your emergency funds could come from: A designated pet emergency fundGeneral savingsCredit options (Last resort) Step 2: Estimate insurance costs For the insurance route, consider the following: Monthly premiumsDeductiblesCopaysOut-of-pocket expenses Total insurance costs = Premiums + Deductibles + Copays + Out-of-pocket Step 3: Compare costs Now you’ll want to weigh the two costs against each other: Potential savings = Total self-insurance costs – Total insurance costs Ask yourself the following questions: Can I afford a lump sum for treatment, or are smaller, consistent premiums easier my budget?Do I have a dedicated pet fund, or would insurance give me peace of mind? In the end, whether you opt for self-insurance or a pet insurance policy, be sure it aligns with your financial comfort and readiness for emergencies. What to do if you can’t afford heartworm treatment If you’re facing heartworm treatment costs without the cushion of pet insurance, you have options: Payment plans: Many veterinarians understand the financial burden of unexpected medical expenses and might offer payment plans to spread the cost of treatment over time. Discuss this option with your vet clinic.Financial assistance programs: Various animal welfare organizations offer financial assistance to help cover medical treatments. Research local and national programs to see whether you qualify. Visit the Humane Society’s website for more resources.Fundraising: Consider using crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or Waggle to raise money for your pet’s treatment. Share your pet’s story and ask friends, family, and social networks to contribute.Low-cost clinics: Some areas have low-cost veterinary clinics that offer reduced rates for essential treatments, including heartworm therapy.Pet credit cards: Companies such as CareCredit offer credit for medical expenses, including veterinary care. These cards often have promotional periods with low or no interest.Consider preventive measures: It doesn’t help with current treatment costs, but investing in preventive measures for the future is often more affordable than treatment. It can protect your pet from reinfection and save you money in the long run. FAQ Is heartworm treatment more expensive than prevention? Yes, heartworm treatment is generally more expensive than prevention. Treating heartworm can cost thousands of dollars and involves a lengthy and complex process. In contrast, preventive measures, such as monthly medications, are more affordable. When administered regularly, they can help your pet avoid the disease altogether. Can I get pet insurance after heartworm diagnosis? Yes, you can get pet insurance after a heartworm diagnosis, but the insurance likely won’t cover treatment for that pre-existing condition. Most pet insurance plans exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage. But other unrelated future illnesses or accidents should be covered under the new policy. What should I do if my pet insurance doesn’t cover heartworm treatment? If your pet insurance doesn’t cover heartworm treatment, you should consider paying out-of-pocket or exploring alternative financing options. You might also want to consult with your veterinarian about potential payment plans or assistance programs. Can I add heartworm coverage to my pet insurance policy? Yes, some pet insurance providers allow you to add wellness or preventive care coverage to a policy, which may include heartworm prevention and treatment. Contact your pet insurer to discuss your options. Always review any added coverage details to ensure it meets your pet’s needs. Are there breed-specific considerations for heartworm treatment coverage? Some pet insurance providers may have breed-specific exclusions or conditions because certain breeds might be more prone to particular health issues. But heartworm disease can affect any breed, so it’s typically not breed-specific in coverage. Does heartworm coverage also include other parasites, such as ticks and fleas? Yes, if your pet develops an illness due to ticks or fleas and it’s not considered a pre-existing condition, it may be covered. Also, It’s common for wellness plans to reimburse you for comprehensive parasite and heartworm prevention, including flea and tick medication. Will pet insurance cover heartworm treatment for adopted pets with an unknown medical history? Pet insurance typically covers heartworm treatment for adopted pets if the disease develops after the policy starts and after any waiting period. However, if the adopted pet was diagnosed with heartworms before the insurance was purchased, it would be considered a pre-existing condition and likely not covered. What documentation is required to claim heartworm treatment on pet insurance? To claim heartworm treatment on pet insurance, you typically need a detailed invoice or bill from your veterinarian showing the treatment provided and its cost. Some insurers may also request your pet’s medical history or records related to the diagnosis.