The Best Pet Insurance Companies for Covering Your Vet Bills

Sarah Badani

Whether you’re traveling abroad or just want to keep them safe and sound at home, your pets rely on you for their health and well-being. This is why pet insurance is so important. From saving you thousands of dollars on vet bills to saving your best friend’s life, the best pet insurance can be a godsend at the right time.

Wondering what pet insurance covers, who it’s for, and how much it costs? Check out our complete guide to this important product to find out exactly how pet insurance works and where to turn to when your dog, cat, bird, turtle, hamster, or other fluffy friend needs help. You can also use this handy chart to compare pet insurance carriers at a glance.

Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, reptiles, exotic pets
Cats and dogs
Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
Generally between 3 days and 6 months
14 days
14 days
2-14 days
15 days, can be waived
14 days
5 day accident, 30 day illness
14 days
Next day-14 days
Next day-14 days
Choose from $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1000
70%-90%
Annual
Annual, choose between $200-$1000
Annual or incident
Annual, $250
Choose from no deductible or anywhere from $50-$1000
Choice of $100, $250, and $500
Choice of deductibles ranging from $50-$500
Choice of $0-$1000
Choose between 70%, 80%, or 90%
$100-$500
Choice of 70%, 80%, or 90%
Choice of 70%, 80%, or 90%
Choice of 70%, 80%, or 90%
90% or the agreed-upon amount
90%
Choice from 70%, 80%, 90%
Choice of 70%, 80%, or 90%
Choice of 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100%, direct deposit
Comprehensive coverage or tailored plans
Customizing your pet’s plan
Pets who may have health issues
Diminishing deductible feature
Flexible payment and plan terms
Flat rate coverage for most incidents
Insuring your pet from birth
Those who don’t want to pay extra for coverage
Pet owners who want to choose coverage options
Easy online claims and flex terms

The Best Pet Insurance Companies

  • 1

    Pets Best

    Lifetime protection for all your furry friends
    Pets Best
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting periodGenerally between 3 days and 6 months
    • DeductibleChoose from $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1000

    A member of NAPHIA, PetsBest, is one of the best pet insurance carriers around. It offers comprehensive coverage with all of its plans, including accidents, illnesses, and diagnoses. You'll even get coverage for more advanced things, like cancer treatments, emergency care, hospitalization, and ongoing conditions. PetsBest also offers travel insurance, so you can keep your coverage even while you're away. And you can also include routine care into any plan.

    What’s more, PetsBest understands that your pet is loved regardless of their health status or age. That’s why this carrier covers older pets, hereditary conditions, and even behavioral conditions. Plus, you can see any vet you want.

    Pros
    • Unlimited and lifetime plans available
    • One deductible annually
    • 24/7 pet helpline
    Cons
    • Some waiting periods can be very long
    • No alternative medicine coverage
  • 2

    Spot Pet Insurance

    Customizable meet you and your pet’s unique n...
    Spot Pet Insurance
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting period14 days
    • Deductible70%-90%

    One of Spot’s major highlights is its flexibility. Its customizable insurance plans provide pet owners, or “pet parents,” as the site calls them, to pick and choose the benefits that best meet their pet’s needs and their own budgets. This is a somewhat rare feature and allows you more control over the amount you spend and the coverage you choose to receive.

    Aside from that, Spot offers competitive rates and reimbursement models. The waiting period is on the longer end of the spectrum, but Spot is underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, a firm that’s been around for nearly 200 years and has proven itself to be responsive and dependable.

    Spot has enlisted Cesar Millan, a well-respected dog behaviorist, to join its ranks to provide customers with a wealth of free advice and pet-care tips, another feature that many of its members find attractive and helpful.

    Pros
    • Customizable insurance plans
    • Dependable, time-tested customer service
    • Supplemental advice from dog behaviorist Cesar Millan
    Cons
    • Only offers plans for dogs and cats
    • 14 day waiting period
  • 3

    ASPCA

    The most trusted name in animal care today
    ASPCA
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting period14 days
    • DeductibleAnnual

    ASPCA is a well-known organization among pet owners. A nationally-acclaimed advocate for all animals, the ASPCA is an obvious choice for best pet insurance provider. It offers a Complete Coverage plan that covers just about anything man’s best friend will ever need, including accidents and illnesses. The ASPCA offers high annual limits, fast reimbursements, and up to 90% coverage on many common procedures.

    You can easily submit claims with the ASPCA handy smartphone app. The app also has other great features, like finding a vet fast, setting up direct deposit, and paying your bill digitally. And as you would expect, ASPCA has a website that’s loaded with useful information and tools for pet owners. The ASPCA partners with a huge nation-wide network of professional veterinarians, so you’re never far away from someone who can help.

