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Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2021

Pet insurance can help protect your pet in the case of an emergency and prevent you from paying expensive vet bills out of pocket. Keep reading for the nine best pet insurance companies in the industry.

A brown-reddish dog with a black nose and black collar holds up his paw to his owner’s hand who is wearing a grey shirt. Adobe

Pet insurance is a great way to receive peace of mind that your pet will be treated immediately after an unpredicted emergency and that you won’t have to pay expensive vet bills out of pocket. The best pet insurance companies give you the option to customize coverage based on your protection needs and budget, offering discounts, featuring 24/7 access to licensed vets for advice, and providing options for wellness and routine care.

To help you find the best pet insurance provider, the This Old House Reviews team examined the top nine pet insurance companies in the industry and compared their plans, pricing, and benefits. We also scored them on key metrics, such as coverage, plan options, eligibility, customer service, cost, and reputation.

Top 9 Pet Insurance Companies

Best Overall: Lemonade

We named Lemonade ‘Best Overall’ and gave it a score of 96 out of 100 for its comprehensive coverage, pricing, availability, and customer service. There isn’t much to dislike about this provider; its plans come at affordable prices, customers can choose from a variety of coverage limits, reimbursements, and deductible options, and it offers a comprehensive wellness plan for routine care coverage.

Lemonade also offers an inexpensive coverage boost add-on for those who want all vet expenses and fees included in their policy, in addition to extra coverage for acupuncture and therapy. Additionally, this provider features a unique mobile app with AI technology for claims filing and enrollment, making managing your policy smooth and easy.

To get a free quote from Lemonade, fill out this simple online form.

Lemonade Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Has a charitable giveback program ✘ Doesn’t cover behavioral treatments or dental care
✔ Has a 48-hour waiting period for accidents ✘ Is available in only 35 states
✔ Doesn’t have age limits for coverage

Lemonade Pet Insurance Plans

Lemonade offers one primary plan with three add-on options. However, the insurer excludes pre-existing conditions, behavioral treatments, elective cosmetic procedures, and dental care.

Here are more details about what each Lemonade plan covers:

  • Accident and Illness Plan: This basic plan covers diagnostics, necessary procedures, medications, and other vet bills related to accidents and illnesses. To customize your premium and only pay for what you need, you can choose between the following options:
  1. 70%, 80%, and 90% reimbursements
  2. $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, and $100,000 annual limits
  3. $100, $250, and $500 deductibles
  • Preventative Care Add-On: Keep your dog or cat healthy with this routine care plan that encourages regular vet visits. It covers wellness exams, heartworm tests, parasite tests, blood work, and three vaccinations. This plan typically has a flat rate of $16–$25 per month for dogs and $10–$20 per month for cats.
  • Vet Visit Fees Add-On: For only a few dollars more per month, you can include this add-on in your policy. It covers vet visit and exam fees that you might owe during an appointment.
  • Physical Therapy Add-On: For only around $1–$3 per month, you can add this coverage, which pays for physical treatments that aren’t covered in Lemonade’s standard policy, including chiropractic care and acupuncture.

Lemonade Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident and Illness Plan $18.50 $26.67 $17.00 $10.83
Accident and Illness Plan With Preventative Care $34.50 $42.67 $33.00 $20.83
Accident and Illness Plan With Vet Fees and Physical Therapy Coverage $23.67 $34.08 $21.75 $13.83

Most Comprehensive Plan: Prudent Pet

Prudent Pet scored a 95 out of 100 in our review and stood out most for its comprehensive Ultimate Plan, which covers lost pet advertising, boarding kennel fees, mortality expenses, and vacation cancellation fees related to your pet’s emergency. However, the provider lost points for the Ultimate Plan’s higher premiums. We recommend Prudent Pet for people who are looking for unlimited annual limits on both accident and illness coverage or for those who want comprehensive plan coverage.

To learn more about the Ultimate Plan and compare prices based on your animal’s specific details, fill out this online form and get an instant quote.

Prudent Pet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ All plans include a 24/7 live vet chat ✘ Has higher prices on accident and illness plans
✔ Offers three plan options and two add-ons ✘ Doesn’t have a mobile app for customers
✔ Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee -

Prudent Pet Plans

Prudent Pet’s extensive plan options help you narrow down your coverage needs. Each plan lets you choose between 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement options and $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 annual deductibles, but the coverage limits aren’t customizable.

