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Published: Apr 30, 2024 17 min read

Best Pet Insurance Main Takeaways

  • Spot features unlimited coverage without age caps
  • Figo offers 100% reimbursement and unlimited payouts
  • AKC is the best option for pre-existing conditions
  • Pumpkin offers an excellent preventive pet care package
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Company Highlight
Preferred Provider
Our Partner
  • Get up to 90% back at any vet
  • 5% military discount available
  • Comprehensive illness & accident coverage – no levels
  • Optional wellness plan covers routine vet, grooming, & training costs
  • Customizable annual deductible, annual limit, & reimbursement percentage
Our Partner
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee*
  • Up to 90% reimbursement on eligible vet bills, including accident and illness
  • Multi-pet discount & access to 24/7 vet helpline
  • Visit any U.S. licensed veterinarian or specialist
  • *Subject to terms and conditions
Our Partner
  • Save on exams, vaccines & routine care
  • Go to any licensed vet in the US
  • Fast & simple digital claims process 
  • Get discount for multiple pets
Our Partner
  • ​​​​Get cash back on eligible vet bills
  • Coverage for accidents, illnesses & behavorial issues
  • Alternative Therapies available
  • Visit any licensed vet in US or Canada
Our Partner
  • No breed or upper age restrictions
  • 90% reimbursement rate, even for older pets
  • Dental illness and hereditary conditions covered at no extra cost
  • 10% discount for each additional pet you enroll
Our Partner
  • Save up to 90% off eligible vet bills
  • Accidents, illness & routine care
  • Easy online claims submissions
  • Wide range of plans & coverage options for your furry friend
Our Partner
  • 2023 Pet Insurance of the Year Award Winner
  • No Lifetime or Per Incident Limits
  • Most Claims Processed in 5 Days or Less
  • One of the Shortest Waiting Periods for Accident & Illness Coverage
  • Most comprehensive pet insurance for dogs & cats
  • Get back up to 90% on unexpected vet bills
  • $1000 in online vet visits included at no extra cost  
  • Exam fees are covered (Save $50-$250 per sick visit)
  • Customizable plans to suit your pets' needs and your budget
  • Visit any vet you choose
  • Reimbursement based on actual vet bills
  • Choose your own deductible, co-pay, and benefit limits
  • Exam fees covered
  • Submit claims online and via mobile app
  • Accident, illness, and optional wellness coverage available

Why Trust Us?

At Money Magazine, we have been helping readers navigate personal finance since 1972. Our editors and writers evaluate insurance companies independently, ensuring our content is precise and guided by editorial integrity. Read the full methodology to learn more.

  • Based on 50+ data points
  • Reviewed 19 insurers
  • 1,000+ hours of research

Our Top Picks for Best Pet Insurance of May 2024

  • Embrace - Best for International Coverage
  • Spot - Best for Unlimited Coverage
  • MetLife - Best for Multiple Pets
  • Pumpkin - Best for Puppies and Kittens
  • AKC - Best for Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Figo - Best for Reimbursement Options
  • Pets Best - Best for Treatment of Mobility Issues
  • Lemonade - Best for Fast Claims Processing
  • Nationwide - Best for Exotic Pets
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Protect your furry friend with Embrace Pet Insurance
Get up to 90% reimbursement on vet bills. Customized coverage is available. Select your state for a free quote.
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Best Pet Insurance Company Reviews


Plan options

Accident and illness, accident-only

Annual payout limit

$5K, $8K, $10K, $15K or $30K

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80% or 90%

Annual deductible

$100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K

Waiting periods

14 days for illnesses

Discounts

10% multi-pet, 5% military and 5% to 10% healthy pet

Pros
  • High upper age limit for enrollment
  • High annual reimbursement limit option compared to other competitors with annual caps
  • Includes up to six months of pet travel insurance
Cons
  • Limited wellness benefits
  • Caps dental illness coverage at $1,000 a year
  • Patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are excluded for six months

Read our review


Why we chose Embrace

Embrace pet insurance is one of the few companies that offer a discount for keeping your pet healthy. If you don't exceed $300 in claims per pet per year prior to the discount period, you can earn 5% off your monthly premium the first year you qualify. The discount increases to 10% if you also qualify the following year.


