When it comes to pet insurance, many pet owners aren't sure if they really need it. We created this simple quiz to help consumers learn if pet insurance could be right for them.
Pet insurance helps pet owners pay the cost of medical expenses if the pet becomes ill or has an accident. Some pet insurance plans cover routine checkups and wellness procedures, such as annual exams, spaying, neutering, etc. Veterinary bills can be very high and pet insurance can help to offset the cost. However, in some cases pet insurance can cost more than it pays out so it’s important to consider your own unique situation and various factors before deciding whether or not to purchase pet insurance.
Top 10 Best Rated Pet Insurance Providers
Low deductibles and high reimbursement amounts from AKC Pet Insurance can mean the difference between a four-legged friend getting well or saying goodbye. It can reduce the financial burden due to pet illnesses/injuries.
|Read 223 Reviews|
With head-to-head comparisons available on their website, Embrace Pet Insurance demonstrates their coverage value. Their high annual limits, along with the lack of per incident maximums, makes them highly competitive.
|Read 7 Reviews|
Trupanion's single, easy to understand plan option with 90% reimbursement and no payout limitations make them a quick shop for pet insurance. Their prices are determined by pet demographics, not care quality.
|Read 14 Reviews|
The ASPCA is one of the best known names in pet adoptions, and they now also offer pet insurance. Their comprehensive coverage options cover everything from wellness visits to congenital conditions.
|Read 77 Reviews|
With a combination of lost pet recovery and pet insurance products, 24PetWatch offers a complete range of features designed to protect the health and wellness of furry family members.
|Read 76 Reviews|
Nationwide includes 24/7 access to trained veterinary professionals and reimbursements for covered medical costs. They offer both routine and comprehensive care options to keep care costs affordable.
|Read 181 Reviews|
Offering everything from vacation cancellation protection to lost pet recovery reimbursement, Petplan takes a holistic view of animal welfare and health care. Their policies are easy to understand with listed annual maximums.
Covering everything from cancer to emergency care, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation offers top-rated pet insurance policies. Their easy claims process makes getting reimbursements quick and painless.
PetFirst plans cost an average of $25 per month and puts pet owners firmly in control of their pet's health. Their Lifelong Coverage guarantee even protects pets with congenital conditions.
|Read Expert Review|
Pets Best offers plans that pay reimbursements of up to 100%, allowing pet owners to tackle any illness/injury with confidence. Short waiting periods means pet owners can start using their coverage in days.
|Read Expert Review|
What features matter most?
The most important thing to understand about pet insurance is what is covered and what is not. Some policyholders think that pet insurance automatically covers all medical expenses but every policy has different limits and exclusions.
- Read the plan: Before purchasing pet insurance, read the plan carefully so you have an understanding of what illnesses, medical visits, medication, etc. are covered and what are not. For example, surgery could be covered, but spaying/neutering might not. Emergency visits because of an accidental injury may be covered, but routine wellness visits may not. And in many cases, cosmetic procedures, boarding and grooming, and supplements will not be covered.
- Limits and deductibles: All insurance policies stipulate limits of their coverage. Typically, pet insurance will have limits per accident or illness, as well as a limit for the policy term. Out-of-pocket deductibles can be based on both a per-inside and per-policy term basis. Find out what the limits of coverage are, and if they could cover a reasonable portion of expensive procedures.
- Extra costs: Pets with existing conditions or advanced age may be refused coverage or might require higher premiums to cover their medical insurance. Be sure to read carefully to determine if your pet will incur any extra costs.
Can coverage be denied?
If you have pet insurance, you might assume that it will cover all medical issues and expenses, but many times coverage can be denied.
- Negligence: Some insurance policies won’t cover expenses if it has been deemed that the owner was at fault.
- Accidental: Accidents happen, but if you haven’t purchased comprehensive coverage or another form of accident insurance, you might end up paying out of pocket.
- Age range: Most pet insurance policies have a low end and a high end to sign up for a new policy. Make sure the plan covers the current age of your pet.
Insurance companies may work with and cover different medical providers, which takes the pressure off you to find one. The disadvantage of this is that some medical providers won’t be as good as the ones you might want to visit and you won’t be reimbursed for using vets that the policy doesn’t cover.
- Do the service providers have good reviews?: Check out the fine print to find out if service providers are prescribed by the insurance network, and if so, do a little investigative research to find out how reputable they are.
- Can you use providers out of network?: Such policies may cover both in and out-of-network providers, but the latter can sometimes cost more. Find out which vets your policy allows and if the coverage is the same for out-of-network vets.
The cost of pet insurance varies according to your location, what type of pet you have, your pet's age and what type of coverage you choose. Similar to human health insurance, pet insurance also has premiums, deductibles, co-pays and maximum payouts.
- Premium: The premium is the amount you pay monthly, quarterly or annually for your insurance policy.
- Deductible: The deductible is the amount of the vet bills you have to reach before the insurance company starts to pay. Higher deductibles usually mean a lower premium, but more of your money is invested over the initial medical expenses.
