The 5 Best Pet Insurance Companies for Pet Owners in 2019
Do you have the best pet insurance for your pet?
Pet insurance is like health insurance. There are many different plans, so do your research before selecting one. The best insurance plan for your dog may not be the best for your neighbor’s pup.
To know which one to get, you should be familiar with pet insurance does and what the available options are.
Here are the best pet insurance options and what you need to know before purchasing a plan.
#1 Petplan Pet Insurance
Petplan offers insurance plans for both dogs and cats and is the largest pet insurance provider in the world. Features include:
- Annual deductible option available
- Claims typically paid within 5-14 days
- No lifetime or per condition claims limit
#2 PetFirst Pet Insurance
PetFirst is a pet insurance company with good reviews and customizable coverage options. The company is known to have an easy enrollment process and offers customizable plans. Features include:
- Discount offered for every year that you do not make a claim
- No vet exam necessary prior to coverage
- No upper age limit
#5 Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
Healthy Paws is a pet insurance provider that covers dogs and cats for new accidents and illnesses, including cancer, emergency care, genetic conditions and alternative care. Features include:
- Annual deductible
- Claims are almost always processed in two days.
- Unlimited lifetime benefits.
More ProductsTrupanion Pet Insurance Review Nationwide Pet Insurance (Formerly Known as VPI) Review
Most Popular Pet Insurance: Petplan
Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world. If you are looking for a reputable pet insurance company with a large customer list, Petplan is the pet insurance provider for you.
It covers dogs and cats and offers no lifetime or per-condition claims limits. Petplan insures pets of all ages.
See our full review of Petplan pet insurance.
- Alternative therapy available: Petplan covers stem cell therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and homeotherapy when a licensed vet recommends and administers the treatment.
- Canceled vacation coverage: If your pet is sick, Petplan knows you won’t want to leave them and go on vacation. Therefore, Petplan helps cover any fees you may incur for canceling your travel plans if your pet gets sick.
- Charitable component: Petplan donates to the Best Friends Animal Society’s Save Them All campaign to help pets find forever homes.
- Easy-to-use app: Petplan’s simple app makes filing claims as convenient as possible.
- Fast claims payments: Petplan typically pays claims within 5-14 days (but can take as long as 30 days).
- Hip dysplasia: Petplan covers hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia as long as there were not any symptoms before you enrolled your dog with Petplan.
- Lost pet fees: If your pet becomes lost, Petplan will help you do whatever it takes to find them. Petplan will help cover the cost of signage and a reward.
- No claims limit: The company won’t cap your claims if your pet becomes too ill or sick too often.
- CLL/ACL Limitations: Petplan will only cover CCL (ACL) treatment on a second leg if the first leg remains healed for 12 months.
- Delayed claims payments: Petplan states that they will pay all eligible claims within 30 days, but some customers say they had delays. The claim process is simple for the pet owners, but vets say that the process requires more busywork from them.
- Higher premiums: Petplan can be significantly more expensive than competitors. The price depends on what type of pet you have, your pet’s age, and your city of residence. Similarly, the premium increase is higher than competitors’.
- No wellness plan: Most pet insurance companies either don’t have a wellness plan or require additional fees for one. Petplan doesn’t have one.
- Vet visit requirement: If your pet is injured or sick, you have to take them to the vet within 48 hours. If you don’t, Petplan won’t cover your pet for that issue.
Best Pet Insurance for Immediate Needs: PetFirst
PetFirst is well-regarded for its easy enrollment process and customizable plans.
While most pet insurance providers require your pet to undergo an exam before coverage, PetFirst does not. Therefore, it’s our top choice for those needing pet insurance ASAP, whether it’s for a new puppy or a newly adopted senior dog. Under standard plans, accident coverage begins within 24 hours of registration.
If you adopt an older dog or cat, you may be worried that you won’t be able to get pet insurance for them. PetFirst has you covered with plans for dogs and cats of all ages. There are no upper age limits.
Read our full review of PetFirst.
- Accident coverage: Most pet insurance providers make you wait a few days or even weeks before your accident coverage kicks in. PetFirst has the shortest wait period we’ve found.
- No required vet exams: Most pet insurance providers require you to take your pet to the vet before they cover your pet. PetFirst does not.
