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Looking for alternative ways to pay for your pet’s medical expenses? Pet insurance could be the answer. Most policies reimburse up to 90% of the vet bill when your pet gets seriously sick or injured.

If you’re new to pet insurance, there are a few details you should know before purchasing a policy. Our guide section explains what pet insurance covers, how pet insurance works and how to choose the right coverage. We also define key policy components such as payment caps, types of coverage and premiums.

Our Top Picks for Best Pet Insurance of May 2023

  • Spot – Best Pet Insurance for Unlimited Coverage
  • Pumpkin – Best Pet Insurance for Puppies and Kittens
  • AKC – Best Pet Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Figo – Best Pet Insurance for Reimbursement Options
  • Embrace – Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs and Cats
  • Pets Best – Best Pet Insurance for International Coverage
  • Lemonade – Best Pet Insurance for Fast Claims Processing
  • Trupanion – Best Pet Insurance for Direct Payment to Vets
  • Nationwide – Best Pet Insurance for Exotic Pets

Honorable Mentions: Healthy Paws, ASPCA, Fetch by The Dodo, Many Pets, Metlife Pet Insurance and Banfield.

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Best Pet Insurance Company Reviews

Sample premiums are based on quotes for a 1-year-old domestic shorthair cat and a 1-year-old Labrador retriever.

Annual payout limit $2.5K, $3K, $5K, $7K, $10K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80% or 90%
Deductible $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K
Discounts 10% employee, 10% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $17.68
Sample premium for dogs $45.02

Why we chose Spot: We picked Spot as the best pet insurance for unlimited coverage because it caters to pet parents who want to maximize their pet’s coverage, no matter the cost. Spot is also a fine choice for older pets since there’s no age limit for coverage.

  • Unlimited annual coverage available
  • No upper age limit
  • 24/7 telehealth helpline
  • Pet owners have 270 days (around eight months) to file a claim
  • Higher-than-average premiums for young pets
  • Charges transaction fees for monthly, quarterly or semi-annual payments

Offering a full (100%) coverage option, Spot readily allows you to maximize your pet’s coverage, meaning you are not responsible for any co-payment. In addition, the company offers a very low ($100) deductible option, which further reduces your out-of-pocket payments for care.

That said, choosing one or both of a low co-payment and a low deductible will lead to higher premiums for the policy. And Spot’s prices are already higher than the norm for young pets, although the company has no upper age limit for insuring new animals — which may make it a good choice if your furry companions are elderly.

Read Spot pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $10K, $20K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates 90%
Deductible $100, $250, $500 or $1K
Discounts 10% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $21.70
Sample premium for dogs $27.23

Why we chose Pumpkin: Pumpkin is our pick as the best pet insurance for puppies and kittens because it offers a lot for comparatively little. It provides extensive insurance and non-insurance preventive care options tailored to junior animals at an affordable price point.

  • Preventive care packages for the particular needs of puppies and kittens
  • No upper age limit
  • Short (14-day) waiting period for all conditions, including knee and hip dysplasia
  • No customizable reimbursement levels
  • No accident-only option
  • Preventive plans don’t reimburse for spay/neuter surgeries or dental cleanings

Pumpkin offers affordable plans with an option to add preventative care packs for young cats and dogs that aren’t included in standard coverage. For example, the company’s puppy preventive care packs include one annual wellness exam fee, four puppy vaccines and one yearly fecal test.

Pumpkin will also refund the cost of up to four vaccines your puppy may have received prior to being insured under the preventive pack, as well as covering lab tests for parasites.

However, Pumpkin Preventive lacks dental cleanings and spay/neuter surgeries, and (unlike most companies) it won’t reimburse you if you purchase a separate wellness package.

Read Pumpkin pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $2.5K, $5K, $7.5K,$10K, $15K, 20K, Unlimited
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80%, 90%
Deductible $100, $250, $300, $400, $500, $600, $750, $1K
Discounts 5% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $13.34
Sample premium for dogs $26.85

Why we chose AKC: We picked AKC as the best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions because it’s the only provider that covers illnesses and injuries sustained before the policy effective date or during the waiting period.

  • Accident-only plan option available
  • Direct payments to vets available under certain conditions
  • Offers supplemental accident and illness coverage for breeding pets
  • Coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions costs extra
  • No dental coverage except tooth extractions due to injury
  • Pets aged nine years or older are not eligible for accident and illness coverage

The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) pet insurance policy offers unprecedented coverage for pre-existing conditions. To qualify, you must keep the policy active for 365 days. Any pre-existing issue that was initially excluded will be fully covered once the waiting period elapses and the policy renews.

AKC’s policy covers diagnosis and treatment for eligible accidents and illnesses, including services such as:

  • Labs
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • MRI and CT scans
  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • Physical and alternative therapy
  • Medication
  • Chemotherapy
  • Euthanasia

You can also pay extra for preventive care and coverage for end-of-life expenses, veterinary exam fees, behavioral therapy, hereditary and congenital conditions and issues related to breeding.

Pet owners should note some limitations regarding AKC’s coverage. There’s no coverage for dental illnesses, and hereditary and congenital conditions aren’t covered unless you purchase the HereditaryPlus rider. Residents of Florida, California and Washington must enroll their pet before its second birthday to qualify for this add-on.

