Taking care of your pet’s health is an important part of being a pet owner, but the costs can add up quickly — especially veterinary bills. If your pet has an illness or injury, pet insurance may be able to help cover some or all of the cost.
You have about 20 pet insurance companies to choose from, with varying coverage options and costs. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a pet insurance plan and Insurify’s top picks for 2023.
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What is pet insurance and how does it work?
If your pet gets injured or sick, unexpected vet bills can add up quickly, and you might end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for treatment. But pet insurance can help you cover some or all of these costs.
While you may still need to pay out of pocket at the time of treatment, if you have pet insurance, you’ll be reimbursed for up to 100% of the cost after you file a claim (depending on the type of policy you have).
Pet insurance has become so popular with pet owners that nearly 4.4 million pets were insured in North America in 2021. This is an increase of nearly 28% from the previous year, according to a study by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).
Learn More: What Is Pet Insurance?
The best pet insurance companies
If you’re in the market for pet insurance, consider Insurify’s top 10 picks for best pet insurance companies.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the exclusive pet insurance partner of the AKC, the world’s top dog registry. The company offers dog and cat insurance and has good customer reviews. AKC offers a base accident and illness coverage plan with add-on options to cover wellness, exams, breeding, hereditary conditions, and final respects.
Plans are customizable to your needs and budget and can be adjusted mid-policy if needed. You can choose your own coverage limits and decide whether you want to pay monthly or annually. Discounts are available for insuring multiple pets, you can see any vet, and there’s no age limit for insuring senior pets with the company’s AccidentCare plan.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $28.63 for dogs and $20.71 for cats.
Pre-existing condition coverage after 365 days of continuous coverage
Accident-only coverage for senior pets
Low caps on alternative, holistic, and behavior coverage
Closed on Sundays
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers customizable pet insurance options — including coverage for accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, and behavioral issues. Plans may also cover alternative therapies, prescription food and supplements, and certain congenital conditions. You can also opt to add on wellness coverage to your plan.
ASPCA is one of the oldest pet insurance providers and has excellent customer reviews. With ASPCA, you can choose a deductible that fits your budget — $100, $250, or $500. And you can also choose from different reimbursement rates — 70%, 80%, and 90%. In addition to policies for dogs and cats, the ASPCA also offers plans for horses.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $49.45 for dogs and $24.96 for cats.
Ability to choose your deductible amount
Flexible coverage options
Doesn’t offer 100% reimbursement
Yearly caps on coverage
Lower-cost plans may not offer adequate coverage
Embrace has great customer reviews and offers one simple policy that covers accidents and illnesses — including chronic conditions, cancer, and breed-specific conditions. The company also has a separate wellness option that helps cover routine care.
With Embrace, you can visit any vet or access its 24/7 Paw Support telehealth line. You also get a 10% multi-pet discount. There’s a 14-day waiting period for illness and a two-day waiting period for accidents. While Embrace doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, it only reviews medical records going back 12 months before your policy start date.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $63.63 for dogs and $42.36 for cats.
One simple accident and illness policy
Customizable plans to fit your budget
Only offers one plan option
Annual coverage limits
Age limits may apply
Figo provides pet insurance for cats and dogs, and you can visit any veterinarian. The company offers three flexible plans that cover accidents and illnesses, along with chronic conditions, hereditary and congenital disorders, and cancer. You can also add optional wellness coverage for routine care.
Claims are typically processed in less than three days, and there are no incident coverage caps. Members also have access to a 24/7 vet hotline as well as Pet Cloud, which provides a personalized pet tag to help reunite lost pets with their owners.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $24.82 for dogs and $12.60 for cats.
May cover some pre-existing conditions
Quick claim processing
May charge a fee to enroll
Senior pets may need testing before they can be insured
Waiting periods may vary
Lemonade offers top-rated pet insurance along with renters, homeowners, car, and life insurance policies. Lemonade offers plans for dogs and cats, as well as a preventative care plan especially for puppies and kittens.
With Lemonade, you can go to any licensed vet. Its plans cover accidents and illnesses, along with routine care like wellness exams, vaccines, and tests. You can also upgrade or downgrade your plan if your needs change.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $18.61 for dogs and $16.22 for cats.
Quick claim reimbursement
Discounts for policy bundling and multiple pets
Short waiting periods for most types of coverage
Rates may be affected by your credit history
Not available in all states
Requires your pet’s medical records upon sign-up
MetLife pet insurance is available for dogs and cats and can be used with any vet. Plans are customizable and include coverage for accidents and illnesses, along with holistic care, chronic conditions, alternative therapies, and more.
You can choose coverage levels ranging from $500 to unlimited, deductibles from $0 to $2,500, and reimbursement packages of up to 100%. Prices vary depending on the age and breed of your pet, along with your location. But you may be eligible for a decreasing deductible or other types of discounts, including savings for first responders, veterans, and healthcare workers.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $38.03 for dogs and $26.62 for cats.