- No transaction or one-time fees: Most pet insurance companies have a nominal administration fee when you first enroll. You will not pay any administration fees with PetFirst.
- No upper age limits: Most pet insurance providers won’t cover pets once they get to a certain age. PetFirst does not have an age limit.
- Wellness plan option: Most pet insurance providers do not offer a wellness plan option that covers routine exams and preventative care. You can add this option under a routine care rider.
- Age requirement: If you adopt a pet younger than eight weeks, your pet will be ineligible for coverage until it reaches eight weeks.
- Behavioral therapy coverage: You must purchase routine care coverage before you can get therapies for aggression or other issues.
- Dental cleanings: PetFirst does not cover preventative cleanings. It does include the treatment of periodontal disease, however.
- Higher premiums: PetFirst may have more expensive monthly premiums for its more inclusive plans.
- No unlimited coverage: PetFirst offers three plans with annual maxes of $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000.
- Waiting periods: PetFirst doesn’t have a waiting period for accidents, but it does for other things. Illnesses have a 14-day waiting period for illness to prevent people from enrolling their pets in pet insurance after they have become ill or injured. There is also a 12-month waiting period for CCL surgery.
Best All-Around Pet Insurance: Pets Best Insurance
Pets Best Health Insurance is a pet insurance company that is designed to keep your pockets full and your pets healthy. They specialize in comprehensive dog and cat coverage plans that cover a variety of health services for your pet. Their plans include accident and illness coverage as well as routine care packages.
Pets Best prides itself on straightforward, comprehensive packages that take your pet’s wellbeing into account. Their company’s mission is to end pet financial euthanasia, or the inability to pay for costly health service for your pet. Their claims are generally processed quickly and with little to no hassle. In addition to great service, you can choose several plans depending on what you need exactly.
Pets Best Pros
- Affordable plans: Pets Best Insurance is known for having affordable pet coverage plans starting as low as $30 a month.
- All ages: Your pets of all ages can get coverage, it doesn’t matter how old or young they are.
Pets Best Cons
- Dog and cat coverage only: Only dogs and cats are covered under Pets Best, other pets cannot be covered under these plans.
Best All-Around Pet Insurance: Healthy Paws
Healthy Paws is our pick for Best All-Around pet insurance for a variety of factors.
First, the company has an excellent reputation for top-quality customer service. If you ever need to contact a company’s customer service team, it’s likely because something went wrong. You need the problem solved quickly, efficiently, and pleasantly. Healthy Paws makes it a priority to accomplish those things in their customer service.
This company also offers an annual deductible as opposed to a per-incident deductible, which is generally cheaper.
Unlimited lifetime benefits is another win in our book. You can rest assured that your pet will be taken care of, no matter what happens.
Read our full Healthy Paws review.
Healthy Paws Pros
- Annual deductibles: Healthy Paws offers annual deductibles rather than per-incident deductibles, which can be expensive.
- Competitive pricing: The plans are competitively priced.
- High customer satisfaction: Healthy Paws’ high customer satisfaction scores show that customers are pleased with the service they receive even during difficult times.
- No caps on annual or lifetime payouts: This benefit speaks for itself. Why should your pet’s illness or emergency have a cap?
- No in-network requirements: You’re free to visit any veterinarian or emergency veterinary center as opposed to having to research one that’s in-network. If you decide to bring your pet with you on vacation or road trips anywhere in the US or Canada, your pet will have coverage in case of an illness or injury.
- Straightforward claims: The company processes almost all requests in two days, and you can select if you want to receive reimbursements via direct deposit or check. The app also makes claims easy and fast.
- Unlimited lifetime coverage: The company won’t cap your claims per incident or year. Also, should anything happen to you, your pet’s coverage won’t change.
Healthy Paws Cons
- Administrative fee: Healthy Paws charges a one-time $25 administrative fee when you first register.
- Age restrictions: If your pet is six-years-old or older, they must be examined by a vet either in the 30 days before the policy starts or within 15 days of policy issuance. Additionally, pets older than eight can only get 60 percent reimbursement and a $750 annual deductible. Healthy Paws also only covers hip dysplasia for animals enrolled before they are six-years-old.
- No wellness plan: Healthy Paws limits its coverage to accidents and illness and will not cover routine exams. Similarly, Healthy Paws won’t help if your pet requires behavioral therapy for conditions such as aggression or anxiety.