Here’s an overview of what each plan includes:

  • Accident-Only Plan: This is the cheapest plan available from Prudent Pet, and it only covers procedures or costs related to accidents and injuries, such as bite wounds, broken bones, and swallowed objects. The annual limit for this plan is $10,000.
  • Essential Plan: This plan includes everything in the Accident-Only Plan, in addition to costs or procedures related to illnesses, cancer, congenital conditions and defects, digestive illnesses, skin conditions, hip dysplasia, and hereditary conditions. The annual limit for the Essential Plan is $10,000.
  • Ultimate Plan: As one of the most comprehensive plans on the market, the Ultimate Plan includes coverage for accidents and illnesses with unlimited coverage maximums and extra features that aren’t provided by any other company in the pet insurance industry, such as lost pet advertising costs, boarding fees, and vacation cancellation costs associated with a pet emergency.
  • Wellness Coverage Add-On: This additional coverage option usually costs between $7 and $20 per month and covers routine and preventative care, such as vaccines and wellness exams. It’s offered at three different coverage limits: $210, $315, and $460.
  • Veterinary Exam Fee Coverage: This add-on typically costs less than $10 per month, depending on your pet’s details, and it helps pay for exam or consultation fees that may be associated with procedures or treatments for your pet during a covered accident or illness.

Note: None of these plans or add-ons cover pre-existing conditions, breeding, or cosmetic procedures.

Prudent Pet Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident-Only Plan $16.35 $23.98 $13.71 $12.03
Essential Plan $37.17 $54.51 $31.15 $27.34
Ultimate Plan $49.15 $72.09 $41.19 $32.59

Best Coverage Limit: Healthy Paws

Scoring a 93.5 out of 100, Healthy Paws offers unlimited coverage with no maximum per-incident, annual, or lifetime payouts. Since Healthy Paws’ goal is to connect you to the best coverage for the best price, its quote tool has a comparison feature that recommends other pet insurance providers when your quoted premium is higher than average.

To get a free quote from Healthy Paws, use this simple online quote tool. If your quote is too high, you’ll have the option to compare plan pricing with other top providers after receiving your quote.

Healthy Paws Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Has fast claims processing with a direct deposit ✘ Has higher premiums for some breeds
✔ Donates to homeless pets with every pet insurance quote ✘ Its plans lack customizability compared to other providers
✔ Offers a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee -

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Plans

Healthy Paws offers only one accident and illness plan without any add-on options. This plan covers procedures and related costs, such as cancer treatments, diagnostics, surgery, hospitalization, ultrasounds, blood tests, X-rays, emergency care, specialty care, alternative treatments, and prescription medications. It also covers hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, and congenital conditions as long as your pet’s symptoms manifest after the effective policy start date and 15-day waiting period.

This pet insurance policy doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, spaying or neutering, dental care, preventative care, elective procedures, or hip dysplasia treatments within the first 12 months of the policy.

Healthy Paws Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident and Illness Plan $43.63 $64.49 $34.88 $24.01

Best Deductibles: Embrace

Embrace scored a 93.5 out of 100, earning points for its plan’s cost, customization, and additional features but losing points for its low coverage limits. We recommend this provider for pet parents who want to prioritize affordability, since it offers ways to lower your premium with five deductible options and a Healthy Pet Deductible benefit, which lowers your deductible by $50 each year that you don’t file a claim.

Visit the Embrace website to get an instant quote by entering your pet’s age, breed, and location.

Embrace Pet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Features an online chat for customer service ✘ Its highest annual coverage limit option is $30,000
✔ Includes coverage for exam fees ✘ Has limited customer service hours
✔ Offers policy management online and through a mobile app -

Embrace Pet Insurance Plans

Embrace offers one plan for accidents and illnesses and an add-on for preventative care. Both exclude pre-existing conditions and aesthetic, cosmetic, or elective procedures.