Annual payout limit $5K,$10K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80%, 90% or 100%
Deductible $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K
Discounts 5% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $11.16
Sample premium for dogs $29.26

Why we chose Figo: Most competitors only offer up to 90% reimbursement. Figo stands out as the best pet insurance for reimbursement options because pet owners can choose up to 100% reimbursement without annual payout limits and avoid copayments entirely.

  • Up to 100% reimbursement with no annual limits
  • No upper age enrollment limit
  • Low deductible options
  • Free 24/7 vet helpline
  • 1-day waiting period for accidents
  • No coverage on hereditary conditions if the pet is enrolled after 2nd birthday
  • Low payout limits in wellness plan
  • Exam fee coverage and physical therapy need a separate rider

Figo offers pet owners the option to reduce their copayment to 0%, thanks to its 100% reimbursement option. (Generally, the lowest copayment provided by other insurers is 10%.)

Be prepared to pay higher than average premiums for a policy with 0% copay, unlimited payout benefits or both. Figo also enforces strict limits on its coverage for hereditary conditions such as hyperthyroidism, renal disease and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

Additionally, benefits such as the exam fee reimbursement and physical therapy are only available as separate riders — other providers include these benefits in their base policy.

Figo’s Pet Cloud app features comprehensive mobile support. With the app, you can contact a licensed veterinarian 24/7, manage your pet’s insurance documents and make payments, among other transactions.

Read Figo pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $5K, $8K, $10K, $15K or $30K
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80% or 90%
Deductible $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K
Discounts 10% multi-pet, 5% military and diminishing deductible
Sample premium for cats $12.17
Sample premium for dogs $42.68

Why we chose Embrace: We picked Embrace as the best pet insurance for international coverage because policyholders are free to use any licensed veterinarian worldwide and request reimbursement, even if they’re traveling for a long time.

  • High upper age limit for enrollment
  • High annual reimbursement limit option compared to other competitors with annual caps
  • Yearly diminishing deductible
  • 48-hour waiting period for accidents
  • Limited wellness benefits
  • Caps dental illness coverage at $1,000 a year

Embrace offers coverage for your pet’s vet care outside the country for up to six months, provided it’s given by a licensed veterinarian. This is relatively uncommon, as other companies only reimburse claims when the care was dispensed by a licensed veterinarian in the U.S. or Canada.

Another benefit of Embrace pet insurance is its shrinking deductibles. Every year you don’t receive a claim reimbursement, Embrace will reduce your annual deductible by $50.

All policies come with a 30-day money-back guarantee or a pro-rated refund — if you’ve already filed a claim within that time frame.

Embrace doesn’t offer wellness benefits as a separate policy. Instead, pet owners can sign up for the Wellness Rewards plan and contribute a specific amount to cover preventive care expenses. Make sure your annual contributions match the expected level of preventative care, as unused funds don’t roll over for the following year.

Embrace is also the insurer behind USAA Pet Insurance, a members-only insurance product. Military members, veterans and eligible relatives can access all of Embrace’s pet insurance benefits at a 25% discount.

Read Embrace pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $2.5K, $5K, $10K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80% or 90%
Deductible $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1K
Discounts 5% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $12.90
Sample premium for dogs $33.46

Why we chose Pets Best: Pets Best has a wide range of coverage options and deductibles, and it offers coverage for pets as young as seven weeks. It’s also one of the few pet insurance companies that cover prosthetic devices and wheelchairs.

  • Coverage for prosthetic devices and wheelchairs

  • Wide range of deductibles
  • Covers pets as young as seven weeks with no upper age limit
  • Direct payments to vets available upon request
  • Slow claims processing

  • Excludes alternative treatments and therapies
  • Policy upgrades are not available until the renewal date

Pets Best offers accident and illness plans and sells multiple wellness add-ons to cover your pet’s routine care. There’s a short 3-day waiting period for accidents and the standard 14-day waiting period for illnesses.

Insurers don’t always cover treatments for mobility issues, but Pets Best provides coverage for wheelchairs and prosthetic devices when prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a covered accident or illness. Additionally, the company’s supplemental coverage for physical therapy is comprehensive, encompassing acupuncture, electroacupuncture, chiropractic care, treadmill therapy, laser therapy, therapeutic exercises, ultrasound therapy, gait training and other treatments.

Pets Best’s take-home prescription coverage is also noteworthy. The optional add-on covers not just prescribed medications, but over-the-counter drugs, supplements, remedies and treatments as long as they’re prescribed by a veterinarian. That said, there’s no coverage for alternative therapies and holistic treatments that might benefit your pet’s recovery.

Read Pets Best pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $5K, $10K, $20K, $50K or $100K
Reimbursement rates 70%, 80% or 90%
Deductible $100, $250 or $500
Discounts 5% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $17.96
Sample premium for dogs $27.23

Why we chose Lemonade: We picked Lemonade as the best pet insurance for speedy claims. The company uses novel, AI-powered processing, which promises to deliver claims very quickly via the Lemonade app. The ability to direct a part of the company’s profit to a charity of your choice may also appeal to many pet owners.

