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Does pet insurance cover vaccines?

Does pet insurance cover vaccines? Highland Terrier getting a vaccine from a vet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Does pet insurance cover vaccines?’ is a common question amongst pet parents and for good reason. As the costs of veterinary care continue to rise, more owners are choosing to invest in the best pet insurance to help cover the costs of keeping their furkids healthy. 

Whether or not you decide to take out a pet insurance policy for your pet will depend on your financial situation and we understand that there’s a lot to weigh up. Our guide on how to get cheaper pet insurance can help you with that, and as luck would have it, we have the answers to your vaccine queries too!

While it would make life a lot easier if pet insurance policies did cover vaccinations, the truth is it’s a little more complex than that. So, before you choose which company and policy you want to go for, let’s take a look at whether there’s any assistance available for meeting the cost of those annual shots.

Does pet insurance cover vaccines?

Traditional pet insurance policies are designed to help cover furkids when they’re ill or injured and because of that, most don’t cover vaccinations. 

While annual shots may seem like an expense you could just forgo, it’s important to remember that vaccinations offer protection against a wide range of potentially life-threatening illnesses, so we don’t recommend skipping these.

That being said, we know that the cost of vaccinations can quickly add up, and although most pet insurance policies don’t offer provisions for these, there is another option available and that’s to purchase a wellness plan that can be added to your furkid’s main policy. 

Wellness plans

A wellness plan (sometimes referred to as a preventative care plan) is different from an insurance plan in that it’s designed to cover the costs of any routine care your pet needs across the year. 

Rather than paying a lump sum when your furkid has their annual or bi-annual wellness visit, a wellness plan allows you to spread the cost out, paying in regular installments each month.

Wellness plans can help cover the cost of many things that are unrelated to illness or injury, such as:

  • Vaccinations
  • Flea and heartworm prevention
  • Annual physical exams
  • Routine dental care
  • Spaying/neutering

You can think of pet insurance as covering the unexpected and wellness plans as covering the expected. 

It’s worth being aware that wellness plans can exceed the cost of actual care in some cases, but they can be worthwhile if you prefer to spread the cost out, rather than pay in a lump sum.

Let’s explore some of the vaccinations your furkid might need and how much they cost so that you can see if a wellness plan might be of benefit to you.

Types of vaccines

Does pet insurance cover vaccines? Cat being given vaccine by vet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both dogs and cats are required to have certain shots, while others are recommended. For dogs, the required list includes:

  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
  • Canine Adenovirus (CAV)
  • Canine Parvovirus (CPV)
  • Canine Hepatitis
  • Rabies

And for cats, you’ll need to get them vaccinated against the following:

  • Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)
  • Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
  • Feline Herpesvirus 1 (FHV1)
  • Rabies

In addition, there are some recommended vaccines for both dogs and cats - your vet will be able to assess your furkid’s lifestyle and then offer advice and guidance on whether these vaccinations should be given.

Annual cost of vaccinations

Every vet clinic is different when it comes to the cost of vaccinations, but a general rule of thumb is to expect to pay up to $300 in the first year of your dog’s life and roughly $100 for your cat. 

Some vaccinations require several shots in the first year and then you’re done, while others require a booster shot. For adult dogs, you would want to budget for around $100 a year, and for adult cats, $50 a year.

Shots save lives

We know how expensive owning a pet can be, but if there's one thing we don't recommend you skimp on, it's vaccinations. 

Getting vaccinated will protect your pet against a whole host of transmissible and potentially life-threatening diseases, some of which can also be passed on to humans.

While these shots aren't usually expensive on their own, the cost can add up, especially in the first year of your puppy or kittens life when they require multiple vaccinations.

Investing in a wellness plan on top of a pet insurance policy can be a great way of ensuring your furkid is covered against expected and routine procedures and those that are unexpected. 

If a wellness plan doesn't feel financially doable, speak with your vet who may be able to help you by putting a payment plan in place. 

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.