Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

  • Date

By

Dig Deeper

26,135FansLike
25,455FollowersFollow
43,507FollowersFollow

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

9 Best Pet Health Insurance Companies 2020 – Plans for Your Dog or Cat

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the estimated value of the North American pet health insurance market came to about $1.42 billion in 2019.

While that’s a great deal of value by any objective standard, it’s dwarfed by the multibillion-dollar markets for life, homeowner, and auto insurance. Pets account for a tiny slice of Americans’ insurance spending.

Is this evidence our pets are somehow less valuable than our cars or homes? On the contrary: The pet health insurance market’s rapid growth suggests many Americans remain unfamiliar with the benefits of pet health insurance. The potential market size is likely much more substantial than $1.42 billion.

That won’t come as a surprise for pet health insurance policyholders and their furry or feathered loved ones. Depending on its terms — coverages, deductible, reimbursement percentage — a pet health insurance policy can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket costs of major veterinary procedures and treatments, such as emergency surgery and chemotherapy. More generous policies defray preventive care costs as well. By limiting the long-term costs of owning an aging or ill pet, pet health insurance reduces the risk of economic euthanasia — the heartbreaking decision to prematurely put down a pet whose care has become a financial burden.

If you’re not yet sure whether this type of coverage is right for you and your pet, review the pros and cons of pet health insurance and familiarize yourself with the distinctions between the three main policy types offered by most pet insurance companies:

  • Accident-Only. Covers expenses related to accidental events, such as trauma from vehicle collisions, poisoning, and foreign body ingestion. Injuries caused by fighting, racing, or breeding usually aren’t covered.
  • Accident and Illness. Covers expenses arising from accidental events and illnesses not caused by accidents. The latter varies by insurer and policy but generally includes diagnostic work, cancer treatments, treatments for recognized hereditary and congenital conditions, and treatments for chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
  • Routine Care. Sometimes known as accident, illness, and wellness coverage, routine care policies are often available as add-ons to accident-only or accident and illness policies. In some cases, they’re noninsurance products modeled after health savings accounts — pet owners can use their deposits to offset covered care costs. Typical coverages include routine exams (“well-pet” vet visits), vaccinations, preventive treatments, and sometimes spaying and neutering.

These pet health insurance companies are all among 2020’s best in the business, but they’re not interchangeable. And they’re not the only pet health insurers worth checking out. Lemonade, a low-cost property insurance provider, recently added pet health insurance to its lineup — and proudly offers a 10% discount for pet owners who’ve already insured their homes. With policies starting as low as $10 per month, that’s an owner- (and pet-) friendly gesture if there ever was one.

Pet health insurance isn’t the only option cost-conscious pet owners have to reduce veterinary costs, either. Though superficially similar to pet health insurance, veterinary discount plans offer a clear and — in some ways, at least — superior alternative to traditional insurance policies. Among other advantages, veterinary discount plans are easier to parse and use than traditional insurance. For example, Pet Assure, a leading veterinary discount plan provider, promises a flat, across-the-board discount (25%) on all medical care provided by veterinary staff: well and sick visits, dental diagnostics and cleaning, emergency care and hospitalization, spaying and neutering, other surgical procedures, care for serious illnesses like cancer, and much more.

Best Pet Health Insurance Companies

Back to pet health insurance, for now. Before settling on a provider, note its AM Best financial strength rating, a key indicator of its capacity to make good on claims. Carefully compare its strengths, weaknesses, and policy terms with competitors’. And take anonymous online reviews with a grain of salt, as customers who bother to leave digital feedback often have bones to pick.

Unless otherwise noted, all policies cover cats and dogs only. Contact insurers directly for information about policies covering other species.

Each insurer’s premium range is based on the same hypothetical pet: a male 3-year-old mixed breed dog in the middle weight range (the parameters for which vary by insurer). Your pet’s actual premiums will depend on age, breed, gender, species, location, policy type, and policy features like deductible and annual coverage limits.

1. Petplan

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (superior)
  • Deductible: $250 to $1,000
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $2,500 to no limit
  • Premium Range: $20 to $87
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: There’s a 15-day waiting period for most covered conditions and procedures. The period is six months for knee-related claims unless you get a waiver.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: No.
  • Notable For: Coverage for homeopathic and alternative therapies, easy mobile claims filing.

XL Specialty Insurance Company and AGCS Marine Insurance Company — both of which have A+ financial strength ratings from AM Best — underwrite Petplan’s pet health insurance policies. As the AARP’s preferred pet insurance provider, Petplan has an official stamp of approval from one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations.