    Pros
    • Complete Coverage plan
    • Behavioral and alternative therapies coverage
    • No age limits for illness coverage and all pets eligible
    Cons
    • Breeding costs not covered
    • Only covers dogs and cats
  • 4

    EMBRACE

    Get the full coverage your pet deserves for less
    EMBRACE
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting period2-14 days
    • DeductibleAnnual, choose between $200-$1000

    Embrace is another good choice if you’re looking for pet insurance. It offers up to 90% back on all covered items, lets you use any vet you want, and provides flexible wellness plans for every type of situation. Embrace also has plans covering the spectrum from kittens and puppies to senior pets for complete lifetime coverage.

    What’s more, Embrace does its best to make things as affordable as possible for pet owners. For one thing, you’ll get reimbursements for preventative care, grooming, and training with no limits. And Embrace has a diminishing deductible feature that makes the cost of pet insurance even more affordable. You’ll get $50 off your annual deductible each year that you don’t make a claim. This is a recurring feature, so it can significantly reduce your insurance costs.

    Pros
    • Diminishing deductible feature
    • Exam fees covered
    • Wellness Rewards program
    Cons
    • Age limited to 14 years for illness coverage
    • No unlimited plans
  • 5

    PetPlan

    Comprehensive pet insurance for everyone
    PetPlan
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting period15 days, can be waived
    • DeductibleAnnual or incident

    PetPlan is a comprehensive pet insurance carrier that offers a pretty wide range of coverage, including behavioral therapy and diagnostic testing. It also covers some less frequently covered treatments such as holistic medicine and alternative therapies, like acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic treatments, and homeopathic therapy.

    PetPlan also offers flexible plan options. You can choose your deductible and even the type of deductible. So, you decide whether you pay per condition or annually and how much you are going to pay for each visit. Speaking of flexibility, PetPlan allows pet owners to stick with the vet of their choice as long as they’re licensed in the US or Canada.

    Pros
    • Use any licensed vet within the US or Canada
    • No age limit on illness coverage
    • Behavioral and alternative therapies included
    Cons
    • No preventative care coverage
    • Prescription food is excluded from coverage
  • 6

    Nationwide

    Pet insurance for any pet, anywhere, any time
    Nationwide
    • Pets CoveredDogs, cats, birds, rabbits, reptiles, exotic pets
    • Waiting period14 days
    • DeductibleAnnual, $250

    Nationwide is a pet insurance provider that is really trying to make it easy for pet owners to get the coverage their pets (and their wallets) need. It offers a comprehensive plan that covers the basics, like accidents and illnesses, but it also covers exams, wellness, and ongoing diseases that are often not included in coverage. Coverage also includes prescriptions and dental surgeries.

    Pros
    • All domestic and exotic pets included
    • Multiple pet discount
    • Wide coverage in base plan
    Cons
    • Smaller multiple pet discount than most
    • Low age limit for illness coverage
  • 7

    Trupanion

    Convenient and comprehensive pet coverage
    Trupanion
    • Pets CoveredCats and dogs
    • Waiting period5 day accident, 30 day illness
    • DeductibleChoose from no deductible or anywhere from $50-$1000

    If Trupanion’s goal is to break the mold of pet insurance providers, then it seems to have succeeded. With forward-thinking policies such as direct-pay to vets—a first in the pet insurance industry—and a condition-based deductible policy, Trupanion has proved to be an innovative provider with a refreshing approach designed for long-term pet coverage. 

    This is most evident in its Vet Direct Pay policy. By paying the vet 90% of costs within 5 minutes, Trupanion frees its customers from having to fill out paperwork and wait days or weeks to be reimbursed. Another unique feature is its lifetime condition deductible, which allows you to pay deductibles by each of your pet’s conditions rather than on an annual basis. Furthermore, the company has no limits on claims and does not discriminate based on age, another testament to its commitment to lifetime pet insurance. 

    As far as the price, Trupanion’s costs will depend on your pet’s age, breed, gender, and location. The costs tend to be higher than other providers, but with extensive coverage and progressive policies such as Vet Direct Pay and condition-based deductibles, Trupanion makes a case for itself especially for owners insuring their pets for the long-term.

    Pros
    • Vet Direct Pay feature means limited waiting period
    • Unlimited lifetime coverage
    • Many deductibles to choose from
    Cons
    • $35 enrollment fee
    • May be more expensive than other providers
  • 8

    Prudent Pet

    All the add-ons you need for complete coverage
    Prudent Pet
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting period14 days
    • DeductibleChoice of $100, $250, and $500

    Prudent Pet is making it easier for pet owners to care for their pets properly. To begin with, you don’t have to go to a specific vet. You can stick with the one you are already using and are familiar with as long as they are a licensed veterinarian in the United States or Canada. This includes specialists and emergency care facilities.

