Employee Benefits: What’s the difference between pet insurance and pet telehealth?

Sep 18, 2022

What are the key differences between different pet care benefits like pet insurance and pet telehealth?

As an employee benefits administrator, you’re always looking for ways to offer your employees the best possible benefits package – one that attracts and retains your very best employees and appeals to a multi-generational workforce. And with more and more people considering their pets to be members of their family, it’s no surprise that pet care benefits like pet insurance and pet telehealth services have become popular benefits options.

But what’s the difference between the two? And which is the better option for your employees?


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Advantages of pet insurance

One of the biggest advantages of offering pet insurance as a benefit is that it can help your employees save money on expensive veterinary care when a pet is seriously ill or injured. Veterinary care can be exceedingly expensive particularly if a pet develops a serious or chronic condition (like diabetes or cancer). With pet insurance, employees can get the coverage they need to help offset some of the costs of veterinary care, as long as the condition did not exist before purchasing a policy. Note that any pre-existing condition a pet may have is excluded from coverage.

Pet insurance is also great if a pet experiences an emergency requiring an in-person visit and needs costly treatment like surgery. Employees have the peace of mind that their insured pet can receive the best care possible should their pet need it. In fact, 85% of pet owners say that they would pay whatever it takes if their pet needed extensive veterinary care.


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Disadvantages of pet insurance

One of the main disadvantages of pet insurance is that it doesn’t cover routine or preventative care, like vaccines or check-ups, nor pre-existing conditions as stated above. Additionally, pet insurance policies can be costly and working pet parents still have to pay out of pocket for monthly premiums, deductibles and copays. Pet parents also need to cover their pet’s preventative care needs because pet insurance only kicks in when a pet is sick or injured. As mentioned previously, pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so any condition a pet has prior to their policy inception date, will not be covered by the policy.

Have more than one pet? Each pet requires its own policy and if you have multiple pets, it can be cost-prohibitive. Factors that will increase the cost of the policy include the pet’s age, breed, hereditary and congenital conditions and geographic location since the cost of pet care varies widely across the country.


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Advantages of pet telehealth services

One of the key advantages of pet telehealth is that working pet parents have 24/7 access to virtual veterinary care – and no appointment is necessary. This means that if your employees’ pets have a medical emergency, they can get veterinary medical advice immediately – no matter when. Pet telehealth services operate all day, every day including nights, weekends and holidays.

Another advantage is that, unlike pet insurance, pet telehealth includes preventative care services like routine check-ups as well as behavior, nutrition and training consultations. And all pets are welcome, no matter the age, breed, geographic location or any pre-existing conditions.

Compared to pet insurance, pet telehealth services are very affordable and there are no deductibles, co-pays or annual/lifetime limits. One membership covers the entire pet family! And one additional bonus – pet telehealth can reduce pet insurance claims by 80% because many visits can be resolved virtually.


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Disadvantages of pet telehealth services

When compared to pet insurance, the main disadvantage of pet telehealth is that there’s no coverage when your pet requires an in-person visit – be it for vaccines or a medical emergency. While 80% of pet health issues can be handled remotely, sometimes an in-person visit is necessary. For example, blood tests, urine samples and surgery cannot be achieved virtually. However, since pet telehealth isn’t meant to replace in-person vet visits or pet insurance, but rather complement the two, it serves as a quick-access resource before embarking on an expensive in-person visit. In many cases, pet telehealth prevents unnecessary and costly in-person visits.



The following chart breaks down some of the key differences between pet telehealth and pet insurance:

Weighing your pet care benefit options

Overall, both pet insurance and pet telehealth services have advantages and disadvantages – but in reality, they complement one another. From an employee benefits perspective, however, the cost of these benefits as well as the ease of implementation will factor heavily into your decision about which pet care benefits to offer.

Many companies opt to offer pet insurance as a voluntary benefit due to the wide variability in cost per policy. One employee’s policy may cost $200/month while another’s may cost $35/month. Vetcare as a Benefit then becomes a really attractive and affordable benefit option to support employees’ total health and wellbeing. Pet telehealth is inexpensive, and implementation into your benefit package is simple and turnkey. Pet telehealth adds everyday utility to working pet parents’ lives and helps them care for their pet family while remaining productive at work.

To learn more about Vetcare as a Benefit for your employees, contact us at sales@airvet.com.


About Airvet
At Airvet, we’re partnering with America’s top employers to introduce Vetcare as a Benefit (VaaB), as we help them round out their benefits packages and re-capture thousands of hours of lost productivity every year. Together we help employers deliver better care options to their pet family employees, minimize workday distractions and ensure that caring for their pets is one less thing they have to worry about.