Pet insurance helps pay for your pet’s medical care, with many policies covering up to 90 percent of your vet bill. However, this can be less if a procedure is excluded from coverage or surpassed your annual expense cap. The best pet insurance company is the one that meets your pet’s needs when you need them.
Most leading pet insurance companies give pet owners comprehensive coverage at an affordable monthly premium. Yet, a study from March 2021 on pet ownership found that only 25% of pet owners have pet insurance. Shop around, do the research into what pet insurance coverage costs, and then make a well-informed decision about the insurance that’s best suited to care for your pet and your pocket.
Our Top Picks for Best Pet Insurance of October 2021
Honorable Mentions: 24PetWatch, Hartville, Pet Assure
Best Pet Insurance Companies Reviews
- No annual, per incident, or lifetime caps
- Virtual training with animal behaviorists such as César Millán and Sarah Hodgson
- Visit any vet, emergency clinic, or specialist in the U.S.
- Wide range of deductions, annual limits, and reimbursement options
- Covers virtual and mobile vet visits
- Visit any vet, emergency clinic, or specialist in the US
- 14-day waiting period for accident coverage
- No coverage for exotic pets
- Covers curable pre-existing conditions
- Pets must be eight weeks old
Spot is a relatively recent arrival to the pet insurance industry but has received much attention thanks to its status as the only pet insurer recommended by its Chairman, César Millán, also known as “the dog whisperer.”
Spot offers accident & illness coverage that includes:
- X-rays, MRI, and CT scans
- vet treatment
- surgery and hospitalization
- prescription food and medication
- alternative therapies
- end of life expenses
- stem cell therapy
- cancer treatments
- chronic conditions
- dental treatment, and more
The company also offers accident-only plans and an optional wellness rider for preventive care. Pre-existing conditions are covered if the pet has been deemed cured and has not shown symptoms during 180 days. This does not include ligament or knee conditions.
While Spot’s coverage is comprehensive, where it really stands out is its flexibility regarding payment structures. There are multiple deduction options available, from $100-$1,000, as well as several annual limits options (starting at $2,500 to $20,000, or unlimited). Likewise, customers can choose between 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement options.
Like ASPCA pet insurance, Spot’s policies are managed by C&F Insurance Agency, Inc., which handles claims, billing, and customer service. The policies are underwritten by United States Fire.
What we like: We picked Spot for best pet insurance for no caps because there are no maximum payout limits per incident, annually or per lifetime. Pet owners won’t need to worry about paying out of pocket if their pet’s care exceeds coverage limits.
- Refund on up to 4 puppy vaccines a year with a non-insurance preventative add-on option
- 14-day waiting period for all conditions
- Fast and easy online claims processing
- Covers dental illness and treatment for behavioral problems (if the latter is performed by a veterinarian)
- Older pets are not subject to reduced or outright denial of coverage due to old age
- 10% multi-pet discount
- Visit any licensed clinic or vet in the US and Canada
- Only two annual coverage limits, no additional reimbursement options
- Just one year in business
- Available for US residents only
Pumpkin offers affordable plans with an option for an add-on, non-insurance preventative care pack.
Puppy preventive care packs include one annual wellness exam fee, four puppy vaccines, and one yearly fecal test. Pumpkin will also refund up to 4 vaccines your puppy has received at any point prior to taking out your preventive care pack.
Pumpkin Preventive Essentials is offered as an optional add-on non-insurance benefit that is not available in all states. Pumpkin is responsible for the product. Full terms here.
The provider’s accident & illness pet insurance plan, underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company and produced by Pumpkin Insurance Services, Inc., includes:
- CT scans
- prescription meds for covered conditions
- behavioral issues
- microchip implantation
- alternative therapy
Dental disease counts as a covered illness (including exams, procedures, and medication), but it will not cover routine dental cleanings. Adding an optional non-insurance preventative care pack to your policy will allow you to get refunded for annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and lab tests for parasites.
