How Pet Insurance Works

Insurance can be confusing. That's why try to make ours simple to use and easy to understand.

We know your pets are family. When they get sick or injured, it can be a stressful time. Fortunately, pet insurance can help by covering some of the costs of your pet’s covered and approved vet bills. To help you understand the benefits of pet insurance, let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it works.

If you want to know more, you can learn about basic pet insurance terms. This way, you'll be better equipped to make choices for your pet's health.

What Is Pet Insurance and What Can It Cover?

Pet insurance is an insurance policy pet owners buy to help cover their pet’s health care expenses. Policyholders pay a monthly fee and can be reimbursed for certain medical expenses. Some of the things a policy with MetLife Pet can typically cover are:

  • Accidents and illnesses
  • Vet-prescribed medication
  • Surgeries, hospitalization, and emergency care
  • Diagnostic testing, including blood tests, X-rays, and more
  • Alternative therapies

MetLife Pet also offers an optional preventive care plan that can help cover costs related to things like vaccinations, parasite treatment and prevention, teeth cleaning, and more.1

Essentially, pet insurance can help you give your furry family members the care they need without worrying as much about unexpected expenses.

How Does Pet Insurance Work? The Basics

Now that you know the basics about what pet insurance is and how it works, let’s get into the details so you can fully understand your pet insurance policy.

How to submit a claim with MetLife Pet Insurance

We’ve made it quick and easy to submit a claim and receive your payment. Just send us your vet invoice and any relevant records via our MyPets online portal, fax number, email, mailing address, or the MetLife Pet app. Once you’ve submitted your claim, we’ll reach out to your vet if we need more information, and if the expenses are covered, we’ll process it, so you can get paid.

How does our pet insurance reimbursement work?

We’ll process your covered claim — usually within 10 days — and send your payment via multiple direct deposit options or a paper check in the mail, at your request. Depending on your deductible, reimbursement rate, and reimbursement limits, you can be reimbursed for up to 90% of the cost of covered expenses.2,3

Just listen to what Karen F. — a MetLife Pet policyholder — said on “I have had a few pet insurance companies previously. MetLife is by far the best! Easy-to-submit claims. Never a hassle processing claims. Claims are quickly processed, and there are multiple choices for reimbursement! Great experience overall! I have been using them for the last 9 months and I am very pleased!”

Want to hear what other pet parents are saying about Metlife Pet? Click here to read more reviews!

How does a deductible work for pet insurance?

A pet insurance deductible is the amount of money on your vet bill that you’re responsible for, under the terms of the policy, before you can start being reimbursed. For example, a $3,000 vet bill under a plan with a $500 deductible means you would pay the first $500. The insurance provider would then reimburse you for any covered expenses on the rest of the bill, up to your reimbursement rate.

A higher deductible means you pay more out of pocket before you can be reimbursed. The trade-off is that high-deductible plans usually have a lower premium.

The size of your deductible depends on the policy plan you choose. MetLife Pet offers a wide range of deductible options to fit your budget and your pet’s unique needs.2

What does premium mean?

A premium — or rate — is the amount of money you pay for your pet insurance policy. Premiums can be paid on a monthly or annual basis.

A policy’s premium depends on the deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose. It can also be influenced by your pet’s breed, age, sex,4 and location. MetLife Pet Insurance provides the option of customizing your policy, which enables you to better meet your pet’s particular needs.

What does reimbursement rate mean?

The reimbursement rate is the amount of money, as a percentage, that your policy will pay out for covered medical expenses. Let’s continue the example we used above with a vet bill totaling $3,000. After the $500 deductible is met, you’re left with a $2,500 vet bill. A policy with an 80% reimbursement rate could cover $2,000 of the remaining $2,500 vet bill, assuming they’re all covered expenses.

With MetLife Pet, you can get reimbursed for up to 90% of the cost of covered expenses, depending on the policy you choose.3 Under some circumstances, there are exclusions under the policy, such as pre-existing conditions.

We Can Help Cover Vet Bills While You Focus on Your Pet’s Care

Find Out More

What are reimbursement limits?