What we like

Embrace offers comprehensive coverage that is on par with the best pet insurance providers on the market. The company will reimburse you for the diagnosis and treatment of most accidents and illnesses that aren't pre-existing. This includes exam fees, diagnostics, medication, surgery, ambulance and hospitalization, if necessary. 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.


What we don't like

Embrace caps dental illness coverage is at $1,000 per year.  An extended waiting period of six months applies to Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), cruciate ligament injuries, patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Finally, there's no coverage for natural supplements, vitamins or food

Read Embrace Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Embrace's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, accident-only, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$2.5K, $3K, $5K, $7K, $10K or unlimited

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80% or 90%

Annual deductible

$100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K

Waiting periods

14 days for accidents and illnesses

Discounts

10% employee, 10% multi-pet

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

Read our review


Why we chose Spot

We picked Spot as the best 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.


What we like

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.


What we don't like

Unlimited annual coverage comes at a high cost and Spot’s prices are already higher than the norm for young pets.

Read Spot Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Spot's Secure Website >>


Plan options Accident and illness

Annual payout limit

$1,000 to $25,000
Reimbursement rates $50, 65%, 70%, 80%, 90%

Annual deductible

$0 to $2,500
Waiting periods 14 days for illnesses, 1 day for accidents, 6 months for orthopedic conditions
DiscountsMulti-pet discount and diminishing deductible
Pros
  • Fast accident-only coverage
  • Low and no-deductible plans available
  • 24/7 telehealth service
  • Diminishing deductible
Cons
  • No standalone accident-only plan
  • Terms and conditions vary by underwriter
  • 6-month waiting period for cruciate ligament problems applies in some states

Read our review


Why we chose Metlife

With MetLife, pet owners with multiple pets don’t have to stress about meeting a separate deductible for each animal. Policyholders can enroll up to three animals under one plan and each eligible vet visit contributes towards the same deductible. Once the deductible is met, every pet is eligible for coverage for the remainder of the year.


What we like

MetLife’s coverage terms are much more flexible than other providers on the market. Pet owners can select a deductible ranging from $0 to $2,500 and an annual limit between $1,000 and $25,000. In addition to standard coverage for diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization and medications, MetLife pet insurance covers exam fees, physical therapy, take-home prescriptions and alternative therapies at no extra cost. Policyholders can also get reimbursed if they need to board their pet or post a reward in the event the animal is lost or stolen.


What we don't like

MetLife pet insurance policies are available in all 50 states. However, certain terms and benefits may change depending on which underwriter issues policies in your area, Metropolitan General Insurance Company (MetGen) or Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC). MetLife also enforces a six month waiting period for cruciate ligament issues and other orthopedic conditions without the option to qualify for a waiver.

Read Metlife Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Metlfie's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$10K, $20K or unlimited

Reimbursement rates

90%

Annual deductible

$100, $250, $500 or $1K

Waiting periods

14 days for accidents and illnesses

Discounts

10% multi-pet

Pros
  • Preventive care packages for the particular needs of puppies and kittens
  • No upper age limit
  • Short (14-day) waiting period for all health conditions, including knee and hip dysplasia
  • Covers exam fees at no extra cost
Cons
  • No customizable reimbursement levels
  • No accident-only option
  • Preventive plan doesn't cover spay/neuter or dental cleanings
  • Most expensive option in our survey

Read our review


Why we chose Pumpkin

Pumpkin is our pick as the best for puppies and kittens because it offers extensive insurance and non-insurance preventive care options tailored to junior animals.