Households with multiple pets can apply for Pumpkin’s pet insurance plans and qualify for a 10% discount for each additional pet. Pumpkin plans also include coverage for older pets who won’t be subject to reduced or outright denial of coverage due to old age.
Monthly premiums for Pumpkin’s policies will depend on the pet’s age, location, and breed, as well as the deductible and annual limit. For cats, the maximum annual coverage tops out at $15,000, while dogs can be insured for up to $20,000. After the deductible is met — $100, $250, or $500 — Pumpkin pet insurance plans will cover 90% of eligible expenses related to accidents and illnesses.
Like many other pet insurance providers, Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. You can find full terms here.
What we like: We picked Pumpkin as the best pet insurance for puppies because it offers both extensive insurance and a non-insurance preventive care option tailored for puppies at a more affordable price point.
- 24/7 virtual vet visits and customer service through easy to use app
- No network needed across the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico
- Short 3-day waiting period for injuries and 14 days for illnesses
- 30-day money-back policy, provided you haven’t filed any claims
- May reimburse up to 100% of vet bill
- Some policies have lifetime limits of $100,000
- Unlimited policy has an annual $20,000 upper limit in Washington and Massachusetts
- 6-month waiting period for knee injuries and orthopedic conditions
- Doesn’t cover routine or preventative care
FIGO offers easy online access, robust coverage, and 24/7 access to a live vet.
There are three different plan tiers to choose from, all of which cover hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions. Each policy (click here for a sample policy) has its annual limits, starting at $5,000 up to “unlimited.” Depending on the state and age of the pet, some policies may also have a lifetime limit of $100,000 for the most inexpensive plan.
All of FIGO’s plans cover the same expenses:
- emergency care
- diagnostic testing
- cancer treatments
- hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions
- vet examination fees coverage available as a rider
Based on your plan, deductible, and reimbursement choice, you can receive up to 100 percent back of covered procedures — though this will require a higher premium.
You can reach customer service representatives via live chat, text, email, Twitter, and over the phone. The app also sets up reminders for veterinary appointments and even has a Pet Cloud feature to connect with other pet parents and places.
What we like: We picked Figo as the best pet insurance for 100% coverage because Figo may reimburse up to 100% of your vet bills, unlike other competitors that only go up to 90%.
- Accident-only plan available
- Emergency care and hospitalization at any licensed clinic
- Vet exam fees covered
- Optional Wellness Rewards Program
- 24/7 Pet Health Line
- Diminishing deductible
- Available in all 50 states and Washington DC
- No unlimited benefit options
- Accident and illness only covers pets age 14 and younger
- Limited wellness benefits
- Not available in Canada and US territories
Embrace pet insurance provides high coverage for dental illnesses: $1,000 per policy year in most states. The company covers extractions, root canals, crowns, gingivitis, and broken, chipped, or fractured teeth.
Basic coverage is under $6 per month for cats and $12 for dogs, covering:
- alternative therapies
- behavioral therapy
- emergency veterinary care
- specialist care, diagnostic testing (including x-rays and MRIs)
- hospitalization & surgery
- prosthetics & mobility devices
- prescription drug coverage
Routine care like cleaning and annual checkups are not included in the policy but can be reimbursed with a wellness rider. This Optional Wellness Rewards plan offers additional coverage for wellness exams, training, grooming, vaccines, and spaying or neutering. This plan reimburses up to $650 per year.
Another Embrace benefit is its shrinking deductibles. They can be set between $100 and $1,000, and for every year you don’t file a claim, you’ll receive a $50 reduction. If your pet is healthy, your deductible can be reduced to zero after several consecutive claim reimbursement-free years.
Reimbursements can reach 90 percent, annual benefits are capped at $15,000, and monthly premiums start at $13 for dogs and $9 for cats. All claims can be submitted online, via email, fax, or mobile app.
What we like: We picked Embrace as the best pet insurance for dental illnesses for its high and comprehensive dental coverage, which rivals many insurers that only cover dental accidents and injuries.
