Pet Insurance Deductibles: How Do They Work?

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4 min read
4 min read

Updated - Oct 14th, 2022

Pet insurance policies include deductibles, just like human health insurance policies do. But determining what type of deductible is right for you and your pet can be difficult. That’s why we’ve created this detailed guide for pet insurance deductibles. 

We’re diving into deductibles to explain how they work, explore different types, and share tips for determining which deductible is right for you and your pet.

What is a pet insurance deductible?

A pet insurance deductible is the amount of money you must pay before your insurance plan begins to reimburse the cost of eligible vet expenses for your pet. Essentially, this is the amount you pay out of pocket at the vet hospital for covered expenses before your pet’s reimbursements kick in.

How do pet insurance deductibles work?

Let’s say you enroll in a pet insurance policy with a $250 deductible. In this case, you would be responsible for paying $250 worth of covered vet visits and care at the start of your pet’s plan. Once you hit that amount, your pet insurance policy would begin to reimburse the cost of eligible vet care.

If you took this example at face value, you might be thinking: Why wouldn’t I opt for the plan with the lowest deductible? Wouldn’t that offer me the most coverage? The short answer: it depends. There are several factors to consider when determining which insurance plan – and which deductible – is right for your pet. We’ll get to that later.

For now, it’s important to remember that your deductible affects the premium you pay for insurance. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly premium. And vice versa: the lower your deductible, the higher your premium.

Types of pet insurance deductibles

There are two types of deductible options pet parents are likely to encounter: annual and per-condition (sometimes called per-incident).

Annual deductibles

An annual deductible is a deductible that remains in place for an entire policy year. Depending on your pet’s health care needs, you may meet this deductible within the first week of your plan or in the final month. If your pet has an accident-free year, you may not even meet this deductible at all. Most commonly, pet owners can expect annual deductible options to range from $100-1000.

This type of deductible applies towards any eligible form of veterinary care within the year of your pet’s policy and resets once the year is up. Let’s say your pet requires foot surgery for a broken paw in the first month of your plan, and you meet your deductible from that cost. If your pet goes to the vet later that policy year for a swallowed sock, you won’t have to meet a new deductible. Your annual deductible was already met, so you don’t have to pay it again, even though this vet visit is for a different type of eligible care.

Per-condition deductibles

With a per-condition deductible, you pay a separate deductible each time a new condition arises. For instance, if your pet visits your veterinarian for an ear infection and then goes in a couple of months later for vomiting, you would be looking at two separate deductibles.

With most pets, it’s hard to predict what accidents & illnesses may occur, what treatment and medicine may be needed, and how often. That’s why Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans have an annual deductible rather than following a per-incident structure.

What claims apply to a deductible?

Claims deemed eligible within your insurance policy will be counted towards your deductible. For example, with an accident and illness plan, claims for unexpected accidents & illnesses would be eligible.  The specific details depend on your chosen pet insurance policy and what it covers, so be sure to review all the terms and conditions. 

Many standard pet insurance policies do not cover essential preventive care, which includes routine care such as annual visits, regularly scheduled vaccines, and parasite prevention. Pumpkin offers an optional wellness package called Preventive Essentials. It’s not insurance, but it can help pay for the essential routine care services listed above. It’s available as an add-on for both dog and cat plans.

Which pet health insurance deductible is right for me?

The most important thing to consider when determining which deductible is right for you is your budget. Pet parent policyholders with a higher-deductible plan (for pet insurance, this is usually in the $500-1000 range) pay a lower monthly premium. 

Those with a lower-deductible plan (typically $100-250) pay a higher monthly premium. However, you should be prepared to pay your full deductible in a worst-case scenario – say, your pup unexpectedly tears a ligament. A lot can happen throughout your pet’s life!

Regardless of the deductible you choose, Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans offer a 90% reimbursement rate for eligible vet bills  to help you give your pet the best care possible. Plus, we’ll help you figure out which plan and deductible is right for your pet to help you make a choice that feels good for you, and your wallet. Take a step towards peace of mind and get a quote today!


Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (Pumpkin) (NPN#19084749) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses.

Pumpkin Team

Pumpkin Team

Passionate Pet Experts & Parents
We are a team of writers, designers & product developers who all double as passionate (ok, obsessive) nerds of the pet world.
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