Compare Pet Insurance

Learn how our experts identify and compare the essential factors of pet insurance to find the best option for you. From coverage and benefit limits to costs and reviews, we research everything you need to know to make a decision.
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How we Compare Pet Insurance

Coverage - 20%
Benefit Limits - 15%
Deductibles - 10%
Reimbursement Models - 10%
Claims and Service - 15%
Costs - 15%
Reviews - 15%

Coverage Compared

Pet Insurance Checklist

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Whether your pet needs a couple stiches put into an injured paw or if they’re facing a serious life threatening condition like cancer, you want a plan that has broad coverage & has few exclusions. After all, pet insurance is for the unexpected, and while some breeds are pre-disposed for specific health problems, the only thing you can really expect as a pet parent is that the unexpected will happen.  

An exception to the broad coverage rule is wellness coverage, also referred to as preventative care, which covers routine procedures such as checkups & vaccinations. Despite sounding like something you might want to have included as part of your pet insurance plan, wellness coverage is not a good deal.

Make sure your Pet Insurance plan covers:

  • Accidents & Illnesses
  • Hereditary, Congential, & Chronic Conditions
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Emergency Care
  • Hospitalization
  • Specialist Care
  • Prescription Medication
  • Surgery

The Bottom Line

When looking at pet insurance, find a comprehensive plan that will protect you from the unexpected. We don’t suggest wellness or preventative care because these expenses can be budgeted for annually, but pick the plan that is best for you and your furry friend.

There’s a reason 82% of policies in the US do not cover wellness or preventative care. Wellness coverage drives up your monthly premiums & makes it so you pay more over the life of your pet for inexpensive procedures that are cheaper to pay out-of-pocket.

 

Pet Insurance with the Best Coverage:  Embrace CoveragePetplan CoverageNationwide Coverage
AccidentsIllnessesHereditary ConditionsCongenital ConditionsHip DysplasiaChronic ConditionsDiagnostic TestsSurgeryHospitalizationEmergency CarePrescription MedicationSpecialist CareAlternative TreatmentsWellness Coverage
Healthy Paws
Petplan
Embrace
Nationwide
PetFirst
Pets Best
Pet Partners
ASPCA
PetPremium

Benefit Limits Compared

 

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Depending on the Pet Insurance Company, your plan may provide unlimited lifetime benefits or your benefits may be capped on an Annual, lifetime, or per-condition basis.

We prefer companies that have unlimited lifetime benefits, meaning plans that have no payout cap. Veterinary Care costing $5,000 or more is becoming more common and having a plan without limits means you can give your pet the best care possible year after year. However, you may find that a plan with a payout cap works best for your needs and price point. Just remember to plan for the unexpected. 

Before buying, consider the following when it comes to Benefit Limits:

- Some Pet Insurance companies have Benefit Caps on how much you can receive over the lifetime of your pet.

- Waiting periods between enrollment and coverage are common. They typically range from 7 -30 days, and possibly longer with specific conditions.

- Some companies have Age Restrictions for enrollment. However, all of the Top 10 Pet Insurance Companies will cover your pet for life once they are enrolled.

 

The Bottom Line:

We suggest companies with unlimited benefit payouts, however many companies who do have benefit caps have set them so high that you may not reach them during the lifetime of your pet. Some companies have age restrictions when enrolling your pet, but the best Pet Insurance Companies will never drop your pet’s coverage because of their age. Lastly, it is not uncommon to have waiting periods between the time you enroll you enroll your pet and when your pet is covered. 

Note: If you have a working pet, like a service animal, herding dog, breeding dog or cat, basic Pet Insurance plans may not cover them. Some companies will not cover working pets at all, while others have special plans for these hard working animals.