- Offers accident-only and wellness plans for a flat rate
- 24-hour helpline staffed by veterinary experts
- Very low premiums
- Direct reimbursement to your vet, meaning less out-of-pocket for you
- Wide range of deductible choices
- Doesn’t cover holistic, herbal, or experimental therapies
- Accident and Illness plan won’t cover prescribed diet, vitamins, or supplements
Pets Best does not have a maximum age limit, so you could still get coverage on your aging pet. But, like all insurers, Pets Best won’t cover pre-existing conditions.
Pets Best has three different Accident Illness policies to choose from (Essential, Plus, or Elite).
All plans cover:
- cancer treatments
- hereditary and congenital conditions
- emergency care
- behavioral conditions
- and more
You can also add two different wellness coverages to all three plans for your pet’s routine care needs.
What we like: We picked Pets Best as the best pet insurance for competitive pricing for its broad pricing options. Pet owners can set up an affordable plan with low reimbursement and basic coverage, but even their most comprehensive coverage tiers rarely go over $50 monthly fees.
- Flexible premiums and deductibles
- Quick claims process
- Handle everything from mobile app
- 10% discount for bundling with home insurance
- Visit any licensed veterinarian
- Available in 36 states only
- Won’t cover prescription food or dental care
- No phone or in-person sign-up
Lemonade offers pet insurance through its AI-powered platform. Users can purchase a policy and file claims through a fully automated underwriting process. However, if you need to speak with someone, Lemonade does have customer service reps available.
Lemonade’s accident and illness policy covers:
- x-rays, MRI, CT scan and ultrasounds
- blood tests
- outpatient, specialty and emergency care
- cancer treatment
- injections and prescription medication
Pet owners can further enhance coverage with a preventative care rider for annual checkups, vaccines, bloodwork and heartworm and parasite screening. A separate rider is also available to cover vet exam fees and alternative treatments like acupuncture.
Pricing varies per pet and how you set up your policy. Choose a deductible of $100, $250 or $500 and up to 90% in coinsurance. Annual limits are set between $5,000-$100,000. Once you have an active policy, Lemonade enforces three waiting periods:
- 2 days for accidents
- 14 days for illnesses
- 6 months for knee joint injuries
Lemonade also donates excess premium payments to nonprofits selected by policyholders. However, these donations are not guaranteed, especially if they hinder the company’s financial ability to pay for future claims. Lemonade is currently available in 36 states, but you can sign up for updates on its website.
What we like: We picked Lemonade as the best bet insurance for innovation and affordability for its novel AI-powered processing and low premiums. Monthly rates can be as low as $10 and pet owners can handle every step of the insurance process from their phone.
- No waiting period for preventive care
- Visit any vet – no network required
- Affordable monthly premiums
- Reimburses alternative therapies
- Covers microchip implantation
- Multi-pet discount of 10% for each additional pet
- 24/7 pet telehealth line
- Preventive care riders work on an itemized basis, not an annual limit
- Unlimited coverage is not an option
- 14-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses
- Not managed by ASPCA itself
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers several pet insurance policies underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. There’s no network — you can visit any vet in the U.S. or Canada, and they offer a 24/7 pet telehealth line.
ASPCA monthly premiums are more affordable than most insurers, with annual limits going as low as $3,000. Additionally, you can get a 70 to 90 percent reimbursement for covered costs deposited directly or paid via check.
ASPCA’s Complete plan covers:
- hereditary and congenital conditions, including hip dysplasia
- and behavioral health issues
ASPCA also stands out from most pet insurers by providing two different policies for horses: Colic, Accidents, and Illnesses or Colic and Accidents.
All pets can have two different preventive care riders added to their policies. While exact treatment limits differ by animal, these riders work on an itemized basis, rather than the more common annual limit for any wellness procedure.
Somewhat confusingly, the policies aren’t managed by the ASPCA itself, but rather underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, and produced and administered by C&F Insurance Agency, Inc., a subsidiary of Crum and Forster.
What we like: We picked ASPCA as the best pet insurance for budget coverage for its flexible pricing structure that translates to affordable monthly premiums. Pet owners can significantly lower their annual limit and reduce premium payments to a budget-friendly number.