  • Quick claims processing — in minutes rather than weeks via mobile app

  • Multiple discounts available
  • A portion of payments go to charities
  • Customizable coverage
  • Only available in 38 states
  • Policies can only be adjusted at renewal
  • Older pets may not be eligible for coverage

Lemonade’s accident and illness policy covers diagnostics, procedures and medications for covered conditions. Vet visit fees, dental illnesses, end-of-life services, acupuncture and chiropractic care are excluded from the base policy (which may translate to lower premiums) but you can add these benefits as riders if they’re available in your state.

Pet owners can further enhance coverage with a preventative care rider that reimburses the cost of annual checkups, vaccines and parasite screening.

Lemonade is available in 38 states, but you can sign up for updates on its website. However, users may find Lemonade’s website hard to navigate. To get a quote, you have to input a lot of information that other insurers don’t require. Also, if you have questions the automated chat can’t answer, talking with a live agent via chat isn’t possible.

Read Lemonade pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit Unlimited
Reimbursement rates Custom percentage from 70% to 100%
Deductible No deductibles
Discounts 10% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $28.94
Sample premium for dogs $94.89

Why we chose Trupanion: Usually, pet owners have to pay the vet bill in full before receiving reimbursement from pet insurance providers. With Trupanion’s direct payment software, your vet can file a claim in-office and receive payment almost immediately.

  • The company pays vets directly
  • No payout limits for any benefits (per incident, monthly or lifetime)
  • Free 30-day coverage with partnering shelters, breeders or vets
  • Covers pets from birth
  • High premium rates
  • Only one plan option
  • No multi-pet discount

Trupanion offers a single insurance plan for cats and dogs. Aside from standard benefits, like diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization and prescription medications, coverage also extends to alternative treatments, dental illnesses, prosthetic devices and prescription food. You can also purchase this plan through GEICO pet insurance or State Farm pet insurance.

Trupanion also features a unique benefit: pet owners can extend coverage to breeding and working pets in the following categories: hunting, herding, sledding, guarding, search and rescue, law enforcement, therapy and assistance. Accidents and illnesses associated with breeding, whelping and working will be covered up to 90%.

If your veterinarian uses Trupanion’s direct payment software, you don’t need to file a claim; Trupanion pays the vet directly. Policyholders, then, need not worry about making costly upfront payments or submitting reimbursement claims, which are standard for most of the pet insurance industry.

Trupanion lacks affordability and flexibility – premiums are high and there’s only a single policy option. However, its coverage is comprehensive. If you can afford higher-than-average premiums, your pet will benefit from 90% reimbursement on all eligible claims and no payout limits per incident, year or lifetime.

The company’s deductible policy is especially beneficial for pets that require lifelong medical care. Instead of setting a deductible that resets each year, Trupanion establishes a lifetime deductible per condition. This means you’ll pay a one-time deductible each time your pet is diagnosed with a new condition. Say you purchased a policy with a $250 deductible and your dog is diagnosed with chronic skin allergies. In that case, you’ll pay $250 once, and Trupanion will cover 90% of the allergy treatment for the remainder of your pet’s life.

Read Trupanion pet insurance review >>

Annual payout limit $10K
Reimbursement rates 50% or 70% for Whole Pet plan
Deductible $250
Discounts 5% multi-pet
Sample premium for cats $24.56
Sample premium for dogs $88.04
Sample premium for rabbits $41.70

Why we chose Nationwide: We picked Nationwide as the best pet insurance for exotic pets because it offers comprehensive insurance for various unconventional animals. Pet owners can relax knowing up to 90% of their expenses for such animals are covered by a reputable insurer.

  • No per-incident, annual or lifetime caps
  • Covers alternative therapy for diagnosed conditions
  • Direct payments available under certain conditions
  • Limited coverage for hip dysplasia
  • Only a single policy offered
  • No coverage for behavioral modification or prescription food

Nationwide is the only pet insurance company of its size that offers insurance for avian and exotic pets. The Avian & Exotic Pet Plan covers most birds, rabbits, reptiles and small mammals, including goats and pot-bellied pigs. (Note that any animal not explicitly listed on the Nationwide website isn’t eligible, including those listed under venomous or endangered species.)

Owners of exotic pets can select up to 90% reimbursement for covered accidents and illnesses and add preventive care riders as well. Just as with dog and cat insurance, pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage.

For exotic pets, Nationwide offers three accident and illness policy options and two wellness care packages. Exotic pet owners must call (844-244-3691) to get a quote or sign up. However, cat and dog insurance is easy to get directly on Nationwide’s website.

Read Nationwide pet insurance review >>

Company Accident and illness plan Accident-only plan Wellness add-on Direct payment to vets 100% reimbursement Unlimited payout Vet exam fees Behavioral modification Physical therapy Dental illness 24/7 vet line
Spot x x
Pumpkin x x x x
Figo x x x x x
Embrace x x x x
Pets Best x x x
Lemonade x x x x x x x x x
Trupanion x x x x x x
Nationwide x x x x
AKC x x x x

✓= included in the base policy

x= not covered or costs extra to add

Other pet insurance companies we considered

In narrowing down our list, these companies stood out in some respects but didn’t quite match the strengths of our top picks.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws offers just one accident and illness policy for cats and dogs. It has no per-incident, annual or lifetime benefit caps, and you can choose from a $100, $200 or $500 deductible. It also offers a direct payment option instead of reimbursement if you can’t afford the upfront veterinary bill.