What we like

Pumpkin's puppy preventive care pack includes one annual wellness exam fee, four puppy vaccines and one yearly fecal test. It 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 cover lab tests for parasites.

Pumpkin offers comprehensive accident and illness coverage with some standout benefits: microchip implantation, stem cell therapy and a pet poison control consultation fee. Pet owners are free to call the ASPCA Poison Control Center or the Pet Poison Helpline (and maybe save themselves a trip to the emergency room) without worrying about paying $85-$95 for the phone call.


What we don't like

Pumpkin charges some of the highest premiums out of all the companies we surveyed. And customers can't customize the reimbursement rate in order to find a rate that suits their budget. 

Read Pumpkin Pet Insurance Review >> 

See rates on Pumpkin's Secure Website >>


Annual payout limit

$2.5K, $5K, $7.5K,$10K, $15K, 20K, Unlimited

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80%, 90%

Annual deductible

$100, $250, $300, $400, $500, $600, $750, $1K

Waiting periods

2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses

Discounts

5% multi-pet

Pros
  • Accident-only plan option available
  • Direct payments to vets available under certain conditions
  • Offers supplemental accident and illness coverage for breeding pets
Cons
  • Coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions costs extra
  • No dental coverage except tooth extractions due to injury
  • 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions coverage

Read our review


Why we chose AKC

We picked AKC as the best for dogs and cats with pre-existing conditions because it’s the only provider that covers illnesses and injuries sustained before the policy's effective date or during the waiting period.


What we like

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


What we don't like

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.

Read AKC Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on AKC Pet Insurance's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$5K,$10K or unlimited

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80%, 90% or 100%

Annual deductible

$100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K

Waiting periods

1 day for accidents, 14 days for illnesses

Discounts

5% multi-pet

Pros
  • Up to 100% reimbursement with no annual limits
  • No upper age enrollment limit
  • Low deductible options
  • Most affordable premiums
  • 1-day waiting period for accidents
Cons
  • No coverage on hereditary conditions if the pet is enrolled after 2nd birthday
  • Low payout limits in wellness plan
  • Vet exam fees and physical therapy coverage require separate riders

Read our review


Why we chose Figo

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


What we like

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%.)

The company also offers several endorsements that add coverage for pet boarding,  lost or stolen pets (advertising costs and the value of the pet if it isn't found) and pet liability insurance.

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.


What we don't like

Figo enforces strict limits on its coverage for hereditary conditions such as hyperthyroidism, renal disease and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). These issues are excluded if the pet is enrolled after its second birthday. 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.

Read Figo Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Figo's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, accident-only, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$2.5K, $5K, $10K or unlimited

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80% or 90%

Annual deductible

$50, $100, $250, $500 or $1K

Waiting periods

3 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses

Discounts

5% multi-pet

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Slow claims processing
  • Excludes alternative therapy and behavioral modification
  • Policy upgrades are not available until the renewal date

Read our review


Why we chose Pets Best

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


What we like

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 offers comprehensive physical therapy coverage as an add-on, encompassing acupuncture, electroacupuncture, chiropractic care, treadmill therapy, laser therapy, therapeutic exercises, ultrasound therapy, gait training and other treatments.

Pets Best’s take-home prescription rider is also noteworthy. The add-on covers not just prescription 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.


What we didn't like

Cruciate ligament conditions and any related complications are subject to a six-month waiting period. Pet owners can waive the accident and illness waiting period with a medical exam on the same day they purchase coverage, but this waiver doesn't apply to cruciate ligament issues.

Read Pets Best Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Pets Best's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$5K, $10K, $20K, $50K or $100K

Reimbursement rates

70%, 80% or 90%

Annual deductible

$100, $250 or $500

Waiting periods

2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses

Discounts

5% multi-pet

Pros
  • Quick claims processing — in minutes rather than weeks via mobile app
  • Multiple discounts available
  • A portion of payments go to charities
  • Customizable coverage
Cons
  • Only available in 38 states
  • Policies can only be adjusted at renewal
  • Older pets may not be eligible for coverage

Read our review


Why we chose Lemonade

We picked Lemonade as the best 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.