- Coverage from just 6 weeks
- No sign-up fees
- VirtualVet visits included
- Boarding fees reimbursement for up to $1,000
- No lifetime or per condition claims limit
- No preventive care coverage
- For coverage to apply, you must take your dog or cat to the vet within 48 hours of noticing symptoms
- No multi-pet discount
- 6-month waiting period for hip dysplasia and knee injuries
- Limits older pet coverage
We consider Petplan the best for cats, as it insures pets beginning at six weeks old for kittens with no age limit. When you buy a policy this early, you won’t have to worry much at all about exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
The company’s coverage extends to:
- Some hereditary and congenital conditions if symptoms aren’t present before you bought coverage
- Comprehensive dental care, including dental injury, disease to all teeth and chronic and hereditary conditions
- Hospitalization boarding fees up to $1,000 –no copay or deductible required
Unfortunately, Petplan doesn’t provide preventive care, including routine & wellness exams, microchipping, vaccinations, and grooming. Pets age 10 and up are also limited to a policy with a $15,000 annual limit, $750 deductible, and 70% reimbursement for covered services.
Monthly premiums start at $19 for both dog insurance and cat insurance. Annual benefit caps range from $2,500 to unlimited, while deductibles start at $100 up to $1,000.
Reimbursement is available for non-standard expenses such as trip cancellations, owner hospitalization, and what the company calls a “reasonable reward” for any ad costs incurred from trying to find a lost pet.
What we like: We picked Petplan as the best pet insurance for cats because owners can get an early start, covering kittens as early as 6 weeks of age. Hereditary or chronic conditions (like cancer and diabetes) are also covered for all cat breeds.
- Lifetime per condition deductibles
- Coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions
- Pet owner assistance package
- All plans include 90% coverage
- 24/7 customer service
- Not set limits for any benefits (per incident, monthly or lifetime)
- No preventive care coverage
- No discounts
- Trupanion only accepts monthly payments
Trupanion stands out from the field by offering just one policy for dogs and cats, including coverage for hip dysplasia and other hereditary conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and upper respiratory infections.
Monthly premiums start at $59 for dogs and $32 for cats. Trupanion policies cover:
- new, unidentified issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and cough
- congenital conditions, such as heart disease, cataracts, and nervous system issues
- for an extra cost, recovery and complementary care for non-clinical procedures, such as acupuncture, behavioral modification, and rehabilitative therapy
Trupanion also offers a lifetime per condition deductible, where you only pay a deductible if your pet develops a new condition. You can even set your deductible at $0. Once your deductible is paid, your policy pays out at 90% for anything related to that condition for the rest of your pet’s life.
If your veterinarian uses Trupanion’s direct payment software, Trupanion pays the vet directly without you filling out a claim.
What we like: We picked Trupanion as the best pet insurance for hereditary conditions for its lifetime per condition deductible. If your pet needs lifelong treatment for a specific chronic or hereditary condition, you’d pay the deductible only once, as opposed to annually.
- Lifetime per condition deductibles
- Current Nationwide members save 5% on a pet insurance policy
- No age restrictions
- Whole Pet with Wellness has complete preventative care coverage in one plan
- No plan customization
- Limited online services
- Policies are more expensive than average
Nationwide is the only pet insurance company of its size that offers coverage for exotic animals, including:
- most birds
- small mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits
- goats and pot-bellied pigs
Exotic animals that fall under venomous or endangered categories and any animal not explicitly listed on their website aren’t eligible. Plans vary by species, and you’ll need to call to find out which options are available for your exotic pet.
Monthly premiums start at $34 for dogs and $18 for cats. There are three pet insurance plans: Whole Pet with Wellness, Major Medical, and Pet Wellness.
Major Medical is a budget-friendly accident and illness plan for standard medical costs. Pet Wellness covers only preventive care including deworming, fecal tests, vaccinations, heartworm and parasite prevention and microchipping.