- Waiting period: You will have to wait 15 days before you can get any coverage for your pet.
Best Pet Insurance with Rewards: Embrace
Embrace Pet Insurance is an insurance company with a few major points that set them apart from other companies. They offer coverage for dogs and cats, regardless of age that will help you avoid footing costly vet bills. Just like humans, pets can have unexpected health problems arise and instead of paying thousands of dollars in vet bills, Embrace covers up to 90% of the hospital bills.
What sets Embrace’s insurance apart is their uniquely designed plans. They offer accident and illness coverage only, so routine preventative care isn’t covered. However, if you need to wellness and grooming services that fall under preventative care, they offer a comprehensive Wellness Rewards program. Embrace also has a different approach to preexisting conditions. If your pet has what they call a curable preexisting condition, they may be able to receive coverage.
- Diminishing deductible: Embrace is the only pet insurance company that offers a deductible that reduces $50 after each year of being a customer.
- Wellness Rewards: You can receive wellness rewards towards grooming services and spaying and neutering.
- Difficult claims process: Reports show that some people have had a difficult claims experience process relating to the paperwork and filing.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Just like human health insurance plans, pet health insurance is a health policy for pets.
It reimburses owners for things like certain medical expenses and veterinary visits.
Costs vary based on your pet’s age, breed, and location. Pet insurance is not all-inclusive, and plans vary by company and policy. Deductibles, reimbursement levels, and annual maxes all depend on the company.
Because pet insurance is different depending on what company you choose, it’s essential to find a good policy. Some things to look at include:
- Annual deductibles
- Reimbursement levels
- The price specific to your pet
- Yearly maximum (if applicable)
You should also look at pet insurance reviews. Look for things like:
- Is the company providing on-time reimbursements?
- Do they rank well with customer service?
- Are customers generally happy with the service they get?
You can learn a lot about a pet insurance company based on its website. However, nothing will be more honest than pet insurance reviews from real pet owners.
These reviews will help you understand what the company qualifies as quality pet insurance.
Why Do You Need Pet Insurance?
If you’re considering adopting a pet, make sure you’re ready.
Adopting a pet is a massive decision. It’s expensive and requires a high level of responsibility.
Pets are expensive, but pet insurance can help with some of the costs.
The PDSA says that you’re likely to spend around $32,000 throughout the lifespan of a dog or $15,500 throughout the lifespan of a cat.
These figures are just averages. They cover routine costs such as grooming needs, food, vet visits, and pet toys.
What the figures don’t factor in, however, is accidents and illnesses. If your pet becomes suddenly ill or injured, the vet bills can be thousands of dollars.
If you have enough money in your bank account, for example, to pay a vet $3,000 for an unplanned surgery if your dog rips his ACL, you might not need pet insurance. However, if you don’t have the funds to cover an emergency, an insurance policy can help.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet insurance is a health insurance policy for emergencies and illnesses. The insurance covers necessary medical costs when accidents occur and can also help pay for treatment when your pet gets sick.
At their core, most pet insurance policies cover the following:
- Emergency care
- Prescription medications
However, some insurance companies have exceptions to those things, so read your prospective policy carefully.
Pet insurance policies vary by provider, but can typically be broken down into four main types.
1). Covered for Life Coverage
Covered for life coverage is the most robust kind of pet insurance.
You will need to renew your policy annually. Your pet will have insurance for chronic, recurring, or lifelong illnesses or conditions for the rest of their lives.
You can claim reimbursement as many times as you need for the same illness, but typically the amount you can claim per year is capped to a set amount.
In our opinion, this is the best type of pet insurance you can get.
2.) Guaranteed Lifetime Coverage
This type of pet insurance covers your pets should illnesses or conditions arise later in life.
This insurance will not cover lifelong or chronic diseases.
3.) Maximum Benefit Coverage
Maximum benefit coverage includes claims up to a particular amount per condition.
It is not lifetime coverage, and there is a max payout.
4.) 12-Month Coverage
A 12-month pet insurance policy is one of the more basic plans. This type of insurance is a year plan that provides coverage for a set condition (such as leukemia) for 12 months.
At the end of that time frame, the condition will be considered pre-existing and thus excluded from future coverage.
What Does Pet Insurance NOT Cover?
