How Pet Insurance Works

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

We know that your pets are family. When they get sick or injured, it can be a stressful time. MetLife Pet Insurance1 can help by covering some of the costs for your pet’s vet bills.3,6

We also know that insurance can be confusing. That’s why we’ve made our product as simple as possible so you can understand how pet insurance works.


How Does Pet Insurance Work? The Basics

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is an insurance policy pet owners buy to help cover their pet’s health care expenses. Policyholders pay a monthly fee and may be reimbursed for certain medical expenses, including:

  • Unexpected accidents, such as a broken bone or an ingested foreign object
  • Unexpected illnesses, including viral infections, parasites, and dental diseases
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Lab work, including blood tests, X-rays, and more
  • Emergency exams
  • Hospital boarding
  • Alternative therapies

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 Details

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 documents via our online portal, fax number, email, mailing address, or the MetLife Pet app. Once you’ve submitted your claim, if it is covered, we’ll process it so you can get paid.

How does pet insurance reimbursement work?

We’ll process your covered claim, usually within 10 days.1 We’ll send your payment via direct deposit or a paper check in the mail — your choice. You may be reimbursed for up to 100% of the cost of covered expenses, depending on your deductible, reimbursement rate, and reimbursement limits.2

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 be reimbursed. A $3,000 vet bill under a plan with a $500 deductible means you would pay the first $500. The insurance provider would cover the rest of the bill up to your reimbursement rate.

A higher deductible means you’ll need to 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 offers a wide range of plans to fit your budget and your pet’s unique needs.3  

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 basis or annually. Making smaller monthly payments can be more manageable for many people.

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, and location.4 MetLife Pet Insurance provides the option of customizing your policy which enables you to better meet your particular needs for your pet.   

What does “reimbursement rate” mean?

The reimbursement rate is the amount of money, as a percentage, that your policy will send you to cover your pet’s medical expenses. Let’s continue the example we used above with a vet bill totaling $3,000. After the $500 deductible is met, you are left with a $2,500 vet bill. A policy with an 80% reimbursement rate would cover $2,000 of the remaining $2,500 vet bill.

With MetLife5 you can get reimbursed for up to 100% of the cost of covered expenses, depending on the policy you choose. Under some circumstances, there are exclusions under the policy, such as preexisting conditions. Learn more about what MetLife Pet Insurance covers and what you may be reimbursed for on your plan.

What do “limits” mean?

There are typically two types of limits you should be aware of when choosing your policy:6

  • Annual limits: These cap your reimbursement within a 12-month period. Each policy typically has a maximum amount of money that you can be reimbursed for per year. Once you’ve hit your annual reimbursement cap, 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 typically 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. 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 check-ups as they age, making a policy with higher limits potentially the best option.

Why Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

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

One in three pets goes to the vet for an emergency every year7, but unfortunately nearly 60% of pet owners have experienced not being able to afford the emergency care their fur babies need.8 Insurance can be a simple and affordable way to make sure you are covered for unexpected veterinary expenses. A small monthly payment can save you thousands of dollars on vet bills to keep your pets happy and healthy.

How much does pet insurance cost?

MetLife Pet Insurance for a single cat or dog can start at $9 per month for cats and $15 per month for dogs.9  MetLife Pet is one of the only pet insurance company to allow multiple pets under one deductible.  You can cover all of your dogs and/or cats under one policy with MetLife Pet’s unique family plan option. Comparatively, the average cost of an emergency vet visit for a dog typically ranges from $150 to $1,200.10

Want a detailed breakdown of the typical monthly cost of pet insurance? Read more about pet insurance costs here.

How To Get Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can be a great way to keep your pets healthy and your wallet full. MetLife Pet Insurance plans are designed to be affordable, customizable, and comprehensive. Still on the fence? Learn more about if pet insurance is worth it and how it can fit into your family’s lifestyle. Curious what your pet’s policy looks like? Get a free quote today. If you’re looking to purchase a policy through your employer, get an quote for MetLife Pet Insurance here.

Need Pet Insurance?

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

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.

1 Approximately 80% of claims are processed within 10 days or less.

2 Reimbursement options include: 70%, 80%, 90% and 100%. In addition, there is also a 50% option for MetGen underwritten policies only and a 65% for IAIC underwritten policies only.

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

4 For IAIC policies only

5 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

6 Annual limit options range from $1,000−$25,000 in $1,000 increments. In addition, there is also a $500 annual limit option for MetGen underwritten policies. Unlimited benefit option subject to availability.

 7 “National Pet Owners Survey,” American Pet Products Association

8 “Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy,” Access to Veterinary Care Coalition

9 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. 

10 “The Cost of Dog Parenthood in 2022,” Rover

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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