Whole Pet with Wellness includes comprehensive and preventive coverage in one plan and 90% coverage on vet bills for:
- accidents and illnesses
- surgeries and hospitalization
- medical conditions
- hereditary conditions (no waiting period)
- wellness exams
- flea/heartworm prevention
Nationwide has two reimbursement models: invoice repayment (up to 90%) with no limits or reimbursement with a benefit schedule, with payments capped at a set amount depending on the condition.
Annual deductibles are set at $250, with all claims filed via snail mail, fax, or email.
What we like: We picked Nationwide as the best pet insurance for exotic animals because it offers comprehensive insurance for various unconventional animals. Pet owners can relax knowing up to 90% of their expenses are covered by a reputable insurer.
- Accident coverage after just 24 hours
- Extensive coverage and customizable limits
- IVDD and cruciate ligament issues are also covered after a 6-month waiting period
- Offers a Senior Pet Insurance Plan
- No accident-only coverage
- Low annual limits
- Preventive care treatments have individual annual limits
PetFirst Pet Insurance’s routine care coverage excels precisely because it defines preventive care so broadly. You could buy a plan to cover your pet’s vaccines, dental care, parasite prevention, spaying and neutering, and even behavioral training.
Riders for routine care can be purchased with annual benefits between $125 and $575. However, each specific treatment carries its own limit per policy term within that total amount. PetFirst offers three plans, each with a $250 deductible and 80 percent reimbursement rate for covered expenses. Each plan sets a different annual coverage limit, between $2,000 and $10,000.
PetFirst is owned by MetLife, a leading dental, health, and auto insurer.
What we like: We picked PetFirst as the best pet insurance for preventive care because pet owners can select from 5 routine care riders. Each category increases coverage limits for a variety of items, from deworming to microchipping and behavioral treatment.
- Covers prescribed behavioral training, therapy, and treatment
- Includes prescribed drugs, nutritional supplements, and pet food
- Claims paid in up to ten days
- $0 deductible and 100% reimbursement options available
- Wellness plan has a $750 reimbursement limit
- 12-month waiting period for ligament and hip dysplasia
TrustedPals provides standard coverage for dogs and cats for pets aged 8 weeks and older. There’s no maximum age limit, making it a great option for senior pets. There are no restrictions on chronic illnesses if they begin after the policy effective date.
TrustedPals covers expenses for:
- vet visits
- hospital stays
- lab work
- and prescription medications
TrustedPals offers a wellness plan as an add-on, covering yearly vet exams, vaccination, preventive dental cleaning, and spaying or neutering. Your policy will also cover vet-prescribed alternative treatments such as acupuncture and hydrotherapy. See their sample policy to learn more.
Once you apply for a quote, TrustedPals will present four different premium options to choose from. These include annual benefit limits ranging from $4,000 to $15,000 and an unlimited benefit option. You can then customize your policy by selecting your deductible (from $0 to $750 per year) and the amount of your reimbursement percentage (from 70% to 100%).
You’ll get the same coverage regardless of the premium paid, as the cost of insurance isn’t tied to benefits. Instead, your premiums will be determined by what type of pet you have (cat or dog), the age of your pet, your location, and how you customize your plan.
What we like: We picked TrustedPals as the best pet insurance for customizability for its reimbursement options and wide deductible range, especially compared to most providers that only have three deductible tiers to choose from.
- No caps on claim payouts
- Unlimited annual benefits
- 99% of claims processed in 2 days
- Submit claims via email, fax, online, or using the Healthy Paws’ mobile app
- Visit any licensed veterinarian
- No wellness plan, alternative treatment or preventative care
- No multi-pet discount
- 15-day waiting period for accident and illness
- Charges a one-time $25 fee
- Limits deductibles and reimbursement options for pets over age 6
Healthy Paws plans start at $20 per month for dogs, with no limit to how many claims you can make, making it the best value compared to the competition. Healthy Paws offers one comprehensive pet insurance plan covering:
- prescription medications
- hospital stays
- and emergencies
You can visit any licensed 24-hour emergency animal hospital and see specialists such as ophthalmologists, radiologists, cardiologists, oncologists for cancer care, and internal medicine experts without a referral.
