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Pet insurance companies are there to help with veterinary bills when you need it most, like when your pet gets in an accident, sustains an injury, or develops an unexpected illness. A trip to the emergency vet can be costly, running between $800 and $1,500 on average, according to Petplan. With pet insurance, you pay a monthly premium and the insurance company reimburses you for a portion of the costs that are covered under your plan.
The best pet insurance companies cover a range of incidents and conditions with high annual policy limits at a low premium, and many allow you to customize your deductible and reimbursement rate. Select insurers even have features like a 24/7 vet line and AI-powered claims processing. While preventative care such as wellness visits is not included in most plans, some companies give you the option to add this coverage at an additional cost.
Best Overall: Pets Best
Why We Chose It: Pets Best has a range of coverage options, from an accident-only plan to a full-coverage plan with no annual caps, and the option to add on preventative and dental care. The company also offers a 24/7 pet helpline, a quick claims process, and low premiums for pets of all ages.
Great customer support options
Offers claim pre-authorization
Claims processed within 5 business days
Low premiums compared to the competition
Great website tools and a highly-rated mobile app
No final expense coverage
Only two options for annual limit
Mixed customer service reviews
Pets Best checks all the boxes with lots of coverage options at low premiums, great customer support, online and mobile app tools, and a quick claims process. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. They reimburse for services at any licensed veterinarian in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico, and there are no age restrictions. You can choose an annual limit of $5,000 or a plan with no cap, and you can customize your deductible between $50 and $1,000.
It’s easy to submit a claim through the company website or mobile app, and you can get a free direct deposit or have Pets Best pay your vet directly. However, reviews on the claims process are mixed, with some customers citing quick processing and others citing long wait times. Some customers also complain the company’s definition of pre-existing conditions is too broad. Pets Best won’t cover a condition present before coverage began, even if it was never diagnosed.
Accident-only plan: This plan comes with a $10,000 annual limit, a $250 deductible, and 90% reimbursement. It covers accidents that result in:
- Bite (animal, insect, snake)
- Hit by car or moving vehicle
- Foreign body ingestion
- Bone fracture
- Laceration, cut, abrasion
- Torn nail
- Medical problems directly attributable to accidental injury
BestBenefit Plans: Pets Best has three choices—Essential, Plus, and Elite—for accident and illness coverage with a $5,000 or unlimited annual limit, a $50 to $1,000 deductible, and between 70% and 90% reimbursement.
Routine Care Plans: Pets Best offers two routine care riders: EssentialWellness for about $16 per month and BestWellness for around $26 per month. They cover the following, with the BestWellness plan offering higher limits:
- Spay/neither or teeth cleaning
- Flea/tick prevention
- Heartworm prevention
- Wellness exam
- Heartworm test or FELV screen
- Blood, fecal, parasite exam
- Urinalysis or ERD
Premiums are very competitive at Pets Best, and you can choose a deductible up to $1,000 to keep your payments affordable. Our quote for a three-year-old, small, mixed-breed female dog with no annual limit, 80% reimbursement, and a $500 deductible was roughly $25 per month for the Plus plan. Keep in mind there’s also a $2 transaction fee when you pay monthly, so you can save money by paying annually.
You can use your Pets Best plan anywhere in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico at any licensed veterinarian. The waiting periods, or the amount of time after purchase that the coverage takes effect, are as follows:
- Accidents: 3 days
- Illnesses: 14 days
- Cruciate ligament conditions: 6 months
- Routine care: None
You can customize the following aspects of your plan:
- Deductibles: $50 to $1,000
- Annual limits: $5,000 or unlimited
- Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
Best Claims Process: Healthy Paws
Why We Chose It: It’s easy to file a claim with Healthy Paws by uploading a photo of your vet bill on the website or mobile app, and 99% of claims are processed in just two days.
No annual limits
Up to 90% reimbursement
30-day money-back guarantee in most states
Excellent customer service reviews
Covers alternative care
Policies underwritten by Chubb Group
Hip dysplasia coverage included
Plan does not cover exam fees
No preventative care coverage options
No veterinary hotline
No multi-pet discounts
Veterinary exam requirement
Healthy Paws is known for its quick and easy claims and superior customer service. The company was founded in 2009 and has since established a nonprofit foundation that helps shelters and rescues care for sick pets that are homeless. Healthy Paws policies are underwritten by Chubb Group, which has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.
