Pet Insurance That Pays Vets Directly (4 Options!)

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: November 3, 2022
Image Credit Yeexin Richelle/Shutterstock.com
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Pet insurance that pays vets directly can make a big difference on top of already having great coverage for your pet. Pet insurance policies allow you to rush to your vet for their best care instead of hesitating as you look at what’s available in your bank account. Without pet insurance, you may opt to wait it out when your pet gets sick. While your pet’s upset tummy may just be due to something minor, the waiting-it-out process is a total gamble than can have disastrous results.

When you have a pet insurance policy you can lean on, you are far more likely to be proactive with your pet’s care, which extends his or her life. That means more snuggles, sloppy kisses, and belly laughs with your favorite fluffy life companion. The only caveat with pet insurance is that you typically have to pay vet costs at the time of service.

For pet owners who do not have the ability to cover those costs and wait up to a month for reimbursement, there is another option. Below, we explain what direct pay insurance is and share some of the top pet insurance companies that offer this feature on their plans. Each has a slightly different process that customers have to go through to activate the direct payment process.

Dachshund with injured leg wearing a funnel collar
Pet insurance can alleviate some of the stress of having a sick or injured dog or cat.

What Is Direct Pay Insurance?

Most pet insurance companies reimburse you after you have paid out-of-pocket for veterinary costs. With direct pay insurance, you don’t have to shell out the sometimes thousands of dollars required for your pet to get veterinary care or emergency care, which sometimes involves hospitalization and surgery. Instead of your vet charging one of your cards, they can choose to receive payment from your pet insurance company. The only amount you would be responsible for after this transaction is the percentage not covered (or the treatments not covered) by your pet insurance company.

Pet Insurance That Pays Vets Directly

Being able to rely on your pet insurance company to pay your vet bill directly is a huge help, especially if you don’t have a consistent financial cushion to help you handle unexpected veterinary costs. If you’re concerned about having money to pay those veterinary costs upfront, then choosing pet insurance that offers to pay the vet directly is crucial. Some companies just require a little bit of extra paperwork for this process to pay your vet directly while others may have a more complex system for you to set up this feature. Either way, it’s important to know which pet insurance companies pay vets directly.

A veterinarian holding a puppy and a kitten
If you have one or more cats or dogs, pet insurance may bring you peace of mind.

FamVeld/Shutterstock.com

Pet’s Best

You can request that Pet’s Best pay your vet directly, no matter what insurance plan you’re on. You are required to go through a different process to request direct pay and so long as your vet agrees to the process, you can get the upfront support you need to cover any costs.

Pet’s Best has a direct pay release form that you can request and have your vet sign off on it. Include this form along with your claim when you upload the documents—since Pet’s Best has an app, you can do this from your phone. Otherwise, you can send all docs via email or even fax.

Pet’s Best will move forward with processing your claim within a five-day period. After they have approved the costs and determined your financial responsibility (be it your deductible or items not covered), they will send payment directly to your vet.

Healthy Paws

Typically, when you purchase a pet insurance policy through Healthy Paws, you can expect to pay your vet upfront and then receive reimbursement after you’ve submitted your claim. However, Healthy Paws understands that sometimes you need extra support to cover those high expenses.

If you need to take advantage of this feature, you must first confirm that your vet agrees to be paid directly. So long as your vet is on board, you can move on to contact Healthy Paws and request direct payment. They’ll initiate the process, so your vet receives payment promptly.

Remember, there will still be some out-of-pocket costs for you, whether it be the percentage that’s not covered by your policy or your deductible if you haven’t met it yet. Your vet does not need to belong to any specific network to be paid directly—simply, they must agree to the process.

Trupanion

Trupanion’s standard way of operating involves direct payments to your vet. They have a whole host of veterinarians listed on their website who accept direct payment. You can look up this information yourself to confirm that your vet is a part of this list. If they are, Trupanion can easily process the payment on the same day when you check out.

If your vet is already familiar with the process, they can submit a claim with Trupanion when you’re ready to check out and pay for services. Any costs not covered by Trupanion will be yours to pay at this time as well. Both you and Trupanion can process payment within a couple of minutes.