Typically, there are two types of limits you should be aware of when choosing your policy:

  • Annual limits: These cap your reimbursement within a 12-month period. Essentially, it’s the maximum amount of money you can be reimbursed per year. Once you’ve hit your annual reimbursement limit, you would be responsible for the full cost of your vet bills until your annual limit resets. Some providers offer plans with an unlimited annual maximum, meaning you never have to worry about hitting your pet’s annual limit.
  • Per-incident limits: These typically determine how much you can be reimbursed for a single illness or accident. For example, if your dog ate something they shouldn’t and needed an emergency exam, lab work, and surgery, those fees would typically be covered by your policy as a single “incident.” Once you hit the maximum payout for that incident, your policy would usually not be able to cover any additional related expenses. If your dog then broke a bone in an unrelated accident, that would be a separate incident. You would need to submit a new claim, and the per-incident limit would reset.

Annual and per-incident limits typically vary per policy plan. Be sure to consider all of your pet’s healthcare needs when choosing a plan. For example, a younger dog might not need too many vet visits, so you may want to start with a policy that has lower limits. An older dog, on the other hand, is likely to require frequent checkups as they age, making a policy with higher limits potentially the best option. MetLife Pet offers no per-incident limits and has flexible annual limits you can choose from.5

How long does pet insurance take to kick in?

Like most insurance plans, there’s a waiting period before pet insurance coverage begins. This is an amount of time before your plan kicks in when coverage is restricted. Waiting periods can vary between providers. MetLife Pet offers a 0-day waiting period on accidents and our optional preventive care plan, and a 14-day waiting period on illnesses.6

Why You May Want to Consider Pet Insurance

It can be easy to feel like pet insurance is an unnecessary expense, especially if you have young or healthy pets. But similar to other types of insurance, it can be better to have pet insurance and not need it than find yourself in financial hardship without it.

Insurance can be a simple and affordable way to make sure you’re covered for unexpected veterinary expenses. A small monthly payment could save you thousands of dollars on vet bills to keep your pets happy and healthy. This way, you don’t have to choose between your finances and getting your pet the care they need.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

MetLife Pet Insurance policies can start at $9 per month for one cat and $15 per month for one dog.7 MetLife Pet is one of the only pet insurance companies to allow multiple pets under one deductible by covering up to three of your pets under one family plan.8 Comparatively, the average cost of an emergency vet visit for a dog typically ranges from $160 – $1,290.9

Want a detailed breakdown of the typical monthly cost of pet insurance? Read more about pet insurance costs here.  To learn how Metlife Pet weighs up against other pet insurance providers, check out our comparison page.

How To Get Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can be a great way to keep your pets healthy and your wallet full. Our plans are designed to be affordable, customizable, and comprehensive. Plus, MetLife Pet offers a healthy pet incentive that can help you save on your deductible.10 Still on the fence? Learn more about if pet insurance is worth it and how it can fit into your life.

Curious what your pet’s policy might look like? Get a free quote today. You can also check with your employer to see if your employee benefits include pet insurance from MetLife Pet. You may get a discount! We’d love to hear more about you and your pet before we create your custom plan.

Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Pet Injury & Illness Costs

What are you looking for?

Resources if you are purchasing a pet plan on your own.

Resources for individual policy holders, employees, and members who receive coverage through their employer.

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 For IAIC policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is based on a Schedule of Benefits. For MetGen policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is included in the annual limit

2 Deductible options range include: $0 – $750 in $50 increments and $1,000, $1,250, $1,500, $2,000 and $2,500.

3 Reimbursement options include: 70%, 80% and 90% and a 50% option for MetGen policies and a 65% option for IAIC policies only. Pet age restrictions may apply.

4 For IAIC policies only.

5 Annual limit options range from $500 – $25,000 in $1,000 increments. Unlimited benefit option subject to availability.

6 Accident and optional Preventive Care coverage begins on midnight EST of the effective day of your policy compared to a wait time of 2 to 15 days for many competitors; Illness coverage begins 14 days from the effective day of your policy compared to 14 to 30 days for many competitors. Based on a March 2023 review of publicly available summary information. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

7 Calculation based upon select plans and coverages. Actual rates may vary based on pet age, breed, location, deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose.

8 Based on a March 2023 review of publicly available summary information about competitors’ offerings. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

9 “The Cost of Dog Parenthood in 2023,” Rover

10 Your pet’s deductible automatically decreases by $25 (IAIC policies) or $50 (MetGen policies) each policy year that you don’t receive a claim reimbursement. May not be available in all states.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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Virtual veterinary services are provided entirely by AskVet, a third-party partner; MetLife is not responsible for any pet guidance or advice provided or taken through Askvet.