Why Healthy Paws didn’t make the cut: Healthy Paws offers a comprehensive accident and illness plan with unlimited payout limits and 90% reimbursement. However, two factors kept the company out of our top picks: 1) There is no coverage for hip dysplasia for pets enrolled after age six, and 2) the company doesn’t distinguish between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions.

  • No per-incident, annual or lifetime caps
  • Quick claim processing
  • Covers alternative therapy for diagnosed conditions
  • Direct payments available under certain conditions
  • Limited coverage for hip dysplasia
  • Only a single policy offered
  • No coverage for behavioral modification
  • Limited coverage options for senior pets

Read Healthy Paws pet insurance review >>

ASPCA Pet Insurance

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company — offers affordable accident-only and accident and illness pet insurance. The company is also more flexible than competitors regarding preventive care requirements: ASPCA won’t deny coverage for preventable conditions such as heartworm or tick-borne illnesses even if you fail to administer the recommended preventive medication.

Why ASPCA didn’t make the cut: Both ASPCA and Spot provide identical insurance policies. Ultimately, Spot made it to our top picks due to its unlimited annual payout feature, which is not available with ASPCA, and its 24/7 pet telehealth helpline.

  • No upper age limit for enrollment
  • Covers stem cell therapy and microchipping
  • Accepts claims up to 270 days (around eight months) after treatment
  • Insures cats, dogs and horses (in certain states)
  • Warns that claim processing may take up to 30 days
  • Monthly payments incur a transaction fee
  • The website is not user friendly

Fetch by The Dodo Pet Insurance

Fetch by The Dodo is one of the few insurers that will enroll pets as young as six weeks, making it a good option for owners of young kittens that often go to their new homes at that age. The company also does not impose an upper age limit, and offers multiple deductibles and annual benefit options.

In addition, Fetch by The Dodo’s policyholders are eligible for reimbursement for medical boarding, behavior modification and lost pet rewards, with each benefit offering up to $1,000 in annual coverage.

Why Fetch by The Dodo didn’t make the cut: Fetch by The Dodo’s policyholders must follow some strict rules to get claims reimbursed: The pet must receive medical care within 48 hours of noticeable symptoms and pet owners must file a claim no later than 90 days from the invoice date.

  • Dental illness coverage for every tooth, not just canines
  • No lifetime or per condition claims limit
  • Base policy covers exam fees, behavioral issues and medical boarding fees
  • No preventive care rider or accident-only plan
  • For coverage to apply, you must take your dog or cat to the vet within 48 hours of noticing symptoms
  • 12-month waiting period for curable pre-existing conditions

Many Pets Pet Insurance

Many Pets offers a single accident and illness policy with an optional wellness add-on. In addition to the standard inclusions, the policy covers vet exam fees, physical therapy and a host of alternative treatments, including homeopathic and herbal medications. You can also add a wellness plan, but it’s not as comprehensive as others — there’s no coverage for spaying/neutering or microchipping.

Why Many Pets didn’t make the cut: Many Pets’ accident and illness coverage is only available in 37 states, there’s no coverage for behavioral modification, and the insurer denies hip dysplasia coverage to newly-enrolled pets over six years old.

  • No annual or lifetime payout caps
  • Covers vet exam fees and consultations
  • 15-day waiting period with option to waive if you’re switching insurance carriers
  • Option to choose $0 deductible and 100% reimbursement
  • 18-month waiting period for curable pre-existing conditions
  • Enrollment is currently limited to 37 states
  • No coverage for hip dysplasia in pets over 6 years old
  • No coverage for behavioral modification

MetLife Pet Insurance

MetLife Pet Insurance, previously known as Pet First, offers an easy online application and adjustable coverage options. You can select your maximum benefit amount, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. The deductibles offered range from as low as $0 to as high as $2,500.

Additionally, you can benefit from one or more savings programs, such as discounts for healthcare workers, group pet insurance, veterinary care providers, military personnel, veterans and first responders.

Why MetLife Pet Insurance didn’t make the cut: MetLife’s pet insurance policies are underwritten by two separate insurers, and the policy’s terms and benefits vary depending on the insurer.

  • Multiple discounts
  • Accident coverage after just 24 hours
  • Decreasing deductible for every year without a claim
  • Claim processing can take up to 10 days
  • No sample policy or detailed wellness benefits online
  • Requires 12 months of veterinary records for the first claim
  • Charges enrollment and installment fee

Banfield Pet Insurance

Banfield’s wellness plans are frequently mistaken for pet insurance but are separate products. Banfield Pet Hospital’s Optimum Wellness Plan is an annual package that focuses on preventive care and includes a host of routine care services, such as physical exams, dental cleanings and parasite screening. However, the package does not include coverage for accidents and illnesses.

Why Banfield Pet Insurance didn’t make the cut: Banfield Pet Hospital offers preventive care plans for dogs and cats, not pet insurance. The Optimum Wellness plan is essentially a subscription service for your pet’s preventive veterinary care, similar to the wellness add-ons that most insurance providers offer.

  • Includes two comprehensive physical exams per year and one dental cleaning

  • No need to file for reimbursement
  • 5% to 20% off products and services that aren’t included in your wellness plan
  • You must take your pet to a Banfield location
  • Costs as much as some pet insurance policies

  • Negative customer reviews online

Pet Insurance Guide

In this section, we go into the particulars of pet insurance so you know what to expect from most policies. We explain what pet insurance is, how much it costs, plan types and tips for choosing the right insurer.

