Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Insurance Pet Insurance That Covers MRIs Updated Dec 08, 2023   |   10-min read Written by Taylor Milam-Samuel Written by Taylor Milam-Samuel Expertise: Student loans, credit cards, debt, budgeting Taylor Milam-Samuel is a personal finance writer and credentialed educator who is passionate about helping people take control of their finances and create a life they love. When she's not researching financial terms and conditions, she can be found in the classroom teaching. Learn more about Taylor Milam-Samuel Reviewed by Jim McCarthy, CFP® Reviewed by Jim McCarthy, CFP® Expertise: Education planning, retirement planning, investment management, insurance planning Jim McCarthy, CFP®, ChFC®, is the owner of Directional Wealth Management, an independent financial planning and investment advisory firm in New Jersey. Jim advises families, professionals, executives, and business owners on how they can build better financial futures. Learn more about Jim McCarthy, CFP® An MRI is a non-invasive imaging tool that allows veterinarians to view the internal structures of your pet’s body. MRIs do not provide treatment. Instead, the images allow vets to diagnose what is wrong and create a treatment plan. An MRI can provide critical insight for your pet’s health, but it comes at a steep cost. You can expect to pay between $2,500 and $5,000 to get an MRI for your dog. Smaller animals like cats might cost less, but larger animals like horses usually cost more. Some pet owners have to decline the scan due to the price, but pet insurance can help. Here’s everything you need to know about pet insurance and MRIs. Table of Contents Skip to Section Does pet insurance cover MRIs?Pet insurance providers that cover MRIsHow to choose the best pet insurance plan for MRI coverageIs MRI coverage worth the cost?How to file a claim for MRI coverage with your pet insurance providerFAQ Does pet insurance cover MRIs? Most standard pet insurance plans cover the cost of an MRI because the scans are related to diagnostics and procedures. You don’t usually need to purchase an add-on policy or upgrade your plan to cover the scan. However, if any diagnostics—including an MRI—are related to a pre-existing condition, it’s usually excluded from coverage. Insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions from before coverage begins. For example, suppose your pet has intervertebral disc disease listed as a pre-existing condition. It gets worse, and the veterinarian recommends an MRI to check. Because the request for an MRI is related to the pre-existing condition, your insurance plan will not cover it. It is best to purchase pet insurance immediately after acquiring your pet. Many pet insurance policies have a pre-existing clause, but most have a time limit on that clause—generally one to two years after the policy is purchased. Jim McCarthy CFP® Pet insurance is generally straightforward, but you need to understand a few key elements to determine how much an MRI will cost with your coverage. Here’s what you need to know. Deductible: The deductible is the amount you must pay when you file a claim. It’s usually a flat number between $200 and $500, but it can vary. You need to cover your plan’s deductible for an MRI, but then your insurer covers the rest.Annual coverage: Pet insurance covers claims for up to a certain amount each year, which is your annual coverage amount. Once the company pays the total amount, you must cover the rest out-of-pocket for the remainder of the year. Reimbursement: This is the amount that your insurance reimburses you for a claim. Pet insurance providers usually cover 70%, 80%, or 90% of each claim after you pay your deductible for the first time. Most policies do not cover the total cost of any treatment or procedure, including the cost of MRIs. Instead, your annual coverage and reimbursement amounts determine how much your plan covers. For example: You have a pet insurance plan with a $250 deductible, a $25,000 annual limit, and an 80% reimbursement amount. Your pet needs an MRI that costs $4,000. It’s your first claim of the year, so you must pay your $250 deductible, and the insurance company applies your 80% co-insurance. Your insurer covers $2,950, and you are responsible for $1,050 ($4,000 x 0.80 = $3,200 – $250 = $2,950). Pet insurance providers that cover MRIs The following providers stood out as the best based on hours of research about pet insurance plans with MRI coverage. These five insurance companies include MRI coverage in their standard plans. Pet Insurance companyIncludes MRI coverageExcludes MRIs for pre-existing conditionsLemonade✔YesFetch✔YesSpot ✔YesEmbrace✔YesTrupanion✔Yes Lemonade: Best for fast claims View Rates LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5 AI digital claims process with quick reimbursementThe app makes it easy to file claimsMRI coverage with standard plans With a 4.7 out of 5 rating, Lemonade is a top choice if you value quick claims reimbursement. Thanks to the power of AI, you can receive up to 50% of your reimbursement instantly. It’s not always possible for the company to send it that fast. Still, it’s a helpful perk, especially for expensive procedures like MRIs. Coverage is extensive and includes accidents, illnesses, chronic conditions, and diagnostics. MRIs, including sedation and anesthesia for your pet during the procedure, are covered. You can upgrade your plan to include preventive care like routine vet visits, but the coverage is still robust without it. Annual coverage: $5,000 – $100,000Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%Deductible: $100, $250, or $500Waiting period: Two weeks for illness and two days for accidentsPet age restrictions: None stated, but it might be difficult to secure a quote for dogs over 10 and cats over 12 years oldAdd-ons: MRI coverage included Fetch: Best coverage View Rates LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5 Extensive coverage, including holistic care and dentalNo network limitations MRI coverage with standard plans Fetch earns the highest LendEDU editorial rating out of the providers on this list. The company has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 thanks to extensive coverage, generous reimbursement, and excellent customer service. Pet owners can visit any veterinarian practice since there are no network restrictions, which ensures you can access the care you want. Every Fetch plan also includes coverage for MRIs. Beyond that, the company standardizes holistic care in its insurance plans, providing more extensive treatment options for your pet. Annual coverage: $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%Deductible: $300 – $700Waiting period: Up to 15 daysPet age restrictions: At least six weeks oldAdd-ons: MRI coverage included Spot: Best variety of terms View Rates LendEDU rating: 4.5 out of 5 Extensive customization options30-day money-back guaranteeMRI coverage with standard plans Like the other providers on this list, Spot standardizes MRI coverage, and each plan includes reimbursement for the scan. But with a 4.5 out of 5 LendEDU editorial rating, Spot stands out due to its extensive options of deductibles, reimbursement rates, and benefit terms. The company empowers you to create a plan for your budget and lifestyle. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try Spot without any risk. The rates are competitive, and you can get coverage in all 50 states. Spot also offers a 10% discount if you have more than one pet insurance policy with the company. Annual coverage: $2,500, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, or unlimited Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%Deductible: $100 – $1,000Waiting period: 14 daysPet age restrictions: At least eight weeks oldAdd-ons: MRI coverage included Embrace: Best for quick coverage View Rates LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5 Unlimited reimbursementVisit any vetMRI coverage with standard plans If you need fast coverage, Embrace is a top pick. With a 4.7 out of 5 editorial rating, Embrace earns a high score thanks to the company’s two-day waiting period for accidents. You have to wait 14 days for illness coverage, but that’s still shorter than most other insurers. Embrace allows pet owners to visit any veterinarian, which makes it easy to access the insurance whether you’re at home or in a nearby city. You can customize your policy based on your needs and earn a 10% discount for additional pets you insure with the company. Annual coverage: $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000, or unlimited Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%Deductible: $100, $250, $500, $750, or $1,000Waiting period: Two days for accidents and 14 days for illnessesPet age restrictions: At least six weeks old, but younger than 14 years oldAdd-ons: MRI coverage included Trupanion: Best for direct vet payments View Rates LendEDU rating: 4.4 out of 5 Unlimited coverage with all policiesPays the vet directlyMRI coverage with standard plans Trupanion earns an editorial rating of 4.4 out of 5 because the company can pay the vet directly. While most pet insurance providers offer a reimbursement after you pay, Trupanion can pay some veterinarians at checkout. Your vet must be on the approved list of providers, but if there’s an option