Do All Vets Accept Pet Insurance?

Most vets take pet insurance. Pet insurance typically works as a reimbursement, so you’ll pay your vet bill and then get reimbursed for covered charges. Direct pay through a pet insurance plan is rarely an option.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 1/12/2023
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Nearly all vets accept pet insurance, but not as you might think. Rather than use your pet insurance to pay at the vet, pet insurance works as a reimbursement. After your pet is seen at a licensed veterinarian clinic, you pay the bill directly. Then you’ll file a claim with your insurer to get reimbursed for covered costs. Although some vets take direct pay, most do not.

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Key Takeaways

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Your pet insurance policy can be used at any licensed vet in the United States.

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Direct vet pay and vet bill reimbursement are the two most common ways to pay with pet insurance.

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Spot is the best overall pet insurance company, according to our latest MoneyGeek study.

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Compare Pet Insurance Rates

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Can You Use Your Pet Insurance at Any Licensed Vet Clinic?

Yes, you can use your pet insurance at any licensed vet clinic. However, usually, you’ll pay the bill in full initially and then request reimbursement from your pet insurance carrier. When your dog or cat goes to the vet, and you have pet insurance, you usually have two options to pay, either direct pay or reimbursement.

Payout Methods for Pet Insurance

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Direct Pay
  • The vet’s office submits your bill to your pet insurance company at checkout
  • You will pay your portion of the bill
  • The insurer pays the rest directly to the vet
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Reimbursement
  • You pay the entire vet bill at checkout
  • Submit a claim for reimbursement to your pet insurer
  • The carrier reimburses you for covered expenses once approved

How Direct Vet Pay Works

Direct pay is software a veterinarian would use to submit your claim directly to your pet insurer, so you only have to pay your portion of your pet’s expenses at checkout. Direct vet pay is an option some pet insurance companies offer, like Pets Best and Trupanion. While it may be an option through the insurer, a vet rarely accepts direct pay.

The payment process for direct vet pay has a few quick steps.

1

Take your pet to a licensed veterinarian

When taking your pet to the vet, you should ensure they have direct vet pay software. The carrier may not approve your pet insurance claim if they aren’t licensed. Your pet insurance claim can’t be paid through direct pay without the software.

2

Checkout at the vet’s office

Your vet’s office will submit the invoice through the direct pay software during checkout. The software will tell the vet how much to charge for the total bill.

3

Pay your portion of your pet’s vet bill

Pay your portion in full. The insurance company will pay the veterinarian for the rest of the invoice.

How Vet Bill Reimbursement Works

The most common method to pay pet expenses at the vet with pet insurance is bill reimbursement. At checkout, you’ll receive the total invoice. You pay the bill in full and then submit a claim to your pet insurance company. The company will reimburse you for covered expenses based on your plan details.

Although simple, the steps to take for vet bill reimbursement can take weeks and vary by carrier. The basic steps are described below.

1

Take your pet to a licensed veterinarian

To be eligible for reimbursement under your pet insurance plan, your pet will need to be seen by any licensed veterinarian. Your claim can be denied if the vet who treats your pet is not licensed in the United States.

2

Pay in full at checkout

When it’s time to checkout, you’ll pay the full cost of the invoice for your pet’s expenses.

3

Submit a claim for reimbursement

After you get your receipt and copy of the invoice, you’ll submit a claim for reimbursement. This process can differ by the insurance company. For instance, you can simply take a picture of the invoice and upload it without filling out any forms using the Healthy Paws mobile app. Reimbursement can take two weeks or more with a paper check and a week or less with direct deposit.

Where to Purchase Pet Insurance

Not all pet insurance companies are equal, so you may consider getting quotes from the best pet insurers to compare. According to our study, Spot is the best overall company to purchase pet insurance. Depending on your coverage needs, the cheapest pet insurance companies may be the right fit for your situation.

Not sure which carrier is the best choice? Checking out pet insurance reviews can help you decide.

Insurance Rates

Compare Pet Insurance Rates

Ensure you are getting the best rate for your insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to the most common questions on the topic of vets accepting pet insurance.

About the Author


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Mandy Sleight is a licensed insurance agent and has worked in the industry since 2005. She has her property, casualty, life and health licenses. Mandy has worked for well-known insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide Insurance, and most recently as the Operations Coordinator for a startup employee benefits company.

Mandy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Baltimore and her Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She uses her vast knowledge of the insurance industry and personal finance combined with her writing background to create easy-to-understand and engaging content to help readers make smarter choices with their budgets and finances.