Healthy Paws covers pets aged six and older with a full accident and illness policy with unlimited lifetime coverage. Potential customers should be aware that pets must be at least 8 weeks old and under age 14 at the time of enrollment. Age restrictions also apply:
- Pets older than eight years old are restricted to 60% reimbursement and a $750 annual deductible.
- Pets older than six years old require a physical exam within 30 days prior to policy purchase or within the first 15 days of issuing the policy.
The plan does not cover preventative care, such as:
- flea and parasite control
- heartworm medication and deworming
- spaying and neutering
- dental healthcare
Healthy Paws Foundation’s Every Quote Gives Hope program donates a homeless pet’s medical care with every free pet insurance quote.
What we like: We picked Healthy Paws as the best pet insurance for dogs because of its low starting premiums and no-caps policy on claim payouts, making it the best value compared to the competition.
Other Pet Insurance Companies We Considered
When we were narrowing down our list, a few companies stood out but didn’t quite meet the requirements we’d set for our top ten list.
- No waiting period for accidents
- Coverage for chronic conditions after 24 months symptom-free
- Covers invoiced amount, including exam fees
- Limited enrollment age
- CCL (ACL) injuries are considered a bilateral condition
- Only has an 80% reimbursement option
- No unlimited payout options
While 24PetWatch offers policies and wellness plans with short waiting periods and low deductibles, they didn’t make our list due to its complicated pricing structure and limited policies. Dogs age out at 10 years and cats at 12, as well, when it’s difficult to find another company willing to begin coverage. Further, few discounts make their plans slightly more expensive than the competition.
- Unlimited annual coverage limit
- 30-day trial period
- Costly to start with, prices go up after 5 years old
- Preventive care reimbursement is limited
- No budget option available
The only company to partner with the ASPCA, Hartville has a long history in the pet insurance industry. Their policies offer excellent coverage, but it comes at a price — expect to pay a minimum of $15 per month per cat and $25 per month per dog. What’s more, once your dog is over 5 years old, illness benefit premiums go up considerably. And individual wellness benefits are capped at a specific annual limit.
Pet Assure Review
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Multi-pet discount
- Not pet insurance
- No coverage for specialist services
- Won’t cover prescription food or medication
To be clear, Pet Assure is not pet insurance but rather a discount plan that offers 25% off on all in-office medical procedures. While the program has participating veterinarians in all states, Puerto Rico and Canada, the number of providers by location is limited. Though we liked their affordable rates and lack of exclusions (pets of all ages are accepted, even with pre-existing conditions), Pet Assure didn’t make our cut because it’s not pet insurance. However, it can be a great alternative, provided your vet accepts it.
USAA Pet Insurance review
- Membership and multi-pet discount
- Submit claims 24/7
- Insurance is provided by Embrace
- Limited policy information
- No online chat support
- Requires USAA membership
USAA offers accident-only or accident and illness policies through Embrace, with an optional wellness rider. Claims and customer service are also handled through Embrace. We didn’t like how sparse USAA’s pet insurance page was, with very little information on policies. By purchasing through USAA members can access up to 25% discount in pet insurance. However, if you want more information, it’s best to go directly to Embrace’s webpage.
GEICO Pet Insurance review
- Multiple discounts
- Insurance is provided by Embrace
- Limited information on website
- No online support– only phone
Pet owners that apply for insurance through GEICO will be redirected to Embrace’s webpage. While GEICO does offer more discounts than other insurers — including multi-pet, spaying/neutering, and annual pay — it falls short of other companies in other ways. There’s no unlimited annual benefits option, full reimbursement, or $0 deductible.
Pet Insurance Guide
Types of pet insurance plans
When you’re looking to insure your pet, the first thing to do is take a good look at your finances — and how much you’re able and willing to spend in case of an emergency. Each type of pet insurance policy will have different types of coverage and come at a different price point. Knowing what each type has to offer is crucial for understanding how to buy pet insurance.
