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Flying with Pets: What Insurance Does & Doesn’t Cover

Most pet travel insurance policies will cover illnesses, accidents, and emergencies that affect your pet while you’re away from home.

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UPDATED: May 15, 2020

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Having a pet can present a complex dilemma if you need to fly for a business trip or a holiday. You may feel at loss with whether you should leave your furry friend at home or try to bring them too. It’s one thing to bring your puppy home for the first time, but it’s a completely different adventure to take them on vacation with you.

The good thing is that most of today’s airlines can accommodate pets, and top-rated pet travel insurers are also making it easier to have your favorite pet on board.

So what does a typical pet travel insurance offer when it comes to flying with your pet? We’ll explain the common policies of pet travel insurance and what they mean, so you can decide which plan would best suit you and your pet.

dog on boat wearing sunglasses, blue beach towel, blue and white striped boat seats, blue sky, clouds

What does typical pet insurance cover when it comes to traveling?

It’s important to keep in mind that there are several things pet travel insurance will cover to give you peace of mind. All of these things may differ from provider to provider, so make sure you read the fine print. Now let’s get started!

Pet Travel Insurance Covers Holiday Cancellation Coverage

Holiday cancellation coverage offers you a protection plan in case your vacation is disrupted due to an emergency affecting your pet.

The cancellation coverage often protects your travel and accommodation expenses should you cut your holiday short due to your pet needing emergency attention.

Be aware that the amount the coverage pays out if you were to make a claim will depend on your insurer and your policy. Some insurance companies will also have the holiday cancellation coverage as standard, while others have this as an added extra.

Pet Travel Insurance Covers Emergencies Away from Home

Most pet travel insurance policies will cover illnesses, accidents, and emergencies that affect your pet while you’re away from home. This may also include coverage for vet fees abroad.

However, some policies only cover vet fees abroad for certain countries. You should check with your insurance company to ensure there are no restrictions for your destination. In case your pet has a pre-existing condition, it is recommended that you travel with the appropriate documentation.

Once you land, seek a qualified vet near where you’ll be staying and let them know of your pet’s illness to ensure you quickly get the needed treatment in case of an emergency.

Pet Travel Insurance Covers Vet Expenses for Your Pet Passport

Most airlines will require your pet to travel with a passport internationally. The passport indicates that your pet is vaccinated, dewormed, blood tested, and generally healthy enough for travel. The passport also ensures your pet travels comfortably without being subjected to lonely and lengthy quarantines.

Before investing in a pet passport, research the requirements.

You actually need to meet two sets of requirements to be approved for a pet passport: airline requirements and the destination country requirements.

Some airline companies require you to have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) issued within 10 days of travel. Avma.org also states that federal regulations require pets to be at least 8 weeks old and they should be weaned at least 5 days before flying.

You will also need to contact your destination country embassy or visit their website to be aware of the requirements in regards to traveling with pets. In certain destinations, such as Hawaii, you have to make travel plans six months in advance to avoid quarantine for your pet. If you reside in the UK and need to take your pet to another EU country, you’ll need to adhere to the Pet Travel Scheme, commonly known as PETS, which requires your pet to be:

  • Microchipped
  • Have up to date vaccination including a rabies vaccination
  • Have a valid pet passport

Having your passport ready and accurate for the country you are visiting allows you to avoid border delays or quarantine for your pet. It’s also imperative you invest in an airline approved pet carrier.

Meeting all the passport requirements can be expensive. Vaccinations do not come cheap, and neither does microchipping. Moreover, you’ll also have to factor in your vet fees and the costs of an import permit for some countries.
Fortunately, some pet travel insurance companies take care of the vet costs, ensuring you don’t run into unexpected bills.

large commercial airplane on runway

Pet Travel Insurance Covers a Lost or Stolen Pet Passport

Replacing a lost, damaged, or stolen pet passport can be costly.

A lost pet passport can also lead to plenty of inconveniences for your pet before you replace it. Your pet may have to undergo extra vaccinations and health checks for you to get a replacement. Your buddy may also have to be held in a cattery or kenneled until you can get a replacement, or in extreme cases, they may need to be quarantined.

However, having pet travel insurance can ease the burden as most policies offer lost or stolen pet passport coverage. Such coverage will ensure the replacement of your pet’s passport or health certificate.

Pet Travel Insurance Covers Quarantine Costs

Certain pet travel insurance policies offer extra benefits such as a quarantine cost cover.

This covers the costs you incur in case your pet has been quarantined due to an illness or his or her microchip failing. Quarantine costs covers vary from one insurance company to another.

Pet Travel Insurance May Cover Advertising for Lost Pets and the Reward

In case your pet is lost while you are abroad, you may need to advertise and offer a reward to find your furry friend.
Certain pet travel insurance policies offer advertising and reward coverage for such scenarios. However, you must be the one to report the lost pet as many insurers will not pay a reward if it is claimed by a person traveling with you.

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What Typical Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover

There are things that your pet travel insurance won’t cover, and it’s good to be aware of them so you aren’t caught by surprise. They include:

  • Pre-existing conditions or conditions that occurred before the pet insurance policy
  • Wellness and grooming care for your pet
  • Expenses not related to vet services such as waste disposal, tax, bank and credit card fees or record access fees
  • Ambulance costs (especially if it is not an emergency)
  • Abuse: An insurer will not pay claims if there is evidence of negligence or malicious act on your part
  • Dental costs that include cleaning, oral disease costs, and orthodontics costs

Other Pet Travel Insurance Details to Consider

Before you choose pet travel insurance, it is important to review pet travel insurers. You also need to read other details related to your coverage. Here are some other details you need to check:

  • Check the travel duration that your policy offers as most pet insurance coverage is for two to three months of travel
  • Ensure your policy covers the country you intend to travel to as some pet insurance policies aren’t valid overseas
  • Look at the maximum vet fees amount you can claim from your coverage as vet bills vary from country to country
  • Be aware of any societal changes that may affect your trip, like the coronavirus that has reduced mobility worldwide.

And if you own an exotic pet, you need to check with your insurance agent to see what liabilities and circumstances your policies cover.

Now That You Know, Enjoy Your Trip with Your Furry Friend!

If you need to get away for a while and you want to bring your pet along, it’s now easier thanks to pet travel insurance. Ensure you choose a good pet travel insurer that covers the needs of your furry friend to make his or her air travel as comfortable as possible.

About Sara Routhier

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world of insurance. Her work has been featured on: CBS, Denver Post, DriversEd, ESPN, Finance101, Finder, FOX5, Legal Advice, MSN, PrettyMotors, SeattleTimes, StarTribune, USA Today, WalletHub, Yahoo, and the Zebra.

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