Pet Insurance vs. Wellness Plans

We devote a lot of time and money to keeping our pets happy. We buy them toys and treats, take them on walks, and even schedule playdates with their furry best friends. We should also be devoting that same level of care and cash to their health.

Our pets need routine veterinary care to prevent serious issues and stay in tip-top shape. A wellness plan is a helpful tool that can supplement your pet’s insurance policy and help you budget for expected veterinary expenses. 

In this article, we’ll discuss pet insurance vs. wellness plans and how these services can help you keep your pet happy and healthy. Specifically, we’ll explain:

  • How wellness plans and pet insurance differ
  • What items wellness plans cover
  • Which companies offer wellness plans
  • How much money you can save with a wellness plan
  • FAQs

Pet Insurance Vs. Pet Wellness Plans: What Are the Main Differences?

Pet insurance is designed to help you pay for unexpected trips to the vet. Pet insurance providers offer accident-only and combination accident/illness plans for coverage on a broader range of incidents. 

Accident-only plans cover costs associated with your pet’s unexpected, accidental injuries. Accident/illness plans help you pay the vet for diagnostic testing, treatments, and aftercare when your pet gets accidentally injured or unexpectedly sick. In both cases, pet insurance covers the unexpected.

On the other hand, wellness plans help you pay for your pet’s routine care and upkeep. Sometimes called preventative care plans, wellness plans reimburse you for the planned services that keep your pet healthy.

Both types of plans provide you peace of mind when meeting your pet’s needs and budgeting for pet healthcare. 

Use the table below to compare items covered by pet insurance and wellness plans. Coverage varies by provider, so these are just general examples.

Pet Insurance

Wellness Plan

Accidents and injuries

Wellness exams

Illnesses

Vaccinations

Chronic conditions

Routine dental care

Orthopedic conditions

Nail trimming

Congenital and genetic conditions

Routine anal gland expression

Emergency veterinary care

Spay/neuter surgery

Specialist care

Routine fecal testing

Cancer

Urinalyses

Diagnostic testing

Routine blood work

Prescription medications

Flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives

What Do Pet Wellness Plans Cover?

Wellness plans cover the routine services your vet recommends and sometimes requires. For example, your vet might require a fecal test and wellness exam before refilling your pet’s parasite preventative medications. 

Wellness exams and routine blood testing alert the vet of any potential health problems. Vaccines protect your pet from various diseases. Most wellness plans cover routine teeth cleanings, which are a helpful tool in preventing dental disease.

Keep reading to see our top pet insurance company picks and the preventative care items they cover. 

What Are the Different Types of Wellness Plans?

Most pet insurance companies offer basic and premium options for their wellness plans. 

The basic and premium options sometimes cover the same services, but the premium plan has a higher annual benefit. Sometimes, premium wellness plans cover additional items that aren’t included in basic plans. In these cases, you may have to buy a more expensive wellness plan for coverage on costly services like spay/neuter procedures and comprehensive dental cleanings.

In addition to basic and premium wellness plans, some providers offer wellness plans designed for puppies and kittens. Baby animals typically have more appointments in their first year for initial vaccinations, physical exams, blood tests, and spay/neuter procedures. Wellness plans for puppies and kittens are a great tool to help you afford costly first-year expenses and get your pet’s life off to a healthy start.

Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth It?

We think wellness plans are worth it. You’ll have to spend money on preventative services anyway, and these plans can help you budget, save money, and protect your pet from health issues. 

For pet parents with new puppies and kittens, wellness plans are especially worth it. Your baby pet will need much more preventative care in its first year. A wellness plan can help you take high costs and break them into smaller monthly payments. 

Along with saving you money, a wellness plan encourages you to practice preventative pet care that will keep your pet healthy. 

Preventative Care Item

Why It’s Important

Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings are an essential part of routine care because dental disease can cause many other health issues for your pet. Your pet’s poor dental hygiene can lead to tartar buildup, gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease. Once your pet’s mouth is diseased, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause severe damage.