Table of contents:

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a type of indemnity insurance that covers pet medical expenses related to accidents and illnesses. Most companies primarily offer cat and dog insurance — some providers extend coverage to exotic pets like birds, reptiles and rabbits, but it accounts for less than 1% of U.S. policies, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).

A significant difference between pet insurance coverage and your own health insurance is that preventive pet care is sold separately. Moreover, nearly all pet insurance plans mandate that policyholders pay the full amount of the bill upfront before receiving any reimbursement.

Generally, there are no network restrictions with pet insurance — coverage applies to any licensed vet or specialist nationwide. Some providers extend coverage to Canada and overseas territories like Puerto Rico, as well.

Types of pet insurance

Pet health insurance plans vary in coverage and, of course, premiums.

  • Accident-only policies – An accident-only plan may suit you best if your main concern is your cat or dog’s propensity for mishaps (such as poisonings, broken bones, bloating). They’re usually the cheapest pet insurance plan available.
  • Accident & Illness policies – These are all-inclusive pet health insurance plans that cover accidents and illness. You can also enhance coverage by adding a preventive care rider.
  • Wellness plans – Plans for routine care are generally sold as optional add-ons to an accident and illness policy. These cover the cost of checkups, pet dental care, spaying or neutering, vaccinations and parasite prevention. Preventive care add-ons are generally only for cat and dog insurance, not exotic pets.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance essentially works by reimbursing your pet’s eligible medical expenses. To qualify for reimbursement, policyholders must first meet the annual deductible. Once the deductible is paid for, the insurance company will reimburse 70%, 80%, or 90% of the bill (up to an annual payout limit) and you’ll pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket.

There are additional limitations fleshed out in the policy’s fine print in addition to the reimbursement terms:

  • Waiting periods – Your insurance won’t pay for care until a waiting period has elapsed. Most companies require at least 14 days before they will reimburse you for a vet visit due to illness. Longer waiting periods may apply to orthopedic conditions like cruciate ligament tears or hip dysplasia.
  • Pre-existing conditions – Pet insurance providers typically exclude any illness or injury that showed signs before the policy’s effective date or during the waiting period. Insurers also impose coverage limitations on particular issues, such as hip dysplasia or joint problems. It is crucial to carefully review the policy before enrolling, especially if your cat or dog is predisposed to certain conditions.
  • Preventive or routine care – Most pet owners are surprised to learn that pet insurance won’t cover the most common pet care expenses: vaccinations, grooming, checkups, parasite screenings and dental cleanings. The reasoning behind this exclusion? These services are part of the basic healthcare needs of your pet and aren’t considered an accident or an illness.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance coverage reimburses pet owners for the diagnosis and treatment of accidents and illnesses. This includes but isn’t limited to poisoning, bite wounds, ingesting a foreign object and torn ligaments. Cancer, diabetes, allergies, arthritis and orthopedic conditions are also covered.

Pet owners who purchase an accident-only policy will get a fraction of the coverage benefits, as the policy will only reimburse them for issues defined as accidents and exclude everything else that’s considered an illness.

Does pet insurance cover allergies?

Pet insurance covers allergies as long as it isn’t a pre-existing condition. In fact, allergies are one of Healthy Paws’ top ten pet insurance claims. You can get reimbursed for diagnostic tests and treatments such as immunotherapy, oral, injectable and topical medication, prescription shampoo and prescription food. We recommend you read the policy’s fine print in case there are additional restrictions. For example, Trupanion covers prescription food but only for a total of 90 days during the pet’s lifetime.

Does pet insurance cover spaying?

Pet insurance doesn’t cover spaying or neutering unless you add preventive care coverage. In most preventive care riders, this procedure shares the same annual payout limit with dental cleaning but it’s highly unlikely that your pet will need both services in the same year.

Does pet insurance cover vaccines?

Vaccines — as well as preventive medication for heartworm, fleas ticks and parasites — are not covered by accident and illness policies. Vaccines would only be eligible for reimbursement if you get a preventive care package.

The payout cap for core vaccines and boosters generally ranges from $20 to $150, so we recommend looking for low-cost vaccination clinics to maximize this benefit. Otherwise, you might have to pay out-of-pocket for part of the vaccination bill.

Does pet insurance cover dental?

Pet insurance covers tooth extractions and treatment to address periodontal issues such as gum disease. Some policies go the extra mile and cover endodontic treatment (root canal therapy and crowns). Pay attention to any terms that limit which teeth are covered. A policy might cover tooth extractions and gum disease if it occurs in the molars or premolars but exclude the incisors (the four front teeth).

Does pet insurance cover teeth cleaning?

Pet insurance does not cover teeth cleaning — also called dental prophylaxis. This service is considered part of your pet’s standard care and the owner’s responsibility. A preventive care rider can reimburse you for dental cleanings but it’s easy to exceed the payout cap.

Does pet insurance cover surgery?

Yes, pet insurance covers surgery as long as it’s performed by a licensed veterinarian to treat an eligible accident or illness. Surgery coverage includes any diagnostic tests (MRI, CT scans, X-rays or blood tests), anesthesia, intravenous fluids and medications, as well as medical supplies such as bandages, casts and splints.

