Best Pet Insurance Companies and Plans (November 2022)

 

Common Reasons for Vet Visits

Without pet insurance, any visit to your vet’s office for an unexpected accident or injury could result in a costly bill. Data compiled by Healthy Paws shows that the most common conditions among dogs and cats are gastrointestinal (stomach) issues caused by inflammation, toxic ingestion or another severe illness. Without pet insurance, treatment for these conditions could cost $29,000 or more. Compare that to a pet insurance policy for $120 to $1,200 annually, and you can see why pet insurance can be a worthwhile investment.

 

Species

Your insurance premiums can vary depending on whether you’re insuring a dog or a cat. Cats are generally more affordable to insure than dogs due to their relatively predictable health.

Breed

Your pet’s breed also influences your pet insurance cost. For example, golden retrievers are more expensive to insure than mixed-breed dogs due to their susceptibility to certain conditions such as hip dysplasia and skin conditions.

“Being familiar with your pet’s genetic disease predispositions, and aware of the risks and costs of treatment, are good points to consider when choosing an insurance policy,” says Hepper’s pet expert and veterinarian Dr. Paola Cuevas.

Age

Older pets have a higher likelihood of getting sick or injured, so they’re more expensive to insure than younger animals. Insuring your pet as early as possible is the best way to save on high premiums and ensure you get the most out of your pet’s coverage.

Learn more: Average Cost of Pet Insurance

 

How To Choose the Best Pet Insurance Plan

There’s a lot of information to sift through when shopping for the right pet insurance plan for your pet. In our survey of 1,000 pet owners, we polled respondents on what was important to them when choosing a pet insurance provider.

Here’s a breakdown of their answers in the survey:

 

We’ve listed the key factors to consider below and explained what’s important about each.

Choose Your Coverage Level

Accident-and-illness plans are most common in pet insurance. This coverage typically includes reimbursement for labs, treatments, medications and fees related to accidents and illnesses. Some insurers offer more limited coverage at a cheaper rate. Pet owners interested in comprehensive coverage can invest in add-ons for an additional monthly fee.

Below are the most common pet insurance coverage levels.

  • Accident-and-illness coverage: The most common coverage level, this policy covers vet bills for accidents and illnesses. This may include coverage of common illnesses, hereditary conditions and more serious illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. However, these plans don’t cover routine wellness exams, flea and heartworm treatments, or preventive procedures such as vaccinations and neuter/spay surgery.
  • Accident-only coverage: This is a more affordable plan that only covers vet bills related to injury from accidents. You won’t be reimbursed for any illness-related vet bills.
  • “Nose-to-tail” coverage: This is the most comprehensive coverage option. It covers accidents and injuries, including serious or chronic illness, as well as hereditary conditions, diagnostic tests, surgeries, treatments and wellness. It also reimburses you for routine checkups and common vaccinations, which are treated as add-ons by many pet insurance providers.
  • Pet wellness coverage: This is typically an add-on to your general pet insurance plan. These plans cover routine medical expenses, such as checkups, flea and heartworm prevention, spaying and neutering, and vaccinations.

Understand Coverage Limits

Every pet insurance plan includes a deductible and coverage cap. Learn how these factors influence your pet’s health care below.

  • Annual coverage limits: Each pet insurer will include an annual coverage limit in your plan. This refers to the maximum reimbursement you can receive in one year and typically ranges from $5,000 to unlimited. You’ll pay a higher monthly fee when you opt for an unlimited coverage cap, but you won’t have to worry about exceeding an annual limit.
  • Deductibles: A deductible is the amount of money you must exceed to receive coverage. You are responsible for paying your entire bill until you meet the deductible. After that, you can submit vet bills to your pet insurance company for reimbursement. Common deductible amounts include $100, $250 and $500. The deductible you pick includes your monthly cost. A lower deductible results in a higher monthly cost, but a higher deductible provides you with a lower monthly bill.