Here are more details about what’s included in the Accident and Illness Plan and additional wellness coverage option:

  • Accident and Illness Plan: This standard plan covers vet bills related to accidents or illnesses, including exam fees, allergy testing, prescription medications, physical therapy, surgery, acupuncture, and emergency care. Covered conditions in this plan include dental trauma, cancer, genetic conditions, congenital conditions, injuries, and other illnesses. Here are the customizable options for this plan:
  1. 70%, 80%, and 90% reimbursements
  2. $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000, and $30,000 annual limits
  3. $200, $300, $500, $750, and $1,000 annual deductibles
  • Wellness Rewards for Routine Care: This add-on covers preventative and wellness care, such as flea, tick, and heartworm medications, microchipping, routine vet visits, prescription diet foods, and teeth cleaning. The annual limit options for this add-on are $250, $450, or $650, and pricing ranges between $15 and $55 extra per month depending on your pet details and selected reward amount.

Embrace Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident and Illness Plan $38.03 $52.51 $30.18 $23.86
Accident and Illness Plan With Wellness Rewards for Routine Care $73.45 $87.93 $65.60 $59.28

Best Holistic Coverage: Petplan

Petplan scored a 91.5 out of 100 for its impressive coverage in its accident and illness plan. We recommend this provider to pet parents who want holistic care coverage—something that’s typically limited or excluded by other pet insurance providers. Petplan covers holistic care treatments such as stem cell therapy, homeotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and laser therapy when recommended by a licensed vet. It also covers up to $1,000 for behavioral therapies.

Get a free quote by using Petplan’s easy online quote tool.

Petplan Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Features a helpful mobile app for policy management and claims filing ✘ Requires annual checkups and dental exams for your pet to remain eligible for coverage
✔ Offers a 15% discount on policy renewal after a year without filing a claim ✘ Has a longer waiting period of 15 days for all conditions
✔ Covers sick visit and exam fees with its standard policy

Petplan Plans

Petplan has a single plan that covers both accidents and illness, including your pet’s unexpected injuries, broken bones, dental illnesses, cancer, digestive illness, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, behavioral disorders, and more. It doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures or pre-existing conditions that occur before or during the 15-day waiting period. It also doesn’t offer any coverage add-ons for wellness and preventative care.

You can choose between the following options to customize your coverage and premiums:

  1. 70%, 80%, and 90% reimbursement rates
  2. $250, $300, and $500 annual deductibles
  3. $5,000, $15,000, and unlimited annual coverage caps

Petplan policies also include reimbursements for a few extra items, such as boarding fees if you’re hospitalized for more than four days, advertising and reward money for lost or stolen pets, and vacation cancellation fees related to a covered incident.

Petplan Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident and Illness Plan $32.66 $44.05 $40.94 $20.16

Most Customizable Plans: Spot

Look to Spot for the most customizable pet insurance plans. This provider scored a 91 out of 100, performing well for its coverage options, deductibles, and plan pricing. In addition to offering six annual limit options from $2,500 to unlimited, three reimbursement choices, and five annual deductibles, Spot features one of the cheapest plans on the market for accident-only coverage, which is perfect for pet owners who need minimal coverage.

To get a free quote from Spot, fill out this easy online form.

Spot Pet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Its standard plan includes microchipping ✘ Doesn’t cover pets under eight weeks old
✔ Offers a 10% discount for customers with multiple pets ✘ Has a long waiting period of 14 days for accidents
✔ Features an unlimited coverage option -

Spot Pet Insurance Plans

Although Spot excludes pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding costs from its plans, its two plans provide coverage for either accidents only or both accidents and illnesses. It also offers two preventative care options at flat rates. Pet owners can customize their plan with the following options:

  • 70%, 80%, and 90% reimbursements
  • $2,500, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, and unlimited annual coverage limits
  • $100, $250, $500, $750, and $1,000 annual deductibles

Here’s an overview of what’s included in each Spot plan and additional coverage option:

  • Accident-Only Plan: This is the cheapest plan and only covers vet bills related to accidents, such as injuries, swallowed objects, and toxic ingestions.
  • Accident and Illness Plan: This comprehensive plan covers all procedures or costs in the Accident-Only Plan, plus anything related to illnesses, including behavioral issues, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, cancer, hip dysplasia, diabetes, respiratory infections, and dental disease.
  • Gold Preventative Care: This add-on includes $250 of annual coverage for wellness care, such as fecal tests, deworming, vaccines, dental cleaning, and wellness exams. It comes at a flat rate of $9.95 extra per month. You can add this optional coverage item to your plan when checking out online.
  • Platinum Preventative Care: This add-on includes everything in the Gold Preventative Care option and adds coverage for spay or neuter procedures, flea and heartworm prevention, blood tests, urinalysis, and a health certificate. The annual benefit amount is $450 at a flat rate of $24.95 extra per month.