Petplan offers accident-only and accident and illness policies. The latter is expansive and generous, with coverage for specialized chemistry and hematology diagnostics, brand-name prescription medications, rehabilitation, and cancer treatments. Additional standard Petplan coverages that aren’t common elsewhere include alternative and homeopathic therapies, periodontal disease, behavioral therapies, and exam fees for sick visits (as opposed to routine well-pet checkups). And Embrace waives the standard six-month waiting period for knee-related claims with a vet’s certification within the first 30 days of coverage that the covered pet has no preexisting knee condition.

Petplan doesn’t cover everything. Its most notable omission is routine care coverage, so pet owners for whom that’s essential can write Petplan off early. On the bright side, a dedicated claims app speeds claims processing, often without direct human interaction.

Learn More


2. Embrace Pet Insurance

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (superior)
  • Deductible: $200 to $1,000
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $5,000 to $30,000
  • Premium Range: $14 to $53
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: Yes, 14 years old for accident and illness. No limit for accident-only.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: Two days for accident coverage and 14 days for illness. Dogs also have a 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions that can be reduced by following their Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: Yes, noninsurance Wellness Rewards Plan of up to $650 per year (not available in Rhode Island).
  • Notable For: Coverage for conditions related to racing and working, healthy pet deductible (shrinking deductible during reimbursement-free periods).

Subsidiaries of the American Modern Insurance Group, a lower-profile but financially sound operator, underwrite Embrace’s pet health insurance policies.

Embrace’s standard plan is a generous accident and illness policy that covers cancer treatments, behavioral therapies, alternative therapies, treatments for congenital and hereditary conditions, specialist care, prescription drugs*, diagnostics, exam fees, and more. Some of these coverage areas aren’t standard on competitors’ policies, making Embrace a strong choice for pet owners willing to pay more.

Embrace also offers an optional noninsurance wellness rewards feature for an additional monthly premium. The feature provides up to $650 per year for 100% reimbursement of routine care costs not covered by the primary plan. Financially, it’s a wash: $1 paid into the wellness rewards feature equates to $1 in reimbursement. But it’s useful for pet owners who don’t trust themselves to set aside sufficient savings on their own.

Embrace has short waiting periods for accidents and illnesses. The waiting period for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia, isn’t bad either: just six months compared with many competitors’ 12 months. This can also be reduced to as little as 14 days by following their Orthopedic Exam and Waiver process. But full accident and illness coverage isn’t available for pets enrolled after age 14.

Embrace also has some standard policy features often absent from competitors’ policies, including coverage for conditions related to racing and working, and shrinking deductibles during reimbursement-free periods, which Embrace calls the “Healthy Pet Deductible.” It reduces your policy’s deductible by $50 each year you don’t receive a claim reimbursement. The downside of Embrace’s generosity: higher-than-average premiums for most policy configurations.

Learn More


3. Pets Best

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A- (excellent)
  • Deductible: $50 to $1,000
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: Up to $10,000 on the accident-only policy. No limit on the accident and illness or routine care policies.
  • Premium Range: $5 to $24
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: Three days for accident coverage, 14 days for illness coverage.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: Yes, two tiers. The more generous option offers no-deductible coverage for routine exams, vaccinations, and blood work performed at veterinary clinics.
  • Notable For: Easy mobile claim filing, no upper age limit on accident and illness plans.

Pets Best markets pet health insurance plans underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, which boasts an AM Best financial strength rating of A-.

Like most pet insurance companies, Pets Best offers all three main plan types. The accident-only policy is extremely affordable, but the $10,000 annual coverage limit is insufficient to cover a catastrophic injury fully. Reimbursement rates fall within the industry-standard range of 70% to 90%, and the deductible range is unusually wide, going as low as $50.

Pets Best allows policyholders to add coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions like glaucoma and hip dysplasia as long as a vet hasn’t already diagnosed those conditions when the policy first takes effect.

And its waiting periods are among the shortest in the industry. Accident coverage kicks in just three days after the policy’s effective date, and illness coverage takes effect after 14 days. Also, a mobile claims function makes filing a claim as easy as snapping a photo of your invoice. The optional vet direct-pay feature allows Pets Best to pay vets directly, so you don’t have to float the cost until your claim comes through.

Learn More


4. Healthy Paws

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (superior)
  • Deductible: $100 to $500
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: None.
  • Premium Range: $30 to $64
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: Yes. You must enroll your pet before it turns 14 years old.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: For most conditions, 15 days.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: No.
  • Notable For: No coverage caps of any kind, rapid claims processing.

Healthy Paws pet health insurance features plans underwritten by various subsidiaries of the Chubb Group, whose stellar financial strength rating provides priceless peace of mind for anxious policyholders.

