Preventive Care Plans vs. Insurance: What’s the Difference?

When I first became a pet owner I wondered about the difference between wellness plans and insurance. Did I need both? And, if so, why? Recently I was reminded of this question when I saw a Facebook post asking about the difference between wellness plans and insurance. My friends had their pet on a preventive care plan offered by their veterinarian, but were wondering if they should stop that and go with pet insurance instead.


I responded to the post in attempt to share what I had learned about wellness plans and pet insurance, so my friends could make the best decision for their pet. First, I explained exactly what the purpose of a preventive care plan is (also called a wellness plan). The goal is to prevent health problems in your pet through regularly scheduled checkups, and for a pet to proactively receive annual services and screening diagnostics to help ensure a long and healthy life.


Most wellness plans are set up with a monthly payment, allowing pet owners to budget for their pet’s preventive care. Some wellness plans also offer optional services, which allow the plan to meet specific needs of each pet or different geographical recommendations. Because a wellness plan is proactive, it helps ensure that if an issue does arise, it is caught early, resulting in a better outcome and often saving the pet owner from more expensive treatments.


Pet insurance, on the other hand, is designed to help cover the costs of illness or injury. Insurance is a good way to make sure your pet is covered in case he/she needs immediate or emergency healthcare. In short, the goal of pet insurance is to remove personal finances from the decision-making process when it comes to care and treatment options when your pet is sick or injured.


As I explained to my Facebook friends, they definitely shouldn’t cancel their preventive care plan, but instead should look into adding pet insurance to the mix. In a perfect world, wellness plans and pet insurance work together and compliment one another. The wellness plan to ensure your pet is getting the proactive care needed to stay healthy and help catch any health issues early, and pet insurance to provide the peace of mind and coverage should something more serious happen. As a pet owner, being able to provide both of these for your pet means never having to make healthcare decisions based on your wallet, thus allowing you to pursue optimal care in all situations.

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