December 3, 2023

Pet insurance can be a vital way to offset emergency vet expenses.

However, when you’re shopping for pet insurance, you’ll likely notice different types of coverage selections and benefits that may interest you. Let’s get straight to details!

What is the Best Pet Insurance

Overview of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance also covers common health issues such as bite wounds, ear infections, and allergies.

However, like so many other contemporary living expenses, veterinarian prices for pets have been steadily rising.

They grew by 10% this year due to rising vet labor costs, medical supply prices, lab-testing fees, and advanced medications.

According to an American Veterinary Medical Association survey, the average yearly cost of vet visits for houses with a dog in 2022 was $362, and $321 for those with a cat.

If you own a pet—roughly 66% of U.S. families do—buying pet insurance may help alleviate the costs of your furry (or feathered or scaly) friend’s healthcare.

It’s useful to understand which pet insurance companies provide the most value for your money and Max, your yellow Labrador, or Bella, your Siamese cat.

However, while we’ve done a lot of the effort for you here, bear in mind that factors such as your dog or cat’s breed, age, and zip code will all play a role in the cost and best choice of pet insurance for you.

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Best Pet Insurance Companies

Here is a closer look at each of the pet insurance carriers and what they have to offer.

Lemonade Insurance Company

Although Lemonade only offers one plan for both accidents and illness, it offers more add-on options than the majority of the other firms on this list.

Diagnostic tests, surgery, injections for covered diseases, prescription drugs, and other services are all covered under the basic coverage.

Extras such as vet visits, physical therapy, dental illnesses, behavioral therapy, and end-of-life and remembrance can be added for a fee, in addition to several preventative care packages that can help cover things like wellness exams, routine blood work, vaccines, boosters, and more.

There’s even a puppy and kitten preventative care package that includes additional immunizations, more wellness visits, spaying/neutering, and microchipping.

Waiting periods for accidents are two days, 14 days for illness, and six months for cruciate ligament events. One disadvantage is that lemonade insurance is only available in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

The annual coverage limit might range from $5,000 to $100,000. The reimbursement rates are 70%, 80%, or 90%, with annual deductibles ranging from $100 to $500. As an added bonus:

If you combine your pet insurance with Lemonade’s homeowners, renters, or car insurance, you can save money.

You can also obtain a discount if you add another pet and pay your subscription annually rather than monthly.

Metlife All Pets Insurance

Metlife has been in the insurance industry for over 150 years. PetFirst, a pet insurance firm that has been in business since 2004, was placed under the MetLife umbrella in 2019.

For an additional monthly premium, it provides a complete accident and illness coverage as well as a preventative care plan for services such as dental cleanings, bloodwork, and microchipping.

The accident waiting time is the best in this group—coverage begins at midnight on the day you sign up—while the illness waiting period is more normal at 14 days.

Metlife is the only insurer that allows you to cover up to three pets on a same policy with a shared deductible.

Deductibles range from $50 to $500 per year, with annual limitations ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 and reimbursement rates ranging from 90% to 100%.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Most pet insurance policies cover only dogs and cats, but if you own a horse, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, an established, well-known company, offers accident and illness coverage.

Both forms include colic (a common condition in horses), and preventive therapy is available. Its coverage for dogs and cats includes an accident-only plan, which is the least expensive choice.

Here, complete coverage is also offered, which covers both accidents and illness—from arthritis and hip dysplasia to behavioral disorders, cancer, and even inherited illnesses that may not manifest themselves until later in a pet’s life—as well as alternative therapies like acupuncture and physiotherapy.

Accident coverage has a 14-day waiting period.There are two levels of add-on coverage that pay for wellness checks, immunizations, and dental cleanings, but there is no standalone wellness plan.

A bonus: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance coverage cover microchip implantation to assist in the recovery of a missing dog or cat. Annual deductibles range from $100 to $500, coverage limits from $3,000 to $10,000 (on the low end), and reimbursement rates ranging from 70% to 90%.

