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Best pet insurance

Best pet insurance companies of 2023 compared

What is pet insurance?

In a nutshell, pet insurance helps pay for your dog or cat’s medical expenses. Some plans even cover the bill entirely. Pet insurance works a little differently than human health insurance, though. Most providers require you to pay the bill and wait for reimbursement. They typically do not cover routine care or exam fees. To find that coverage, dog owners should look into wellness plans instead.

Why get pet insurance

As veterinary medicine has advanced, many pet parents face higher costs of care. There are several reasons to get dog insurance, and peace of mind in case of emergencies is reason enough for most owners. Whether you adopted a new puppy or have a senior dog needing some extra coverage, different plans benefit dogs in different stages of life.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance is primarily intended to cover illness and emergencies though policies vary from provider to provider. However, no matter which company you choose, you’ll probably face annual premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and maximum payouts.

With pet insurance, owners pay bills up front, then wait for a refund from the insurance company. Most pet policies will also give you the choice to use any vet you’d like. There aren’t any “out-of-network” doctors like human health insurance. It’s important to know what your plan covers when looking for the best policy for your pet.

3 general levels of pet health coverage:

  1. Accident coverage. This is the least expensive option and provides the lowest reimbursements for procedures. It’ll help pay for accidental injuries and poisonings. These policies usually have an annual deductible, a max payout on reimbursements per accident or illness, and occasionally, max payouts on total reimbursements per policy term.
  2. Accident and illness coverage. These plans  cost more than accident coverage but come with more generous benefits. These include reimbursements for accidental injuries, emergencies, and illnesses, plus coverage for maintenance care like office visits, prescriptions, diagnostics, and X-rays. They tend to have lower annual deductibles than accident-only coverage, but also have max payouts for each accident and illness. There’s usually a cap on total reimbursements for the policy term.
  3. Wellness coverage. This coverage reimburses pet owners for preventive care including regular exams, allergies, worm and parasite prevention, and vaccinations. There typically isn’t a deductible for wellness care, but there is a small deductible for other services and procedures.

What doesn’t pet insurance cover?

Not all policies are the same, but most traditional insurance companies have a similar list of what isn’t covered in their full-coverage policies:

  • Pre-existing conditions. When a pet is diagnosed with an illness or injury before coverage begins, pet insurance usually won’t cover it. However, some providers will extend coverage for what they consider “curable” pet pre-existing conditions — such as vomiting, diarrhea, even cancer — but they won’t be covered until 12 months later.
  • Preventative or elective procedures. Insurance providers won’t cover what they consider to be elective procedures. This could include spays and neuters, dental cleaning, declawing and dewclaw removal, tail docking, etc.
  • Exam fees. Exams and consultations are considered expected expenses that aren’t covered under traditional insurance.
  • Grooming. Grooming is considered a cosmetic service, which pet insurance policies won’t cover.
  • Breeding costs. Most pet insurance companies won’t cover breeding costs under traditional policies. But, some providers offer insurance for breeding dogs.
  • Food and vitamins. Similar to grooming, food and supplements (not considered prescription medication) aren’t covered by pet insurance, since they aren’t considered veterinary costs. An exception to this would be a prescription diet recommended by a veterinarian.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Similar to human health insurance plans, pet owners have to pay a monthly or yearly premium. The premium price can vary depending on a few variables, including:

  • Species. Insurance policies are available for all pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, reptiles, pigs, horses, and rodents.
  • Breed. Certain breeds are predisposed to illnesses and injuries and may require costlier care.
  • Gender. More claims are submitted for males than females, so females tend to cost less.
  • Age. The older the pet, the more likely they’ll need vet care, thus the costlier the insurance.
  • Location. Insurance costs more in major metro areas than in the suburbs and rural areas.

The monthly cost of pet insurance varies based on all of these factors. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), dog and cat owners can expect to pay anywhere between $10 to $50 for monthly premiums. Most pet owners will spend around $30 to $50 per month for a plan with accident and illness coverage. Accident-only coverage tends to be the least expensive, leaning toward the lower end of $10-$20 a month.

Cheaper isn’t always better, however. Consider the type of coverage you’d like and the health of your pet. If you’re comfortable paying out of pocket for annual wellness costs, then accident-only coverage may be a good choice for you and your pet.