 

Pet Insurance with the Best Benefit Limits:  Healthy Paws Benefit LimitsPetplan Benefit LimitsNationwide Benefit Limits
Healthy PawsPetplanEmbraceNationwidePetFirstPets BestPet PartnersASPCAPetPremium
Benefit LimitsUnlimited!$2,500 to UNLIMITED annual payout$15,000/year Limited over Lifetime$14,000/year$20,000/year$20,000/year Limited over Lifetime$16,000/year$5,000/ per-incident annually$5000/ per incident annually

Deductibles Compared

 

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Similar to health insurance for people, with pet insurance your deductible is the amount out-of-pocket expense you’re have to pay before your pet insurance company will start reimbursing your costs. As a general rule, deductible amounts are typically inversely correlated to what you pay in monthly premiums such that the lower your monthly premiums are the higher your deductible will be.  

Pet Insurance companies offer one of three deductible types:

  • Annual: You pay ONE deductible each policy year for any condition being treated.
  • Per-Condition (Lifetime): For each condition your pet is treated for you’ll have a separate deductible. Once that deductible is paid, that condition is covered for the rest of your pet’s life.
  • Per-Condition (Yearly): For each condition your pet is treated for, you’ll have a separate deductible AND your deductible will reset each policy year.

 

The Bottom Line

We suggest a plan with an Annual deductible over a Per-Condition plan. However, if you do select a Per-Condition plan, we suggest the Lifetime deductible

Per-condition and Per-incident mean the same thing, but the wording may be used interchangeably.

 

Pet Insurance with the Best Deductibles:  ASPCA DeductiblesHealthy Paws DeductiblesPetplan Deductibles
Per-Condition (Lifetime)Per-Condition (Yearly)Annual
Healthy Paws
Petplan
Embrace
Nationwide
PetFirst
Pets Best
Pet Partners
ASPCA
PetPremium

Reimbursement Models Compared

 

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When it comes to reimbursement, it’s important to note that most all companies require you to pay for your pet’s vet bill up front, and then will reimburse you for the cost that your plan covers. Top rated companies will also pre-authorize expensive treatments and directly pay the hospital.

Most companies offer reimbursement rates from 70-90%, however there are a few companies that also offer up to 100% of the bill. Remember that the reimbursement rate will directly impact your monthly premiums. The higher the reimbursement rate, the higher your monthly premium.

The Bottom Line

We suggest a plan that reimburses based on the actual cost of the veterinary bill. This way you will always know up front what you will be paying instead of having to rely on calculations and schedules that Pet Insurance Companies decide on. 

All of the Top 6 Pet Insurance Companies offer reimbursement based on actual cost, which is our preferred reimbursement model.

 

Usual and CustomaryBenefit ScheduleActual Costs
Healthy Paws
Petplan
Embrace
Nationwide
PetFirst
Pets Best
Pet Partners
ASPCA
PetPremium

Claims and Service Compared

 

Watch the video here!

Once you have a pet insurance plan, it’s all about service. Make sure that you select a company that has great customer service. Look for a company that is easy to contact by phone, email or both and has a reputation for taking good care of their existing customers, not just potential customers.

Things to know about submitting claims:

- Most pet insurance companies accept claims by mail, email and fax. Several companies also have easy-to-use online portals.

- Reimbursements typically take between 7-14 days to reach you once the claims have been received.

- Some companies also have Direct Deposit. Reimbursement checks will just be deposited into your bank account

 

The Bottom Line:

Pick a provider who has a good reputation on reimbursing their members promptly and makes submitting a claim simple and straight-forward.

HealthyPaws has a great mobile app for submitting claims, as does PetPlan. With both companies, submitting a claim from your phone, while at the vet’s office, is easy to do in just a few clicks.  

 

Pet Insurance with the Best Claims and Service:  Healthy Paws Claims and ServicePetplan Claims and ServiceEmbrace Claims and Service

Costs Compared

 

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Your monthly premium (or the monthly bill you pay to ensure your pet is covered for Pet Insurance), is based on many factors including your pet’s age, where you live, and your pet’s breed.

When looking at your monthly premium consider if you are getting what you need for what you’re paying by reading your policy carefully. If your premium seems high, double check to see if you are paying for extras like wellness coverage or emergency hospital boarding, then consider whether these things are necessary. If your premium seems too low, make sure you are getting enough coverage, so you won’t be turned down for a claim because you didn’t understand what your policy covered.

