The Best Pet Insurance

best pet insurance

Pet insurance is essential for any pet owner because the cost of vet bills quickly adds up, especially if your pet has a serious condition. The right insurance policy could cover the majority of the costs, so you can make sure that your pet gets the care it needs and you avoid financial difficulties. 

Most policies give you adequate cover but there are differences in cost and some of the details, like which pre-existing conditions are covered, for example, so it’s important to shop around. Selecting the right policy can be tough if you don’t have experience with pet insurance but this rundown of the best pet insurance companies will help you make the right decision.

The Best Pet Insurance Options 2021

Healthy Paws – Best Overall Value

Pros
  • Majority of claims paid in two days.
  • No cap on claim payouts.
  • Visit specialists without referrals.
  • Cover available for older pets.
  • Affordable policies starting at just $15 per month.
  • Supporting homeless pets.
Cons
  • No cover for preventative care.
  • Only 60% reimbursement for older pets.
  • One time fee of $25 is applicable.
  • 15 day waiting period for accident and illness.

If value is your top priority, Healthy Paws are the best option to go for. They offer low-cost cover for cats and dogs starting at just $15 and $20 per month respectively. Accidents, illness, medications, surgeries, and emergency care are all rolled into one single policy, making things much simpler and helping you save money. There is no need for referrals if your pet needs to see a specialist, like an oncologist for cancer care, for example. 

Healthy Paws also have a program for homeless pets and they will donate money towards vet care for homeless pets every time somebody requests a free quote. 

Some insurance companies are unwilling to cover older pets but Healthy Paws offer full, unlimited lifetime coverage for pets over six. However, pets over six must have a physical exam within the 30 days before you purchase the policy or in the first 15 days after it is issued. Like most pet insurance companies, they won’t cover existing conditions and pets over the age of six are not covered for hip dysplasia. Vet exam fees and any kind of behavioral therapy treatments are also excluded. 

Unfortunately, the cover for preventative care is lacking with Healthy Paws. Flea treatments, working tablets, dental care, grooming, and spaying and neutering will all have to be paid for in full. 

Although older pets are covered, they are subject to certain conditions. If your pet is over the age of eight, you are only eligible for 60% reimbursement on their vet costs and there is an annual deductible of $750. 

99% of all claims filed with Healthy Paws are paid in two days and there is no cap on the amount that is paid out. 

Embrace – Best For Dental Care

Pros
  • Excellent dental care cover.
  • Deductibles reduce each year.
  • Accident-only plans available.
  • Extensive cover for emergency care and hospital stays.
  • Wellness Rewards Program available.
  • 24/7 helpline.
Cons
  • No policies with unlimited benefits.
  • Accident cover only applies to pets under the age of 14.
  • Wellness benefits are limited.

Embrace is the best pet insurance company to go with if you want extensive coverage for dental care. They offer $1,000 coverage per year for most policies and this covers damaged teeth, root canals, extractions, crowns, and gingivitis treatments. Routine dental care like cleaning and checkups are not included in the basic policy but can be added as part of a wellness package. 

A basic insurance policy starts at just $6 for cats and $12 for dogs. Their policies provide extensive coverage and include things like behavioral therapies and prosthetics as well as all of the standard vet care that you expect. 

The Wellness Rewards plan is an optional extra that provides more extensive cover. It includes grooming, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, training, and wellness exams. Reimbursements for any of these treatments are capped at $650 per year. 

Embrace offers flexible deductibles that potentially decrease each year. For every year that you don’t make a claim, your deductibles drop by $50 and after multiple claim-free years, you may not have to pay deductibles at all. The initial deductibles can be set anywhere between $100 and $1000. 

Depending on the policy that you take out, your reimbursements can be as high as 90% but there is a $15,000 per year limit on annual benefits.

PetPlan – Best For Young Animals

Pros
  • No sign-up fees.
  • Comprehensive cover, including trip cancellation cover and lost pet cover.
  • VirtualVet visits included as standard.
  • No per condition or lifetime claims limit.
Cons
  • No preventative care coverage.
  • No discounts for insuring multiple pets.
  • Cover only applies if you take your pet to the vet within 48 hours of noticing symptoms.

If you are insuring a puppy or a kitten, PetPlan is often the best option. They insure animals as young as six weeks old, and it is unlikely that you will need to worry about existing conditions if you get coverage this early on. However, if your pet is likely to suffer from hereditary conditions, PetPlan will provide cover as long as symptoms have not started to show yet. 

Monthly premiums start at $19 for both dogs and cats and deductibles can be set from $100 to $1,000. Annual benefit caps can be set from $2,500 and unlimited plans are available. Any pets over the age of ten will receive coverage that is limited to $15,000 per year with a $750 deductible and only 70% of costs will be reimbursed. 

The dental cover with PetPlan is great too. Your pet is covered for injury and disease in all teeth and also for any hereditary or chronic dental conditions they may suffer from. 