What is not covered by pet insurance?

Pet insurance coverage exclusions vary slightly per provider so it’s best practice to read the sample policy thoroughly before enrolling. But don’t worry: We’ve got you covered. The following bulleted list explores six of the most common exclusions across the industry.

  • Check-up fees – Most companies exclude exam fees from the standard policy or charge extra to add this coverage. That said, a handful of providers are starting to include veterinary exam fees in their base policies.
  • Pre-existing conditions – Pet insurance providers will not reimburse for conditions your dog, cat, or other pet already had before you bought the insurance policy. Some examples include diabetes, allergies, cancer or arthritis.
  • Routine care – Insurance providers exclude routine pet care from coverage but offer reimbursement through wellness riders. These add-ons reimburse a fixed amount each year for annual checkups, vaccinations, parasite screening, dental cleanings and spay/neuter surgeries.
  • Illnesses caused by lack of preventive care – Pet insurance providers can deny a claim if the illness is caused by lack of preventive care and vaccinations. This restriction applies to heartworm, parasites, flea and tick-borne diseases, and dental ailments if the pet hasn’t had a professional cleaning. ASPCA, Spot and Pumpkin are the only insurers on our list with a more generous policy regarding preventable illnesses.
  • Injuries or illnesses linked to owner negligence – Pet insurance won’t cover issues that result from organized fighting, racing or guarding. This exclusion also applies to any harm inflicted by you or a member of your household.
  • Obedience training – Obedience training, often confused with behavioral modification, isn’t covered by pet insurance. Obedience training teaches pets to follow specific commands like sit and stay, while behavioral modification addresses problems with fear, stress, anxiety and aggression. To qualify for reimbursement, you must take your pet to a veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist referred by a veterinarian.

Pet insurance cost

Pet insurance is a significant expense but the number of insured pets has increased steadily since 2017, representing millions of pet parents willing to pay for added peace of mind. If you’re considering insurance for your beloved companion, our guide on the cost of pet insurance can help you make an informed decision.

How much does pet insurance cost?

According to Rover’s 2023 report on the cost of dog parenthood and cat parenthood, annual premiums for dog insurance range from $360 to $720, while coverage for cats ranges from $240 to $360. However, pet insurance costs will vary depending on factors beyond the insurance provider you select:

  • Type of animal – Dog insurance costs twice as much as pet insurance for cats. Bird insurance premiums typically start at less than $21 a month, while horse insurance starts off quite expensive (over $80 a month, to be exact).
  • Pet’s breed – Purebreds (particularly large cat or dog breeds) usually cost more to insure than mixed-breed pets, especially if they’re prone to congenital or hereditary conditions.
  • Pet’s age – Premiums increase with age and do so sharply for very old animals. In addition, after your dog or cat reaches the age of 10 or 12, your choices in insurers will significantly diminish.
  • Where you live – Pet insurance tends to be more expensive for pets that live in urban areas, especially on the coasts (New York and California.)

Additional out-of-pocket expenses to remember

The cost of pet insurance is not limited to premium payments — you’ll likely have to cover some expenses yourself, even after the insurance kicks in. Consider the following when budgeting for your pet’s insurance coverage:

  • Copay – You pay for all vet visits and charges and then file for a reimbursement. Plans typically reimburse 70% to 90% of covered expenses.
  • Deductible – You’ll need to pay a deductible each year before insurance coverage kicks in. It might take a few vet visits to reach the deductible amount, especially if you set a high deductible in order to lower your premium rate. Trupanion is the only insurer that offers lifetime deductibles per each medical condition.
  • Payout caps – Pet insurance will stop reimbursing after you’ve reached the policy’s maximum coverage amount for the year. Some insurers such as Figo, AKC and Lemonade also set individual payout caps for benefits like behavioral modification, dental illness and end-of-life expenses.

If you’re on a tight budget and require low-cost pet insurance, check out our page on the best cheap pet insurance. In our sample of providers, the cheapest pet insurance quotes were $11 per month for cats and $27 for dogs.

Average cost of pet insurance

According to NAPHIA’s State of the Industry Report, the average monthly premium for cats is $29 and $49 for dogs. We also gathered quotes from our top pet insurance companies to better illustrate the cost of pet insurance.

Sample quotes correspond to an accident and illness policy with 70% reimbursement, $10,000 payout limit and a $250 deductible. In the case of Trupanion, Figo and Pumpkin, we selected the closest payout limit and reimbursement percentage available.

Some companies charge significantly more than the averages reported by NAPHIA. You’ll also notice that monthly rates increase to inordinate price as the pet gets older, no matter the company or the type of pet.

How much is pet insurance for dogs?

Company 1-year-old dog 3-year-old dog 5-year-old dog 10-year-old dog
Spot $45.02 $66.79 $88.67 $202.39
Pumpkin $27.23 $86.18 $111.83 $261.15
Figo $29.26 $40.43 $54.82 $138.78
Embrace $42.68 $76.39 $96.67 $185.90
Pets Best $33.46 $48.24 $65.03 $166.63
Lemonade $27.23 $41.87 $56.18 N/A
Trupanion $94.89 $198.03 $238.46 $379.97
Nationwide $88.04 $83.71 $102.15 $269.40
AKC $26.85 $32.45 $70.09 N/A

Female Labrador retriever from Miami, Florida

How much is pet insurance for cats?

