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By Money Staff
Updated: July 23, 2021 10:54 AM ET | Originally published: July 20, 2021
a hand pets a pawprint

Pet insurance helps pay for your pet’s medical care, with many policies covering up to 90 percent of your vet bill — assuming your pet’s procedure wasn’t excluded from coverage or didn’t surpass your annual expense cap.

Money’s Top Picks for July’s Best Pet Insurance

Most leading pet insurance companies give pet owners comprehensive coverage at an affordable monthly premium. The differences lie in the details and fine print. Shop around, do the research, and then make a well-informed decision about the insurance that is best suited to care for your pet and your pocket.

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Money’s Reviews of the 4 Best Pet Insurance Companies of July

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Healthy Paws Review

Best Value
Pros Cons
No caps on claim payouts No wellness plan or preventative care
Unlimited annual benefits 15-day waiting period for accident and illness
99% of claims processed in 2 days Charges a one-time $25 fee
Submit claims via email, fax, online, or using the Healthy Paws’ mobile app Age restrictions
Visit any licensed veterinarian, 24-hour hospital, or specialist without a referral

Healthy Paws plans start at $15 per month for cats and $20 for dogs, with no limit to how many claims you can make, making it the best value compared to the competition.

Healthy Paws offers one pet insurance plan covering:

  • accidents
  • illnesses
  • surgeries
  • prescription medications
  • hospital stays
  • and emergencies

Healthy Paws covers pets aged six and older with a full accident and illness policy with unlimited lifetime coverage. Pets older than six must have a medical exam within 30 days prior to policy purchase or within the first 15 days of issuing the policy. Older than eight and they’re restricted to 60% reimbursement and a $750 annual deductible.

Healthy Paws Foundation’s Every Quote Gives Hope Program gives a donation towards a homeless pet’s medical care with every free pet insurance quote.

Deductibles $100, $250, $500
Annual Limits Unlimited
Accident-only Plan Available Yes
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Embrace Pet Insurance Review

★ High coverage for dental illnesses
Pros Cons
Accident-only plan available No unlimited benefit options
Emergency care and hospitalization at any licensed clinic Accident and illness only covers pets age 14 and younger
Vet exam fees covered, and diminishing deductible Limited wellness benefits
Optional Wellness Rewards Program for routine and preventative care reimburses up to $650 per year
24/7 Pet Health Line
High coverage of $1k annually for dental illnesses (in most states)

Embrace’s basic coverage starts at under $6 per month for cats and $12 for dogs.

Covered treatment includes:

  • alternative therapies
  • rehabilitation
  • behavioral therapy
  • emergency veterinary care
  • specialist care
  • diagnostic testing (including x-rays and MRIs)
  • hospitalization & surgery
  • prosthetics & mobility devices
  • prescription drug coverage

For every claimless year, you’ll receive a $50 reduction in deductibles, down to potentially zero.

Reimbursements can reach 90 percent, and monthly premiums start at $13 for dogs and $9 for cats. All claims can be submitted online, via email, fax, or mobile app.

Deductibles $100-$1,000
Annual Limits $15,000
Accident-only Plan Available Yes
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Pumpkin Review

★ Exciting newcomer in the pet insurance industry
Pros Cons
No upper age limit or breed exclusions Cannot choose annual coverage limits nor reimbursement rates
14-day waiting period for all conditions Just one year in business
Fast and easy online claims processing
Covers preventative and dental care
Once deductible is met, covers 90%
10% discount for each additional pet

Launched at the end of April 2020, Pumpkin is a relative newcomer. Its plans are provided by Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (a pet insurance agency), and underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company.

Their accident & illness coverage includes:

  • MRIs
  • CT scans
  • surgery
  • prescription meds
  • hospitalization
  • some less common behavioral issues
  • microchip implantation
  • alternative therapy
  • dental disease (but not routine cleanings)

Adding an optional non-insurance preventative care pack to your policy will allow you to get refunded for annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and lab tests for parasites.

Deductibles $100, $250, $500
Annual Limits $15k for cats, $20k for dogs
Accident-only Plan Available No
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Pets Best Review

★ Competitive pricing
Pros Cons
Offers accident-only and wellness plans for a flat rate Doesn’t cover holistic, herbal, or experimental therapies
24-hour helpline staffed by veterinary experts Accident and Illness plan won’t cover prescribed diet, vitamins, or supplements
Very low premiums
Direct reimbursement to your vet, meaning less out-of-pocket for you
Flexible annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement levels (up to 90%)

Pets Best does not have a maximum age limit so you could still get coverage on your aging pet. But, like all insurers, Pets Best won’t cover pre-existing conditions.

Pets Best has three different Accident & Illness policies to choose from (Essential, Plus, or Elite), to which two different wellness plans can be added. All plans cover:

  • accidents
  • illnesses
  • cancer treatments
  • hereditary, congenital, and behavioral conditions
  • emergency care

If you’re on a budget, consider Pets Best’s 70 percent reimbursement rate, which could cost just $9 a month for an Accident-only policy. Regardless of your choice, monthly fees rarely go over $50 for even the most comprehensive coverage levels.

Deductibles $100-$1,000
Annual Limits $5,000- unlimited
Accident-only Plan Available Yes

Important Facts About Pet Insurance Plans

  • Reimbursements: You pay for all vet visits and charges and then file for a reimbursement. The best plans typically reimburse 90 percent of a covered expense.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Pet insurance providers will not reimburse you for conditions your dog, cat, or other pet already had before you bought the pet insurance policy.
  • Payout Caps: Most plans stop reimbursing after you’ve reached your policy’s maximum coverage amount. Most policies have an annual expense cap, but some have caps per incident (illness or injury) or even for the animal’s lifetime. Expect to pay higher premiums for higher caps.
  • Deductibles: With many plans, you set the deductible, which is the money you must pay before your insurance policy kicks in. Watch out for per-incident deductibles. Per-year deductibles provide a better value.
  • Waiting Periods: Your insurance coverage won’t pay until you’ve completed a waiting period. Most companies require at least 14 days before reimbursing you for a vet visit your pet needs for an illness.
  • Exclusions: Pet insurance policies usually exclude specific conditions in the policy’s language. Be sure to read your policy before buying it so you’ll know how your pet insurance works.
  • Networks: Not all pet insurers reimburse for services provided by all vets. Some pay if you stay within a network of providers.
  • Preventative Care: You’ll get the best value from an accident or illness coverage plan, but you could add-on coverage for preventative care. Policies that cover routine care and accident or illness care are called comprehensive coverage.
  • Pet Age: After your dog or cat reaches age 12, your choices for new coverage will diminish significantly. To have the most options, buy a policy before your pet reaches an advanced age.

Pet Insurance FAQs

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 upfront 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.

What does pet insurance cover?

It depends on the specific plan. Standard pet insurance will cover most accidents and injuries. Still, you can also buy a policy that covers 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 much does pet insurance cost?

The cost of pet insurance will depend on several factors, including 1) your pet’s type, gender, and breed; 2) your pet’s age; 3) your location; 4) coverage types; 5) deductible and reimbursement level.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Knowing whether pet insurance will pay off for you depends on your needs and your pet’s health care needs. Before buying a plan, consider its costs vs. its potential benefits. Any kind of insurance provides a service that’s not measured as a dollar amount — giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t be facing expensive vet bills all on your own.

What is not covered by pet insurance?

Some standard pet insurance exclusions include pre-existing conditions, grooming, behavioral training, food and nutritional supplements, and experimental treatments.

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Summary of Money’s Best Pet Insurance Companies for July