Vaccinations are a regular part of your pet’s life, with recommended immunizations starting as early as six weeks of age. These vaccines may be able to help your pet avoid certain illnesses and diseases, or could prevent more serious symptoms if your pet does get sick.
Of course, they come at a cost. Depending on your pet’s age and breed, you could potentially spend hundreds of dollars each year on their scheduled vaccines and the appointments necessary to administer them. With the right pet insurance plan, you may be able to get some (or all) of these costs covered for your dog or cat, but it’s important to understand exactly what your plan covers.
Here’s a look at how you can get routine vaccinations covered through a pet insurance plan.
In this article:
- Does pet insurance cover vaccinations?
- What vaccinations are covered with pet wellness plans?
- Pet insurance wellness plans and their vaccination benefits
Does pet insurance cover vaccinations?
Your traditional pet insurance policy will not cover vaccinations, because they’re considered routine care and most pet insurance plans only cover illnesses and injuries. Preventative visits and care are out-of-pocket expenses instead, often resulting in hefty vet bills for pet owners who only have standard insurance plans.
If you want pet insurance that covers vaccinations—as well as routine care such as annual exams, dental cleanings, spay/neuter surgery, and the like—you will need to purchase a wellness plan instead of (or in addition to) a standard pet insurance policy.
Even with wellness plans though, there may be limits on the type or number of vaccines covered each year. However, the coverage these plans do offer can help pay for vaccines as well as many of your pet’s other preventative care costs.
Pet wellness plans typically operate on a reimbursement model, similar to traditional pet insurance companies’ accident and illness plans. This means that pet owners will usually pay their vet directly for the visit, then file a claim for reimbursement from the insurance company.
Example: Let’s say your wellness plan offers vaccine coverage for up to $75 per shot, with an annual plan maximum of $500. If you have four vaccines administered at $60 each, your plan would reimburse you the full $240. You would still have up to $260 remaining in your plan for other covered preventative treatments, like flea control or heartworm prevention.
What vaccinations are covered with pet wellness plans?
In your pet’s first year of life, your vet will likely recommend up to four core vaccines: three doses of DAP and one of rabies. They may also suggest a number of other lifestyle-related vaccines, such as those for Lyme, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, or Canine Influenza.
Most of these vaccines are highly recommended by veterinarians, especially if your dog spends time outdoors, is ever around other animals, or gets boarded when you travel. In some cases, certain vaccines may even be required by your state or local government. You can also expect some vaccines to be required before obtaining certain pet services, such as grooming or boarding.
The most common vaccines that you may encounter for your pet include:
- Rabies: This highly recommended vaccine may be required by your county or state, or your pet will need to have proof of a blood titer test in order to be exempt. The first rabies vaccination is usually given at 16 weeks, though a booster is often required around their first birthday. Rabies vaccines can be given annually or every three years, depending on your state’s laws.
- DHLPP: This five-in-one shot blends core and non-core vaccines into one. It includes distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus, and can be given to pets as young as six weeks. It requires two more boosters to be given in three-week intervals and another when they’re a year old, in order for your pet to be considered fully vaccinated. This vaccine can also be split up and given individually.
- DAP: Another combo vaccine, this one combines canine distemper with canine adenovirus (Type 2) and canine parvovirus. It can be given as early as six to eight weeks.
- Bordetella: One of the two leading causes of kennel cough, the Bordetella vaccine is often recommended for pets who spend time around other animals. It is usually recommended if you plan to board your pet or drop them off at daycare. Bordetella can be given to pets as young as three weeks, with a booster four weeks later. Future doses can be given annually or every six months, depending on your pet and lifestyle.
- Influenza: To prevent the flu virus in your pet, you may want to opt for an influenza vaccine. This can help protect them against the two most common strains of dog flu, which can spread between pets similar to how the human flu spreads among us (don’t worry, though, you and your pet can’t pass the flu to one another). This shot series includes two doses, followed by an annual booster.
- Lyme: If your pet spends time outdoors or if you live in certain areas around the country, your vet may recommend a vaccine for Lyme. This tick-borne illness can start with relatively minor symptoms (reduced energy, loss of appetite, etc.) and progress to lameness, kidney failure, cardiac issues or even neurological effects. This vaccine is given as a two-shot series with an annual booster. However, the Lyme vaccine is not right for all pets, so consult with your vet.
- FVRCP: Similar to the DHLPP vaccine in dogs, FVRCP is a five-in-one vaccine designed for cats. It covers the feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia. This vaccine is typically given to kittens in three- to four-week intervals until they are between 16 and 20 weeks old, then given again a year later. It is repeated every three years.
Pet wellness plans and their vaccination benefits
While many pet insurance companies only offer accident and illness coverage, some also offer optional pet wellness plans. These plans are often available as an add-on to an existing insurance plan, though standalone coverage may also be possible. Wellness plans typically offer coverage for routine care, such as vaccines.
Covers up to $80 for three vaccinations each year
- Coverage is available through its optional preventative care add-on
- Available for use the day after you purchase your policy
- Get a free quote in just two minutes
Lemonade stands out for its affordable policies and digital experience. Reimbursement for vaccinations is available through Lemonade’s preventative care package. This is an optional add-on to a standard accident and illness pet insurance policy.
The amount you’ll be reimbursed depends on the reimbursement rate you select for your pet insurance plan. The higher your reimbursement rate, the more Lemonade covers.
What sets Lemonade apart from competitors is its focus on using technology to enhance the customer experience. The company’s user-friendly app allows for quick claims processing, oftentimes within minutes, making it convenient for pet owners.
Covers up to $75 for three vaccinations each year
- Choose between its Gold or Platinum preventative care add-on
- Reimbursement is only available for specific vaccines
Spot offers one of the most customizable pet insurance policies in the industry. You can select between several deductibles, reimbursement rates, and annual coverage limits to find a policy that protects you and your pet.
All policies include two optional preventative care plans. Here’s the vaccination breakdown for both plans.
|Dog DHLPP or Cat FVRCP||$20||$25|
|Rabies and/or Dog Lyme or Cat FIP||$20||$25|
|Dog Bordetella or Cat FELV||–||$25|
Choose a $250, $450, or $650 allowance per year
- The net effective savings with an allowance is about $25 over a year
- No reimbursement limits per item within your allowance
Embrace provides comprehensive pet protection, including an optional wellness plan that covers vaccinations and a long list of other preventative care items. The Wellness Rewards program enables you to receive reimbursement for routine care such as check-ups, dental care, and vaccinations, providing a well-rounded approach to your pet’s health.
Unlike other companies, Embrace lets you choose how to spend your allowance. There are no per-item limits or excluded vaccinations. All policyholders have access to a free 24/7 pet helpline.
Typical pet insurance plans don’t cover routine care, such as annual checkups or regularly scheduled vaccinations, even though these can play an important role in your pet’s continued health. If you want protection for preventative care—either in addition to accident and illness coverage, or as a standalone product—you’ll need to buy a wellness plan.
These plans generally cover routine vet visits and care, including vaccinations. Each plan differs in terms of the amount of coverage offered and which vaccines are included, so be sure to consider your pet’s age and care needs when shopping around.