Family plans for multiple pets
May be available through your employer
No age restrictions
Pre-existing conditions may not be covered
14-day waiting period for illness coverage
Claims typically take up to 10 days to process
Nationwide Pet Insurance has been providing coverage for pets for nearly 40 years, is one of the only pet insurance companies backed by a nationally known insurance company, and has excellent customer ratings. Nationwide offers plans for dogs and cats, along with birds and a long list of exotic animals — including amphibians, ferrets, and potbellied pigs.
You can use Nationwide at any licensed vet, and it offers plans that cover accidents and injuries, illnesses, and hereditary conditions. Coverage is also available for holistic and alternative care and some routine care. Plans start at $35 per month, but premiums vary depending on your location, the type of pet you have, and your pet’s age. If you have more than one pet, you may also be able to get a discount.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $31.08 for dogs and $14.45 for cats.
Offers exotic pet coverage
May be available through your employer
Free vet helpline for members
14-day waiting period
Wellness plans not available in all states
Potential limits on coverage
Pets Best insurance is available for cats and dogs and has great customer reviews. It offers coverage options for accidents, illnesses, and wellness care, along with a 24/7 expert vet hotline. You can see any vet, and plans start at less than $10 a month for accident-only coverage.
Plans are customizable, based on your pet’s needs and budget — Pets Best says it has more than 100 possible plan combinations. Plus, you can make changes to your plan at any time.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $29.96 for dogs and $15.05 for cats.
Budget-friendly accident-only plan
No loss of coverage for senior pets
Option for insurer to pay vet directly
Some holistic therapies may not be covered
Pre-existing conditions not covered
Exam fees may not be covered
Spot Pet Insurance offers coverage for dogs and cats. You can choose from accident and illness plans or accident only. Wellness coverage is also available as an add-on. The company also offers an accident-only option for kittens and puppies.
Spot has great customer reviews, and you can use your plan with any vet. Plans can be customized to best suit your needs. You can select your reimbursement percentage, annual limit, and annual deductible. You can also get a 10% discount for enrolling multiple pets.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $49.35 for dogs and $24.96 for cats.
Offers accident-only coverage for puppies and kittens
Exam fees are typically covered
Covers alternative therapies
Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered
14-day waiting per
No ability to pay vets directly
Trupanion is a top customer-rated insurance company that offers pet insurance policies for cats and dogs from birth up to age 14. Unlike other pet insurance companies, there’s no deductible. The company does have a 12-day waiting period, but Trupanion offers immediate coverage when you sign up with its Exam Day Offer.
While you only have one plan option, there are no coverage limits, even if your vet bill is $100,000 or more. With Trupanion, accidents and illness are covered, along with things like diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications, and mobility devices. But the company doesn’t offer preventive care or wellness coverage.
The average monthly cost of an accident and illness plan is $58.44 for dogs and $22.57 for cats.
No coverage limits
Covers hip dysplasia
No multi-pet discounts
No coverage options for routine care
Only one plan option
Insurify sourced the quotes on this page directly from the pet insurance company websites. Dog quotes were based on a 2-year-old male mixed-breed dog that weighs between 31 and 50 pounds and lives in Hartford, Connecticut. Cat quotes were calculated based on a 2-year-old female American shorthair that lives in Hartford, Connecticut.
All quotes were based on a $500 deductible, except for Nationwide, which provided quotes based on a $250 deductible. Keep in mind that your quotes may look different based on your particular pet profiles and where you live.
How to choose a pet insurance provider
You’ll want to consider several things when choosing an insurance provider, including:
Customer service: From free vet advice lines to friendly agents that can help you understand your benefits, reliable customer service can help you make the most of your plan.
Customer reviews: Check third-party review sites to read real customer reviews and see how each insurance company ranks.
Claim submission: You’ll typically submit a claim online, through email, or by fax. Some insurers may offer the ability to submit claims via their mobile app. Check each insurer you’re considering to see how easy the claims process is.
Claim reimbursement: Options for reimbursement can include direct deposit or a check, which can affect how quickly you receive your funds.
How much does pet insurance cost?
Pet insurance costs can vary widely depending on your plan, insurance company, and the type of pet that’s insured. The average annual cost for accident and illness insurance plans in 2021 was $584 for dogs and $343 for cats, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)’s State of the Industry 2022 report. But if you have an accident-only insurance policy, you can expect to pay significantly less, with an average annual cost in 2021 of $239 for dogs and $130 for cats.
What affects the cost of pet insurance?
You can expect to pay about $10 to $50 a month for pet coverage based on national averages. But your actual cost can depend on many factors, including the type of coverage and your pet’s species, breed, gender, and age. Where you live can also affect your premium since the cost of vet treatments and running a vet practice can vary from market to market.
More comprehensive coverage, such as accident and illness plans, generally cost more than twice as much as accident-only policies. Plans for dogs tend to cost more than for cats. And if you have a mixed breed, your plan will also likely cost less than those for purebred cats and dogs. And as your pet ages, you can expect increases in your plan costs, including copays, deductibles, and premiums.