The ASPCA provides insurance in all 50 states and offers a 10% discount for insuring more than one pet.

Figo Pet Insurance

Figo Pet Insurance was established in 2013 in Chicago by Rusty Sproat. One of Figo’s main advantages is that it offers reimbursement rates of 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100% (the latter is unique for pet insurance policies).

This, combined with an unlimited yearly coverage option (as well as $5,000 and $10,000) and deductibles ranging from $100 to $1,500 (depending on your pet’s age—higher amounts are for older pets), allows you to create a more personalized plan.

Monthly plan premiums are determined by these criteria, as well as the species, breed, age, gender, and location of your pet.

Figo also provides “powerups” for standard care such as immunizations, annual examinations, and diagnostic tests.

Waiting periods for accidents are one day, which is better than most other insurers, and 14 days, which is more usual.

There is also no upper age restriction for coverage, though older animals are more expensive to insure. It’s also worth noting that Figo’s plans cover both illness and injuries, when some other insurers only offer accident-only coverage.

Consider installing the Figo Pet Cloud app if you wish to interact with nearby pet owners (as well as manage your account and claims).

Do you want to change your mind regarding insurance? You have 30 days to request a refund. Plans from Figo are available in all 50 states.

Nationwide Pet Insurance

If you need insurance for your exotic bird or iguana (or a variety of tiny animals such as ferrets, chinchillas, potbellied pigs, rabbits, and turtles), choose Nationwide, a Brea, California-based company.

Exotics are priced and covered differently depending on the species and the animal’s medical history. It offers Whole Pet, Major Medical, and Wellness insurance (but not all states provide wellness policies).

When you insure four or more pets, Nationwide will give you a 10% discount. All of its plans have a 14-day waiting period.

The maximum yearly coverage is $10,000, with reimbursement percentages capped at 50% and 70%. However, there is an annual cap for each ailment in Major Medical insurance.

Nationwide recommends enrolling a pet before age eight to secure the best coverage options. As the name implies, insurance is available in all 50 states.

Odie Pet Insurance

Odie, a newcomer to the pet insurance market, was founded in 2020 and is headquartered in Agoura Hills, California. Except for Alaska, it offers accident-and-illness and accident-only plans with lower-than-average premiums for dogs and cats.

Wellness add-ons for preventive care are also available, including a Basic Plan and a Plus Plan, which pay out more for services like spaying and teeth cleaning.

Odie’s deductibles range from $50 to $1,000, with many options in between, which can lower your premiums.

The trade-off for cheaper prices: The plans aren’t generally as comprehensive as those of other insurers.

The maximum yearly coverage varies by plan and ranges from $5,000 to $40,000, with reimbursement rates ranging from 70% to 90%.

When you enroll more than one pet, Odie offers a 5% multi-pet discount.

There are two drawbacks: unlike many pet insurance, Odie’s sends a cheque via mail, and there is no mobile app for account management.

Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Pets Best, founded in 2005 by veterinarian Jack Stephens, provides pet owners with the option of direct reimbursement to veterinarians, which helps alleviate the stress of a large expense.

The company provides two policies: accident only and accident and illness, with three levels of coverage (Essential, Plus, and Elite, the most comprehensive).

It also offers two optional plans for routine care, including as annual checkups, immunizations, dental cleanings, and other services: BestWellness and EssentialWellness, which have greater reimbursement levels.

Pets Best has deductibles of $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, and $1000. The maximum yearly coverage is $5,000 or infinite, with reimbursement rates ranging from 70% to 90%.

Waiting periods for accidents are three days and 14 days, respectively. Pets Best also provides 24-hour vet support, which is useful for those late-night cat or dog emergencies.

Trupanion

Unlike many pet insurers, Trupanion, founded in Canada in 2000, would cover diets, vitamins, and herbal remedies if prescribed by a registered veterinarian for a specific ailment.

Furthermore, the insurer provides a rider that covers breeding-related illnesses and injuries. Also unusual: coverage can begin at birth (most other organizations start coverage at eight weeks old).