What we liked

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.


What we didn't like

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 >>

See rates on Lemonade's Secure Website >>


Plan options

Accident and illness, wellness rider

Annual payout limit

$10K

Reimbursement rates

50% or 70% for Whole Pet plan

Annualdeductible

$250

Waiting periods

14 days for accidents and illnesses

Sample premium for rabbits

$41.70

Discounts

5% multi-pet

Pros
  • No per-incident, annual or lifetime caps
  • Covers alternative therapy for diagnosed conditions
  • Direct payments available under certain conditions
Cons
  • Limited coverage for hip dysplasia
  • 12-month waiting period for knee injuries
  • No coverage for behavioral issues or prescription food

Read our review


Why we chose Nationwide

We picked Nationwide as the best for exotic pets because it offers comprehensive insurance for animals beyond cats and dogs. Pet owners can relax knowing up to 90% of their expenses for such animals are covered by a reputable insurer.


What we like

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.


What we don't like

Cat and dog insurance is easy to get directly on Nationwide's website. However, exotic pet owners must call (844-244-3691) to get a quote or sign up. Additionally, cat and dog owners have to wait 12 months to get coverage for cruciate ligament issues — double the time of similar waiting periods.

Read Nationwide Pet Insurance Review >>

See rates on Nationwide's Secure Website >>


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Full Illness & Accident Coverage

  • Unlimited reimbursement, use at any vet
  • Covers illnesses, conditions & accidents
  • Add on dental insurance & prescription coverage
  • Optional wellness plan for routine check-ups, grooming & training costs

24/7 Telehealth Helpline

  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee*
  • Up to 90% reimbursement on eligible vet bills
  • Multi-pet discount & access to 24/7 vet helpline
  • Visit any U.S. licensed veterinarian or specialist
  • *Subject to terms and conditions. 

Coverage Starting at as Little as $10 per Month

  • Save on exams, vaccines & routine care
  • Go to any licensed vet in the US
  • Fast & simple digital claims process 
  • Get discount for multiple pets

No Breed or Upper Age Restrictions

  • No breed or upper age restrictions
  • 90% reimbursement rate, even for older pets
  • Dental illness and hereditary conditions covered at no extra cost
  • 10% discount for each additional pet you enroll

No Upper Age Limit on Enrollment

  • Save up to 90% off eligible vet bills
  • Accidents, illness & routine care
  • Easy online claims submissions
  • Wide range of plans & coverage options for your furry friend

Pet Insurance Plans by Category

Looking for pet wellness care or coverage for multiple pets? Look no further. We narrowed down the best plans for your pet's particular needs.

Best Pet Health Insurance by State

Pet insurance rates — as well as the availability of certain plan options — may vary by state. There are also state-mandated pet ownership expenses (such as licensing and microchipping) that your pet insurance policy may help cover.

Check out our list of the best pet insurance companies for your state below:

Pet Insurance Guide

Table of Contents


Compare pet insurance plans

Use our pet insurance comparison table to choose the right policy, whether you want to compare dog insurance plans or explore options for other cherished pets.

We also include companies that stood out in some respects but didn’t quite match the strengths of our top picks. Read our full reviews to learn more: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, Fetch Pet Insurance, Many Pets Pet Insurance, Wagmo Pet Insurance, Healthy Paws and Trupanion.

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Compare pet insurance plans

SLIDE
Company
Accident-only plan
Wellness Rider
Exam Fees
Direct Payment to Vets
Telehealth
Behavioral Therapy
Top Partner
Pumpkin
Get Quote
Trupanion
Get Quote
Nationwide
Get Quote
Healthy Paws
Get Quote
MetLife
Get Quote
ManyPets
Get Quote
= included in the base policy
= not covered in the base policy or costs extra to add
Based on publicly available sample policies. Actual terms may vary.