If your pet needs to stay in the hospital, you have up to $1,000 to cover those costs and there is no deductible or copay applicable. They also cover some non-standard costs that most insurance companies won’t cover. This includes things like advertising costs if your pet gets lost, and the cost of cancelling trips if your pet falls ill when you are supposed to be traveling. 

PetPlan insurance does not cover preventative care like microchipping, grooming, vaccinations or wellness treatments, but you have comprehensive cover for everything else. Submitting a claim is simple and can be done via email, fax, phone, mobile app or post. 

Trupanion – Best For Hereditary Condition Cover

Pros
  • Coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions.
  • 90% cover on all policies.
  • Lifetime per condition deductibles.
  • Pet owner assistance package.
  • 24/7 customer support available.
Cons
  • No preventative care coverage.
  • Monthly payments are the only option.
  • No discounts available.

Finding cover for hereditary conditions can be difficult but Trupanion offers some excellent policies designed for exactly that. Unlike other insurers, they offer a single policy that covers dogs or cats, and it provides cover for conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, respiratory issues, and hip dysplasia. 

The monthly premiums start at $59 for dogs and $32 for cats, which is more expensive than other insurers on this list, but you get great cover for that price. Your policy covers medical costs for new and unexpected illnesses, including problems that the vet cannot identify. Congenital conditions, like heart disease, nervous system issues, liver disease, and cataracts are all covered too. 

For an additional cost, you can add cover for non-clinical procedures like acupuncture, chiropractic care, rehabilitative therapy, and behavioral therapies. 

One of the best things about Trupanion policies is that there are no limits for benefits of any kind and if you want to, you can set your deductible at zero. They also offer a lifetime per condition deductible, which means that you pay a deductible when your pet is first diagnosed with a health issue and you then get 90% cover for the rest of your pet’s life. 

When making a claim through Trupanion, they will pay the costs directly to the vet, as long as the vet uses their direct payment software. There is no need to pay out of your own pocket and file for a reimbursement, you just need to pay the deductible. This makes the claims process much simpler and makes it easier on you financially. 

PetFirst – Best Preventative Care Cover

Pros
  • Comprehensive cover, including preventative care.
  • Customizable limits.
  • IVDD and ligament problems are covered after a 6-month waiting period.
  • Senior pet insurance plans available.
Cons
  • No accident-only coverage.
  • Low annual benefit limits.
  • Individual annual limits for preventative care.

Many pet insurance plans don’t cover preventative care and that isn’t too much of a problem if you plan accordingly for things like vaccinations, for example. However, some pet owners would prefer a plan that includes all of the preventative care that their pet needs, partly to manage the cost but also so they don’t forget to schedule appointments. 

PetFirst offers plans that cover preventative care and they have an all-encompassing definition of the term ‘preventative’. Cover includes dental care, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, parasite prevention, and behavioral training programs. 

The way that PetFirst approaches insurance is simple and they offer three plans, each with a $250 deductible and 80% reimbursement on costs. Each plan has a different coverage limit, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per year. You can also purchase riders to add routine care cover to your existing policy. The annual benefits range between $125 and $575 but there will be specific limits for each treatment. 

PetFirst is the best option if you want straightforward policies and excellent coverage for preventative care. 

Pet Insurance FAQs

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is there to cover the cost of any medical treatment that your pet needs. You pay a monthly premium and when you need to pay for veterinary care for your pet, you can claim the money back from your insurance company afterward. Many insurers require you to visit certain vets and pay upfront before filing a claim for reimbursement, but some will pay the vet directly.

What treatments are covered by pet insurance?

The level of cover depends on the insurer and the plan. Most accidents and injuries are covered as standard but they will not necessarily cover existing conditions, hereditary conditions, or preventative care. You can get policies to cover all of these things and routine checkups, but they will cost more. These extensive plans are often referred to as wellness plans. 

How expensive is pet insurance?

Again, the cost of pet insurance depends on the policy and your pet. Insurers will consider the following factors:

  • Type, gender and breed of your pet. 
  • The age of your pet. 
  • Your location.
  • The type of cover offered. 
  • The deductible and reimbursement percentages. 

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the out-of-pocket cost that you have to pay before your insurer will reimburse any of your costs. The deductible varies depending on the policy and, in some cases, it will be flexible. 

What is considered a pre-existing condition?

Many insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions. Although each insurer has their own definition, a pre-existing condition is broadly defined as an injury, illness or symptom that was noticed before you took out the policy or before the initial waiting period was over. Failing to declare a pre-existing condition that you later try to claim for could invalidate your policy.

Should I buy pet insurance?

When deciding whether pet insurance is worth it or not, consider your pet’s potential health needs and the costs associated with that. Veterinary care is expensive and without insurance, you pay for it all out of pocket, so you will usually save money by taking out a policy. Insurance also has non-financial benefits because it offers peace of mind knowing that your pet will be looked after. 

Summary of the Best Pet Insurance 2021

  • Healthy Paws – best overall value.
  • Embrace – best for dental care.
  • PetPlan – best for young animals.
  • Trupanion – best for hereditary condition cover. 
  • PetFirst – best preventative care cover.

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