Spot Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident-Only Plan $19.98 $21.40 $19.98 $11.64
Accident and Illness Plan $34.60 $44.91 $28.55 $20.12

Best Digital Clinic: Pawp

Pawp received a score of 90 out of 100. Rather than selling insurance plans and policies, it offers a membership that includes unlimited access to a 24/7 digital clinic with chat and video call features with expert veterinarians. A Pawp membership also includes a $3,000 emergency fund for a single vet visit after an accident or illness.

We recommend Pawp to pet parents who want a low-cost option for pet insurance with easy access to advice from professionals. You can sign up for a membership with Pawp or learn more about its unique business model by visiting its website.

Pawp Pet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Covers up to six pets with one membership ✘ Incidents must qualify as an emergency for you to access funds
✔ Doesn’t have deductibles ✘ Only offers one $3,000 annual coverage limit
✔ Pays your full vet bill up to the limit, rather than a reimbursement percentage ✘ Not rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Pawp Plans

A membership with Pawp includes access to a $3,000 emergency fund toward the complete coverage of one vet bill per year without any out-of-pocket costs. The vet bill can be for emergency procedures or visits related to behavioral issues, toxic ingestions, severe blockages, injuries, choking, or breathing problems. It doesn’t include scheduled surgeries, pregnancy or breeding, wellness exams, vaccinations, or any visit deemed a non-emergency by a Pawp digital vet.

Pawp Sample Monthly Premiums

Since Pawp doesn’t sell policies or separate plans, it offers all memberships at a flat rate of $19 per month. This is especially affordable for any pet parents who have multiple animals, since one membership covers up to six pets. Rather than having to purchase separate policies from other providers and paying excessive premium rates, you can use the $3,000 emergency fund for any of your cats or dogs.

Best for New Pet Owners: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is one of the most well-known pet insurance providers due to its partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It scored an 89 out of 100 in our review and stood out for its online resources. For instance, you can use the vet finder tool on its website or mobile app to find local vets near you, and you can tap into dozens of resources on its website for information on various pet breeds and their common health needs.

Visit the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance website to get an instant quote on a pet insurance policy.

​​

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Covers behavioral issues and conditions ✘ Doesn’t offer a website chat for customer service
✔ Offers an accident-only plan for low-cost coverage on accidents and injuries ✘ Has longer-than-usual wait times for customer support, according to third-party customer reviews
✔ Includes coverage for exam fees in its standard plans

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Plans

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance offers two plans: one for accident-only coverage and one that covers accidents and illnesses. Like most other companies, it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, breeding or pregnancy issues, cosmetic procedures, and elective surgeries.

When getting a quote, you can select from the following options to customize the premium on either plan:

  • 70%, 80%, and 90% reimbursement rates
  • $100, $250, and $500 annual deductibles
  • $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, and $10,000 annual coverage limits

Here are more details about both pet insurance plan options in addition to the provider’s two wellness add-on options:

  • Accident-Only Coverage Plan: This affordable option covers accidents and injuries, including broken bones, toxic ingestions, and lodged foreign objects. It pays for necessary treatments related to these conditions such as hospitalizations, X-rays, surgeries, urgent care, and more.
  • Complete Coverage™ Plan: This plan covers the accidents and injuries covered in the Accident-Only Coverage Plan and also provides coverage for treatments and vet visits related to your pet’s unexpected illnesses and other conditions that arise after the policy’s coverage start date, such as cancer, diabetes, congenital conditions, behavioral issues, and more.
  • Basic Preventative Plan: This add-on costs $9.95 per month for $250 of annual coverage for your pet’s routine care, including a wellness exam, two vaccines, deworming, a fecal test, dental cleaning, and a heartworm test.
  • Prime Preventative Plan: This is the most comprehensive wellness care option provided by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and costs $24.95 per month. It covers $450 of annual coverage for everything included in the Basic Preventative Plan plus a spay or neuter procedure, health certification, third vaccine, urinalysis, blood test, and flea or heartworm prevention.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Accident-Only Coverage $21.40 $21.40 $21.40 $12.18
Complete Coverage $34.60 $48.10 $30.58 $18.94