    Second, Prudent Pet gives you the ability to pick your plan, so you're not paying for things that don't interest you. Choose from accident and illness or accident-only plans, and then include either prime or basic preventive add-ons. Basic preventative includes things like dental cleanings, wellness exams, and deworming. Meanwhile, the prime preventative care plan has options like heartworm prevention and blood tests.

    Pros
    • Direct deposit or check
    • Unlimited plan
    • Flexible add-ons so you pay for what you want
    Cons
    • Preventative care doesn’t come included
    • Cosmetic procedures not included
  • 9

    PetFirst

    Convenient à la carte pet insurance plans
    PetFirst
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting periodNext day-14 days
    • DeductibleChoice of deductibles ranging from $50-$500

    PetFirst lets pet owners shop à la carte for their pet insurance plans. There's the base plan, and then you can add to it the coverage you want, like preventative care, behavioral issues, and prescription food. PetFirst's basic plan covers a lot, including exams fees, diagnoses, x-rays, and hospitalization. The basic plan also covers things like alternative medicine and dental coverage.

    PetFirst coverage extends across the United States, so you can travel with your pet freely across the country. And to make things a little more affordable, PetFirst offers a wellness discount for every year your dog or cat remains claim-free. There’s also a multiple pet discount and an annual bill pay discount. What’s more, PetFirst lets you enroll any dog or cat that is 8 weeks or older. No discrimination against older pets.

    Pros
    • No upper age limit
    • Lots of optional add-ons for plans
    • Discount for multiple pets
    Cons
    • Per incident deductible
    • Prescription food is capped at $250 annually
  • 10

    PetPlacePetInsurance.com

    Affordable pet insurance and easy claims
    PetPlacePetInsurance.com
    • Pets CoveredDogs and cats
    • Waiting periodNext day-14 days
    • DeductibleChoice of $0-$1000

    PetPlace is the new kid on the block, but it comes with an impressive backing. It’s underwritten by the Independence American Insurance Company, an A.M. Best A- rating insurer. Beyond that, PetPlace has a solid offering for owners of dogs and cats of every age and range.

    PetPlace also excels when it comes to giving you options. You’ll get to choose between a whole slew of plans from accident and illness to routine care, accident-only, and vaccinations. There are several others you can discuss directly with the insurer. PetPlace also has pretty fast coverage, sometimes even as soon as the next day. The deductibles are your choice, ranging from $0 to $1000, and the reimbursement is also flexible (ranging from 70%-100%).

    Pros
    • Online claims process & direct deposit
    • Up to 100% coverage
    • Underwriting by Independence American Insurance Company
    Cons
    • New to the industry
    • Not a lot of info online

What is Pet Insurance and How Does it Work?

Pet insurance is a service for pet owners seeking a financial safety net in case their animal gets sick or injured and requires expensive veterinary treatment. Owners of dogs, cats, and, in some cases, exotic pets, pay a monthly premium for this service, with costs varying based on the age and breed of the animal, what medical costs are covered under the policy, what annual or per-procedure deductible the policy includes, and what percentage of treatment the customer will be reimbursed for by the company.

Pet insurance prices are specific to the animal in question and the type of coverage you want, so the signup process begins with you providing information on the provider's website about the species, breed, age, and basic medical history of your pet. You will then get a quote which you can adjust by changing your deductible, reimbursement percentage, annual limit, and coverage plan if the provider has a tiered pricing system.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

The extent of your pet insurance policy's coverage will depend on the provider and plan that you choose. When choosing a plan, the coverage you may look for includes:

  • Preventative/wellness care

  • Hereditary conditions

  • Unexpected illnesses and injuries

  • Dental care

  • Diagnostic tests

  • Surgeries

  • Hospitalization

  • Medication

  • Supplements or prescription food

  • Behavioral therapy

As a pet owner, you've likely found that the most common costs you have for your animals, particularly young pets, are their routine exams. While some insurers, such as Pets Best, cover exam costs, others do not. With some insurers, you may have to opt for a more expensive monthly premium to get them included. While such preventative treatment is a common expense, it's worthwhile to do the math and see if it actually saves you any money. The money you have to add to your monthly premium may be more than your out-of-pocket cost for 1 or 2 annual checkups, depending on the insurance provider and its fees.

It is very rare for any pet insurance provider to cover pre-existing conditions. However, some providers, such as ASPCA, will cover conditions that have been cured and have shown no symptoms for at least 180 days.

While these are things that you should insist that your plan cover, there are some other things that you’ll likely have to live without. In addition to not covering pre-existing conditions, it is common practice for insurers to exclude cosmetic procedures, like ear cropping or claw removal, as well as breeding costs.