How much is pet insurance?

According to NAPHIA’s State of the Industry Report, the average cost of pet insurance for cats is $29 a month while dog insurance plans cost about $49 a month. To better illustrate this, we compared pet insurance plans for a cat and a dog in Miami, Florida.

If you’re on a tight budget, check out our reviews of the best cheap pet insurance. In our sample of providers, the cheapest pet insurance quotes were $15 per month for cats and $40 for dogs.


Pet insurance for dogs

Monthly cost of dog insurance for a Labrador retriever in Miami, Florida:

Company

1-year-old

5-year-old

10-year-old

Figo

$40.51

$54.82

$138.78

Lemonade

$47.90

$64.32

N/A

AKC

$48.49

$69.56

N/A

Pets Best

$54.46

$73.42

$188.14

Healthy Paws

$54.85

$95.56

$130.20

Nationwide

$68.07

$91.17

N/A

Spot

$78.71

$102.13

$238.49

Embrace

$83.50

$108.55

$217.11

Trupanion

$100.43

$179.24

$271.26

Pumpkin

$100.98

$131.04

$306.00

Pet insurance for cats

Monthly cost of cat insurance for a domestic shorthair in Miami, Florida:

Company

1-year-old

5-year-old

10-year-old

Figo

$15.45

$18.15

$39.30

Lemonade

$19.08

$22.51

N/A

Pets Best

$21.00

$24.93

$57.82

AKC

$22.43

$28.33

N/A

Nationwide

$23.05

$34.19

N/A

Embrace

$27.71

$37.83

$63.94

Spot

$29.47

$33.12

$76.06

Trupanion

$30.63

$51.45

$78.03

Healthy Paws

$32.08

$55.33

$75.11

Pumpkin

$49.50

$55.62

$127.73

Sample quotes correspond to an accident and illness policy with 80% reimbursement, $10,000 payout limit and a $250 deductible, except in the case of Trupanion, Figo and Pumpkin. Please note that your quote may be different from the rates above.


Additional out-of-pocket expenses to remember

The cost of pet insurance is not limited to premium payments. Unless you purchase a policy with 100% reimbursement, unlimited payouts and no deductibles, you’ll have to cover some expenses yourself.

  • Exam or office fees: Veterinarians and emergency vet care clinics charge an exam fee that's separate from diagnostic or treatment costs. Most insurers exclude this fee from coverage, which then amounts to a hidden deductible of $30 to $100 for each visit.
  • Deductible: You’ll need to meet the policy's deductible before the insurance company starts reimbursing you. 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.
  • Copay: Once you file for reimbursement, plans typically pay 70% to 90% of eligible veterinary services. The remaining 30% to 10% comes out of your own wallet.
  • Payout caps: Pet insurance won't pay once you’ve reached the policy’s maximum coverage amount for the year. Some insurers also set individual coverage caps for behavioral modification, dental care and end-of-life expenses.

Factors that determine what your pet insurance costs:

  • Type of policy: Accident and illness policies cost more than other types of pet insurance (wellness plans or accident-only policies).
  • 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 at over $80 a month.
  • 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 options for insurance providers will significantly diminish.
  • Pet’s breed: Purebreds prone to congenital or hereditary conditions usually cost more to insure than mixed-breed dogs.
  • Pet’s size: Buying pet insurance for larger dogs or cats is more expensive compared to small or toy-sized animals. That said, smaller breeds tend to live longer, which means you’ll pay more over the animal’s lifetime.
  • Where you live: Pet insurance costs more in states where vet care is more expensive. On average, residents of California and New York pay the most.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is an insurance product that covers part of your pet's vet bills if they get sick or injured. It's designed to protect owners from the financial impact of costly, unforeseen issues such as emergency vet care or chronic medical conditions. Pre-existing conditions and routine care expenses like vaccinations, annual exams and parasite prevention aren't covered.

