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If your pet were seriously injured and needed emergency medical care, how would you cover the cost? In a recent study, 45% of dog owners and 36% of cat owners thought they were financially prepared for pet expenses, but were not. If your pet needed emergency care, would you be prepared to pay anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars? If not, pet insurance can be a lifesaving safeguard.
There are many pet insurers out there, but we selected the best providers based on available reimbursement levels and coverage. Leading companies offer multiple benefit options, a range of deductibles, and allow you to customize your policy with optional add-ons.
Best Pet Insurance Companies of January 2023
Best Overall : Nationwide
5% discount for current Nationwide customers
Offers coverage for exotic pets
Optional wellness plans available
Pets must be enrolled before the age of 10
No unlimited reimbursement options
Only one possible deductible
Nationwide is a leading insurance company and has been offering pet insurance since 1982. It now insures over 1 million pets, and it's one of the only pet insurance companies to cover exotic pets as well as dogs and cats.
Nationwide offers four plans:
- Major Medical: Major Medical is Nationwide’s basic accident and illness policy. It covers treatments and procedures for sudden injuries or illnesses. The deductible is $250. This plan uses per-condition annual limits, meaning you'll have to look at the coverage details to see how much they'll pay depending on what has happened to your pet.
- Whole Pet: Whole Pet coverage is for unexpected accidents and injuries. It has a $10,000 cap on annual benefits and a $250 deductible. You can choose a reimbursement percentage of 50% or 70%. Besides accidents and illnesses, Whole Pet also covers hereditary and congenital conditions.
- Pet Wellness (Basic and Plus): These plans provide coverage for routine and preventative care, like wellness exams, vaccinations, and flea and heartworm preventatives. They have per-condition annual limits; Basic has a $400 overall annual limit, and Plus has a $500 overall limit. Pet Wellness can be added on to Major Medical plans.
- Avian and Exotic Pet Coverage: Nationwide covers birds, reptiles, and other exotic pets. Less details are available online as you can only get quotes and purchase coverage for exotic pets over the phone.
Nationwide’s plans have 14-day waiting periods for both accidents and illnesses. For more information, see the full Nationwide pet insurance review.
Runner-Up, Best Overall : Figo
One-day waiting period for injuries, 14 days for illnesses
Offers up to 100% reimbursement
No upper age limit for enrollment
Veterinary exam coverage requires an additional rider
Rehabilitation and alternative therapies require an additional rider
With most pet insurance companies, the maximum reimbursement—the percentage of your veterinary bill the insurance company covers—is usually 90% or less. But with Figo, you can choose a reimbursement percentage as high as 100%, so your bill will be completely covered after reaching your deductible.
Figo offers three accident and illness policies for dogs and cats:
- Essential: The Essential plan provides up to $5,000 in annual benefits.
- Preferred: The Preferred plan’s annual benefits are capped at $10,000.
- Ultimate: The Ultimate plan has an unlimited annual benefit.
Figo does have optional riders you can add to your policy, such as wellness plans for vaccines and preventative care, veterinary exam fee plans, and extra benefits like coverage for boarding fees, and third-party property damage liability protection.
Figo also offers a diminishing deductible. For each year that you are claim-free, Figo will reduce your deductible by $50 until it reaches $0.
Figo was founded in 2013, and it’s based in Chicago. Its policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. For more information, see the full Figo pet insurance review.
Best for Multiple Pets and Discounts : MetLife
Family plans available
No upper age limits
Plans cover veterinary exams and medications
Annual benefits limited to $10,000 for online enrollment
Coverage for parasitic conditions requires an additional rider
Six-month waiting period for cruciate ligament conditions and IVDD
Although many companies offer multi-pet discounts, you usually have to reach the annual deductible for each pet. But with MetLife, you can enroll your pets in a family plan and have just one deductible that applies to all of your pets. MetLife’s family plans tend to be less expensive than enrolling pets in individual plans, helping you save money.
MetLife offers accident and illness policies for dogs and cats nationwide. Its policies have two-week waiting periods for illnesses, but accident coverage starts the day after you enroll your pet.
MetLife also has routine care riders you can add to your policy to get coverage for wellness visits and preventative care. The company offers multiple discounts, and it works with employers to offer discounted pet insurance to eligible workers. Take note that some policy options (like deductibles and coverage limits) may vary by location and pet.