Best for Dental Coverage: Pumpkin

Performing well in overall coverage and customer service but losing points for minimal customizability and high costs, Pumpkin received a score of 86 out of 100. We found it to be a top provider for dental coverage, covering tooth extractions, periodontal illnesses, and cleanings if they’re a necessary part of remedying your pet’s illness or accident. Additionally, we recommend this provider to pet parents who have smaller dogs or cats, since its premiums are much more affordable for small breeds than other providers.

Get a free quote from Pumpkin by answering a few questions on this online form.

Pumpkin Pet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
✔ Offers a cheap preventative care add-on ✘ Doesn’t offer a customizable reimbursement percentage
✔ Includes prescription diet foods ✘ Prices are higher than average compared to competitors
✔ Provides coverage for end-of-life expenses ✘ Has low annual limit options

Pumpkin Pet Insurance Plans

Pumpkin offers one accident and illness plan for cats and dogs with a set reimbursement percentage of 90% and a wellness care add-on. Pre-existing conditions, elective procedures, boarding, breeding, and grooming are all excluded from Pumpkin’s plan and add-on.

Here’s an overview of what’s included under a Pumpkin plan:

  • Pet Health Insurance Plan: This plan covers microchip implantation, end-of-life expenses, therapy, medications, diagnostics, tooth extractions, and most procedures related to accidents and illnesses that your pet may have. Pumpkin offers the following customizable coverage limits and deductible options:
  1. $7,000 and $15,000 annual limits for cats
  2. $10,000 and $20,000 annual limits for dogs
  3. $100, $250, and $500 annual deductibles
  • Preventative Essentials Pack: This add-on can vary depending on your pet’s species and breed, but it typically covers a blood test for heartworms or tick diseases, an annual wellness exam, two vaccines, and a fecal test.

Pumpkin Sample Monthly Premiums

Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Species/Breed Dog - Medium Mixed Dog - Golden Retriever Dog - Yorkshire Terrier Cat - Domestic Medium Hair
Pet Health Insurance Plan $57.69 $80.19 $50.98 $34.99
Pet Health Insurance Plan With Preventative Essentials Pack $76.64 $99.14 $69.93 $46.94

Our Conclusion

Based on our research, these nine pet insurance providers offer the best pet insurance policies on the market, attracting pet owners from all walks of life. We recommend getting quotes from a few different insurers to compare prices based on your animal’s specific species, breed, age, size, and location.

For the best overall coverage, consider Lemonade. For the most comprehensive plan, check out Prudent Pet’s Ultimate Plan. If you want unlimited coverage at affordable rates, get a quote from Healthy Paws. Consider Embrace for lowering your out-of-pocket expenses with its Healthy Pet Deductible benefit.

Spot offers customizable plans that give you the opportunity to sign up for cheap pet insurance with a low premium. Sign up for a Pawp membership to receive access to a digital clinic with live chat and video access to vets. Get started with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance if you’re a new pet parent or Pumpkin if you’re specifically looking for dental coverage for your pet.

Compare Top Pet Insurance Providers

Provider Lemonade Prudent Pet Healthy Paws Embrace Petplan Spot Pawp ASPCA Pumpkin
Provider Lemonade Prudent Pet Healthy Paws Embrace Petplan Spot Pawp ASPCA Pumpkin
Get a quote Lemonade.com PrudentPet.com HealthyPawsPetInsurance.com EmbracePetInsurance.com GoPetplan.com SpotPetIns.com Pawp.com ASPCAPetInsurance.com Pumpkin.care
Our score 96 95 93.5 93.5 91.5 91 90 89 86
Sample monthly premium* $18.50 $37.17 $43.63 $38.03 $32.66 $34.60 $19.00 $34.60 $57.69
Number of plans and add-ons 3 5 1 2 1 4 1 4 2
Waiting period 2 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 5 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 15 days for accidents and 15 days for illnesses 2 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 15 days for all conditions 14 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 14 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 14 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses 14 days for all conditions
Customer service Email and chat on mobile app Live chat, contact form, and phone with no specified hours Phone, email, and live chat with limited hours Phone, email, and live chat with limited hours Phone, email, and live chat with limited hours Contact form and phone with no weekend availability Email and live chat Contact form and phone with no weekend availability Email, text, phone, and live chat with limited hours
BBB rating** C A+ A A+ A+ A NR A+ A-

