Skip to main content

Pet wellness plans versus pet insurance: What’s the difference?

When it comes to pet ownership, you want nothing more than a healthy and happy life for your furry friend. Sometimes, however, pet ownership can get expensive. There are regular vaccines, vet visits, and general procedures that come with owning a pet. The more unexpected costs, however, like surprise surgeries, medications, and treatments can be a big hit to your wallet.

This is why wellness plans and insurance plans were created. They were designed to make both the planned and unplanned expenses more affordable and less intimidating. There are many differences between pet wellness plans and pet insurance. It is important to understand the differences so you can ensure you have the best coverage for your beloved pet.

What is a pet wellness plan?

Pets require a lot of routine vaccinations, one-time spaying/neutering, and ongoing medications to keep them safe. That is the whole idea behind a pet wellness plan. A pet wellness plan is designed to cover your pet’s routine care like annual checkups or vaccinations. It covers all of the planned medical expenses that your pet will rack up over the years.

cat and vet
4 PM production / Shutterstock

Pet wellness plans differ based on who you purchase it from. Certain veterinarian offices offer puppy or kitten plans to cover all of the necessary medications and vaccinations for that first, crucial year of life. There are also wellness plans that continue throughout the life of your pet. They typically require a predetermined payment that you pay every month to cover all vaccinations, annual exams, office visits, medication, and more.
In the long run, these plans are designed to save you money and are a great way to keep track of your pet’s medical needs. It is important to find one that best suits the needs of both you and your pet. They range in monthly cost, expenses they cover, and length of coverage. Some things that a wellness plan covers or can cover include:

  • Annual exams
  • Spaying/neutering
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Grooming and nail trimming
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives
  • Blood, urine, and fecal tests
  • Behavior exam
  • Microchipping
  • Vaccinations

What is pet insurance?

Just like car insurance, home insurance, or medical insurance, pet insurance is for the unknown. Pet insurance is designed for those unexpected surgeries, cancer treatments, needed medications, or quick trips to the vet when your pet is sick. Nobody wants to hear that their pet is sick, but it can be comforting to know you are able to cover the treatment or surgery needed. Pet insurance works like any other insurance. There is a deductible and monthly premium that you pay. Pet insurance is a lifesaver for those unanticipated moments when your pet needs expensive treatment. It is a great way to always feel secure and know that you will be able to help your pet when they need it the most. There are a lot of pet insurance providers these days, so it is important to do your research. Look at all of your options and choose an insurance plan that has a deductible and monthly premium that make sense for you and your pet.

puppy and kitten at vet
FamVeld/Shutterstock

Pet insurance is much different from a wellness plan, but it has the same goal in mind — to help make pet ownership more affordable. Here are some things that some pet insurance plans cover and things that you should consider when deciding on the best plan for your pet:

  • Sick exam fees
  • Illnesses and injuries
  • Dental injury and disease
  • Holistic therapies
  • Chronic and hereditary conditions
  • Unexpected death
  • Vacation cancellation costs
  • Emergency boarding

What are the key differences and similarities?

Pet wellness plans and pet insurance are both great options for your pet. They are good coverage plans that help make pet ownership a little more manageable.

Key differences:

  • Pet wellness plans are for planned expenses
  • Pet insurance plans are for unplanned expenses
  • Pet insurance requires monthly premiums and a deductible
  • Pet wellness plans require a predetermined monthly rate

Key similarities:

  • Both have a form of monthly payment
  • Both are designed to help save you money
  • Both are designed to cover your pet’s health and medical expenses

As you can see, both of these coverages are unique in their own ways. They are both designed to make pet ownership a little more affordable and less scary. You can choose to have one or both of these options because they cover different things. It is important to evaluate which will be most beneficial for your pet. Always consider your pet’s general health and age when deciding on the best option. Both of these coverages can be a huge relief for pet owners.

Editors' Recommendations

What you need to know about your cat’s swollen lip – what causes it and how to help it heal
These are the most likely causes and best treatment options for your cat's swollen lip
Woman petting cat

Your sweet furry friend is a wealth of enjoyment and entertainment — from funny sleeping positions to those precious purrs. Cat behavior can be somewhat of a mystery for even the most dedicated kitty lovers, though, and those feline feelings can lead to physical manifestations that puzzle us.

If you've ever looked at your cat and noticed a swelling on the upper or lower lip, here's what you need to know: This common occurrence isn't something to worry about, but it isn't something to ignore, either. While your vet checks your cat's health, you can read up on this confusing condition. Here's what causes a cat's swollen lip.

Read more
Do puppies sleep a lot? These are the perfectly normal sleeping habits of a healthy pup
Puppies sleep a lot, but here's when it's normal and when to be concerned
Puppy sleeping on lap of human with mustard yellow sweater

Generally, puppies require abundant sleep — some will snooze up to 20 hours per day. Every pup is different, though and as they get older, the number of sleep hours decreases. By about 16 weeks of age, most dog breeds will be able to sleep through the night.

Sleep is an essential element of human and canine development. As anyone who has had a new puppy can tell you, it can be tough at first to get them into a good sleeping routine. Still, you'll want to make sure you and your new dog are rested and fit for all that life has to offer you. Here is everything you need to know about when your new puppy should be sleeping through the night and the answer to the question, "Do puppies sleep a lot?"

Read more
This is how long you can expect your new pet rabbit to live
Follow these tips to help your rabbit live a long and healthy life
Multicolored rabbit on carpet

Rabbits are pleasant house pets — a delight to care for when you know how to keep them happy and healthy. Like other beloved animals, a pet rabbit’s life expectancy depends on their breed, diet, and living conditions. What is a pet rabbit's lifespan? Let’s dig a little deeper and answer some important questions, such as how long your adorable pet rabbit lives and how to extend their years.

How long do rabbits live?
Here’s a fun fact: The oldest rabbit that ever lived was 18 years old! By contrast, wild rabbits only live up to about three years, since many die very young. But there's good news. In the absence of predators, pet rabbits have a life expectancy of eight to 12 years. Like dogs, larger breeds tend to have a shorter lifespan while smaller rabbits often live at least 10 years.

Read more