Trupanion works to make this a simple process for both vets and their customers. However, if your vet is not listed in the directory that confirms they accept direct payments, you will be required to pay the veterinary costs up front and receive reimbursement after submitting your claim.

Petplan

Petplan also offers direct payments to your vet but, of course, like with other pet insurance companies, your vet must agree to receive payment this way. To set up this feature, you must send written approval to Petplan that confirms both you and your vet are requesting direct payment. This written request must come from your vet (whether that be via email or on company letterhead).

Once Petplan has received the written request, you can move forward with filing your claim and submitting the invoice from your vet. Petplan will confirm your financial responsibility so you can pay any deductibles or co-pays to your vet directly. Petplan then takes care of sending payment for the rest of the items on the invoice.

Summary

ProviderOffers Direct Payment?The Process
Pet’s BestConfirmedDirect pay is available as a feature on all plans—you just need to submit paperwork to activate it. Plus, your vet needs to agree to the process.  
Healthy PawsConfirmedDirect pay is available for customers who are unable to pay their veterinary bill. So long as the vet agrees to receive payment directly, you can take advantage of this feature during regular business hours.
TrupanionConfirmedYour vet must be listed in the online directory that shows which offices are set up with Trupanion software. If your vet is set up, direct payment can be processed on the spot.
PetplanConfirmedDirect pay requires your vet to agree to the process and Petplan to approve your written request. This feature is only available by special request.

For more expert advice on pet insurance, check out the Ultimate Guide to Pet Insurance: What it Covers.

Do you have pet insurance form
Having pet insurance can take some of the worry out of pet health care.
Yeexin Richelle/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

I am a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest and am surrounded by nature. When I go for my daily runs I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I am owned by two dogs who take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What happens if I can’t pay my vet bill?

No pet owner wants to ever be faced with the decision between caring for their pet or not having to pay a high vet bill. Unexpected accidents and illnesses happen and if you don’t have pet insurance set up when these events occur, you may be faced with a vet bill so high, that you question whether or not you can afford to care for your pet. When this happens, you have a couple of different options. You can work with your vet directly to create an installment plan, which allows you to pay over time. You can also look at charities in your area or national organizations that may help you cover the cost. When there’s nowhere to turn, you can finance the veterinary costs. This could be either putting the costs on a credit card, asking for a personal loan, or using services like Scratchpay or Care Credit.

What is a waiting period for pet insurance?

A waiting period for pet insurance refers to the period of time at the start of a policy before coverage takes full effect. This could be because a certain aspect of your policy is restricted, or it could be that the entire policy is restricted for a certain period. On the shorter end, a waiting period can be just 14 days while for some coverages, you may have to wait up to six months. This is all explained in your pet insurance policy’s terms and conditions, so be sure you take the time to review all details thoroughly before confirming your purchase.

What can I do for a sick dog with no money?

Luckily, there are many national organizations that focus on providing financial assistance to pet parents who need extra support. Some of them offer financial assistance for diagnosis and treatment related to a specific medical condition. Others are focused on providing life-saving treatments for pet parents who have nowhere else to turn. These are designed to be a one-time benefit when you’re at the end of your rope. Others may be more geared toward animals that have been diagnosed with cancer while some provide public education and financial support for neglected animals.

Can I take out pet insurance after diagnosis?

Absolutely, you can. Just because your pet has a pre-existing condition does not mean that he or she is ineligible for pet insurance. The caveat here is that the pre-existing condition may not be covered under the new policy. If it’s incurable, then you can expect to pay out-of-pocket costs for any treatment related to that diagnosis. However, if it is curable, some pet insurance companies will offer to cover that medical condition so long as your pet no longer presents symptoms and has had no treatment related to that medical condition for at least a year.

Can you pay a vet bill in installments?

This is at the discretion of your vet but yes, many veterinarians make installment plans available for pet care. This way, you can tackle a high vet bill more easily. With this type of financing, you may be required to pay interest, which does increase your overall costs. However, this may be the most viable solution for pet owners who are unable to foot the bill upfront.

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