Maintaining your pet’s health is an important part of caring for your animal, and at some point, you may have to pay for expensive vet bills and necessary medical or wellness treatments.
A pet insurance policy can offer relief from those expenses and protect your pet when it gets sick or injured. To help you find the best pet insurance plan, we at the Guides Home Team analyzed the best pest insurance providers on a variety of key factors and compiled our top recommendations.
Best Pet Insurance Companies
We reviewed and compared each company on factors such as monthly pricing, industry reputation and covered treatments to determine which ones to recommend to readers. Keep reading for our reviews of the top pet insurance companies.
Here are the best pet insurance companies and plans:
Lemonade: Most Affordable Plans
To learn more: Lemonade Pet Insurance review
To learn more: Spot Pet Insurance review
Find the best pet insurance provider in your state:
Embrace: Our Pick for Savings
To learn more: Embrace Pet Insurance review.
Healthy Paws: Our Pick for Unlimited Coverage
To learn more: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance review
Figo: Most Flexible Reimbursement Rates
To learn more: Figo Pet Insurance review
Wagmo: Most Wellness Plan Options
Trupanion: Most Flexible Deductible
To learn more: Trupanion Pet Insurance review
Fetch by The Dodo: Our Pick for Therapy Coverage
To learn more: Fetch by the Dodo review
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance: Most Experienced
To learn more: ASPCA Pet Insurance review
Pets Best: Our Pick for Senior Pets
To learn more: Pets Best Pet Insurance review
What Is Pet Insurance?
According to our 2021 survey of pet owners, 35% of pet owners hadn’t enrolled in a pet insurance policy because they know very little about pet insurance. We want to give you a detailed look at what pet insurance is, how much it costs, and the top providers so you can make an informed decision about whether pet insurance is right for you and your loyal companion.
Similar to your personal health insurance, pet insurance is designed to relieve the weight of unexpected medical bills. While your health insurance provider pays your doctor directly for what’s covered under your policy, your pet insurance provider reimburses you for up to 90% of the vet bills from any licensed vet in the United States.
Each pet insurance policy comes with an annual limit, which is the maximum amount the provider agrees to pay over the course of a year for your pet’s veterinary expenses. Your policy’s deductible is the amount you owe out of pocket during a claim before your pet’s coverage kicks in.
Your pet insurance policy’s covered treatments vary depending on the company and your selected plan, but no company will cover preexisting conditions your pet has before the policy’s effective coverage date. Additionally, each policy comes with dedicated waiting periods for accidents and illnesses between the time you sign up and the official coverage start date. This means you can’t claim coverage on incidents or conditions that arise during that time.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works similarly to human health insurance, aside from one key difference. With human health insurance, you typically pay a deductible plus a co-pay at checkout. Then, your provider files the claim on your behalf. With pet insurance, you pay the full bill and submit the claim yourself. Your pet insurance provider will reimburse you for your pet’s vet visit or treatment minus the deductible and co-pay.
Many pet insurance companies require a health checkup and a waiting period before coverage begins. Standard plans cover accidents and illnesses; preexisting conditions are typically excluded. Coverage for routine and preventive care, such as dental care or spaying and neutering, are offered as add-ons for an extra fee each month.
Below are some common exclusions pet insurance companies impose:
- Behavior issues
- Death and theft
- Dental disease
- Elective procedures (anal gland expression and removal, tail docking, ear cropping, etc.)
- Hip dysplasia
- Preexisting or hereditary conditions
- Pregnancy and birth
- Preventive care
- Routine checkups
Pet insurance companies include a waiting period before coverage begins. A waiting period is the period of time your insurer requires you to wait until your pet is eligible for reimbursement on specific conditions. Below are the common waiting periods for pet insurance plans:
- Two days for accidents
- 14 days for illnesses
- Six months for cruciate ligament or cranial events
What Is a Pre-existing Condition?
While researching pet insurance companies, you’ll come across the term “preexisting conditions” — something no pet insurance provider will cover. A preexisting condition is defined as any symptom, diagnosis or treatment listed on your pet’s medical records before being insured. For example, take your dog to the vet before your insurance policy is active and it shows symptoms of allergies. Your pet insurance provider won’t cover any treatments or medications for allergies because it’s classified as a preexisting condition.
To avoid missing out on coverage because of a preexisting condition, veterinary experts advise enrolling your pet in an insurance policy as early as possible, preferably when your pet is still a puppy or kitten. “Taking insurance out before the first vet check, when congenital diseases like heart murmurs and limb deformities can be picked up, is a real no-brainer,” says Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and consultant at FiveBarks.
