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Does pet insurance cover surgery?

Mehdi Punjwani
Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
Donna McConnell
Reviewed by  Donna McConnell
5 min read
Updated: 01 May 2024

Where our pets’ health is concerned, it’s natural that you’ll want to ensure they can get the best care possible - especially where surgery is concerned. Pet insurance policies can often help manage the cost of pet surgery, but not all policies offer the same cover - learn more in our guide to pet insurance and surgery.

What types of surgeries are covered by pet insurance? 

Pet insurance policies often vary in the types of surgery they’ll cover, but most insurers will offer standard coverage for emergency surgeries for accidents or sudden illnesses. For example, this can include things like foreign object removal, repairs for bone fractures, various other trauma injuries, tumour removal, and exploratory surgery to diagnose issues. 

Pets may also require surgery for things like wounds, tissue damage, eye problems, urinary issues, or caesareans. Typically, your pet insurance policy will cover emergency or life-saving surgery - and it must be carried out by a qualified vet. 

bulldog petted by owner

What surgeries aren’t covered by pet insurance? 

Unfortunately, pet insurance policies aren’t likely to cover: 

  • Routine surgeries, such as spaying and neutering  

  • Dental surgery, as this requires separate pet dental cover 

  • Cosmetic surgery, like ear cropping 

  • Declawing 

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions that might require surgery? 

Pet insurance policies don’t usually cover surgery for pre-existing medical conditions, so you’ll likely need to look for a specialised policy - be aware that premiums for these policies are often higher than average. 

Can I take out cover after finding out my pet needs surgery? 

You’ll still be able to take out pet insurance for your pet, but unless you look for specialised cover you won’t be insured for the cost of surgery as this will be classed as a pre-existing condition. 

Does pet insurance cover surgery complications? 

If there are complications related to an emergency surgery that is already covered by your policy, then you should also be covered for these. However, for elective surgeries and procedures that aren’t covered, related complications also won’t be covered. 

How much of the surgery cost will pet insurance cover? 

Most pet insurance policies will pay out for a certain percentage of the overall surgery cost, which will be specified when you take out your policy. Be sure you’re taking out enough cover for the needs and requirements of your pet - it pays to do your research into specific breeds and conditions they might be likely to suffer.  

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