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Does Pet Insurance Cover Medication and Prescriptions? 2024 Update

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

Pet Insurance Form Animal on the laptop screen

Pet insurance policies can be an excellent way to ensure you’re prepared to cover unexpected medical costs for your dog or cat. However, like medical insurance, pet policies vary in what procedures and expenses they cover. Medications and prescriptions can be expensive for pets just like they are for people, so you might wonder if these costs are covered by insurance?

Yes, most pet insurance policies cover at least some medications, although exceptions do apply. In this article, we’ll go over which medications are most likely to be covered and a few common exceptions. We’ll also provide tips to help you afford prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance.

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How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Unlike comprehensive human medical insurance, pet policies generally function as accident and illness coverage only. This means they don’t cover the cost of wellness or preventative medicine unless you pay for an additional wellness policy. Once you meet a deductible (which varies), the insurance company will reimburse you for a percentage (which also varies) of covered expenses.

pet insurance policy
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What Medications are Usually Covered?

The medications most likely to be covered by pet insurance are those related to treating illnesses or injuries. For example, if your pet is hospitalized, insurance usually covers any medication they need during their stay. If your pet needs non-elective surgery, drugs for that procedure are generally covered, including take-home prescriptions.

Some insurance policies have a yearly cap on reimbursement for all medical care, while others have a cap on individual conditions. These caps may impact what medications or prescriptions are covered. Check your policy for the specifics.

If you find out that your current policy is not convenient for you, maybe it is time to change your pet insurance provider. Here are some of the top-rated alternatives worth looking at:

Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:

Most Affordable
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
Most Customizable
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Best Wellness Plans
Our rating: 4.1 / 5

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Medications That May Not be Covered

Long-Term Prescriptions

Some pet insurance policies don’t cover costs to treat chronic or long-term medical conditions. That includes the cost of long-term prescription medications. Chronic conditions affecting pets include diabetes, Cushing’s, and thyroid disease.

Not all pet insurance policies exclude chronic conditions, and it may be worth your while to do some research and find ones that don’t. If your policy covers chronic medical conditions, look for any restrictions or caps on coverage to make sure medications will be included.

Alternative Medications

Pet insurance may not cover the cost of holistic or alternative medications, such as herbal remedies or CBD. Because holistic medicines are not regulated, some companies may not cover them out of caution. Several pet owners seek alternative treatments, and pet insurance companies are becoming more permissive in covering them.

If you use a holistic veterinarian, look for an insurance company that covers alternative treatments, like acupuncture. They may be more likely to cover herbal supplements as well, but read the fine print on the policy to confirm.

Preventative Medications

Because pet insurance doesn’t cover wellness care as part of standard coverage, medication to prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks, or other parasites generally isn’t covered. Many pet insurance companies offer an optional wellness package for an additional fee. These policies typically cover preventative care like vaccines, annual checkups, and fecal checks.

Even if you purchase a wellness policy, preventative medications will probably not be covered.

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Pet Prescriptions Not Covered? Here’s How to Cut Costs

If your pet’s medication isn’t covered by insurance or if you have a coverage limit, here are some other ways to keep prescription costs low.

Ask your veterinarian if a generic option is available for your pet’s medication. You could also ask if it’s possible to get your pet’s medication from a human pharmacy, which may be able to sell it for less than a veterinarian. Using a human pharmacy also allows you to search for online coupons that may lower costs further (ensure the coupon can be used for pet prescriptions).

If your vet is willing to write you a prescription, you can shop around on various online pharmacies or compounding pharmacies to see which has the lowest prices.

Switching to a different pet insurance policy with more generous medication coverage is another way to lower costs. However, pre-existing conditions are generally excluded from all pet insurance policies, which may impact your ability to obtain coverage for your pet’s prescriptions.

If you're searching for a pet insurance plan that will suit you and your pet, you may want to take a closer look at Spot. This company offers highly customizable plans at a range of budget levels.

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As you compare pet insurance policies, it’s crucial to balance monthly premium costs with the amount of coverage offered. While many medications are covered, those that aren’t can significantly impact your pet care budget. Remember also that most pet insurance still requires you to pay for care upfront and file a claim for reimbursement. If you’re concerned about covering the cost, consider additional ways to help pay, such as starting a pet savings account.


Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

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