Our 2022 pet insurance survey shows that 77% of pet owners insured their pets before they turned two years old, resulting is less denied claims for preexisting conditions.
Types of Pet Insurance Plans
Determine what type of coverage you need before purchasing a pet insurance policy. Most companies offer accident-and-illness plans, and some offer accident-only plans for a lower monthly premium. Some companies may also offer an optional wellness care plan that can be added to your policy for an extra monthly fee.
Here are more details about each pet insurance plan option:
- Accident-only plans: These plans are more affordable than accident-and-illness plans since they cover vet bills resulting from accidents or injuries, such as broken bones, swallowed objects or severe cuts.
- Accident-and-illness plans: These plans offer the most comprehensive coverage and cover both accidents and illnesses, such as diarrhea, vomiting, toxic ingestions and other conditions, such as cancer and hereditary, congenital and genetic conditions.
- Wellness or preventive care: Wellness or preventive care plans can be purchased from most providers alongside your standard policy. They usually cover annual checkups, vaccines, bloodwork and fecal tests. Companies such as Lemonade and Figo offer wellness coverage for a flat rate each month, while other companies, including Embrace and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, offer wellness coverage add-ons at different price points. This optional coverage can be especially valuable for younger pets since puppies and kittens usually require more preventive health care with vaccinations and initial checkups. The majority of respondents to our 2021 pet survey, 52.28%, said they took their pets to the vet for routine checkups every six months.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
A whopping 93% of the pet parents we surveyed agreed that pet insurance is worth it. Not only does it save you from pricey, unexpected vet costs, but it also ensures your pet gets the vital health care it needs. Consider your pet’s age, breed and whether it’s at risk for genetic or breed-specific illnesses. If your pet’s breed is susceptible to a condition requiring lifelong care or medication, enroll them in a policy early to ensure that care will be covered.
It may also be worth it to add a wellness plan for preventive treatment to your base policy. Our survey revealed that 52% of pet owners take their dogs to the vet every six months. An accident-and-illness plan paired with a preventive add-on would cover costs for these visits.
What Are the Highest Costs for Pet Owners?
According to the American Pet Products Association, 90.5 million households across the United States owned pets as of 2021. Pet parents spent a total of $123.6 billion on their pets, with more than half of those costs going toward vet care, pet supplies and medications.
Our survey respondents spent the most money on their pet’s food (54%), followed by veterinary costs and medications (18%).
Here’s a breakdown of all of their answers in the survey:
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.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The highest percentage of pet owners from our 2021 survey, 36%, paid only $25 to $40 per month for pet insurance. Our survey also revealed that 44% of pet owners believe plan premiums are the most important factor when choosing a pet insurance plan.
Pet owners can expect to pay between $30 and $50 per month for dogs and $15 to $30 per month for cats on pet insurance. However, pet insurance can cost anywhere from $10 to $100 per month and varies based on several factors.
What Impacts the Cost of Pet Insurance?
Your ZIP code can affect your policy’s premium in two ways. Firstly, your state may have specific insurance regulations that affect how much each company charges in your area. Secondly, pet insurance companies will consider how much your local veterinarians charge for services to determine how much you’ll need to pay per month for a policy.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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)
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, simulating the quote and purchasing process, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage.
We scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements. We then divided the points earned for each provider’s final score on a 5-point scale.
Here are more details about each factor and how they’re weighted:
- Monthly pricing (25 points): How much each company charges for its pet insurance plans is an important part of a customer’s decision. The best pet insurance companies combine comprehensive coverage and plan options with affordable rates.
- Plans (15 points): The top pet insurance companies offer accident-and-illness plans, accident-only plans and wellness or preventive care add-ons to give customers the option to choose a plan that’s best for their pet.
- Covered treatments (15 points): With this factor, we scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Companies with a breadth of included treatments and unique coverages received more points than providers with more standard or general policies.
- Customization options (10 points): Customizing your policy is a valuable way to ensure you only pay for what your pet needs. Providers with more annual-limit, deductible and reimbursement-rate options earned the highest scores.
- Customer care (10 points): We scored companies on their website accessibility and overall usability, customer service availability, mobile apps (if any), money-back guarantees and veterinarian telehealth options, awarding points to the insurers with more customer experience offerings.
- Industry reputation (10 points): To determine each company’s industry reputation, we reviewed up-to-date ratings and accreditation information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored companies on their years of experience in the industry and their state availability.
- Waiting periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident, illness and orthopedic waiting periods between the sign-up and coverage start date scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
- Eligible age (5 points): Some companies don’t offer policies for pets that are over a certain age. We deducted points from providers that have age limits for covered pets.
We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. Additionally, we keep our research up to date and revisit our reviews on a regular basis.