- Accident-only policies – An accident-only plan may suit you best if your main concern is your cat or dog’s propensity for mishaps (poisonings, broken bones, bloating). They’re usually more affordable than plans with more coverage.
- Accident & Illness policies – These are the all-inclusive pet insurance plans, covering both accident and illness coverage. They can be expanded to be truly comprehensive by adding wellness coverage, which is usually an add-on rather than an integrated part of the plan.
- Comprehensive policies – Some insurers offer comprehensive policies covering everything, from accidents to illnesses to wellness to routine care. For example, they may cover the cost of dental care, chiropractic care, spaying, vaccinations, behavioral therapy, and more. Naturally, these plans have the heftiest price tag but are worth it for the peace of mind.
If you want to evaluate whether an insurer is right for you, it might be a good idea to download one of their online sample policies.
Read all its inclusions, exclusions, and restrictions thoroughly, and if you’re comfortable with them, you can then move on to enroll your pet. Remember to take into account your pet’s needs.
How Pet Health Insurance Works
- Waiting periods – Your insurance cover won’t pay until you’ve completed a waiting period. Most companies require at least 14 days after enrollment before reimbursing you for a vet visit that your pet needs for an illness.
- Exclusions – Pet insurance policies usually exclude specific conditions in the policy’s language. Be sure to read your policy before buying it, so you’ll know how your pet insurance works
- Network restrictions – Pet insurance companies generally don’t have networks. However, some insurers may limit certain coverage to specific vets. Some may not cover your pet while you travel in Canada or Puerto Rico. We recommend insurers with no restrictions to ensure you’re covered anywhere in the United States.
What Increases and Lowers Premium Costs
The average monthly cost of pet insurance with accident and illness coverage is $49.51 for dogs and $28.48 for cats, which partially answers how much a dog costs and how much a cat costs.
Pet insurance costs vary widely based on several factors, including the pet’s breed, gender, age, location, and your chosen coverage options and deductible.
- Pre-existing conditions – Pet insurance providers will not reimburse you for conditions your dog, cat, or other pet already had before you bought the pet insurance policy.
- Preventative care add-ons – You’ll get the best value from an accident or illness coverage plan, but you could add coverage for preventative care. Policies that cover routine care and accident or illness care are called comprehensive coverage.
- Pet’s age – After your dog or cat reaches age 12, your choices for new coverage will diminish significantly. To have the most options, buy a policy before your pet reaches an advanced age.
- Deductibles – With many plans, you set the deductible, which is the money you must pay before your insurance policy kicks in. Watch out for per-incident deductibles. Per-year deductibles provide a better value.
- Where you live – Generally speaking, pets that live in urban areas will have higher pet insurance rates due to higher costs of veterinary care, among other socioeconomic factors. Some states may also have higher costs, such as New York or California.
If you’re on a tight budget and need a policy with more affordable premiums, take a look at our best cheap pet insurance page.
Additional expenses to keep in mind
- Reimbursements – You pay for all vet visits and charges and then file for a reimbursement. The best plans typically reimburse 90 percent of a covered expense.
- Payout caps – Most plans stop reimbursing after you’ve reached your policy’s maximum coverage amount. Most policies have an annual expense cap, but some have caps per incident (illness or injury) or even for the animal’s lifetime. Expect to pay higher premiums for higher caps.
Veterinary Care During COVID-19
During the coronavirus pandemic, the rise in pet ownership overall has veterinary services in high demand. But when should you take your pet to the vet? Before running out to visit your pet care provider, consider the following:
Urgent Care vs. Routine Checkups
|Urgent Care||Routine Checkups|
|Accidents, respiratory problems, and poisonings require immediate medical attention||Routine checkups and elective procedures should be postponed as long as possible so that veterinary offices can avoid a higher number of patients.|
|For emergency trips, make sure to adhere to CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing.||Pet owners should make use of telemedicine alternatives instead of making in-person visits to the vet.|
Keep in mind that depending on the hospital, staff may be operating in-person or with curbside service, and many health providers are offering alternatives for non-urgent yet essential procedures (e.g., booster shots, vaccinations, physical therapy).