Healthy Paws markets just one plan with no lifetime, annual, or per-incident coverage caps. With no optional add-ons to incur premium surcharges, building a Healthy Paws policy is easier than with most pet health insurance providers. And Healthy Paws policies are customizable — deductibles range from $100 to $500, and reimbursement rates vary from 70% to 90%.

Healthy Paws policies specifically exclude coverage for neutering, office or exam fees, preventive care, and routine care. Hip dysplasia coverage is only available for animals enrolled before age 6 and isn’t covered if it manifests during the first 12 months of a policy. Otherwise, the list of covered conditions and procedures is expansive. Average premiums are higher than on bare-bones competitor policies, but you get the coverage you pay for.

Healthy Paws touts its ability to process claims faster, on average, than most competitors. If you don’t opt into the optional vet direct-pay feature, there’s a 99% chance they’ll pay your claim within two days, according to Healthy Paws. There’s one notable downside: The age limit to enroll is 14 years. But once you enroll your animal, they’re covered for life.

Learn More


5. Pumpkin Pet Insurance

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent)
  • Deductible: $100 to $500
  • Reimbursement Rates: 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $7,000 for cats and $10,000 for dogs
  • Premium Range: $59 to $92
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: No.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: 14 days for accidents, illnesses, and covered knee and ligament conditions.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: Yes, Preventive Essentials Pack (a non-insurance product).
  • Notable For: High standard reimbursement rate, no upper age limit for coverage.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance offers two budget-saving products for dog and cat owners: a generous, 50-state medical insurance policy that’s underwritten by Crum & Forster and an optional preventive care add-on (Preventive Essentials Pack) that subsidizes the cost of routine veterinary care.

Pumpkin’s insurance plan is reasonably priced, given the generous deductible range and high reimbursement rate (90%) for all plan holders. Its biggest drawback is the annual coverage limit: $7,000 for cats and $10,000 for dogs, though Pumpkin’s own data suggests that the overwhelming majority of pet owners won’t exceed those thresholds.

The Preventive Essentials Pack is one of the better non-insurance add-ons for pet owners. For a fraction of the annual cost of Pumpkin’s insurance plan, Preventive Essentials members get full refunds for one wellness visit per year, one to four vaccines per year (depending on pet type and age), an annual fecal screen, and (for dogs over six months only) one diagnostic blood test per year.


6. Trupanion

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: Not rated
  • Deductible: $0 to $1,000 lifetime deductible for each condition
  • Reimbursement Rates: 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: No.
  • Premium Range: $35 to $135
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: Yes, 14 years old.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: Five days for accidents and 30 days for illnesses.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: No.
  • Notable For: High standard reimbursement rate, lifetime deductible with no coverage limits.

Seattle-based insurer American Pet Insurance Company underwrites Trupanion’s pet health insurance policies. American Pet Insurance Company lacks an AM Best financial strength rating, which could give prospective policyholders pause. But there’s no evidence the omission has impacted Trupanion’s capacity to pay claims.

However, there is evidence Trupanion is popular with pet owners. An easy-to-understand product can’t hurt. Trupanion has just one pet health insurance policy: a comprehensive accident and illness policy that reimburses 90% of covered costs for treatments related to accidents, nonhereditary illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions, and nonspecific illnesses with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or tenderness. The policy comes with a customizable lifetime deductible for each condition. Once you’ve paid that, Trupanion reimburses 90% of all covered costs associated with that condition. Other than the deductible, coverage is unlimited, with no lifetime, annual, or per-pet caps.

Trupanion’s claims and payment processes stand out as well. The direct-pay option compensates vets directly, often within minutes of receiving a claim, and Trupanion always bases the payout on the actual bill, which isn’t always the case with pet health insurers. Some insurers base payouts on benefit schedules with reimbursement caps for each covered procedure. If the procedure costs much more than the reimbursement cap, the policyholder faces a much higher out-of-pocket payment than their policy’s reimbursement rate would suggest.

Like Petplan, Trupanion pointedly avoids routine care coverage, so it’s not suitable for pet owners seeking to offset well-pet exam fees and vaccinations.

Learn More


7. Figo Pet Insurance

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A- (excellent)
  • Deductible: $100 to $750
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 100%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $5,000 to no limit
  • Premium Range: $10 to $27
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: No.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: Three days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and 12 months for certain knee-related conditions.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: No.
  • Notable For: Up to 100% reimbursement rate, robust mobile app called Pet Cloud.

Independence American Insurance Company, PetsBest’s underwriter, underwrites all three of Figo’s pet health insurance plans. All are accident and illness policies covering emergency services, hereditary and chronic conditions, diagnostics, hospitalization, and cancer. No Figo plan offers routine care coverage, spaying or neutering, any treatments related to breeding, or complications from fecal ingestion. Optional veterinary exam fee coverage is available for a small additional fee. Otherwise, policyholders must pay exam fees for emergency and illness examinations out of pocket.

