Both provide valuable coverage for pet parents, but only one pays your employees back for the routine care pets need to stay healthy for a lifetime. If you’re an HR leader or benefits administrator evaluating which pet benefits to offer your people, here’s everything you need to know to help make the best decision.

Understanding pet wellness plans and pet insurance

Before digging into the differences between pet wellness and pet insurance, it’s important to know that some version of each has been available to pet parents since the 1980s. Banfield Pet Hospital, a chain of U.S. based clinics, is credited with introducing veterinary wellness care plans as a way to make “best medicine” more accessible to its clients and improve compliance. These plans offered bundled services and helped pet parents manage costs by spreading payment over the year.

With pet insurance, it works much like other insurances we use in our daily lives, and a company named VPI (now Nationwide) was first to offer it in the U.S. sometime around 1980. Also just like many other insurances we’re familiar with, pet insurance hasn’t changed a lot in the past 40 or so years.

Today, there’s Wagmo, which offers a modern alternative to old school pet wellness plans and pet insurance. Its first-of-its-kind wellness plan is designed to provide more choice and immediate, tangible value for pet parents. This includes reimbursement for everyday care expenses⸺without insurance-type restrictions like age, breed or preexisting conditions, state-by-state regulations, or requirements to use only “in-network” veterinary hospitals and service providers.

Complementary benefits for routine pet care and protection from the unexpected

Pet wellness and pet insurance are fundamentally different, but together they offer complementary coverage for everyday pet care expenses and unexpected catastrophic costs. As a workplace benefit, Wagmo Wellness plans provide employees with a pet care blueprint for essential services plus a powerful financial incentive to proactively manage their pet’s health. Wagmo wellness plan benefits may also be used in combination with our available pet insurance coverage, adding a layer of protection for emergency costs.

So, with pet wellness and pet insurance together your employees can have access to complementary coverage for the whole furry family. But what if you’re not sure about offering both? How do you know which benefit is, well, more beneficial to the vast and increasing number of pet parents among your workforce? Let’s take a look at pet wellness and pet insurance head-to-head so you can decide which pet plan works best for your people.

Pet wellness vs. pet insurance for employees

From the employee perspective, the single most important difference between pet wellness and pet insurance is this: wellness plans pay employees cash back for keeping their pets healthy and can be used anytime without restriction, while pet insurance reimburses claims for specific coverages and is generally only available to use when there’s an emergency.

Here’s a top-line look at what’s covered by our employer plans:

Wagmo Wellness

Up to $650 cash back for everyday pet care expenses including:

  • Vaccinations

  • Urinalysis

  • Bloodwork

  • Fecal exams

  • Routine veterinary exams

  • Grooming

  • Heartworm prevention

  • Flea and tick prevention

Wagmo Insurance

Protection from emergency and unexpected care costs including:

  • Prescription medications

  • Surgeries

  • X-Rays

  • Ultrasounds

  • CT Scans

  • Laboratory tests

  • Cancer treatments

  • Hereditary and congenital conditions

  • Prosthetics and orthopedics

  • Hip dysplasia

  • End of life care (euthanasia)

  • Pet ambulance

  • Diagnostics

Of course, for all the right reasons we sincerely hope your employees never have to use their pet insurance coverage. But if they don’t, then who actually benefits from the plan? ​​Wagmo makes it possible for employers to affordably offer pet parents real benefits for the whole family that they can use right away. Our wellness plan also encourages proactive pet care to help identify chronic disease sooner, improve pet health and lower the overall expense of care pet parenting over time.

The last word on employer pet wellness and pet insurance benefits

To be sure, pet wellness plans and pet insurance are both incredibly valuable protections that safeguard employee income and peace of mind, and help keep pets healthy. In emergency situations where it’s needed, pet insurance can help save thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. It’s why Wagmo offers both, and it’s why we are committed to supporting pet parents and the important care they provide, whether it’s routine or unexpected.

But for the 90 million U.S. households with at least one pet in the family, so many of whom you can count among your employees, we recommend the Wagmo Wellness plan as the most rewarding workplace benefit solution. It’s something every pet parent in every state can use right now for pet care they’re already spending money on, with the same preferred providers they’re already using. And Wagmo Wellness plans are a benefit that employees will use and get value from every year.

Wagmo Wellness plans can also be activated in about two minutes, and claims are reimbursed in 24 hours or less with Venmo, PayPal or bank transfer. No waiting period or insurance-like restrictions, and no waiting on paper checks in the mail. Which is exactly how your employees would want it to be.

Ready to learn more about Wagmo Wellness employee benefits for your workplace? Get in touch at or contact us today.