Thousands of dollars in veterinary bills may result from an emergency room visit if your pet has a health issue, such as a seizure or a broken paw. Having pet insurance can help reduce unforeseen medical expenses.
In addition to covering serious medical emergencies, a typical pet insurance plan also covers common ailments like ear infections, allergies, and digestive disorders. Pet insurance providers provide a broad range of benefits and coverage options. To identify the top pet insurance providers, we assessed thirteen policies.
The Best Pet Insurance Plans
- Paw Protect – Best for Paying Covered Vet Bills Instantly
- Embrace – Best for Superior Benefits
- Spot – Best for Annual Coverage Choices
- ManyPets – Best Cost for Unlimited Annual Coverage
- Pumpkin – Great for Senior Cats and Dogs
- Figo – Great for Short Waiting Period for Accident Coverage
- Lemonade – Best Price for Kittens and Puppies
- Pets Best – Great for Choices of Deductible
- Trupanion – Best for Lowest Out-Of-Pocket Claims Costs
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a type of health insurance that covers medical bills and occasionally additional costs for your pet. Most pet insurance policies are reimbursement-based, which means you have to pay the veterinarian’s fees up front and then file a claim with the insurance provider. A few companies will pay the veterinarian directly, reducing the amount you have to pay out of pocket.
Typically, a deductible must be paid before coverage begins. For instance, you may have to cover the first $500 of medical expenses before your pet insurance kicks in.
Pet insurance may not cover all of your medical expenses, even after you’ve paid your deductible. Usually, you get to select the amount of reimbursement. Typically, you can get reimbursed for 70%, 80%, or 90% of your veterinary expenses.
How to Find the Best Pet Insurance For You
Comparing pet insurance policies on an apples-to-apples basis can be challenging. It is challenging to determine the potential value of each plan due to differences in coverage, exclusions, and pricing. This is how to identify which pet insurance is best for you.
Choose the Best Pet Insurance Plan Type
Which would you prefer—a comprehensive pet insurance policy that covers all eventualities, or a budget-friendly accident-only plan that pays nothing for illnesses in your pet? or a middle ground?
Though they are usually the most expensive, comprehensive pet insurance plans that cover a wide range of health-related issues in addition to wellness may be something you want to look into if you want comprehensive coverage.
Pet insurance typically falls into one of the following plan categories:
- all-encompassing protection. Often referred to as a “nose-to-tail” policy, this usually covers mishaps and injuries as well as serious or persistent illness, genetic disorders, diagnostic procedures, surgeries, treatments, and wellness, such as regular veterinary examinations and immunizations.
- coverage for illnesses and accidents. Veterinary expenses related to diseases, including common ailments, inherited disorders, and serious illnesses (like cancer), as well as accidents (like an ACL rupture), are usually covered by this kind of coverage. Routine veterinary care, flea and heartworm prevention, and vaccinations are not covered by insurance, but you can usually add a wellness plan to receive full coverage.
- coverage for accidents only. This kind of policy only pays veterinary expenses in the event that your pet is hurt in an accident; illness-related medical expenses are not covered.
- coverage for pet wellness. Wellness-related medical costs, such as annual veterinary exams, heartworm and flea prevention, and vaccinations, are covered by this kind of plan. An accident and illness plan can frequently be enhanced with wellness benefits.
Find the Coverage Level You’re Comfortable With
You typically choose an annual maximum, a deductible, and a reimbursement level when you buy a pet insurance policy.
- Annual maximum coverage: Typically, you can select the annual maximum payout amount. This represents the annual maximum that the pet insurance plan will cover. Numerous pet insurance policies give customers the option of a $5,000 or unlimited payout. Selecting an unlimited payout will increase the cost of the premium, but in the event that your pet requires very costly care, you won’t have to worry about going over your annual cap.
- Deductible: Lowering your monthly pet insurance costs can be achieved by selecting a higher deductible. The standard deductible options are $250, $500, and $100. Vet bills can be submitted to your pet insurance company for reimbursement after your deductible has been satisfied. A special lifetime per-condition deductible is provided by Trupanion. For each new condition, you will pay a deductible once; there is no reset.
- Reimbursement percentage: When purchasing the plan, you will select a reimbursement level; the lower the level, the lower your pet insurance premiums will be. The most popular options for reimbursement are 80%, 90%, or 70%.
Check the Pet Insurance Waiting Periods
The interval between the date of policy purchase and the start of coverage is known as the waiting period. There are waiting periods with all pet insurance providers. Make sure the one you choose makes you feel at ease. For instance, Embrace offers accident coverage with a two-day waiting period. There are 14 days for other plans, such as ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
Additionally, exercise caution when it comes to specific waiting periods for conditions like cruciate ligament problems. Embrace, for instance, has a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions in dogs, but the ASPCA’s plan has no such waiting period or other specific issues.
How Pet Insurance Costs Are Determined
The cost of your pet insurance is not solely determined by the kind of pet you insure. For instance, a Forbes Advisor analysis shows that the average monthly cost of pet insurance is $44 for a dog and $30 for a cat. That is predicated on an annual coverage amount of $5,000 for a policy with a $250 deductible and an 80% reimbursement threshold.
These are some additional typical variables that affect the price of pet insurance.
Using information from PetInsurer.com, we ranked each pet insurance provider according to the following criteria in order to determine which is the best:
Rates for pet insurance: 40% of the total. For dogs, we determined average rates for plans with the closest options available, or unlimited coverage with a $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement level.
10% of score during a special waiting period. Hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament disorders have specific waiting periods that many pet insurance companies follow. Higher scores were awarded to plans with no waiting period, a waiting period of less than six months, or the option to have the waiting period waived.
Veterinarian payment in full: 10% of score. Points were awarded to pet insurance providers who could directly pay a veterinarian.
Vet health line 24/7: 10% of the total. This category was scored by insurers who offer a 24/7 vet health line.
Standard wellness programs: 10% of the score. Points were awarded to insurers who provide optional wellness programs.
Pays 10% of the score toward veterinary exam fees. Even if the exam is required for a visit related to an illness or accident, not all insurers will pay for it. Plans with vet exam reimbursements received points in this category.
End-of-life costs or euthanasia: 5% of the score. This category was awarded to insurers that pay for costs associated with end-of-life care, including cremation, burial, or euthanasia.