There are two types of pet insurance policies. Insurers also sell separate wellness plans or endorsements that cover routine care.


Types of pet insurance

Accident & illness policy

Accident coverage

Wellness riders

Covers diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization, treatment and medications for any covered accident or illness.

Pays only for the treatment of sudden accidents or injuries such as poisonings, broken bones or bloating. 

Reimburses policyholders for services such as vaccinations, microchipping, checkups, pet dental care and heartworm prevention.


How does pet insurance work?

Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance has no network restrictions, so you can take your dog or cat to any licensed vet or specialist nationwide. But you must meet a few requirements before insurance starts reimbursing you: the waiting period must elapse and you must cover all vet costs until you meet the policy's deductible.

Once you meet the deductible, you can file for reimbursement. You'll pay the vet bill in full and file a claim to the insurance company at a later date — unless you enrolled with a company that offers direct payment to vets, such as Trupanion.

Most insurers reimburse 70% to 90% of the bill, and you're responsible for paying the remaining 10% to 30%. Annual limits also apply, meaning that the insurance company won't reimburse more than, say, $10,000 if your policy's capped at that number. This limit resets upon renewal.

Lastly, premiums won't increase after you file a claim. However, pet insurance premiums can increase a reported 20% to 30% after the policy renews to match your pet's age and the cost of veterinary care in your zip code.

Pet insurance coverage

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers diagnostic tests, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medication and long-term treatment for accidents and chronic conditions such as allergies or diabetes (a common risk in overweight pets). Most policies also cover behavioral therapy and physical therapy if it's medically necessary.

As with most insurance policies, there are exclusions to keep in mind. Pet insurance doesn't cover routine care, pre-existing conditions or injuries due to owner negligence.

Check out our pet insurance coverage guide for more information.


Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance can be prohibitively expensive. Healthy Paws, MetGen and Trupanion came under scrutiny for rate increases, and policyholders have denounced claim denials and long waits for reimbursement. In this landscape, many wonder whether pet insurance is worth paying for.

A pet owner may regret paying for insurance if their dog lived a long and healthy life. After all, they likely paid thousands in premiums over the life of an animal that (fortunately) never got sick enough to need the policy. In hindsight, using a credit card or setting money aside in a savings account may have been better.

But what about pets that aren't as lucky?

"[Insurance] can be a lifesaver for pet owners," says Dr. Karen Halligan, host of Collars and Cents and author of 'Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know.' "We now have the ability to do stem cell transplants [which cost] $35,000 or open heart surgery. A lot of things that you can do for humans, we can do for pets, and the big difference is the insurance."

Having a pet insurance policy offers peace of mind if you want to avoid the difficult decision of choosing between your own financial stability and your pet's health.

Dr. Lindsey Butzer, from Clint Moore Animal Hospital, recalls having to euthanize many dogs because people waited too long to bring them in for treatment. "They're not gonna pay for their dog over their groceries," she explains. Other patients simply couldn't afford the cost of the necessary procedure. "A lot of people make the choice of putting them to sleep if they can't pay for a $10,000 back surgery," she adds.

Pet insurance can be a financial safety net in a world where vet care prices keep trending upward. That said, pet owners should be mindful of the following before buying a policy:

  • Be prepared to pay monthly premiums plus any copays and the yearly deductible
  • Be ready to pay the vet bill upfront and wait for reimbursement
  • Know that premiums will increase yearly
  • Be diligent with your pet's preventive care

How to choose pet insurance

Follow these steps to find the best policy for your pet:

1. Pick between an accident-only or accident and illness coverage

An accident and illness plan may be worth it if you're enrolling a pet that's still young and healthy. On the other hand, accident-only plans work for older dogs that are too expensive to insure and for budget-conscious pet owners who just want a safety net against serious accidents.