Blood Work

Routine blood work provides the vet with valuable information about your pet’s overall health. Blood work provides information on your pet’s blood cell counts, platelet counts, bodily chemicals, hormones, and more. Using these metrics, the vet can diagnose internal issues your pet may have.

Spay/Neuter Procedures

Surgical sterilization procedures help reduce pet overpopulation; thus, leaving fewer animals homeless and in shelters. The procedures are also good methods of preventative care. Early spaying reduces your pet’s risk of uterine infection and breast cancer. Neutering your pet early on reduces its risk of developing prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancer.

Flea/Tick and Heartworm Prevention

Parasite prevention is an essential part of your pet’s wellness care. Infection with heartworms puts your animal at risk for heart and lung failure. Heartworms can also cause sudden death in cats. Ticks can infect your pet with Lyme Disease. Fleas can infest your home and irritate your pet’s skin to the point of bleeding. The best way to prevent these outcomes is to keep your pet up-to-date on parasite preventatives.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are crucial because they prevent your pet from contracting diseases like rabies, canine distemper, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and feline leukemia (FeLV). Some conditions are zoonotic, meaning they can spread between animals and people. Vaccinating your pet helps stop the spread of such diseases to you and your loved ones.

How to Choose a Pet Wellness Plan

To choose a pet wellness plan, you need to consider what items are most important for your pet and what services you’d like reimbursed. 

If you have a puppy or kitten, you might want more preventative care coverage. These younger pets will accumulate more veterinary expenses with checkups, vaccinations, tests, and examinations in their first year. 

Some wellness plans cover spay/neuter procedures for younger pets. These procedures are costly if you pay in full, and wellness coverage can help ease some of that financial burden.

If your adult pet only requires one annual checkup to get its prescriptions refilled, you can choose a cheaper wellness plan with less reimbursement. Pets with fewer routine needs can also benefit from a plan with no individual service limits. 

These plans, such as Embrace’s Wellness Rewards package, provide members with a set yearly allowance to cover any wellness costs. You can put your entire annual allowance towards one service or split it up across different services throughout the year.

Which Companies Offer Pet Wellness Plans?

Spot

Spot’s base pet insurance plan covers accidents, illnesses, congenital conditions, behavioral issues, and more. You can also select an accident-only plan for coverage of your pet’s unexpected injuries.

Spot offers two wellness plan options.

The Gold package costs around $10 per month for dogs and cats. The Gold package covers up to $250 on dental cleanings, wellness exams, vaccinations, deworming, fecal tests, and heartworm or FeLV/FIV testing.

The Platinum package costs about $25 per month for dogs and cats. It covers each of the items in the Gold package, plus health certificates, urinalysis, blood work, and flea/heartworm prevention.

Here are Spot’s preventative care reimbursement limits:

Wellness Care Item

Gold

Platinum

Dental Cleaning

$100

$150

Wellness Exam

$50

$50

Canine DHLPP or Feline FVRCP Vaccine

$20

$25

Rabies and/or Canine Lyme or Feline FIP Vaccine

$20

$25

Fecal Test

$20

$25

Canine Heartworm or Feline FELV Test

$20

$25

Deworming

$20

$25

Blood Test

N/A

$25

Urinalysis

N/A

$25

Health Certificate

N/A

$25

Flea/Heartworm Prevention

N/A

$25

Canine Bordetella or Feline FELV Vaccine/Titer

N/A

$25

Total coverage

$250

$450

Lemonade

Lemonade’s base accident/illness plan covers diagnostic testing, procedures, and prescription medications.

Lemonade provides two wellness plan options.

The Preventative package costs around $16 per month for dogs and $10 per month for cats. It covers one wellness exam, one fecal or internal parasite test, three vaccines, one heartworm or FeLV/FIV test, and one blood test.

The Preventative+ package costs about $24 per month for dogs and $16 per month for cats. It covers all items from the Preventative package, plus a routine dental cleaning and flea/tick or heartworm medication.