To be eligible for enrollment with Healthy Paws, your pet must be between the ages of 8 weeks and 14 years. You can choose a $100, $250, or $500 deductible and a 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement rate. The Healthy Paws plan doesn’t come with any annual or lifetime caps. It’s easy to submit a claim online or via the mobile app, and 99% of claims are processed in two days. What’s more, Healthy Paws is one of the top-rated pet insurance companies on multiple third-party review sites, and many customers say the claims process is easy and quick.
Healthy Paws has only one plan, but you can customize your deductible amount and reimbursement rate. Healthy Paws doesn’t cover exam fees, pre-existing conditions, or preventative care. You can expect reimbursement for the following:
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Chronic conditions
- Diagnostic treatment
- X-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds
- Emergency care
- Specialty care
- Alternative treatment
While Healthy Paws premiums are a bit higher than some of the companies on our list, they remain competitive. Our quote for a three-year-old, small, mixed-breed female dog with a $500 deductible was roughly $33 per month. Healthy Paws doesn’t offer any additional discounts.
You can use your Healthy Paws plan at any licensed veterinarian in the United States. The plan has the following features:
- Deductibles: $100 to $500
- Waiting period: 15 days for accidents and illnesses, 12 months for hip dysplasia
- Annual limits: None
- Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
Best Value: Lemonade
Why We Chose It: Lemonade’s rates are the lowest in the industry and you can customize your deductible, reimbursement amount, and annual limits until you get a price that fits in your budget.
Up to 90% reimbursement
Up to $100,000 in annual coverage
Highly-rated mobile app
Wellness plan option
Most claims processed instantly
Veterinary exam required
No behavioral treatment coverage
Exam fee coverage costs extra
Not available in all states
Though Lemonade may not offer coverage as comprehensive as some other companies, you can’t beat its low rates. The company was founded in 2015 and launched its pet insurance product in 2016. They use an AI-powered claims process to provide instant reimbursement for most claims.
While there aren’t specific age restrictions, certain breeds may be denied coverage due to old age. You can customize your annual limits, deductible, and reimbursement amount on your policy, with deductibles as low as $100, annual limits as high as $100,000, and reimbursement up to 90%.
Lemonade also has a top-rated app with an easy claims process. Many claims may be processed before you even leave the veterinary office and you can also track them online or on the mobile app. Lemonade has excellent customer reviews on third-party websites, with many reviewers reporting an easy and quick claims process.
Lemonade provides coverage in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The company also plans to expand to other states.
Lemonade’s plan covers the following when related to an accident or illness:
- Diagnostic tests such as MRIs and bloodwork
- Procedures such as hospitalization and surgery
- Prescription medications
The extended accident and illness add-on covers:
- Vet visit fees
- Physical treatments like acupuncture and chiropractic
You can also purchase a wellness package, which covers:
- Annual physicals
- Heartworm test
- Parasite or fecal test
- Three vaccines
- Online medical advice chat
On top of Lemonade’s low premiums, you can get an annual payment discount and a bundling discount when you purchase homeowners insurance through the company. You can choose between a $100, $250, or $500 deductible. You can also customize your annual limits and reimbursement amount to get a budget-friendly plan. Our quote for a three-year-old, small, mixed-breed female dog with a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and $100,000 annual limit was just around $14 per month.
Though Lemonade only provides coverage to residents of select states, you can use your Lemonade pet insurance plan with any licensed veterinarian in the U.S. The following waiting periods apply:
- Accidents: 2 days
- Illnesses: 14 days
- Cruciate ligament events: Six months
You’ll find the following customization options when picking out a plan:
- Deductibles: $100, $250, or $500
- Annual limits: $5,000 to $100,000
- Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
Best Coverage Options: Trusted Pals
Why We Chose It: Trusted Pals offers a comprehensive wellness plan along with accident and illness coverage and coverage for prescribed food, medications, training, and behavior therapy. It also helps pay for alternative treatments, provides death benefits, and will pay for some pre-existing conditions that are deemed cured.
Customizable terms with a 100% reimbursement option
No annual exam requirement
Wellness plan option that covers dental cleaning
Includes exam fees
Claims paid within 10 days
Limited customer service options
No mobile app
12-month waiting period for certain issues
Trusted Pals has robust coverage options, including coverage for exam fees, alternative therapies, and preventative care. The company was founded in 2019, but policies are underwritten by Zurich, which has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best. The company covers pets of all ages and breeds.