There is no maximum annual limit; it is completely unrestricted. The reimbursement rate is 90%, and while there are several deductible options, they are conditional rather than plan specific.

Trupanion also has a direct-to-vets payment option for its veterinary partners. Waiting periods for accidents are five days and 30 days for illness, which are longer than most other insurers’ waiting periods.

Furthermore, there is no wellness option or multi-pet discount (Trupanion’s focus is on unforeseen illness or damage, not bills that a consumer can plan for, such as immunizations).

Average Cost of Pet Insurance

According to statistics from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average yearly premium for a dog in 2022 was $640.04 for accident-and-injury insurance and $200.58 for accident-only coverage.

These equate to $53.34 and $16.70 each month, respectively.

According to NAPHIA, the average yearly premium for a cat in 2022 was $387.01 for accident-and-injury insurance and $122.19 for accident-only coverage, equating to monthly expenditures of $32.25 and $10.18, respectively.

According to NAPHIA, 3.89 million dogs and little under 1 million cats will be covered in the United States by 2022.

How Pet Insurance Costs are Determined

Age

Younger pets are significantly less expensive to insure than older ones, which are more prone to health problems. Furthermore, treating older pets is more expensive. In addition, most pet insurance premiums will climb as your pet aged.

Species

Prices will vary based on whether you are insuring a dog, cat, horse, or exotic pet.

Dogs, for example, are more expensive to insure than cats since cats have less health difficulties.

Breed

The vulnerability of different breeds to health problems is reflected into insurance costs.

Golden and labrador retrievers, for example, are prone to hip dysplasia, while short-snouted breeds such as bulldogs are more prone to respiratory problems, dental disease, and other health issues.

Where You Live

Your premiums are partly impacted by where you live. Your rates will be greater if your region has a higher cost of living and higher vet fees.

Type of plan

The type of plan influences the price of your pet’s insurance. Accident-only plans are typically less expensive than accident-and-illness insurance.

Deductibles and reimbursement rates

Your premiums will be affected by the plan’s deductible and reimbursement rate. Your premiums will be higher if you have a low deductible because insurance will kick in sooner.

If your deductible is high, your premiums will be reduced, but you will have to pay more upfront before your insurance will cover a claim.

A low reimbursement rate will keep your premiums lower, whereas a high reimbursement rate will raise your premiums.

Benefit limits

Policies with larger benefit limits or that are unrestricted are typically more expensive than policies with smaller benefit limits.

How to Select the Best Pet Insurance Company

First, investigate the various coverage possibilities.

Accidents and injuries, illnesses, inherited and congenital disorders, chronic conditions, behavioral issues, prescription prescriptions, surgery and hospitalizations, and diagnostic tests are all examples of these.

It’s critical to understand your breed’s specific health risks and opt for a plan that covers the ones your pet is most likely to face over its lifetime.

Next, make sure you understand the policy’s exclusions and limitations in terms of how it can be utilized.

Pay close attention to pre-existing condition exclusions, breed-specific exclusions, age limitations, waiting periods, maximum benefit levels, and deductibles and copayments.

Some of these things affect insurance costs, therefore affordability is critical. Examine the premium rate, deductibles, annual limits, and potential discounts (for example, multi-pet enrollment or policy bundles).

Look for solid customer service as well, such as hours of operation, contact options, customer service rep availability, the window of time to file a claim, filing methods, average time for claim payment, and the ability to track claims online.

Policy Advisor, the American Animal Hospital Association’s certified business supplier for pet insurance, features a comparison tool that allows you to compare top insurance company plans while taking your pet’s age, location, and breed-specific needs into account.

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Summary

The ideal pet insurance plan should offer comprehensive coverage tailored to your pet’s specific needs, include wellness and preventive care options, have a reasonable deductible, and come from a reputable provider with a track record of excellent customer service.

Ultimately, the best pet insurance plan is one that aligns with your pet’s healthcare requirements and fits comfortably within your budget, allowing you to provide the best care for your cherished companion.

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