Lemonade also offers a wellness plan designed for puppies and kittens. The Puppy/Kitten Preventative package covers two wellness exams, two fecal tests, six vaccines or boosters, one heartworm or FeLV/FIV test, one blood test, flea/tick or heartworm prevention, microchipping, and spay/neuter surgery. This package costs about $44 per month for puppies and $34 per month for kittens.

Here are Lemonade’s wellness plan coverage limits:

Wellness Care Item

Preventative Package

Preventative+ Package

Puppy/Kitten Preventative Package

Wellness exam

$50

$50

$100

Fecal test

$35

$35

$100

Vaccines

$75

$75

$150

Heartwork or FeLV/FIV test

$40

$40

$40

Blood test

$65

$65

$65

Flea/tick or heartworm medication

N/A

$65

$65

Routine dental cleaning

N/A

$150

N/A

Spay/neuter

N/A

N/A

$120

Total coverage

$265

$480

$640

Embrace

Embrace’s Wellness Rewards package doesn’t limit individual preventative care items. Instead, you can choose from reimbursement rates of $250, $450, and $650, depending on your pet’s needs. 

Below are the average monthly prices for each Wellness Rewards option. Each option will save you around $25 per year.

$250 – $19 per month for dogs and cats

$450 – $35 per month for dogs and cats

$650 – $52 per month for dogs and cats

The reimbursement amount you choose will cover only a portion of your pet’s annual preventative care costs. So, if you select the $450 option and spend that much on one service, you will have to pay out of pocket for the rest of your pet’s wellness visits for that policy period.

Embrace recommends the $650 rate for puppy and kitten owners who will inevitably spend more on initial vaccines and checkups. Pet owners with older pets who just need parasite prevention and routine vaccinations could opt for the lower plan.

You can change your Wellness Rewards amount at the start of new policy periods, so you won’t be stuck with a rate that doesn’t fit your needs.

Embrace’s Wellness Rewards package covers:

  • Routine vet visits
  • Grooming
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm meds
  • Fecal tests
  • Routine blood work
  • Microchipping
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Spay/neuter surgery
  • Routine chiropractic care
  • Massage and acupuncture
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Prescription diet food
  • Training classes
  • Vaccinations
  • Toenail trimming
  • Anal gland expression
  • Pet activity monitors
  • Cremation or burial

Prudent Pet

Prudent Pet offers three preventative care add-ons. The Low option costs about $12 per month for dogs and $8 per month for cats. The Medium costs about $20 per month for dogs and $14 per month for cats. Lastly, the High option costs about $30 per month for dogs and $20 per month for cats. 

Here are Prudent Pet’s wellness plan coverage limits:

Wellness Care Item

Low

Medium

High

Wellness exam*

$30

$50

$60

Rabies vaccine

$25

$30

$35

DHLPP vaccine

$25

$30

$35

Heartworm test or FeLV screen

$25

$30

$35

Fecal exam

$25

$30

$35

Health certificate

$30

$40

$50

Microchip

$25

$35

$45

Deworming

$25

$30

$35

Dental cleaning OR Spay/Neuter

N/A

$40

$60

Bordetella or Lyme Disease vaccine

N/A

N/A

$35

Wellness blood screen

N/A

N/A

$35

Total coverage

$210

$315

$460

*Prudent Pet’s wellness plan covers a maximum of two wellness exams per policy period. 

How Much Money Can You Save With a Pet Wellness Plan? 

Some wellness plans save you a lot of money on preventative care services. Other plans function more as a budgeting tool for yearly veterinary costs. These plans won’t save you a lot of money but will allow you to pay in smaller monthly increments to remove stress when a big bill comes along. 

Embrace’s Wellness Rewards program will only save you about $25 per year on your pet’s wellness care. For example, you’ll pay $420 in monthly fees for the middle-tier plan but receive up to $450 in yearly reimbursement.