Pet insurance policies differ by provider and plan. Some policies won’t cover pets over a certain age, and some insurance options won’t include particular illnesses or veterinary visits.
Common pet insurance exclusions include:
- Behavior issues
- Dental disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Hereditary conditions
- Pre-existing conditions
- Routine check-ups
This is a summed up list of typical exclusions, but exclusions will be specific to your insurance company and the plan you choose.
If you have a specific concern or coverage questions, review the individual policies of pet insurance providers.
Additionally, most plans have “add-ons.” If there is a specific area you want that isn’t in the base plan, ask the pet insurance company if you can add it for an additional fee.
When Should You Purchase Pet Insurance?
We recommend researching and signing up for pet insurance before bringing home a new pet. This way, your pet will be covered from day one.
While we wouldn’t expect a new pet to arrive with illness, there’s a chance they could become injured in an accident. Puppies play rough, older dogs could tear a ligament, or your dog might get hurt in other ways.
If you’re going to invest in pet insurance, it’s best to have it from day one.
How Do You Get and Compare Pet Insurance Quotes?
To find the ideal pet insurance for your pet, start by asking around:
- What does your vet recommend?
- What do your friends recommend?
Once you have a solid list and understanding of how the insurance options differ, start the quote process.
Getting quotes is easy. You can either call and speak with a representative or request a quote online.
We recommend getting quotes from at least three pet insurance companies. These quotes will give you a better idea of what the average cost is for a dog or cat in your area.
What Factors Affect Price?
If you obtain quotes from a few different pet insurance companies, the costs will likely vary by provider.
If you and your friend adopt puppies from the same litter but live in different states, you’ll likely receive different quotes from the pet insurance companies.
Several factors determine how much your monthly premium will be:
- Age: The older a pet is, the more likely they are to encounter health problems. As such, older pets are typically more costly to insure than younger pets.
- Breed: Pure breeds are more expensive to insure than mixed breeds because purebreds typically have more genetic health problems.
- Location: Where you live factors into how much you’ll pay each month for pet insurance. If you live in New York City, you’ll pay more than someone who lives in rural New Mexico, which has a lower cost of living.
Getting quotes from multiple companies can help you get the best overall option for your specific pet and location.
How Do You Use Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is similar to human insurance: we hope we never have to use it, but when we do, we’re glad to have it.
Pet insurance policies vary in how you use them. Some require you to visit a vet from a pre-approved list, but others allow you to visit whomever you like.
We’ve summarized the “how to use” and “how to file a claim” for our top 5 providers.
In case of emergency, go to your nearest vet or animal hospital. Healthy Paws allows you to visit any licensed veterinarian, including specialists and emergency animal hospitals.
Healthy Paws even covers alternative care, including acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and chiropractic care. Once you have completed your vet visit, file a claim to get reimbursed.
Healthy Paws offers one of the fastest reimbursements with 99 percent of claims processed in two days.
The filing process is simple. Gone are the days of physical claims forms and in are the days of speedy apps.
To file your claim, download the Healthy Paws mobile app and submit your vet’s invoice. If it is your first claim, you’ll need to send your pet’s medical records.
Once you submit the claim, Healthy Paws will either send you a check by mail or reimburse you via direct deposit, depending on your preferred payment method.
Healthy Paws offers varying levels of reimbursement and deductibles depending on the age of your pet and which plan you select.
Dogs and cats five-years-old and under:
- 90, 80 or 70 percent reimbursement
- $100, $250 and $500 deductible
Dogs and cats six- and seven-years-old:
- 80, 70 or 60 percent reimbursement
- $250, $500 or $750 deductible
Dogs eight-years-old and older:
- 60 percent reimbursement
- $750 deductible
If your vet becomes ill or injured, you can go to your nearest veterinary clinic, emergency animal hospital, or specialty center. Coverage applies within the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
Your coverage works at any veterinary hospital. Once you have completed your vet visit, file a claim.
Trupanion is the only pet insurance company that can pay veterinarians directly and in less than five minutes.
While most pet insurance companies require you to file a claim yourself, Trupanion provides the option of working with the vet’s billing office directly. If you would prefer the vet to submit, ask if it’s a service they’re willing to provide.