Company 1-year-old dog 3-year-old dog 5-year-old dog 10-year-old dog
Spot $17.68 $26.32 $29.58 $67.92
Pumpkin $28.26 $28.26 $31.75 $71.91
Figo $11.16 $15.70 $19.94 $43.17
Embrace $12.17 $18.64 $22.67 $38.29
Pets Best $12.90 $18.60 $22.08 $43.08
Lemonade $17.96 $16.75 $19.75 N/A
Trupanion $28.94 $32.09 $44.50 $67.49
Nationwide $25.85 $25.71 $33.70 $78.78
AKC $13.34 $14.92 $20.44 N/A

Female domestic shorthair cat from Miami, Florida

Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

As a general rule, pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. This exclusion can be pretty harsh. Even if your pet is officially diagnosed months into your policy’s coverage, your claim might still be denied if the insurance carrier identifies previous clinical signs.

The definition of a pre-existing condition is the same across all pet insurance providers — the difference lies in how they enforce it.

Many insurers distinguish between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions. For example, the United States Fire Insurance Company — the underwriter behind ASPCA, Spot and Pumpkin’s pet insurance policies — excludes chronic pre-existing conditions but will cover curable ones such as ear infections or dermatological conditions. The only requirement is that the pet remains symptom- and treatment-free for six months.

On the other hand, Trupanion and Healthy Paws make no such distinction. Any illness that can be traced back to when the pet wasn’t insured is excluded.

These are a few examples of curable and chronic conditions:

Curable pre-existing conditions

  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • UTIs
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Incurable or chronic pre-existing conditions

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Knee injuries or illnesses
  • Cancer
  • Recurrent ear infections or UTI
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies

Bilateral conditions — those that affect the body on both sides — are another important subset of pre–existing conditions. Let’s say your pet suffered an ACL tear on one knee before enrollment. That injury isn’t covered because it’s a pre-existing condition, but the other knee won’t be covered if it develops the same issue. The same restriction may apply to other bilateral conditions such as hip dysplasia, knee or elbow issues, cataracts and cherry eye.

To avoid surprises, it’s best to get a medical history review right after you apply for pet insurance. Most companies will request your pet’s medical records and a recent medical exam. After reviewing the documents, the insurer will send you a schedule of benefits listing all pre-existing conditions. You’re free to cancel for a full refund within 30 days if you’re dissatisfied with the coverage, provided you haven’t filed a claim.

How to choose pet insurance

Pet parents don’t need to worry about selecting the best dog insurance or the best pet insurance for cats. A good insurance policy will cover both pet types equally. What matters is the level of coverage and whether the benefits are as comprehensive as possible.

Here’s a summarized version of what you’ll find in our guide on how to buy pet insurance:

  • Pick a policy type – You can choose between accident and illness coverage or an accident-only policy. Accident and illness policies offer the most coverage but are more expensive than accident-only plans, especially if you want comprehensive coverage with a wellness rider.
  • Research providers – There are plenty of pet insurance companies to choose from, from established national insurers to smaller specialized carriers. You’ll find that many share the same insurance underwriter but vary in terms of coverage options and the services they offer, such as 24/7 vet helplines.
  • Get multiple quotes – You’d be surprised at how much variability there can be in pet insurance quotes from one provider to the next. Some insurers may quote double the price than others for the same pet so it pays to do some comparison shopping.
  • Compare pet insurance providers – Take a close look at what is and isn’t covered. Compare the policy’s coverage for hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions (especially if your pet’s breed is prone to a particular issue), dental illnesses, alternative therapies and behavioral modification.
  • Look for short waiting periods – Most providers enforce a 14-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses, but you can also find policies that activate accident coverage from day one. Keep in mind that insurers set additional waiting periods for hip dysplasia and knee injuries that range from six to 12 months.

How to save on pet insurance

When it comes to premiums, there’s not much you can do about your pet’s breed and age, but you can tweak coverage levels to fit your budget:

  • Payout caps – Choosing the highest coverage limit or unlimited payout caps increases premiums. To pick the right payout limit, it’s a good idea to check the average cost of vet treatment in your area, especially those that are breed-specific and those considered “worst-case scenarios.”
  • Reimbursement percentage – A low reimbursement percentage means you’ll pay less in premiums. However, this also means you’ll have a higher copayment.
  • Deductibles – The higher the deductible, be it annual or per-incident, the lower your policy’s premium will be. If your pet remains healthy, this strategy will save you money, but you’ll pay more out of pocket if anything unexpected happens.

Pet insurance discounts

Don’t forget to apply any available discounts to reduce your monthly payment. Common discounts include:

  • Multipet discount – discounted rates for each additional pet you enroll with the same provider
  • Annual pay discount – lower rates if you pay for the policy annually instead of monthly
  • Spay/neuter discount – reduced premium if you spay/neuter your pet upon enrollment
  • Military discounts – discounts for active and former members of the armed forces
  • Group discounts at work – lower rates for employer-provided pet insurance
  • Bundle discounts – discounted rate for bundling with homeowners or renters insurance under the same provider

Most companies honor a money-back guarantee in eligible states — also called a “cooling off” or “free look” period. Pet owners are entitled to cancellation with a full refund up to 30 days after enrollment, provided they haven’t received payment or submitted a claim.