Annual limits start at $4,000 per year and unlimited plans are available as well. You can choose a deductible amount of $0, $100, $250, $500, or $750 and a reimbursement option between 70% and 100%. While the company does not have a mobile app, it’s easy to submit and track claims online from your smartphone, and Trusted Pals processes claims within 10 days. Most customer reviewers say the claims process is easy and quick and the premiums are low considering the coverage provided.
Trusted Pals provides one accident and illness cover plan and an optional wellness package for an additional premium. Here’s what those plans cover:
Accident and Illness Cover
- Exam fees
- Treatment at the vet
- Prescription medication
- Prescription pet food and supplements
- Prescribed behavioral training and therapy
- Annual wellness exam
- Flea/tick prevention
- Heartworm testing and prevention
- Prescribed nutritional supplements
- Prescription pet food
- Spaying or neutering
- Dental preventive cleaning
Rates for Trusted Pals policies are competitive, and discounts are available for multiple pets or service animals. Our quote for a three-year-old, small, mixed-breed female dog with no annual limit, 80% reimbursement, and a $500 deductible was around $35 per month.
Trusted Pals covers any licensed veterinarian in all 50 states. The waiting period is 14 days for accidents and illnesses and 12 months for hip dysplasia and ligament issues. You can choose from the following customization options:
- Annual limits: $4,000 to unlimited
- Deductibles: $0 to $750
- Reimbursement: 70% to 100%
Best for Exotic Pets: Nationwide
Why We Chose It: Nationwide is one of very few insurers to offer pet insurance for birds and other exotic pets. The company also has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best and offers several plan options, including a wellness package.
Coverage includes exotic animals
Payment discounts and multi-pet discounts
Options for wellness coverage
Up to 90% reimbursement
24/7 vet help line
Higher than average premiums
Few customization options
Mixed customer reviews
Can take up to 30 days for claims processing
Can’t get a quote for exotic animals online
The company was founded in 1926 and has been providing pet insurance since 1982. Nationwide has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best. In 2020, the company unveiled new plans for exotic pets including, pigs, goats, hamsters, rats, several bird species, including parakeets and even toucans, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles. To get a quote for these pets, you must give the company a call.
Since exotic pets can be rare or even dangerous, potentially requiring plans to have particular stipulations and specifications, exact plans and pricing for exotic animals are generally not available online. However, Nationwide does provide examples of realistic costs for common incidents exotic pet owners can use for a basic understanding of Nationwide's coverage.
Nationwide also offers pet insurance for common pets like cats and dogs. There are no breed restrictions, and Nationwide will never drop coverage due to the age of your pet. These plans come with a $250 deductible, and annual limits vary.
It’s easy to file or track a claim with Nationwide online by uploading a photo of your veterinary invoice. However, it can take up to 30 days to process each claim. Customer reviews about the claims process are mixed as well. Some people found the claims process lengthy and frustrating, while others cite quick and responsive service.
While Nationwide doesn’t provide coverage details specific to exotic animals online, the insurer offers example costs based on the average cost of a vet visit for common incidents and conditions:
Nationwide offers coverage for rabbits, chinchillas, rats, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, and mini pigs, to name a few. The insurer offers estimates for the cost of the following and more:
- Dehydration/constipation: $22
- Eye infection: $17
- Bladder infection: $36
- Upper respiratory infection: $27
- Internal parasites: $5
Select bird breeds are eligible for coverage, including, canaries, African greys, parakeets, cockatoos, finches, and others. Nationwide offers estimates for the cost of the following and more:
- Feather picking/loss: $40
- Excessive egg laying: $27
- Soft tissue trauma: $21
- Liver disease: $40
- Diahrrea: $25
Reptiles and Amphibians
Nationwide provides coverage for a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, bearded dragons, tortoises, geckos, iguanas, and lizards. Nationwide estimates costs for the following conditions and more:
- Internal parasites: $7
- Eye Infection: $10
- Skin infection: $18
- Systemic bacterial infection: $28
- Low blood calcium levels: $29
For exotic animals, exact costs for plans will have to be requested over the phone. For cats and dogs, coverage starts at around $34 per month for the most basic plan. Nationwide pet insurance plans are more costly than the competition; however, you can get a discount if you pay upfront or insure multiple pets. You can also save 5% if you’re a current Nationwide member. Our quote for a three-year-old, small, mixed-breed female dog with the Whole Pet plan was roughly $64 per month.