Think About Discounts

Pet insurance companies often offer various discounts. Here are some of the most common:

  • Annual payment discount: If you pay your annual premium in one payment, you can reduce your plan’s overall cost.
  • Bundle discount: Some pet insurance providers offer other services, such as renters and home insurance. You can receive a discount when bundling these services together. For example, Lemonade provides a 10% discount when you bundle its pet insurance with one of its renters or homeowners insurance policies.
  • Employee discount: You can receive a discount if your employer offers pet insurance as a voluntary benefit. For example, employees at companies that offer Embrace Pet Insurance get a 10% discount.
  • Military discount: Some pet insurance companies offer discounts for military members.
  • Multipet discount: Many pet insurance providers offer discounts if you insure multiple pets.
  • Spay/neuter discount: Some providers offer discounts for spaying or neutering your pet.

Compare Quotes

We recommend requesting at least three quotes from different pet insurance providers. Pay attention to the coverage and exclusions and what additional coverage options are available.

Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, veterinary director with Senior Tail Waggers, says that while the pet insurance quote process can be confusing, it’s essential to research your options thoroughly. “Understanding what is and is not covered, claim procedures and turnaround times, and reimbursement policies are especially important,” Whittenburg says.

You should also consider other factors beyond price, such as 24/7 customer service or a mobile app.

Select Your Plan

Once you’ve chosen your desired pet insurance provider, it’s time to enroll in a plan. Many pet insurance companies allow you to get a free quote and enroll in a plan online by simply answering a few basic questions about your pet.

You can also correspond with a customer service representative directly over the phone. They’ll follow a similar process, asking a few questions and reviewing your pricing and coverage options.

 


 

The Bottom Line: Which Is the Best Pet Insurance Company?

With so many pet insurance companies to choose from, finding the right one can be difficult. We recommend looking at each company’s unique benefits to narrow down your search and requesting free quotes from a few different insurers to compare pricing.

We recommend Lemonade for its extensive customization options, high maximum coverage limit and easy-to-use mobile app, but other providers may be a better fit depending on your pet’s needs. For example, Embrace has a variety of unique savings opportunities, Figo and Trupanion offer unlimited coverage with total reimbursement, and ASPCA has a long-standing reputation and more than 20 years of experience.

Keeping Your Pet Safe

Pet owners treat their loyal companions like family members, so it’s important to be mindful of everyday dangers that could harm your pet. Here are some common pet hazards and tips to keep your pet safe, happy and healthy.

Dangers in Your Home

Several items around your home can pose a threat to your pet. Each year, the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) compiles a list of the toxins they’ve received the most calls about. Below are the most common toxic items in your home for dogs and cats:

  • Common people foods (such as garlic, grapes, onions and protein bars)
  • Chocolate
  • Garden products (particularly fertilizers)
  • Household toxins (such as beauty products, cleaning products and paint)
  • Human prescription medications (such as antidepressants, sleeping aids or ADHD medications)
  • Insecticide (such as ant traps or bug sprays)
  • Over-the-counter medications (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or vitamins)
  • Plants (ASPCA offers a full list of toxic plants for dogs and cats, including aloe, lilies and tulips)
  • Rodenticide
  • Veterinary products (such as ingesting an excessive amount of supplements or calming chews)

If you believe your pet has ingested anything from the above list or would like more information, please contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or visit the Animal Poison Control Center’s (APCC) website.

Dangers Outside of Your Home

Whether you’re playing in the backyard, going for a walk or visiting your local dog park, there are outdoor hazards to be mindful of too.

  • Other animals: Know the temperament of your pet. Is it friendly and socialized enough to run freely at a dog park, or is it better to keep it leashed? If your pet tends to dislike other animals or shows signs of aggression, it’s essential to keep them under your control and out of harm’s way.
  • Parasites: If you live in an area where ticks are prominent, you’ll want to check your pet every time it comes in from the outdoors. Preventive flea, tick and heartworm medication is also beneficial for keeping these nasty parasites at bay.
  • Stagnant waters: Viruses, parasites and bacteria, such as leptospirosis (lepto), love to hang out in standing waters such as ponds, streams and puddles. Do your best to keep your pet away from these areas, especially if it’s young and unvaccinated.
  • Weather: Take note of the weather and avoid bringing your pet out in extreme temperatures. On hot days, take it out in the early morning when it’s cooler and keep it hydrated. On cold days, take it out in the early afternoon (the warmest part of the day) and bundle it up. Pets shouldn’t be left outside for extended periods in extreme weather.