The Bottom Line

When considering your monthly premium, don’t just pick the lowest or highest cost plan. Consider what coverage you are looking for. If the plan you are looking at costs more than the average $1-2 per day, look into the policy to make sure you won’t be paying for things you don’t need.

Did you know that some companies offer discounts for things like multiple pet enrollment, paying the annual premium upfront, military discounts, spay/neuter discounts. 

 

Pet Insurance with the Best Costs:  Healthy Paws CostsNationwide Costs

Reviews Compared

 

Our pets are furry members of our families, and just as we'd want to make sure the 2-legged members of our family are have good health care, we want to make sure our pets are covered as well. It matters a lot. So take the time to do your homework & go read reviews. When you're reading through pet insurance reviews, here are some of the most important things you're going to want to consider. READ MORE

For the best pet insurance for you and your pet, visit the Top 10 Companies here!

Pet Insurance with the Best Reviews:  Healthy Paws ReviewsEmbrace ReviewsPetFirst Reviews

Full Pet Insurance Comparison

CoverageBenefit LimitsDeductiblesReimbursement ModelsClaims and ServiceCostsReviews
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance9.010.010.010.010.010.010.0
Petplan Pet Insurance10.010.010.010.09.06.07.5
Embrace Pet Insurance10.07.08.010.09.07.08.0
Nationwide Pet Insurance10.010.010.010.08.08.03.0
PetFirst Pet Insurance8.07.08.010.07.07.08.0
Pets Best Pet Insurance8.06.010.010.08.06.57.0
Pet Partners Pet Insurance6.06.07.05.05.05.06.0
ASPCA Pet Insurance5.05.010.05.05.05.06.0
PetPremium Pet Insurance5.05.010.05.05.05.05.0
Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Insurance5.04.07.04.04.04.04.0
24 Pet Watch Pet Insurance5.04.09.05.04.05.00.0
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FAQ

Do any pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions?

No. If your pet has a pre-existing condition, then it's already too late to get coverage. No pet insurance company will reimburse policy holders for treatments of pre-existing conditions.

Because no pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, if you decide pet health insurance is right for you, we recommend you choose the plan that's best for your pet's specific needs & get coverage before it's too late.

What’s the Average Cost of Pet Insurance?

The premium, or amount you have to pay each month for your policy, varies widely depending on your pet’s health history and age, as well as the deductible amount and reimbursement level.

The average pet health insurance premium ranges from $20 to $50 per month with cats normally costing less than dogs.

What Should be Covered by Pet Insurance?

Good pet insurance companies will cover the expensive vet bills. Those painful gastro extractions that your pocket book can't stomach any better than your pet can.

Great Pet Insurance Companies Will:

- Cover the Big Vet Bills (Up to 90%): This means paying for anything from diagnostic blood tests to determine what’s wrong w/your pet blood tests), $5,000+ surgeries, prescription medications to pet rehabilitation services.

- Let you Choose your Veterinarian: Which vet you go to should be your decision. With a good company, you'll get that. Make sure you see any veterinarian you want with your plan. Avoid a company who makes you chose from within their network of veterinarians. If you don't know to ask if you can use whomever you want, then you can get stuck with a vet you don't really like.

What Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover?

Answer: The reason to get pet insurance is to get up to 90% coverage when your pet's vet bills cost you big. Think unexpected $2,000-10,000 surgery.

So while it sounds strange, you actually don’t want your pet insurance plan to cover the cheap stuff like:

- routine vet check-ups
- preventative care (avoid wellness plans)
- most dental procedures
- standard vaccinations
- inexpensive procedures (i.e. spay/neutering)

That's right.

The reason you don't want lower cost

Do Pet Insurance Companies Offer Lifetime Coverage?

Top-rated pet insurance companies will offer lifetime coverage & cover chronic conditions throughout your pet’s life.

Lower rated companies may restrict what is covered year-to-year reducing your coverage.

Are there Age Restrictions for Pet Insurance?

There are differences between companies. Some companies may not allow you to sign up pure breeds that are older than seven, while others allow sign-ups much later in life.