2. Study the policy's coverage

Broadly speaking, every policy covers diagnostics, surgery, medication and treatment. When you look at the fine print, however, you'll find differences in the types of services and benefits each plan covers.

The best insurance policies cover exam fees, alternative therapy, behavioral therapy, and prescription medications. Some may even offer direct payment to vets. We also encourage you to look into the policy's dental care coverage. Ask about periodontal disease, any age limits on congenital dental problems and whether every tooth is covered.

3. Choose the policy's terms

Most insurers allow you to select the policy's reimbursement rate, deductible and annual coverage limit. Reimbursement rates range from 70% to 100% and refer to the portion of the bill that's covered by insurance. Annual limits can be as low as $5,000 or unlimited, though this will increase the monthly premium. Insurers may also limit the annual payout for particular claims, known as per-incident limits. You'll generally see per-incident limits for dental coverage, behavioral therapy and prescription medications.

4. Compare waiting periods

Most pet insurance companies make you wait 14 days before you can file a claim. If fast coverage is important to you, look for companies that offer shorter waiting periods for accident coverage.

Orthopedic waiting periods can also be a deciding factor. Lots of companies have a six to 12-month waiting period for joint injuries and hip dysplasia. You may want a pet insurance policy without this restriction if you own a pet breed that's prone to developing these issues early on.

5. Compare pet insurance quotes

You’d be surprised at how much prices can vary between insurance companies. Some insurers may quote double the price of others for similar coverage, so it pays to do some comparison shopping. Additionally, comparing multiple plans at once is fairly easy through a pet insurance comparison site such as Petted Insurance, Pawlicy Advisor or Pet Insurer.

Check out our guide on how to buy pet insurance for more information.


How to save on pet insurance

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

  • Payout caps: Choosing the highest coverage limit increases premiums. To pick the right payout cap, check the average cost of vet treatment in your area for breed-specific illnesses and common injuries.
  • 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, the lower your policy’s premium will be. If your pet remains healthy, choosing a higher deductible can pay off and save you money, but you’ll pay more out of pocket if anything unexpected happens.

Pet insurance discounts

Pet owners can shave 5% to 10% off their policy's monthly rate if their pet insurance carrier offers any one of these discounts:

  • Annual pay discount: Lower rates if you pay for the policy annually instead of monthly
  • Multipet discount: Discounted rates for each additional pet you enroll with the same provider
  • Bundle discounts: Discounted rate for bundling with homeowners or renters insurance under the same provider
  • 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

You can also save money on pet insurance by adopting through a shelter. Trupanion offers 30 days of free insurance at participating shelters and vets, and you can continue coverage after the trial ends (terms and conditions apply).

Check out the best places to adopt a pet and ask if they participate in similar programs.


Pet Insurance FAQs

How much is a vet visit?

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Without insurance, a routine veterinary visit for a cat or dog may range from $50 to $300. Emergency visits can be significantly more expensive, depending on the severity of the situation and required care. Addressing specific health issues also incurs higher costs.

For example, according to Healthy Paws's 2022 Cost of Veterinary Care report, skin conditions were the most common insurance claim for dogs, with bills averaging $200 to $2,500. Similarly, gastritis was the most common condition in cats, with reimbursement claims ranging from $1,500 to $1,800.

What is the best pet insurance?

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The ideal policy will depend on a combination of different elements, mainly your budget and your pet's needs. Our roundup of the best pet insurance providers includes reputable companies such as Spot, Pumpkin, AKC, Figo, Embrace, Pets Best, Lemonade and Nationwide.

What is the best pet insurance for dogs?

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The best pet insurance for dogs (much like pet health insurance for cats) covers the veterinary services your pet will need if they get seriously sick or injured. This includes surgeries, hospitalization, diagnostics, treatment and medication. The best insurers also offer exam fee and wellness coverage, and most cover alternative therapies and behavioral modification at no extra cost.