What are the Costs of Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance costs vary widely and depend on many factors, including:

  • Breed

  • Age

  • Health

  • Deductible

  • Annual limit

  • Reimbursement level

  • Coverage level

To put it simply, the younger and healthier your pet is, the cheaper a premium you’ll pay. The more you pay, the higher your annual limit and range of coverage will be.

In addition, the amount of deductible you’re willing to pay, your reimbursement level and the amount of your annual limit will also affect your monthly payment. So it is important to understand what these terms mean:

Deductible

A deductible is an amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Many of the best pet insurers let you choose the amount from a list of options. A higher deductible will lower the price of your policy. Some insurers also offer the option of doing away with a deductible altogether, for a more expensive policy. A deductible may be payable yearly, where once you hit the cap, all future vet costs are covered, or per-incident, where you pay a set amount or percentage of each medical expense.

Reimbursement

The insurer does not pay you back 100% of the cost of a covered procedure. It will generally pay you back somewhere between 70%-90% of the cost.

Annual Limit

This is the maximum amount that the insurer will pay for treatment in a given year.

7 Reasons Vets Recommend Pet Insurance 

1. Preventative Care. You never have to question whether your pet’s unusual behavior warrants a visit to the vet. Early diagnosis is critical. And with health insurance you have the freedom to seek an expert opinion whenever any little issue comes up, without having to consider the cost. This way, you can catch a small problem before it turns into a major problem.

2. Cut Costs. Most policies run $30 per month or less. A simple tooth extraction for your dog can cost up to $1,000 and cataract surgery - the most common type of surgery performed on older dogs - will cost anywhere from $1,500 up to $3,000. The low monthly price of insurance will save you big when you’re eventually handed that expensive bill.

3. Customized Coverage. Whether you want to opt for a full coverage plan that includes vet visits, wellness treatments, surgeries and all types of medication or if you want a basic plan that covers only emergency visits - the choice is yours. There are policies for every breed, age and type of pet. These days some insurers cover almost every type of pet - birds, horses, reptiles, rabbits and more. Once your pet is covered, that coverage lasts a lifetime. No need to worry about your pets getting dropped as they age or if they develop a chronic illness.

4. Save Your Pet’s Life. Emergency visits cost around 15-25% more than regular vet visits. So for those critical moments when you can’t wait until morning to seek help, you’ll be happy you have the coverage. Kathleen, whose puppy was covered by Pets Best insurance, found herself in that exact kind of terrifying situation. “My puppy ate an AA battery and needed emergency care due to ingestion of battery acid,” she said. “I don't know if I would have been able to afford the cost of his care without Pets Best.”

5. More Treatment Options. You won’t be in a situation where your pet has a life-threatening condition and you have to make the heartbreaking decision to not pursue complicated treatments because of cost. “Nothing is sadder than seeing a client who can’t afford to pay for a pet’s treatment,” says Dr. David Wright, DVM, of Collierville Pet Hospital, in Tennessee.

6. It’s Simple. Many pet owners are wary to even approach the subject of insurance. But the pet insurance model looks a lot more like car insurance than the health insurance you’re used to dealing with, because the costs are reimbursed and don’t depend on using specific medical professionals.  

7. No Network. Vets don’t need to be ‘in network,’ like with people’s health insurance for you to be reimbursed.  No arguing with insurance agents who refuse to reimburse your medical bills.

How to Choose Your Pet Insurance Provider

Here are some things to consider as you choose pet insurance plans and consider quotes:

  • Compare providers to find the one with plans that suit your pet's personality and your wallet

  • Research coverage options so you'll understand exactly what you're paying for

  • Consider what reimbursement speed and level of customer service you'd prefer

  • Consider your pets unique medical needs and expenses

If your pet is part of a breed that has a greater risk for a particular medical issue, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a provider, such as Embrace, that covers breed-specific and genetic conditions. If you have a purebred pet, research the breed to see if there are any conditions you should know about.

An unexpected illness or injury that requires diagnostic tests, surgeries, overnight hospitalization, and medication can cost more than many pet owners can afford. It's worthwhile to invest in a plan that covers these costs and prevents a situation in which you are forced to euthanize your pet because you can't afford treatment. As unpleasant as it is to think about, this should be your number one concern when choosing a pet insurance provider. Emergency care gets costly, quickly, and pet insurance should cover most of the bill.

Which Pet Insurance is Best for You?

Insuring your pet is a smart move that can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars. It is essential to choose a reliable insurer that you know will pay your claim when the time comes. While it’s best to insure your pets while they’re young, it’s never too late to sign your furry friends up for a policy that will make sure they are cared for in the event of an unexpected accident or illness.

Your pets deserve pet insurance that will cover all their medical needs as they age, and you deserve the peace of mind of knowing you can afford any procedure they may require. See our in-depth reviews of the leading pet insurance providers to learn more about policies, plans, deductibles, and more.

Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.