Caring for Your Pet in the Social Distancing Era
Aside from the aforementioned veterinary care, there are other measures you can take as a pet owner to keep your furry family member healthy and happy:
- Buy medicine – Make sure to have enough prescriptions, such as heartworm, parasite, flea, and tick medicine, as well as any maintenance drugs.
- Stock up on food – Consider using online services that deliver the food directly to your door to avoid unnecessary visits to the pet store or the supermarket.
- Work on your mental and physical health – Pets pick up on their owners’ feelings, which means your anxiety can also affect them. Take care of yourself and other household members, so your pets feel more at ease with such an unusual amount of human contact.
- Exercise your pet – Stay-at-home ordinances and self-isolation protocols limit the time you spend with your pet outside. Going for a walk following safety precautions, playing fetch or basic training techniques are some of the many ways to keep them active.
- Make the most of telemedicine services – You keep your pet healthy while limiting visits to the vet and lessen the workload for veterinary staff in clinics and hospitals.
More vets than ever are incorporating telemedicine alternatives to their practice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An example of telemedicine is the vet using a video chat service to observe a patient and provide medical advice without having direct physical contact.
This can serve various purposes, such as postoperative follow-ups or visual confirmation to determine whether a case is urgent or non-urgent. More importantly, it reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19 by reducing physical contact with others and their pets.
Can My Pet Get Coronavirus?
The CDC states there is no evidence that pets can significantly spread the virus, and animal-to-human transmission is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, there have been recorded animal cases and deaths related to COVID-19. Although the chances of spreading the virus are extremely low, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, especially with the new, more transmissible delta variant.
The general rule is to treat your pet as you would a person, maintain distance whenever possible, and wear a face-covering to avoid transmission. Extra precautions should be taken if you have either received a positive test or suspect being infected. Have another person take care of your pet while you’re infected, if possible.
Though extremely rare, there have been cases of serious illness in pets who have contracted the virus that causes COVID-19. You may be interested in pet life insurance if you wish to cover your pet’s economic value or burial costs in the unfortunate case that they pass away from Coronavirus-related complications.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Knowing whether pet insurance will pay off for you depends on your needs and your pet’s health care needs. Before trying to enroll your pet in a plan, consider its costs vs. its potential benefits. Any pet insurance cover provides a service that’s not measured as a dollar amount — giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t be facing expensive vet bills all on your own.
How much is pet insurance?
Pricing your pet insurance premium will depend on many factors: 1) your pet’s type, gender, and breed; 2) your pet’s age; 3) your location; 4) coverage types; 5) deductible and reimbursement level. The more expensive it is where you live, whether it’s California or New York City, the more expensive your pet insurance will be.
How does pet insurance work?
Pet insurance is a policy that comes with a monthly premium. With pet insurance, if your pet is sick or injured, you pay the bill upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement. You can take your pet to a licensed veterinarian and then submit a claim to get reimbursed for issues that are covered under your pet insurance plan.
What does pet insurance cover?
It depends on the specific plan. Standard pet health insurance will cover most accidents and injuries. Still, you can also buy a policy that covers only routine vet visits for checkups and vaccinations, usually called wellness plans. “Things like ultrasounds, blood tests, or procedures such as MRIs or CAT scans — they’re now available [for pets],” said Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club.
What is the best pet insurance?
The best pet insurance for you will depend on a combination of different elements, mainly your budget and your pet’s needs.
How We Found the Best Pet Insurance Companies
To thoroughly assess the top pet insurance companies and find the best, we researched several policy aspects that make these providers stand out and spoke to experienced veterinary doctors.
We evaluated each policy by looking at:
- Pet insurance costs, including average rates
- Coverage options
- Claims processes for all the featured companies
- Flexibility with premiums and deductibles
- Any potential limits on payments to policyholders.
- Available channels to contact customer service agents
Finally, we sought out pet insurers that offered multiple ways to contact customer service agents.