How to choose the best pet insurance in 2022

Pet insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The best policy depends on what’s best for you and your pet. Whether you’re looking for dog insurance, cat insurance, or a policy for your exotic pet, keep these things in mind when you start looking:

  • What kind of pet do you own?
  • How old is your pet?
  • What’s their current health condition?
  • Do they have any hereditary or chronic conditions?
  • How much are you willing to pay out of pocket?

Tips for purchasing pet insurance

Besides the basic questions of what you need, there are a few other things to keep in mind when picking a policy.

Don’t wait! — The earlier you can get a policy for your pet the better. Policies get more expensive the longer you wait (and the older your pet is).

Shop around — Get quotes from several providers. This helps you find the most affordable and comprehensive policy for your furry friend

Get what you need — If you’re comfortable paying the vet bill for general wellness care or annual vet visits, consider a plan that only covers expensive procedures or emergencies.

It may not always seem necessary, but pet insurance can benefit owners for plenty of reasons. Above all, insurance gives many pet owners peace of mind, as it helps pay for planned and unexpected expenses. As always, be sure to do your research and learn all you can before purchasing a policy for your pet.

The best pet insurance companies reviewed

Here are some of the top-rated pet insurance providers to choose from, according to our research and veterinarian recommendations.

Fetch by the Dodo — Most comprehensive coverage

  • Deductibles — $250, $300, $500
  • Reimbursement options  — 70%-90%
  • Annual limits — $5,000, $15,000, or unlimited

Fetch by the Dodo offers one of the most comprehensive coverage plans on the market. Its singular policy covers sick visits, expenses incurred as a result of a lost or stolen pet, and boarding and kennel hospitalization fees on top of illness and injury coverage.

What we love: While it’s not common for insurance providers to only offer one policy, Fetch’s singular plan covers a wide range of costs — emergency care, non-routine dental care, holistic health services, boarding fees, and more. We also love that, no matter how old your pet gets, Fetch will never drop your coverage.

What customers say: Pet parents with Fetch insurance love the flexibility offered in terms of how much they want their deductible and reimbursement rate to be each year. They’re also happy with the user-friendly app and website when submitting claims. Customers have noted an increase in monthly premiums since moving from PetPlan to Fetch.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $35

Estimated premium for cats: $25

Reimbursements? 70%, 80%, or 90%

Healthy Paws — Best pet insurance for dogs

  • Deductibles — $250, $500
  • Reimbursement options  — 50%-80%
  • Annual limits — Unlimited

Healthy Paws plans start at $20 a month for dogs with no limit on claims. Customers especially love their hassle-free claims process.

What we love: Healthy Paws insurance plans cover accidents, illnesses, surgeries, prescription medications, hospital stays, and emergencies. They also cover older dogs, which is hard to find with most policies. However, pets that are eight years and older are restricted to only 60% reimbursement and a $750 annual deductible.

What customers say: Some top reviews highlight Healthy Paws’ hassle-free claims process. Reimbursements are quick, and the app is user-friendly, making the whole process easy. Customers also praise the coverage of non-traditional treatments as well as conventional treatments.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $31 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $12 a month

Reimbursements? 60%-80%, depending on pet’s age and health conditions

Coverage options: Illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, X-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medications, emergency care, specialty care, and alternative treatment.

Trupanion — Best for chronic conditions

  • Deductibles — $0-$1,000
  • Reimbursement options  — 90%
  • Annual limits — Unlimited

With coverage for hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia, Trupanion is a great option if your pet’s breed is prone to these conditions.

What we love: Trupanion stands out by offering just one policy for both dogs and cats. This includes coverage for hip dysplasia and other hereditary conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, upper respiratory infections, and more. Trupanion pays your vet directly, so there’s no waiting for claims to be reimbursed. There’s also no limit for any benefits, whether it’s per incident, monthly, or over a lifetime.

