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17th April 2024

What’s the Difference Between Pet Insurance and Healthcare Plans? (Pet owners seem confused!)

pet insurance vs pet health plans

A question you may get asked time and again by confused owners is “What is the difference between pet health plans and pet insurance?” or even “Why do I need a pet healthcare plan when I have insurance?”

Vet professionals will understand the distinction between the two products, but pet owners can often be unsure of which policy offers which services. In fact, a recent study commissioned by Premier Vet Alliance (PVA) revealed that 28% of pet owners knew about healthcare plans but weren’t sure of the differences between them and insurance!1

For clients to see the value in being on a healthcare plan, practices need to explain the difference to pet owners.

Why it’s a good idea to have both.

Whilst we know that pet health plans and pet insurance policies serve distinct purposes, over a quarter of pet owners don’t! Your clients need to know that they can complement each other to provide comprehensive coverage for a pet’s healthcare needs. Pet health plans emphasise preventative care and relate to routine work, whilst pet insurance policies cover unexpected illnesses and accidents. By combining both, pets receive comprehensive coverage without undue financial strain for their owners.

For your practice, the increased revenue of having pets on healthcare plans is clearly advantageous, but by encouraging clients to take out a pet health plan and insurance – should an animal need veterinary care – treatment options will be far less limited due to budget constraints and could change outcomes.

How do you answer, “Why do I need a pet healthcare plan if I have insurance?”

When you think about it, this is not an unreasonable question, because insurance cover will pay out if a pet gets ill, so why do pet owners need to worry about preventative care? Most would prefer their pet not to become unwell in the first place, so our role as veterinary professionals is to explain how preventative health plans can reduce the risk of pets developing avoidable conditions. We should also help clients understand that the best option is to have both – assurance as well as insurance! If you’d like help on how to easily explain this to your clients. Click here and, whether you’re a PVA customer or not, we’re happy to help.

Healthcare plans can’t cover everything…

Obviously, pet health plans can’t cover everything, but they are vital for avoiding some potentially dangerous illnesses and help support early detection of many conditions.

So, what can they do that insurance can’t?

You and your colleagues will be very clear on this but, with 28% unaware or confused, it’s important to explain this. Let’s look at what you know your plan gives pets and pet owners in terms of essential preventative measures, but your clients may not understand.


We know that cutting corners with vaccinations can have long-lasting knock-on effects to a pet’s welfare. Your clients should be aware that, not only does a complete vaccination history protect pets from life threatening illnesses, but it also allows owners peace of mind to use boarding facilities, travel with their pet more easily and have confidence their vaccination status wont negatively impact any insurance policy they may have.

Parasiticide treatments

Keeping animal worm and flea free is important, not only to the pets’ ongoing health, but to the family’s health as well. Owners are unlikely to know the dangers to humans and pets.

Regular health check-ups

Most plans provide six monthly health checks as part of their plan benefits, and these can prove vital in improving outcomes by providing early diagnosis of underlying or newly presenting illnesses.

cat receiving an injection

What do we know that they don’t?

By subscribing to a pet health plan, owners ensure that their pet receives regular preventive care, promoting their overall well-being and potentially preventing costly health issues later in life.

Combining a pet plan with pet insurance safeguards owners from the financial burden of keeping their pets in good health and any unforeseen veterinary expenses, allowing timely and necessary medical care for pets.

With the right combination of pet health plans and pet insurance policies, optimal health can be promoted throughout pets’ lives.

If you’d like some advice on how to talk to clients about healthcare plans (or anything else) just click here and request a call. Whether you are with PVA or not, we are always happy to help.

You may also find our latest blogs interesting if you are looking for ideas on how to keep up with the changing needs and behaviours of today’s pet owner.

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1 UK pet owner survey 2023