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Best Pet Insurance Companies

Best Pet Insurance Companies
Jennifer G Gregory
Updated October 12, 2021
7 Min Read

Many pet owners turn towards pet insurance to help manage vet expenses for preventative care as well as unexpected issues. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the latest statistics show that 2.43 million pets were insured at the end of 2018, and the number of insured pets grew 17% from the previous year. By getting the right plan for your pet and financial circumstances, pet insurance can help you save money while providing top veterinary care to give your pet the best and healthiest life possible.

Because exclusions, terms and costs vary widely between companies, and even policies offered by the same company, you should carefully review multiple options to determine if pet insurance is a smart decision for your family. Most pet insurance companies do not pay for pre-existing conditions, which families must consider when deciding if insurance makes sense for their situation. If your pet has a specific condition, look to see if any pet insurance companies cover the issue after a specified waiting period.

Top 10 companies offering pet insurance

  • Nationwide
  • Trupanion
  • ASPCA
  • Pets Best
  • Lemonade
  • Hartville Pet Insurance
  • Petfirst
  • Petplan
  • Pumpkin
  • Spot

Nationwide

Nationwide Insurance has been offering pet insurance for almost 40 years. Many pet parents feel comfortable going with this recognized insurance provider, especially if they are already Nationwide customers for auto, home or life insurance. Some plans provide reimbursement for a set amount for each treatment/condition while others pay a percentage of the total invoice.

Pros:

  • Covers alternative therapies for both dogs and cats, including acupuncture, laser and chiropractor
  • Basic plans are affordable, starting at $35 a month
  • 24/7 Pet helpline

Cons:

  • Comprehensive plans are expensive at more than $90 a month

Standout benefit:

  • Great coverage for birds and exotic pets

Trupanion

Instead of multiple plans to choose from, Trupanion offers a single plan that covers a wide range of conditions and services, including some hereditary conditions excluded from other policies. Trupanion covers 90% of the bill with no maximum payout per visit, but sets a lifetime deductible for condition.

Pros:

  • Pays directly to the vet instead of pet parent waiting for reimbursement
  • Extensive coverage of conditions
  • Additional Recovery and Complementary rider is available, which includes acupuncture, behavioral modification, chiropractic, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and rehabilitative therapy

Cons:

  • High premiums
  • Cannot get new policy

Standout benefit:

  • Offers pet parent assistance coverage, which includes boarding if the owner is hospitalized, liability for third-party property damage, and cremation for deaths by accident

ASPCA

ASPCA offers a Complete Coverage℠ plan for dogs and cats, which covers accidents, illnesses, and other health issues for a single premium. You can purchase wellness care for an additional monthly fee. Pet owners can select an annual limit, ranging from $3,000 to unlimited, choose from three deductible options ($100, $200 or $250) and pick the reimbursement percentage (70%, 80% or 90%) that works best for their financial circumstances.

Pros:

  • Pre-existing conditions that are free of symptoms and treatments for 180 days can be included in future coverage
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • Option for direct deposit of reimbursements

Cons:

  • Preventative care costs extra

Standout benefit:

  • No age restrictions for new pets

Pets Best

Founded by a vet, Pets Best offers plans for dogs and cats, both with annual deductibles for accidents/illnesses as well as an unlimited coverage option. Pet owners can choose from two different levels of wellness plans to add to their accident and illness coverage, with the BestWellness™ plan including a benefit for spay/neuter or teeth cleaning.

Pros:

  • Affordable, with dog plans starting at $9 a month and cats at $6
  • Option to pay vet directly
  • Short waiting periods
  • 24/7 Pet helpline

Cons:

  • Slow processing times

Standout benefit:

  • Flexible plans for a range of budgets

Lemonade

Lemonade, which offers pet insurance in addition to other types of policies, makes charitable donations of all the profits remaining after paying claims and expenses. You can get a 10% discount on pet insurance if you also purchase your homeowners policy through Lemonade.

Pros:

  • Very affordable, with premiums starting at $10 a month for $100,000/year of coverage
  • Convenient app-based processes, including live chat with a vet
  • Pays vet directly

Cons:

  • No traditional customer service, but instead process claims and communicates through an app

Best standout benefit:

  • Affordable pricing for high coverage

Hartville Pet Insurance

With Hartville, you can choose your deductible ($100, $200 or $500), reimbursement amount (70%, 80% or 90%) and annual coverage ($5,000 to unlimited). Pet parents can also purchase an accident-only policy. Preventative coverage can be added on to any plan.

Pros:

  • Covers many hereditary conditions
  • Flexible options for a range of budgets

Cons:

  • Limited reimbursement for preventative care
  • Higher premiums for older pets

Best standout benefit:

  • Includes coverage for behavioral issues

Petfirst

Petfirst, which is a MetLife company, has offered pet insurance for over 20 years. Pet owners who are in the animal care business, including shelters and veterinary offices, are eligible for a 10% discount. You can choose from four different levels of wellness plans based on your pet’s needs.