The most significant difference between Figo’s three policies is the annual coverage limit: $5,000 on the base policy, $10,000 on the midpriced policy, and unlimited on the premium policy. Deductibles range from $100 to $750, and reimbursement rates range from 70% to 100%, making Figo one of the few pet health insurers to offer full reimbursement for covered care. Despite Figo’s generosity, premiums come in lower than many competitors’. For many pet owners, Figo’s biggest drawback is its lack of a vet direct-pay option.

Figo pairs its pet insurance offerings with Pet Cloud, a mobile app built for active pet parents. In addition to features like appointment reminders and digital document storage for veterinary records and receipts, Pet Cloud has social features like a secure messaging portal where users can interact with other Figo pet owners. Its Explore feature is a lot like Google Maps but with all the pet-unfriendly places stripped out.

Learn More


8. PetPremium

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A (excellent)
  • Deductible: $100 to $500
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $2,500 to no limit
  • Premium Range: $16 to $88
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: No.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: No wait for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and six months for ligament-related conditions.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: Yes.
  • Notable For: Low deductibles, coverage for behavioral and alternative therapies, no wait for accident coverage.

The United States Fire Insurance Company underwrites PetPremium’s two pet health insurance plans. As a low-profile, no-frills insurer with an old-school claims process that often requires human interaction, PetPremium is a solid choice for pet owners who prioritize low premiums over policy add-ons and high-tech claims processes — though the most generous policies aren’t super-cheap.

PetPremium’s accident-only policy excludes coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions, illnesses, and behavioral therapies. The Total Coverage plan does provide coverage in those categories. Both policy types can be customized to reimburse up to 90% of covered expenses up to annual limits ranging from $2,500 to unlimited, less annual deductibles ranging from $100 to $500. Optional routine care coverage is available on both policies for an additional premium.

Though its website is mobile-friendly enough, PetPremium doesn’t have a dedicated mobile claims app. The best way to submit a claim is by email. You can check its progress from your online account dashboard.

Learn More


9. ASPCA Pet Insurance

  • AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A (excellent)
  • Deductible: $100 to $500
  • Reimbursement Rates: 70% to 90%
  • Annual Coverage Limits: $3,000 to no limit
  • Premium Range: $19 to $92
  • Optional Vet Direct Pay: Yes.
  • Upper Age Limit for Coverage: No.
  • Waiting Periods for Coverage: For all covered conditions, 15 days.
  • Optional Routine Care Coverage: Yes.
  • Notable For: Easy to use on a mobile device, endorsed by the ASPCA.

As with PetPremium, the United States Fire Insurance Company underwrites the ASPCA pet health insurance plans. The difference: As the name implies, ASPCA’s plans are endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, one of the country’s leading animal charities.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance has three plan types: accident-only, accident and illness, and routine care (available as an add-on to either policy). Deductibles, reimbursement rates, and coverage limits are equivalent for each plan, and you can customize them within the permitted ranges. Coverage for all eligible treatments and conditions begins on the 15th day after the policy’s effective date.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance has an above-average user interface. The website is exceptionally user-friendly and welcoming, with customized quote buttons bearing your pet’s name (if you’ve given it) and large, bright fonts that show up well on mobile devices. The positive vibes extend to the claims experience thanks to an optional vet direct-pay feature that takes payment responsibility out of policyholders’ hands. On the other hand, ASPCA premiums are higher than bargain insurers like Figo.

Learn More


Final Word

Pet owners have no shortage of options to defray veterinary care costs. Each of these companies markets pet health insurance policies that can subsidize or entirely offset pet health care expenses, controlling the long-term cost of pet ownership and reducing the likelihood of economic euthanasia. All deserve your business. But your choice of provider and policy is yours alone to make.

Do you have a pet insurance policy with any of these providers?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Next Up on
Money Crashers

Couple Holding Sports Tickets

13 Places to Buy Cheap Discount Sports Tickets Online & Off

There are plenty of legitimate places to buy genuine tickets for top-tier professional leagues - often at a substantial discount. These are the top places to find good deals on cheap sports tickets.
Types Common Craigslist Scams

7 Types of Common Craigslist Scams to Watch Out for

It used to be that when you wanted to find an apartment for rent, buy a used car, or pick up used, secondhand items...

Latest on
Money Crashers

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

What Do You Want To Do
With Your Money?

Make
Money

Explore

Manage
Money

Explore

Save
Money

Explore

Borrow
Money

Explore

Protect
Money

Explore

Invest
Money

Explore