in your area, it’s a solid way to reduce stress when you pay. The company also offers unique perks that most providers do not include, like unlimited coverage for all policies, standard 90% reimbursement, and no minimum age requirement for your pet. Similarly, Trupanion guarantees that rates will never increase due to your pet’s age. Annual coverage: Unlimited Reimbursement: 90%Deductible: $0, $200, $500, or $700Waiting period: Five days for accidents and 30 days for illnessesPet age restrictions: Younger than 14 years oldAdd-ons: MRI coverage included How to choose the best pet insurance plan for MRI coverage Most health insurance plans cover MRIs, but it’s always a good idea to double-check before you finalize coverage. As you compare provider quotes, consider the monthly premium, deductible, and extra perks. For MRI coverage, it’s critical to consider the annual coverage maximum. Costing between $2,500 and $5,000, MRIs are expensive. The scan might cost more than your plan covers if you have a low annual limit. To avoid reaching your limit due to an MRI, consider opting for a plan with a yearly limit of more than $5,000. It might sound like a lot, but the expenses can add up quickly, and an MRI is only a diagnostic tool. Once there is a diagnosis, your pet’s treatment begins, which brings additional costs. According to Jim McCarthy, CFP, choosing coverage, deductible, and reimbursement amounts is a balancing act. Just like car or homeowners insurance,” he says, “you want a reasonable amount of coverage, but you don’t want to overinsure.” Is MRI coverage worth the cost? The average monthly cost of pet insurance is $53.34 for dogs and $32.25 for cats. With MRI costs ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 for one MRI scan, pet insurance coverage is usually worth the expense. If you pay for pet insurance for five years or more and your pet has one MRI during that time, the coverage pays for itself. Plus, most insurers include MRI coverage with a standard plan, so you don’t need to pay for an additional policy to cover the scan. How to file a claim for MRI coverage with your pet insurance provider Most pet insurance providers reimburse you after you pay for treatment, so you typically need to pay for the MRI before you file a claim. Here’s how the process works. Start the claim: Log in to your insurer’s app or website and begin a new claim. Some providers also offer the option to file a claim over the phone. Answer questions: You must answer questions about the claim, including why your pet needs care and what prompted the visit. Submit receipts: After you explain the situation, you typically need to upload a receipt showing an itemized cost breakdown. Receive payment: The insurance company usually subtracts your deductible, applies your co-insurance percentage, and then reimburses you for the remaining amount. Depending on your plan, you can expect to pay at least 10% to 30% of the procedure due to your reimbursement percentage. FAQ Does pet insurance cover MRIs for pre-existing conditions? Pet insurance does not usually cover MRIs for pre-existing conditions. Most insurers do not cover any pre-existing conditions, including diagnoses or treatment related to the condition. If your pet needs an MRI due to a pre-existing condition, you must pay out-of-pocket for the scan. Are any MRIs generally excluded from coverage? Most pet insurance plans cover an MRI your veterinarian deems necessary. If your veterinarian or specialist orders the scan, your insurance will likely cover it. Scans related to pre-existing conditions are the only exception. Pet insurance providers will not usually cover scans for conditions that pre-date the start of coverage. What alternatives to MRIs might pet insurance cover? Depending on your pet’s needs, your veterinarian might recommend a CT scan or x-ray instead of an MRI. Like MRIs, pet insurance typically covers both of those procedures. Pet insurance typically covers the cost as long as the scans do not relate to a pre-existing condition. Do I have to go to a specialized facility for a covered MRI? You typically need to visit a specialized facility for your pet’s MRI. The scan requires expensive equipment that most general veterinarians do not own. Your pet also needs anesthesia to undergo the scan since it usually lasts at least an hour, and your pet needs to stay still. Is there a typical out-of-pocket cost for an MRI with pet insurance? The out-of-pocket cost depends on the details of your insurance plan. Depending on your reimbursement rate, you typically need to pay 10% to 30% of the procedure. If you haven’t already paid your deductible for the year, you must also pay that.