 


 

Traveling With a Pet

What’s a trip without your furry family member? Whether traveling by car, air or train, pet owners should research and prepare before departing on a journey with their pet. The Human Society keeps a list of a safety tips to consider before traveling with your cats and dogs:

By Car

  • Crate your dog / put your cat in a carrier: It’s unsafe for your pet to wander freely in a moving vehicle. Be sure your pet’s crate or carrier is safely secured in the back seat.
  • Make frequent stops: Give your pet a chance to stretch its legs and do its business. As you’re likely stopping somewhere your pet has never been, keep it leashed and close to you.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in the car: A quick pit stop for you is significantly longer for your pet. A car heats up fast, even on a comfortable day and with cracked windows. A hot car can cause irreparable damage to your pet’s organs or even prove fatal. Travel with another human to watch your four-legged friend so if you need to stop, it’s not an issue.

By Airplane

  • Keep your pet in the cabin with you when possible: Traveling by airplane can be risky for your pet, and stowing it in the cargo hold isn’t ideal. Call your airline well in advance and find out if you meet the requirements to have your pet fly in the cabin with you.
  • Prepare for security: Contact your airline to determine the type of carrier your pet needs to pass through airport security successfully.
  • Notify the captain: Let your captain and a flight attendant know that you have precious cargo on board. There may be precautions or accommodations they can make.
  • Prepare yourself and your pet for the cargo hold: If your pet can’t stay in the cabin, you can take a few measures to keep it safe in the cargo hold. Take direct flights, properly label your pet’s carrier, and if you’re flying during extreme weather, choose flights during the warmer/cooler times of the day. Once you land, check on your pet immediately.

Having your pet vaccinated and microchipped can also be helpful before taking them to an unknown place far from home. If your pet comes into contact with another sick animal or a foreign object, or it escapes from your care, these precautions will increase its overall safety.

 


 

Advice From Veterinarians

We asked our panel of veterinary experts to answer frequent questions about pet ownership and pet insurance.

1. What are the best precautions pet owners can take to keep pets safe and healthy? 

“Ensure dogs are up-to-date with their preventive care like vaccines and wormers. Keep toxic items like paints, human medicine and grapes away from curious pets. Similarly, ensure they don’t have the opportunity to munch on indigestible things like plastic, bones or corn cobs … If your pet has access to the garden, especially unsupervised, dangerous flora should be removed.” —Dr. Linda Simon, veterinary surgeon and consultant for FiveBarks

2. As a veterinarian, would you recommend that pet parents invest in pet insurance?

“Many pet owners think pet insurance is an unnecessary expense. ​​They have just added a new furry family member and the cost of pet food, beds, and vet care all starts to add up. However, when any of my clients contact me about a new pet coming into the family, the first thing I tell them to do is to get pet insurance … It is the most important investment an owner can make.

I have had pet insurance on all my dogs and I am a veterinarian … Over the years, pet insurance has paid me more than I have paid them.” —Dr. Shannon Barrett, veterinarian and owner of Downward Paws

3. What about wellness plans or add-ons? 

“There are a few key factors to consider when deciding if wellness or preventive care plans are worth it for pets. Puppies and kittens, for example, need more frequent vaccinations and deworming than adult dogs and cats. They are also more likely to contract certain diseases. For this reason, wellness plans that cover these services may be particularly worth it for young pets.” —Dr. Sophie Whoriskey, veterinarian and advisor at FloofyDoodles

4. Anything else you would like pet owners to know?

“Talk to your veterinarian. They can help you estimate pet care costs for your pet depending on their age and health status. They may also be able to give you an idea of possible health issues that your pet may be prone to and which insurance companies will work best for you.” —Dr. Chyrle Bonk, veterinarian and consultant for ExcitedCats.com

“Animals do not speak. They are also very good at masking disease, and by the time most owners start to realize that something is going on with their pets, they are usually very sick. Medical care is expensive and complicated conditions are difficult to treat … There is no better way of caring for our beloved family members than having the peace of mind that their medical needs will be covered.” –Dr. Paola Cuevas, veterinarian and behaviorist for petkeen.com