Pros:

  • Discount for multiple pets, including 10% for three or more covered pets
  • Claims processed in 2 weeks
  • Offers a plan with a low deductible of $50, in addition to higher options

Cons:

  • Does not offer an accident-only plan

Best standout benefit:

  • Provides coverage for many ligament issues and intervertebral disc disease after six months

Petplan

Petplan provides extensive coverage for many conditions not covered by other policies without a rider, including holistic care, non-routine dental treatments and boarding fees for hospitalization.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • Provides direct deposit for faster reimbursement
  • Covers boarding fees if you are hospitalized
  • Very comprehensive coverage

Cons:

  • Does not offer preventative coverage

Best standout benefit:

  • Reimburses for virtual vet visits

Pumpkin

Pumpkin offers plans that meet the needs of pets in all age ranges, including offering a specific puppy plan and being senior-dog friendly in their policies as well. You can also select (at a higher cost) a $20,000 annual maximum, which is higher than some policies. While some companies allow you to customize the reimbursement rate, all Pumpkin’s policies provide 90% reimbursement.

Pros:

  • Includes prescription food for eligible conditions
  • Flexible preventative coverage allowing owner to decide on two covered vaccines a year
  • 10% discount on more than one pet

Cons:

  • Newer company

Best standout benefit:

  • Best for multiple pets because discount kicks in on the second pet instead of third, as with many companies

Spot

Spot, which is endorsed owned by dog trainer Cesar Millan, covers many services not included on other plans, such as eligible prescription diets, stem cell therapy, end of life services, microchipping and supplements

Pros:

  • Extensive coverage
  • Includes alternative and behavior therapies without a rider
  • 24/7 Pet helpline
  • Offers accident-only coverage

Cons:

  • Higher premiums than comparable policies

Best standout benefit:

  • Best for owners wanting extensive coverage, especially alternative coverage

What is Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is similar in concept but works differently than human health insurance. Most pet insurance companies only offer insurance for dogs and cats, but a few include small animals and reptiles as well. Instead of only paying your co-pay at visit as you do with your own health insurance, you pay the entire bill and submit it for reimbursement from the insurance company. Look carefully at any policy for exclusions, which can be extensive with many companies. Additionally, some plans exclude or charge a premium or for certain breeds that are known for high-cost health issues, such as IVDD surgery for dachshunds. If you have multiple pets, look for companies offering multiple pet discounts.

Types of Pet Insurance Coverage

Because pets are considered personal property, pet insurance is classified as property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. Three types of pet insurance coverage are available:

Wellness

Under this plan, your pet’s annual exam is covered, and often, preventatives are covered as well. This policy does not cover any unexpected issues, such as illness or accident. This type of plan is best for people who want the convenience of paying throughout the year for their pet’s annual visit instead of paying at one time. Some plans allow you to add on a dental benefit that pays for dental cleanings.

Accident/Illness

This policy does not pay for any routine care, but instead only covers unexpected events and issues. Some companies separate accident and illness, while others offer a combined version. Accident/illness combined insurance typically covers prescriptions, cancer, emergency visits and many surgeries.

Comprehensive

Pet owners looking for the highest amount of coverage often purchase comprehensive pet insurance, which includes more services and conditions than other types. This insurance often includes prescriptions, but as always, some medicines may be specifically excluded. Verify whether wellness visits are covered or if that is a separate policy.

In addition to policies purchased through an independent company, many vets offer their own wellness plans that include specific services each year and may offer discounts for additional services, such as sick visits and surgeries. Once you purchase the pet insurance, you typically must wait a set number of days, usually between two weeks and a month, before you can file a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Insurance

What is not covered by pet insurance?

With comprehensive and accident/illness policies, you typically must pay an out-of-pocket deductible for a claim before the vet bills are covered by insurance. The majority of policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. For example, if your dog has a heart murmur, medication for that condition would not be covered. You also must typically pay out of pocket for elective services, such as nail trims, tail docking and removing dew claws. If your pet has puppies, most plans do not cover any complications with the birth or care for the puppies. Insurance also typically does not cover euthanasia or cremation services if your pet passes away. Some plans include alternative treatments, such as laser therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture, while other policies do not.

Is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?

It depends on the price of your policy, the services covered and your pet’s future needs. However, pet insurance can pay for itself if your pet has an unexpected illness, accident or surgery. People who can afford a monthly premium but would struggle to pay an unexpected bill in the thousands find pet insurance provides financial protection and peace of mind.

Do most vets take pet insurance?

You can use pet insurance at any vet. With pet insurance, you pay the bill and then submit the claim to the insurance company. You will then be reimbursed for any covered expenses minus your deductible. If you purchase a wellness plan from a specific vet, benefits are only paid for services provided by that specific vet.

How much does pet insurance cost?

The price depends on your zip code, breed of animal, age of animal and type of coverage. North American Pet Health Insurance Association reported that accident/illness coverage averages $585.40 for dogs and $349.93 for cats, while accident only policies average $194.09 for dogs and $126.08 for cats.

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