One thing is for sure though, pet insurance offers the most long-term value if you sign up when your pet is just a puppy or kitten.

How quickly will I be reimbursed?

The speed of your reimbursement after you've filed a claim depends on which pet insurance company you choose.

Great pet insurance companies process vet claims within 2-7 days, while poorly rated companies might take up to 4-6 weeks to reimburse you.

ConsumersAdvocate.org rates companies higher for faster reimbursement times. You recommend you do the same by reading customer reviews to getting a sense of what actual pet parents are saying about the pet insurance policy's they've had with a company you're considering.

Covered Pet Insurance Services – Should I Be Reimbursed?

After meeting your deductible, most pet insurance companies reimburse approximately 70% to 100% based on your reimbursement selection.

Should pet insurance have waiting periods?

Pet insurance plans all have waiting periods. This prevents the person from waiting to get coverage until their pet is sick or injured. Our highest rated companies have waiting periods between 14-30 days for illnesses and 5-15 days for accidents.

Which Veterinarians Can My Pet Visit?

Good pet insurance companies will let you visit any licensed veterinarian that you want, not just a limited number of vets within their network of approved vets.

Before you buy a policy for your pet, make sure you can take your pet to any licensed vet of your choice & still get maximum coverage from your pet insurance company.

Are All Pet Insurance Plans the Same?

No pet insurance company will cover vet bills treating pre-existing conditions. This means if your pet already has a condition or illness before you buy your pet insurance plan, then it's too late. You’ll have to pay for those treatments yourself. This is universally true about all pet insurance companies.

However, the quality of pet insurance companies varies a lot. The amount they pay you when you go to process a claim does, too. Top tier pet insurance companies like Healthy Paws, Pet Plan, Trupanion & Embrace are leaders in the pack when it comes to companies with great policies who consistently have excellent customer satisfaction.

Before you decide on the company that’s right for you, look for the following possible limitations to your policy:

1. Claim Limits: Make sure you don’t have low per incident, per treatment, or per year limitations. These types of maximum payouts can seriously reduce the amount you end up getting reimbursed when you get hit with an expensive bill & coverage matters most.

2. Hereditary and Congenital Conditions: Get a plan that covers the most expensive-to-treat conditions. Also, look at the 2-3 most expensive treatments that your dog’s breed is susceptible to & make sure treatments/procedures/surgeries for those procedures are covered.

3. Deductibles: Providers all have different deductible models. It can be really confusing. But, annual deductibles work like the same as health insurance for people do. Per incident and per incident/per year deductibles are options that impact how you get reimbursed.

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Latest Reviews

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Pet Insurance
Jaime Mizrahi
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
12/7/2016
My claim was submitted and check from NationWide was sent right away. I'm very pleased with the response time and the pleasant E-mail follow up. My car is currently insured with GEICO and from an accident I had on September 28,2016 it still hasn't been resolved. Trying to get answers or direct conversations with claim specialist is almost impossible and recently have been working with a supervisor that's become a nightmare. I'm aware of course you have car insurance too so I'm going to compare prices and coverages. If prices are the same or close I'll be switching.

Alexa Griffith Winton
Toronto, Ontario
12/6/2016
Healthy Paws has been great. We have a young rescue dog and she recently had a very complex (and expensive) knee surgery. Healthy Paws paid the claim in under a week. I have never had any issue with a submitted claim, and when I have reached out to them for clarification, they have always responded right away.

K
Kyle Born
12/6/2016
Our dog got a fever that wouldn't go away and she quickly ended up in the emergency room overnight several times and had half a dozen tests performed totaling over $3,000. Not only did Healthy Paws make good on their insurance promise of 80% coverage after a small deductible of $250, they pre-approved us during the whole ordeal so we didn't have to pay the entire total up front. My vet just contacted Healthy Paws and they paid 80% directly. Several days after, as our dog finally got better on antibiotics, a Healthy Paws representative personally contacted us to see how our dog was doing. It was good customer service and good business.

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Pet Insurance