If not (or if you’d prefer to file the claim yourself), you can file the claim instead. Visit Trupanion’s website, log in to your account, and click “submit a claim.” To submit, you’ll need a photo of the vet or hospital’s invoice and a completed claim form.
Trupanion pays claims within 60 days.
Trupanion has a standard 90 percent reimbursement across all plans with an optional deductible of $0 to $1,000 and unlimited annual limit.
PetFirst does not have a set network of vets that it requires you to use.
Thus, if your pet is injured or becomes ill, you can visit any licensed vet, emergency clinic, or specialist in the US.
To receive reimbursement, PetFirst requires you to have three key documents:
- A completed and signed claim form
- Itemized invoice from the incident
- Veterinary medical records (SOAP notes) from the incident
You need to file claims within 90 days of treatment or invoice date. You can submit them via PetFirst’s online MyPets portal, email, fax or snail mail.
The amount you will be reimbursed depends on the package you select.
PetFirst recommends three base plans but also gives you the option to change the annual benefit, deductible, and reimbursement rates, all of which can affect the price.
The three top recommended plans are as follows.
Lowest Monthly Premium
- Annual benefit: $2,000
- Deductible: $250
- Reimbursement: 80 percent
- Annual benefit: $5,000
- Deductible: $250
- Reimbursement: 80 percent
- Annual benefit: $10,000
- Deductible: $250
- Reimbursement: 80 percent
Nationwide Pet Insurance allows you to visit any vet, anywhere, including specialists and emergency providers.
Similar to all of our top picks for pet insurance providers, you are not forced to use a particular network of veterinarians.
Once you have paid your vet, you’ll need to submit a claim.
Submitting claims is easy with Nationwide. You can submit directly through your smartphone, or send the claim via traditional mail or email.
If sending by mail or email, you’ll need to include a filled-out claims form that includes your pet’s diagnosis and invoice totals.
You’ll receive your reimbursement within 30 days.
Nationwide offers two options for reimbursement and deductibles:
- Percentage of invoice: Reimbursement is based on the treatment cost. You get back a set percentage of the amount you paid your vet.
- Benefit schedule: Reimbursement is capped at a set amount for each condition. This max is regardless of the actual cost of treatment.
Should your pet become ill or injured, Petplan allows you the option of seeking treatment from any licensed veterinarian in the United States or Canada.
If you have a smartphone, download Petplan’s app. You can submit a claim in seconds. You log in, select “File a New Claim” and provide the information as requested.
If you’d prefer to mail your claim, you can do so as well. You’ll need to print a claim before your vet visit, ask your vet’s office to fill in part of the form, and then mail, fax, or email the form to Petplan.
Petplan has annual coverage limits of $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, $25,000 or unlimited.
Monthly premiums differ based on the coverage limit you choose — the lower the limit, the lower your monthly premium.
Petplan offers $250 to $1,000 annual deductibles and 70, 80 and 90 percent reimbursements. The higher your deductible and the lower your reimbursement, the lower your monthly premium will be.
Is Pet Insurance Necessary?
Pet insurance isn’t mandatory, but we recommend it.
Some people think that a generally healthy animal doesn’t need insurance and that pet insurance is probably not worth the cost. Instead, they recommend putting aside a few hundred dollars each year for pet costs.
We disagree. You can never guarantee that your pet will be generally healthy or accident-free.
Some examples of pet insurance saving a lot of money include:
- Fawkes the cat ingested part of a lily plant leaf and risked kidney failure. His treatment was nearly $2,000, but thanks to pet insurance, his owner had to pay just $456.
- In the case of Mr. Big the Great Pyrenees, his treatment costs were nearly $4,000, but his owner only had to cover $340 thanks to pet insurance.
- The most common items vets have to remove from dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts surgically are socks, and this surgery can run up to $6,500.
These are key examples of why we recommend investing in pet insurance as opposed to just an emergency fund. If you have an emergency pet fund set up, we’d expect to find closer to the deductibles saved rather than several thousand.
If you have the funds to pay these costs and would prefer to risk it and hope your pet stays injury and illness-free, then perhaps you’ll agree with those who find pet insurance an unnecessary cost.
However, if you’re like us and would prefer to stay on the safe side, we think you’ll agree that pet insurance is a good idea.
If you’ve decided that pet insurance is something you’d like to invest in, use our top picks and this guide to keep your friend healthy and happy.Read More