What customers say: Customers love that Trupanion directly pays the vet when an owner needs to use their policy. It also offers 90% coverage and has no payout limits, both considered “pros” in the policyholders’ eyes. Some complaints from customers include the per-incident deductibles (rather than per year) and the lack of coverage for common pre-existing conditions like allergies and urinary tract infections.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $59 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $32 a month

Reimbursements? No

Coverage options: New, unidentified issues (vomiting, diarrhea, cough) congenital conditions (heart disease, cataracts, nervous system issues), and recovery and complementary care for non-clinical procedures at an extra cost (acupuncture, behavioral modification, rehabilitative therapy).

Lemonade — Most user-friendly

  • Deductibles — $100, $250, $500
  • Reimbursement options  — 70%-90%
  • Annual limits — $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $100,000

The Lemonade mobile app makes it easy for tech-savvy users to set up their policies. Monthly premiums start at $10 a month.

What we love: Lemonade is quick and easy to use with its all-inclusive mobile app. It has a wide variety of plans to make something work for any pet owner. Monthly premiums start at $10 and vary based on your pet, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and annual limit. Owners can also upgrade their policy to include a wellness plan for preventative care.

What customers say: Lemonade policyholders love the fast reimbursements and helpful customer service reps. They also like that you can bundle home, renters, and life insurance with pet insurance policies. One main complaint, however, is that they don’t cover a lot of common pre-existing conditions like skin dermatitis or allergies.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $66 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $25 a month

Reimbursements? 70%, 80%, or 90%

Coverage options: X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and ultrasounds; blood tests, urinalysis, outpatient, specialty, and emergency care; cancer treatment, hospitalization, and injections and prescription medication.

Embrace — Best for older pets

  • Deductibles — $100-$1,000
  • Reimbursement options  — 70%-90%
  • Annual limits — Up to Unlimited

Keeping your pet healthy and covered at any age is important. Embrace accepts dogs age 15 and older for new policies, unlike other providers with age limits.

What we love: Embrace offers high coverage for dental illnesses and injuries, which is rare to find in pet insurance. Along with its dental coverage, accident-only plans are available with optional wellness reward programs. All exam fees are covered, and you can get care at any licensed clinic. The longer you go without filing a claim, the lower your deductible becomes.

What customers say: Positive reviews of Embrace often highlight the excellent and helpful customer service reps. They deal with claims quickly and make it as easy as possible for policyholders. One complaint pet parents seem to have is the strict policy of needing all previous medical documents to ensure coverage.

Do they have an app? No

Estimated premium for dogs: $12 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $6 a month

Reimbursements? Up to 90%

Coverage options: For dental: Extractions, root canals, crowns, gingivitis, and broken, chipped, or fractured teeth. Other coverage: Alternative therapies, rehabilitation, behavioral therapy, emergency veterinary care, specialist care, diagnostic testing (including X-rays and MRIs), hospitalization and surgery, prosthetics and mobility devices, and prescription drug coverage.

Nationwide — Best for exotic animals

  • Deductibles — $250
  • Reimbursement options  — 50%, 70%, 90%
  • Annual limits — $10,000 for their Whole Pet Plans, or on a per-condition basis for Major Medical

If you own a lizard, bird, or other exotic pet, Nationwide is the only major insurer that covers these types of animals.

What we love: Plans vary based on your pet’s species, but there are two main options: Whole Pet with Wellness (complete coverage and wellness) and Major Medical (emergencies, accidents, and illnesses). There are no age restrictions, plus current Nationwide members can get a 5% discount on a new pet insurance policy.

What customers say: Nationwide offers a variety of plans to cover every pet owner’s unique needs — both emergency and wellness. It works with owners based on what they can afford, no matter what type of pet they own. One issue some owners had was a rise in premiums, though.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $34 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $18 a month

Reimbursements? Up to 90%

Coverage options: Accidents and illnesses, surgeries and hospitalization, prescriptions, medical conditions, vaccinations, hereditary conditions (no waiting period), annual exams, flea/heartworm prevention, and more.

FIGO — Best comprehensive coverage

  • Deductibles — $100, $250, $500, $750
  • Reimbursement options  — 70%-100%
  • Annual limits — $5,000, $10,000, or Unlimited

With three different plan tiers to choose from, Figo allows pet owners to customize the right plan for their pet’s unique needs.