Get a quote from any of our top picks — Spot, AKC, Lemonade , Embrace, Pets Best, Figo and Pumpkin — to see which of their dog pet insurance plans is the best for your pup.

How does pet insurance know about pre-existing conditions?

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Pet insurance companies identify pre-existing conditions by reviewing your pet's healthcare records or requesting a nose-to-tail medical exam before enrollment. 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.

What is a good annual limit for pet insurance?

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In most cases, $5,000 to $10,000 is more than enough to cover yearly veterinary expenses. However, some treatments, such as cancer treatment or hip replacement surgery, can be very costly. A limit of $10,000 may not be enough, depending on your location and your pet's breed. Assess your pet's susceptibility to certain conditions to choose the appropriate limit. You can also research local treatment costs to make an informed decision.

How We Chose Our Top Picks

To identify the best pet insurance companies of 2024, we reviewed 19 companies based on over 50 data points. Our methodology summarizes the data points in the following categories: basic coverage, extra benefits, waiting periods, limitations and exclusions, affordability, availability, customizability, and ease of use.

Click below to learn more.

Methodology

  • Basic coverage: Our top picks cover exam fees, diagnostic testing, treatment, surgery, medications and hospitalizations for accidents and illnesses. We skipped companies that didn't cover curable pre-existing conditions, as this would mean that one-time ailments such as respiratory infections or a stomach bug could potentially be excluded.
  • Extra benefits: We checked whether the provider covered alternative therapies, behavioral modification, telehealth services and a 24/7 vet helpline. We also took note of providers that offer coverage for non-health-related issues, such as advertising for lost or stolen pets and pet boarding in the event the owner falls ill.
  • Waiting periods: Pet insurance policies typically enforce a 14-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses. Our top picks set waiting periods within this range, with the exception of Nationwide, which enforces an additional waiting period for orthopedic conditions.
  • Limitations and exclusions: We reviewed the provider's upper age limits and cut-off points for coverage. Many accept pets regardless of age, some issue only accident-only policies after the pet reaches a certain age and others deny coverage if the pet is too old. We also identified any additional lifetime or per-incident payout limits that could increase a buyer's out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Affordability: We gathered sample quotes using the pet profiles of a one-year-old Labrador Retriever and a one-year-old domestic shorthair cat from Mami, Florida. The policy's terms are: an 80% reimbursement rate, a $10,000 payout limit and a $250 deductible (with some variations if the company doesn't offer those terms). With that data, we identified which insurers offer the best rates, considering whether affordability meant paying extra for certain benefits.
  • Availability: Most pet insurance providers are licensed to sell policies in all 50 states. And once you have a policy, you can typically visit any licensed veterinarian in the U.S., Canada and any U.S. military base overseas. We excluded companies that issued policies with limited membership, such as USAA pet insurance. We also left out insurers that resell pet insurance policies, such as Geico, which offers Embrace or Trupanion.
  • Customizability: Having multiple deductible, payout and reimbursement options means that policyholders can tweak the coverage details to get a premium that's within their budget. Most providers allow this flexibility. The ones that feature a single policy with no customizability typically offset this limitation with high levels of coverage (90% to 100% reimbursement and very high or unlimited payouts).
  • Ease of use: We went through each company's quote process and took note of how user-friendly its platform was. Most pet insurance companies fare pretty well in this regard, featuring well-designed websites and mobile apps. Pet owners only need to provide their zip code and their pet's species, breed and age to get an online quote and purchase a policy.

Summary of Money’s Best Pet Insurance Companies of May 2024

  • Embrace - Best for International Coverage
  • Spot - Best for Unlimited Coverage
  • MetLife - Best for Multiple Pets
  • Pumpkin - Best for Puppies and Kittens
  • AKC - Best for Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Figo - Best for Reimbursement Options
  • Pets Best - Best for Treatment of Mobility Issues
  • Lemonade - Best for Fast Claims Processing
  • Nationwide - Best for Exotic Pets