*Based on sample quotes for a mixed four-year-old dog in Raleigh, North Carolina

**Based on scores pulled from each company’s BBB profile as of September 1, 2021

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is a health insurance policy for your pet that protects it during accidents and unexpected illnesses and prevents you from paying for expensive vet bills. Unlike a typical health insurance policy for humans, a pet insurance provider doesn’t pay your vet directly for the bill. Instead, it reimburses you for the cost of the full or partial vet bill after you leave the office. Essentially, you foot the bill for any treatment costs and then file a reimbursement claim for that cost.

Some common accidents and illnesses covered by most pet insurance companies include broken bones, toxic ingestions, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, chronic conditions, digestive illnesses, behavioral issues, infections, cancer, hip dysplasia, heart disease, diabetes, and dental illness.

You can request reimbursement for treatments related to these conditions, which typically include diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization, cancer treatments, alternative therapies, behavioral treatments, specialty care, urgent care, prescription medications, medical supplies, and more as long as they’re recommended by an officially licensed veterinarian.

Keep in mind that pet insurance policies do have some specific exclusions. These typically include any pre-existing conditions that arise before or during your policy’s waiting period, cosmetic procedures, elective surgeries, spay or neuter surgery, issues related to pregnancy or breeding, and routine care.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Each pet insurance policy has an established waiting period before coverage kicks in. The waiting period is the period between when you sign up and purchase a policy to when you can start making claims on your pet’s accidents and illnesses. Here are some important things to know about your policy to help you understand how it works:

  • Annual coverage limit: This is the total amount the pet insurance company agrees to pay for covered vet bills throughout the annual term of the policy. Claiming any costs over your annual coverage limit could force you to pay some money out of pocket.
  • Annual deductible: A deductible is the amount you owe during a claim before coverage starts. For example, if you’re covered for a $5,000 vet bill and your deductible is $250, your provider will pay your reimbursement percentage of $4,750 after you pay the deductible. Policies with higher deductibles come with lower monthly premiums, but they generally result in customers paying more money out of pocket during a claim.
  • Reimbursement percentage: This is the percentage of your vet bills that the pet insurance provider agrees to pay. For example, if your policy’s reimbursement percentage is 80%, you’ll have to pay 20% of each vet bill out of pocket after your provider reimburses you for the rest.

When filing a claim, you’ll likely need to provide any notes or records your vet took during the visit in addition to a copy of the invoice, showing the amount you paid for the bill. Once your pet insurance provider reviews the claim, it can directly deposit the reimbursement money into your bank account for a quick payout. Any amount that the provider paid is documented against your policy’s annual coverage limit if you have one.

When it’s time to renew your policy after a year, your annual limits and deductibles will reset and you’ll have a new quoted premium for the following 12 months. Keep in mind that your policy pricing may increase each year with your pet’s age, since older pets typically cost more to insure due to their likelihood of catching an illness or experiencing an accident.

Factors To Consider Before Buying Pet Insurance

When looking for the right pet insurance provider, consider the following factors to help you narrow your search and choose the best policy for you and your pet:

  • Type of plan: Deciding what type of plan you need should be the first step in your search. Most providers offer accident and illness plans, but some include accident-only options at lower monthly rates. If you’re worried about emergencies related to accidents or injuries, look for a provider that offers those plans, such as Prudent Pet and Spot. Otherwise, accident and illness plans are the most comprehensive and cover most emergency vet visits, procedures, and hospitalizations.
  • Budget: Different providers offer plans at varying prices. If you’re looking for the cheapest pet insurance companies, we recommend starting with Lemonade or Pawp.
  • Coverage limits: Each provider offers different coverage limit options, so knowing what annual limit you need is important before enrolling in a plan. For those who don’t want to worry about exceeding their maximum, Healthy Paws, Prudent Pet, and Spot all offer options for unlimited coverage, although the premiums are often significantly higher than plans with lower coverage caps.
  • Wellness plans: Adding wellness coverage to policies is a great option for pet owners looking for routine care or preventative care, such as annual exams, checkups, blood tests, heartworm tests, and vaccinations. Most insurers offer these options at varying prices, so get quotes from a few companies to compare rates before purchasing.
  • Waiting period: When enrolling in coverage, you have to wait a few days after the policy’s effective start date before you can use your policy. Companies offer various waiting periods for accidents, ranging from two to 15 days, but the waiting period is typically 14 days for illnesses. Any emergencies that occur during the waiting period will not be eligible for claims.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team is dedicated to thorough, in-depth reviews of each product or service that we detail in our content. Determined to build trust with our readers through transparency, accuracy, and accountability, we’ve built a detailed rating system to score pet insurance brands. Included in this methodology are the following six factors with their respective scoring weights:

  • Coverage (25)
  • Plan options (20)
  • Monthly cost (20)
  • Company reputation (15)
  • Customer service (10)
  • Species eligibility (10)

Our researchers keep all data in each company’s score up to date, making any changes to our content when necessary to provide our readers with the most accurate information on relevant metrics, such as plan options, customer service, reputation, and monthly cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does pet insurance cost?

The price of your pet insurance premium will depend on your pet’s species, breed, and size. Your premium may also be specific to your state and ZIP code. Getting quotes from a few providers is the best way to compare custom rates based on your information. Based on the sample quotes we received for four-year-old animals, we found that pet insurance pricing usually falls around $17–$50 per month for dogs and $9–$35 per month for cats.

Does pet insurance cover birds or exotic animals?

These providers are specifically offer the best pet insurance for dogs and cats. Most pet insurance companies only cover those two species, but Nationwide offers coverage for avian and exotic pets.

Does pet insurance cover hip dysplasia?

Many pet insurance providers offer hip dysplasia coverage since it’s a hereditary condition. However, policies may have a specific extended waiting period for coverage related to this condition. For example, Healthy Paws excludes any hip dysplasia treatments until after the first 12 months of the policy’s effective start date.

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

No, pet insurance doesn’t cover any pre-existing conditions that show up in a medical history report before the policy’s effective start date or during the policy’s waiting period. For example, you wouldn’t be able to purchase coverage for your pet’s broken bone after the incident occurs. However, most companies don’t consider genetic, hereditary, or congenital conditions pre-existing as long as your pet’s symptoms don’t manifest until after the policy starts.

What are some other pet insurance companies?

While we recommend any of the pet insurance providers listed in this review, there are other companies that deserve an honorable mention, such as Pets Best, Figo, and ASPCA.

Does pet insurance cover my pet’s treatments for COVID-19?

According to the CDC’s latest information on animals and COVID-19, it is possible for your cat or dog to get COVID-19 through close contact with the virus, although the chances are low. They’re also very unlikely to spread the virus through animal-to-human transmission. However, if your pet gets sick after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19, the CDC recommends reaching out to your vet to determine a plan of action.

If a vet recommends testing for the virus as a medical necessity, your pet insurance policy should cover the diagnostics. However, since most companies exclude coverage for conditions related to a nationally declared pandemic, further treatments would not be covered by your pet insurance policy if your pet tests positive.

Can I take my pet to the vet during the coronavirus pandemic?

Yes. Most vets have social distancing procedures in place when evaluating your pet for an examination, treatment, or procedure. For instance, your vet may meet you at your car to take your pet inside for treatment, allowing you to wait in your vehicle and minimizing your contact with other pet owners. However, since each office may have different procedures in place, we recommend calling your vet to inquire about their process before visiting.

Additionally, companies like Lemonade, Prudent Pet, and Pawp offer medical advice chats, telehealth phone lines, and virtual vet clinics to help answer any questions you may have about your pet’s health online or over the phone without needing to leave your home.

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