What we love: Choose between hereditary, congenital, or chronic condition coverage. Based on your plan, deductible, and reimbursement choice, you can even receive up to 100% back on covered procedures. Virtual visits are covered through an easy-to-use app, plus there’s no network needed throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Customers can reach customer service reps 24/7 via live chat, text, email, Twitter, or phone call.

What customers say: Figo’s rates are reasonable no matter what policy you choose along with a 90% reimbursement rate. Claims are reimbursed quickly, but a common complaint was a rise in premium rates over multiple years.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $35 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $25 a month

Reimbursements? 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100%

Coverage options: Hospitalizations, emergency care, diagnostic testing, cancer treatments, hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions. Vet examination fee coverage is available as a rider.

Pumpkin — Best for puppies

  • Deductibles — $100, $250, $500
  • Reimbursement options  — 90%
  • Annual limits — $10,000, $20,000, or unlimited for dogs; $7,000, $15,000, or Unlimited for cats

If you just adopted a cute new puppy, Pumpkin is one of the rare insurance providers that includes coverage for puppy vaccines and routine care.

What we love: Pumpkin plans include coverage for routine care and accidents and illnesses. In addition to puppies, adult dogs and cats are covered, too. Plan premiums vary based on your pet’s age along with your choice in deductible and annual limit.

What customers say: Pumpkin customers are thankful for the incredible puppy coverage that other providers don’t offer. The customer service team is highly appreciated along with the additional and optional wellness plans for both puppies and adult dogs.

Do they have an app? No

Estimated premium for dogs: $50 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $21 a month

Reimbursements? 90%-100%

Coverage options: General puppy wellness needs, MRIs, CT scans, surgery, prescription meds, hospitalization, some less common behavioral issues, microchip implantation, and alternative therapy.

PetsBest — Most affordable option

  • Deductibles — $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1,000
  • Reimbursement options  — 70-90%
  • Annual limits — $5,000 or Unlimited

Pets Best gives pet owners flexibility on annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement levels to make their insurance plan as affordable as they need.

What we love: Pets Best offers three different accident/illness policies (Essential, Plus, and Elite), plus two wellness plans that you can add to any of them. Owners also have flexibility regarding annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement levels (which go up to 90%) to make their plans as affordable as they need. There’s no age limit, so you can get coverage on your elderly pet — but like most policies, pre-existing conditions aren’t covered.

What customers say: Owners of older dogs love that Pets Best enrollment doesn’t have an age limit. There are also a variety of plans, making it an affordable option for most owners. But while age limits aren’t a problem, Pets Best doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions like most insurance policies, making it hard on older pets.

Do they have an app? Yes

Estimated premium for dogs: $46 a month

Estimated premium for cats: $22 a month

Reimbursements? 70%, 80%, or 90%

Coverage options: Accidents, illnesses, cancer treatments, hereditary and congenital conditions, emergency care, and behavioral conditions.

How we made our picks

Pet insurance policies aren’t a one-size-fits-all for every pet owner. Finding the right fit for you depends on your budget, your pet’s needs, and your overall preferences. We picked our top pet insurance providers based on coverage options, the average cost for dogs and cats, and any extras offered.

We only suggested reliable companies you can trust, backed by our team of licensed veterinarians. Customer reviews were researched and compiled through ConsumerAffairs.

Frequently asked questions

Which insurance is best for my dog?

The best insurance depends on your dog and their needs. This includes what you want to pay as your monthly premium, if your pup has any pre-existing conditions, and more. Make sure to do your research on different providers to find the best fit for you and your dog.

What are the disadvantages of having pet insurance?

Having pet insurance can be financially helpful when your pet needs expensive procedures or treatments. But, one downside is traditional policies don’t cover  preventive or elective procedures such as dental cleanings or spaying/neutering. These usually would need to be added to a policy or purchased alone for an additional fee.

Does dog insurance go up with age?

Yes. As your dog ages, your premiums will likely increase. Some pet insurance companies won’t increase premiums until a certain number of years have passed, while others increase incrementally per year.

What’s the average cost of pet insurance for dogs?

The average cost of pet insurance is $50 per month for dogs and $28 per month for cats, but this can vary depending on the provider and your pet’s specific needs.