- Co-pay: Most insurance policies will cover only a portion of medical expenses even after you’ve met your deductible and expect you to cover a portion. For example, your policy might stipulate that you pay 20 percent and the insurance company pays 80 percent. Higher co-pays will lower your premium as well but will increase your out-of-pocket payments for each expense. When determining reimbursement, also keep in mind that some pet insurance policies pay out as a percentage of the invoice while others pay out on certain amounts for certain conditions or operations, no matter what the bill was.
- Maximum payout: Most insurance policies will determine a maximum amount of money they will give you, whether it is a certain amount each year, per event or during the lifetime of your policy. Once it is reached, you will not receive any more money.
In deciding whether or not to purchase insurance, try to estimate what your average veterinary health expenses are and will be in the future.
- Current pet health: How old are your pets? Are they in fairly good shape, or do they require medication or have a chronic illness?
- Environment: Do you live in a safe, quiet environment, or is the pet exposed to things like other pets, cars on the road, ticks, etc. — anything that could cause accidents or health problems requiring medical attention?
- Breed: Certain breeds or animals are at higher risk for health issues than others (and some may even be excluded from certain insurance policies).
Insurance company reputation
Pet insurance providers should have a good reputation for helpful customer service, reliable coverage and good value.
- Coverage options: Insurance companies should offer different plans and extensive coverage options for different conditions.
- Reviews and complaints: Find out as much as possible about what kind of experience other customers have had with the insurance company and be aware of any complaints people have made about them.
- Filing a claim: Find out what the process is to file a claim. Is it simple and hassle-free, or will you be on the phone with customer service for hours at a time? Does the insurance company typically fight claims or do they reimburse expenses? If so, how long does it typically take for the company to reimburse you? Some insurance plans will pay the vet directly, so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket initially.
What are different types of pet insurance coverage?
This traditional form of pet insurance coverage mirrors your typical human health insurance plan. It generally covers anything accidental, such as unforeseen injuries or illnesses—even poisonings. Basic coverages typically include deductibles and caps on total payouts per policy term.
While covering most everything that a traditional basic plan would cover, comprehensive takes pet insurance one step further by including preventive care (such as vet visits, X-rays and vaccinations) and prescription medicines.
Want coverage to help finance for routine care? Then a pet wellness plan is for you, to help pay for annual exams, teeth cleanings, vaccinations and other similar preventative treatments.
Vet packages and network plans
Additional pet insurance-like pet products are often sponsored by veterinarians themselves or in conjunction with pet stores. For instance, certain vets will offer their customers essentially what are package deals, which provide discounts on care and checkups. Or vets and pet stores may team up to offer plans that give discounts on surgeries and care, as well as on pet food and other supplies.
For pets that are exotic or worth a lot to their owners, life and theft insurance can be bought as a separate plan. Pet owners can also consider liability coverage to protect them should their pet bite or harm another person. Typically, homeowners or renter’s insurance provides enough protection, but for certain more aggressive breeds, additional insurance may be needed.
Who's it for?
First-time pet owners
People getting pets for the first time will want the security of pet insurance, especially if the pet is young, like a puppy. Puppies are more likely to get sick and having pet insurance can help a new owner get through a stressful time without having to also worry too much about expenses.
Pet owners with older pets
Owners with aging pets need insurance to cover any diseases that may arise and to continue any treatments for existing conditions.
Owners with multiple pets
People with more than one pet can potentially save a lot of money with pet insurance. Paying for services individually is sure to add up over time, and having insurance will keep out-of-pocket expenses low.
Owners of young pets
Owners with young pets will find that trips to the vet during the first year is routine. From vaccinations to checkups, pet health insurance can help off set the cost of those visits. Insuring younger pets is usually more cost-effective and can save the owner money over the pet's lifetime.
AKC Pet insurance was founded in 2003 by John Spurling, who first offered pet insurance to the Kennel Club of Great Britain in the 1980s. The company's headquarters are now located in Seattle, Washington.
- Flea, tick and heartworm prevention covered: AKC Pet Insurance pays all fees for flea, tick and heartworm prevention for dogs covered by their policies.
- Multi-pet discounts: People that insurance more than one pet with AKC get a 5 percent discount on each additional pet.
- Wide coverage: AKC covers treatment from any veterinarian, which means pet owners can take their pets to the vet of their choice.
- No age exclusions: AKC will cover dog owners of any age, and they will not refuse insurance to dogs due to advanced age.
- Long filing allowance: The company allows people 180 days to file their insurance claims. This ensures that people who do not have the time to file claims right away can still receive benefits for their pet.
- Best for Dog owners with older dogs, dog owners with multiple dogs, and dog owners who are loyal to their current vet.
PetFirst is a pet insurance company that offers inclusive coverage for both dogs and cats. Founded in 2005, the company offers typically less restrictive pet insurance plans.
- Best for Pet owners with dogs and cats, pet owners with older pets, and pet owners with multiple pets.
Drawing on more than 35 years of experience in the pet insurance industry, through their relationship with sister company Petplan UK, Petplan offers policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As the insurer of choice for rescues and animal shelters nationwide, they are an industry leader in the pet insurance space.