You can also save money by adopting through a shelter. Trupanion offers 30 days of free insurance at participating shelters and vets if you activate the plan within 24 hours after the pet’s first veterinary examination. Waiting periods don’t apply and you can continue coverage after the trial ends. Check out the best places to adopt a pet to see if they participate in similar programs.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet owners may wonder whether paying for pet insurance is worth the monthly expense, considering how much pet spending has increased already.

Pet insurance is worth the cost if:

  • Your pet is young and healthy overall when you enroll
  • You can’t afford the full amount of costly, unexpected vet bills
  • You can afford to pay monthly premiums plus any copays and the deductible.

Say you bought an accident and illness policy for a three-year-old dog. After meeting the $200 annual deductible, the policy will reimburse 80% of vet bills up to a $10,000 limit. The pup is then diagnosed with patellar luxation, a common knee condition in toy breeds.

Here’s how the policy would work in practice:

  1. You pay the full cost of the surgery ($1,500) at the vet’s office unless the insurer offers direct payment.
  2. The insurance provider subtracts the deductible ($200) and pays for 80% of the remaining balance ($1,300).
  3. You’ll receive $1,040 as reimbursement, reducing your out-of-pocket costs to $460 (the $200 deductible, plus your 20% copayment).

How much is a vet visit?

The cost of a routine visit ranges from $50 to $250, depending on the care your pet receives and the clinic’s location. Generally, the visit includes the cost of vaccination boosters, preventive medication and a physical exam.

The real financial benefits of pet insurance kick in for emergency vet visits and hospitalizations or the treatment of chronic conditions, all of which are significantly more expensive.

How much is a vet visit for a cat without insurance?

A routine wellness visit for cats, including bloodwork and a dental exam, averages between $100 to $200, according to MetLife.

Expect a higher bill if you’re taking your cat to the vet because there’s a problem. According to Healthy Paws’s Cost of Veterinary Care in 2022, the most common condition in cats was gastritis and the average cost ranged around $1,500- $1,800.

How much is a vet visit for a dog without insurance?

Expect to pay between $50-$250 when you take your canine companion for its yearly checkup. And if the visit includes a recommended dental cleaning, that might add $300 to $500 to the bill. The same Healthy Paws report lists skin conditions as the most common claim of the year for dogs. The bill averaged $200 to $2,500. Gastritis came second and cost an average of $1,600 to $5,000 to treat.

Pet Insurance FAQs

What is the best pet insurance?

The best pet insurance for you will depend on a combination of different elements, mainly your budget and your pet’s needs. Check out our best pet insurance reviews to find the right one.

How much is pet insurance?

Pricing your pet insurance premium will depend on many factors: 1) your pet’s type, sex, and breed; 2) your pet’s age; 3) your location; 4) coverage types; 5) deductible and reimbursement level. The more expensive it is where you live, whether it’s California or New York City, the more expensive your pet insurance will be. Find more information about each factor in our subsection how much is pet insurance.

What does pet insurance cover?

It depends on the specific plan. Standard pet health insurance will cover most accidents and injuries. Still, you can also buy a policy that covers only accidents or only routine vet visits for checkups and vaccinations, usually called wellness plans. “Things like ultrasounds, blood tests or procedures such as MRIs or CAT scans — they’re now available [for pets],” said Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is a policy that comes with a monthly premium. With pet insurance, if your pet is sick or injured, you pay the bill up front and submit a claim for reimbursement. You can take your pet to a licensed veterinarian and then submit a claim to get reimbursed for issues that are covered under your pet insurance plan. Review our pet insurance guide to learn more about how pet insurance works.

How does pet insurance know about pre-existing conditions?

Pet insurance companies identify pre-existing conditions by reviewing your pet’s medical records or requesting a nose-to-tail medical exam before enrollment. The veterinarian that performs the test must list every symptom and condition present at the time of examination. To gather your pet’s medical records, the company might request the contact information of every shelter or veterinarian that has treated your pet in the past.

How We Chose the Best Pet Insurance Companies

As part of our methodology, we gathered sample quotes and compared the following components of each pet insurance provider:

  • Plan and coverage options
  • Cost and available discounts
  • Annual reimbursement limits
  • Policy exclusions and restrictions
  • Wellness benefits
  • Customer service options and claims processes

Typically, we look at the complaint index recorded by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to evaluate all insurance companies. Unfortunately, these metrics aren’t yet applicable to pet insurance. The NAIC doesn’t track pet insurance complaints the same way it does for other types of insurance and there’s still a significant lack of data.

Summary of Money’s Best Pet Insurance Companies of May 2023

  • Spot – Best Pet Insurance for Unlimited Coverage
  • Pumpkin – Best Pet Insurance for Puppies and Kittens
  • AKC – Best Pet Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Figo – Best Pet Insurance for Reimbursement Options
  • Embrace – Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs and Cats
  • Pets Best – Best Pet Insurance for International Coverage
  • Lemonade – Best Pet Insurance for Fast Claims Processing
  • Trupanion – Best Pet Insurance for Direct Payment to Vets
  • Nationwide – Best Pet Insurance for Exotic Pets


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