You can use your Nationwide pet insurance plan at any licensed veterinarian, including specialists. Deductible and reimbursement amounts vary by plan. There is a 14-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses for all policies unless you purchase a wellness plan without any coverage for accidents and illnesses.
You have a lot of options when it comes to pet insurance. Some companies are focused on keeping premiums low for pet owners while others aim to provide the most robust coverage. We found that Pets Best offered the best of both worlds, with plenty of coverage options available at a low price. While all of the insurance companies on our list would be a great choice for your dog or cat, you’ll likely get the most value out of a plan from Pets Best.
Guide to Buying the Best Pet Insurance for Your Pet
Your pet’s health is of the utmost importance, but you don’t want an unexpected veterinary bill to tank your finances. Pet insurance provides valuable protection in the event of an accident or illness, and you can even save money on preventative care with the wellness packages offered by many companies. But the best pet insurance for your fur baby will depend on their age, health, and the level of protection you’re comfortable with.
Cost of Pet Insurance
Your monthly premium will be determined based on many individual factors, including:
- Your pet’s age
- Your pet’s species
- Your pet’s breed
- Where you and your pet live
- The types of coverage you choose (an accident-only plan will be the least costly)
- Your annual limit for coverage
- Your deductible
- Your reimbursement percentage or copay
It’s a good idea to get personalized quotes from a few different companies before making a decision. Some providers may be able to offer better rates for older animals, for example. Play around with your coverage options until you find a policy that is both affordable and meets your needs.
Types of Pet Insurance
There are generally three types of plans, although there are variations across companies in terms of what’s covered under each one.
- Accident-only: These plans cover your pet if they sustain an injury from an accident, such as ingesting something, getting bitten by another animal, or getting hit by a car.
- Accident and illness: These plans cover both accidents and illnesses. Depending on the company, illnesses may include chronic conditions, hereditary conditions, and cancer. Most plans will cover treatment related to an accident or illness, but only some plans cover exam fees and alternative care like acupuncture.
- Accident, illness, and wellness: Many companies offer a wellness add-on that provides coverage for preventative care. This includes things like wellness visits, vaccines, and flea/tick and heartworm prevention. Some wellness plans also cover dental care and spay/neuter.
Most pet owners only need an accident and illness policy, and if you’re struggling to afford the premiums, an accident-only policy is better than nothing. If you regularly take your pet for check-ups, a wellness plan could potentially save you money as well, but be sure to do the math to make sure the plan you choose will be valuable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
There’s no way to tell when your pet is a baby if paying for pet insurance will be worth it from a cost perspective, but protecting against an unaffordable risk can provide priceless peace of mind. If your dog or cat remains healthy throughout their life with few issues, pet insurance will be more costly than paying out of pocket. But if your pet has lots of accidents or illnesses, pet insurance could save you thousands. Got a dog that eats socks for breakfast or a cat that dashes across alleyways? If you know your fur baby is likely to need care, pet insurance will be worth it.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
No pet insurance provider will not cover a condition diagnosed before the policy's effective date, since that would make pet insurance unaffordable for everyone. However, different pet insurance providers have different definitions of a pre-existing condition. Some will cover a condition that was deemed cured before the policy starts if it happens again while the policy is in effect.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
When you buy pet insurance, you pay a monthly premium to maintain the protection. If your dog or cat becomes hurt or ill due to a covered event or condition, your insurance company will reimburse you for a portion of the veterinary costs, minus your deductible. Here’s how it typically works:
- Policy purchase: Sign up for a policy online.
- Waiting period: Your pet’s coverage won’t start until this period is over.
- Deductibles: You’ll pay your share of the expense.
- Claims: Your insurance company will reimburse you (or your veterinarian directly) for a portion of the rest, up to your annual limit.
For example, let’s say you have an accident-only policy with a $5,000 annual limit, a $250 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and a $15 monthly premium. Your dog is attacked by another dog and needs $3,000 in emergency care. Your insurance company reimburses you for $2,200. Even with the premiums you paid for the year, you’d save $2,020 compared to paying out of pocket.
We evaluated nearly two dozen pet insurance providers based on coverages available, customization options, pricing, claims processing, online tools and mobile app, restrictions, annual limits, and customer service reputation to choose the best five companies. Pricing was one of the most heavily weighted factors in our consideration of the top companies. We eliminated companies with exorbitant pricing or restricted veterinary networks as well as those without online claims.