Is pet insurance worth buying?
Whether pet insurance is worth buying depends on your individual financial situation. If you don’t have an emergency fund saved, having pet insurance can help give you peace of mind that you can get your pet the veterinary care it needs in the event of an accident or illness. It also can help protect pet owners financially, as it helps avoid the need to take out a loan or use a high-interest credit card to cover unexpected vet costs.
See More: Is Pet Insurance Really Worth It?
What does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance coverage can vary depending on the type of plan you choose and the insurance company. But you can generally choose from three main types of coverage:
Accident and illness: This coverage is comprehensive and covers many types of unexpected vet expenses, including disease, illness, and injuries. Costs average about $30 to $50 a month.
Accident only: This type of policy provides coverage for injuries related to accidents and costs about $10 to $20 a month.
Wellness: Also known as preventative or routine protection, wellness policies can help cover the cost of things like dental work, tests, and vaccines. They may be available to purchase separately, but they’re sometimes part of more comprehensive accident and illness plans.
What isn’t covered by pet insurance?
While pet insurance covers many different types of illnesses and injuries, there are some exclusions, such as:
Pre-existing medical conditions: If your pet already had health issues before you signed up for coverage, those issues may not be covered by your policy.
Wellness benefits: Unless you have a preventative care policy, routine veterinary care likely won’t be covered. This may include things like spaying and neutering, flea, heartworm, and tick preventatives, grooming, and nail trimming.
Pregnancies: Your pet insurance plan likely won’t cover care related to your pet’s pregnancy or birth.
There may also be a waiting period before any illnesses and injuries qualify for coverage. This means that you won’t be able to use your plan for a certain amount of time — typically about 10 to 20 days.
How to choose a pet insurance plan
Here are some things that can affect the prices you’ll receive when you request a pet insurance quote:
Pet’s age: Check how old a pet needs to be before signing up and whether there are any age limits for senior pets.
Pet species: While plans generally cover dogs and cats, if you have a horse or exotic pet, you’ll need to make sure it’s covered.
Pet breed: Check if there are differences in cost for a mixed breed versus a purebred pet, as this can affect your coverage and cost.
Coverage options: Plans typically offer coverage for accidents and illnesses but may also offer wellness coverage and other add-ons.
Plan premiums: You monthly premium can vary depending on the type of policy you buy and the insurance provider. You may also be able to add additional coverage or get discounts.
How to compare pet insurance quotes
From annual premium costs and coverage options, you’ll need to consider many factors when choosing a pet insurer and policy, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Many insurance companies provide a free quote online or over the phone, making it simple to compare a number of options.
Quotes and plan options may vary from plan to plan. For example, Nationwide may offer coverage for exotic pets, but Lemonade doesn’t. Or Trupanion might not have coverage limits, but ASPCA does. Making a list of what’s important to you and your pet’s needs can help you more easily compare quotes. You can also talk to your veterinarian, who may be able to provide insight on the cost of veterinary care and which plan may be best for your pet.
“When you shop for pet insurance, it is important to understand what is covered by the insurance, the limits it will pay, and consider your pet’s specific needs,” says Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications at the Insurance Information Institute. “You may want to check your home/auto insurance company, your group insurance at work, and your veterinarian for recommendations. Our beloved pet’s health and safety is key.”
Learn More: Cheap Pet Insurance
Filing a pet insurance claim
To use your pet insurance, you’ll have to file a pet insurance claim for reimbursement. While the exact process may vary slightly from company to company, generally you’ll complete a claim form after you visit the vet and submit it to your insurance company.
You’ll need to send in your claim form via fax, email, or mail, along with a copy of your vet bill. Once your pet insurance company receives the claim, it’ll review it and you’ll receive reimbursement, usually in about two weeks.
Claims waiting period
Most pet insurance plans have a claims waiting period, which is a set amount of time you must wait to file a claim before your coverage kicks in. Waiting periods typically range from about 10 to 30 days. This means you won’t be reimbursed for accidents and illnesses that happen during this time. Insurance companies may also have separate longer waiting periods for certain conditions, like orthopedic issues.
Best pet insurance FAQs
As you’re shopping around for pet insurance, these answers to some commonly asked questions may help you narrow down your search.
No. Pet insurance is an optional type of insurance that can help you cover the cost of veterinary bills.
The best pet insurance company is one that offers the coverage and plans that fit your budget and pet’s veterinary needs. With more than 20 pet insurance companies to choose from, it’s a good idea to get quotes from several different companies before selecting a plan.
Yes, you can switch pet insurance companies. Just keep in mind that factors like pre-existing conditions and your pet’s age might affect your ability to get coverage. You may also be subject to a new waiting period before coverage kicks in on the new plan.
Tax deductions for pet expenses are typically limited to working pets, such as service animals, farm dogs, and animals that perform.
It’s a good idea to insure your pet as soon as possible since pet insurance can get more expensive as your pet ages. Keep in mind, however, that many policies won’t cover pets that are less than 8 weeks old.