Our other top wellness provider picks will help you budget and save money. Take a look at how Prudent Pet, Lemonade, and Spot help you save on yearly wellness expenses for your pet:

Spot Preventative Care coverage for dogs and cats:

  • Gold – You pay $120; you get $250
  • Platinum – You pay $300; you get $450

Prudent Pet wellness coverage for dogs:

  • Low – You pay $144; you get $210
  • Medium – You pay $240; you get $315
  • High – You pay $360; you get $460

Prudent Pet wellness coverage for cats:

  • Low – You pay $96; you get $210
  • Medium – You pay $168; you get $315
  • High – You pay $240; you get $460

Lemonade wellness coverage for dogs:

  • Preventative – You pay $192; you get $265
  • Preventative+ – You pay $292; you get $480
  • Preventative for puppies – You pay $528; you get $640 

Lemonade wellness coverage for cats:

  • Preventative – You pay $120; you get $265
  • Preventative+ – You pay $192; you get $480
  • Preventative for kittens – You pay $408; you get $640

These providers will reimburse you up to the dollar amounts listed. If you don’t use the whole allotment, you won’t get that money back. Lemonade and Prudent Pet split yearly allocations across different services, so you won’t be able to use the whole amount for one service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does pet insurance cover wellness visits?

Pet insurance doesn’t cover routine wellness visits. Pet insurance covers your pet’s unexpected illnesses and injuries, so annual exams aren’t included. Wellness add-ons reimburse you for wellness visit costs, along with associated fees for vaccinations, tests, and preventive dental cleanings. 

Some providers also have add-on coverage for office visits and exam fees to help you cover other unavoidable vet bills. You should consider one of these add-on packages if you purchase a wellness plan. The vet will still charge an office visit fee for preventive care services, so extra coverage can go a long way.

How much does a pet wellness exam cost?

A wellness exam can cost anywhere from $50-$250, depending on what the exam includes. A wellness exam might consist of routine blood work, fecal testing, urinalysis, heartworm or FeLV/FIV test, and a physical examination. You’ll also pay for any routine vaccinations and parasite preventatives. 

Banfield Pet Hospital charges about $250 for your puppy’s first-year comprehensive wellness exam. A vet clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., charges $110 for a canine wellness exam and $85 for a feline wellness exam.

Can I buy a wellness plan without pet insurance?

Pet insurance providers will typically require you to buy a pet insurance plan and then add on wellness coverage. For this reason, you can’t buy a standalone wellness plan from a company that mainly sells pet insurance. 

You can, however, purchase preventative care plans directly from a vet. For example, Banfield Pet Hospital offers the Optimum Wellness Plan. With this plan, you pay monthly installments for a set package of wellness services. Such plans help you budget for your pet’s preventative care and keep track of which services they need. 

Veterinary hospital chains aren’t the only providers to offer wellness plans, so check with your local veterinarian for deals on preventative care.

What is a health certificate?

A pet health certificate is an official document your vet signs to certify that your pet is disease-free, parasite-free, and up-to-date on all required vaccinations. The certificate also lists your pet’s age, breed, and microchip identification information. 

You’ll need to get a health certificate if you travel with your pet. Commercial airlines require a health certificate for every furry passenger. Some states even require a valid health certificate for you to bring your pet over the state line.

Many wellness plans cover the cost of a health certificate, so ask your vet about providing one at your pet’s next annual exam.

Our Methodology

The 365 Pet Insurance research team looks at all pet insurance policies and comes up with our reviews based on coverage, plan options, cost, reputation, customer service, and species eligibility. We’ve also created a rating system to score pet insurance brands.

We’ve consulted with pet experts and dug into plans to develop what we think are the best overall plans, complete with ratings on coverage, how they handle claims, reimbursements, deductibles, limits, and more.

To make our list, pet insurance companies must have:

  • A variety of plan options
  • Affordable monthly rates

Our team revisits each company’s information at the end of every month to make updates and ensure the information is as accurate as possible.