- Best for Dog lovers, cat lovers and multi-pet households.
PetPremium is an insurance company that helps pet owners ensure their pets live longer and healthier lives. It offers pet owners insurance against illness or accident so that owners don't have to pay out of pocket for vet bills.
- Best for Owners of multiple pets, people whose pet has a chronic health condition , and people who are getting their first pet.
Pets Best is a pet insurance company for dogs and cats that was founded in 2005. The company was founded by the person often considered the "father" of pet insurance in North America, Jack Stephens.
- Best for Pet owners with multiple pets, pet owners with both cats and dogs , and pet owners with pets who have cancer.
Trupanion is a pet medical insurance company founded by CEO Darryl Rawlings. The company is a founding member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and has been publicly traded since July of 2014.
- Best for Pet owners with dogs and cats, new pet owners and pet owners with rambunctious pets.
24Petwatch is a company that specializes in pet protection services. The company is headquartered in Buffalo, New York.
- Best for Pet owners with dogs and cats, pet owners with loyalty to a vet and pet owners with active, or rambunctious pets.
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is a pet insurance company that offers health insurance through Hartville Pet Insurance Group. This division of the company was founded in 2006.
- Best for Pet owners with multiple pets, pet owners with cats and dogs and pet owners with a loyalty to a vet.
Embrace Pet Insurance is a pet insurance company that has been in operation since 2006, focusing on sustainability and providing expert pet care.
- Best for Pet owners with pets with hereditary or genetic conditions, pet owners with old pets, and pet owners with multiple pets.
Since its inception in 2009, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation has been improving the health of domestic animals. They offer insurance policies and fund a foundation dedicated to providing vet care to animal rescue organizations.
- Best for Dog lovers, cat lovers and multi-pet households.
Founded in 1982, when Veterinary Pet Insurance issued their first policy on TV star Lassie, this company has insured more than 1 million pets. Their commitment to making quality vet care affordable is backed by the financial stability of one of the world's largest insurance companies, Nationwide.
- Best for Dog lovers, cat lovers, exotic pet owners and multi-pet households.
Pet Assure is a membership program that allows users to receive discounts on health care for their pets. It has been offering these discounts since 1995.
- Best for Households with multiple pets, households with pets who have chronic illnesses, and households with older pets.
Figo Pet Insurance, created in 2012, is a company that provides health insurance for cats and dogs. It's the first cloud-based insurance company that offers personal Web-based tools and applications for pets and pet owners.
- Best for Tech-savvy pet owners who want to take steps to ensure their pets receive quality healthcare
Based in Indiana, HappiPets Insurance is dedicated to providing the best health care available to furry family members. The company's staff is made up of pet lovers who understand the stress that comes with vet visits, which is part of the reason for its award-winning customer service.
- Best for Dog owners, cat owners and pet rescuers.
Pet Insurance Quiz
Do you need pet insurance?
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The results are in!
You love your animals more than some of the humans in your life, and would do anything to keep them healthy and happy. You will probably benefit from pet insurance – especially if you don’t have a savings account set up to cover emergency medical costs. If your furry friend has a preexisting condition or is a breed that typically needs more veterinary care than others, you should consider which plans cover genetic diseases and pay attention to coverage limits. Remember to read each policy thoroughly and consult your veterinarian before committing to a certain plan.
Your pet may be the perfect picture of health, but even routine visits can add up, especially if you have multiple animals, so you should look into plans that cover vaccinations, cleanings, etc. And although they are healthy now, accidents happen, and if the thought of losing your furry companion brings tears to your eyes, pet insurance might be a good idea. Remember to read each policy thoroughly and consult your veterinarian before committing to a certain plan.
If you’re a saver or own a pet that is less prone to developing genetic or chronic diseases, you might be okay without purchasing pet insurance. Have an exotic pet? Very few insurance companies will cover them, but there are some options available so be sure to do your research. Remember to read each policy thoroughly and consult your veterinarian before committing to a certain plan.
Your love your animals but they have good health and ultimately, the cost probably outweighs the potential benefit. Regardless, things happen. You might consider setting up a special savings account to cover emergency medical costs if you don’t always have extra money on hand. Remember to read each policy thoroughly and consult your veterinarian before committing to a certain plan.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 14 Best Rated Pet Insurance Providers
PetPremium Wellness coverage starts the day after it is purchased, so pets can see the vet when they need to. Tiered pricing and low incident limits helps keep these plans affordable, along with several deductible options.
|Read Expert Review|
PetAssure is a membership club that offers discounts on veterinary services and supplies. Using this company, members can take advantage of discounts at the vet's office rather than waiting for reimbursement from insurance.
HappiPets Insurance is an award-winning pet insurance provider. The company helps pet parents defray the cost of unexpected veterinary visits by offering reimbursements in the event of a covered illness or injury.
|Read Expert Review|
Figo is a cloud-based pet insurance company, which makes it easy for pet owners to keep track of their veterinary visits and claim submissions. Figo offers three flexible pet insurance plans.