MetLife is a major insurance and financial services company founded in 1868. Its policies are underwritten by the Independence American Insurance Company. For more information, see the full MetLife pet insurance review.
Best for Pre-Existing Conditions : ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
Pets can regain coverage for some pre-existing conditions
Higher-than-usual multi-pet discount
Covers stem cell therapy
Somewhat limited reimbursement percentage options
No high-deductible option to lower your premiums
Must call for some coverage options
There are no pet insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions. If your pet was diagnosed with or showed clinical signs of a condition before your policy effective date or during the waiting period, all companies will exclude treatments for that issue.
However, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance stands out from most other companies in handling curable pre-existing conditions. If your pet has a curable condition and is free from treatment and symptoms for at least 180 days after enrollment, the condition is no longer considered pre-existing, and future treatments will be covered. But this provision doesn’t apply to ligament or knee conditions, so your pet cannot regain eligibility for coverage for issues like hip dysplasia or a luxating patella.
ASPCA has reasonable waiting periods for all conditions, including orthopedic issues (14 days). And it’s one of the few companies that cover stem cell therapy for qualifying injuries or illnesses, making it a good choice for breeds known for hereditary or congenital issues.
ASPCA has two main plans for dogs and cats, along with preventative care riders:
- Complete Coverage: The Complete Coverage plan is ASPCA’s accident and illness plan. The maximum allowable annual benefit is $10,000 when enrolling online, but you can call for more options.
- Accident-Only Coverage: Accident-only coverage only reimburses you for treatments for injuries and emergencies related to sudden accidents. The maximum allowable annual benefit is $10,000.
- Basic/Prime Preventative Care: The preventative care add-on reimburses you for routine care like annual exams, dental cleanings, heartworm/flea prevention, and vaccinations. The Prime plan costs more than the Basic, covers more treatments, and offers more reimbursement.
ASPCA also has separate policy options for horses: Colic + Accidents, Colic + Accidents + Illnesses, and Routine/Platinum preventative care packages.
Despite its name, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is not owned or run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Instead, it is owned by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group and gets its name through a branding partnership with ASPCA. Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group has been providing pet insurance since 1997.
For more information, see the full ASPCA pet insurance review.
Best for Dental Coverage : Odie
No upper age limit
Lower-than-average premiums (based on internal research)
Wide range of deductible amounts
Regular teeth cleanings and exams required for periodontal disease coverage
Reimbursement sent through postal mail
Dental diseases are common in dogs and cats. In fact, periodontal disease affects 80% of dogs over three years of age. Some insurance companies limit dental coverage, but Odie’s plans provide significant protection. If you follow the company’s care requirements for dental exams and cleanings, Odie will cover periodontal disease, endodontic treatments, extractions, and more.
Odie has one accident and illness policy, with multiple optional riders that provide coverage for wellness exams and routine care. There’s no upper age limit for enrollment, and you can get up to 90% reimbursement for qualifying treatments. You can choose a deductible between $50 and $1,000, so you can adjust your policy to fit your budget.
Odie is a relatively new company, founded in 2020.
For more information, see the full Odie pet insurance review.
Best for Quick Claims Processing : Prudent Pet
No upper age limit
24/7 veterinary support available
Quick claims processing
Six-month waiting period for cruciate ligament and soft tissue conditions
Basic plans don’t cover office visits
Because pet insurance companies usually work via reimbursement—you pay for your pet’s treatment, submit a claim, and wait for the insurer to reimburse you—processing times are important. Some companies can take weeks to process and pay out claims. But with Prudent Pet, the claims process is "lightening fast" and uses AI to get you your money faster.
Prudent Pet has three plans for dogs and cats:
The Accident-Only and Essential plans each have a $10,000 annual maximum, while the Ultimate plan is unlimited. The Ultimate plan also includes additional benefits like mortality coverage, vacation cancellation reimbursement, and advertising and rewards for lost pets.
Prudent Pet also has three wellness plan options you can add to your policy—for an additional fee—to get coverage for preventative care. There is also exam fee coverage that can be added.
Prudent Pet was launched in 2018, and it issues policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For more information, see the full Prudent Pet insurance review.
Best for Military Families : USAA
Covers complementary treatments and rehabilitative care
Significant discounts available
Senior pets aren’t eligible for accident and illness protection
Bilateral conditions are not covered
Six-month waiting period for most orthopedic conditions
Pet insurance can be expensive, and budget-conscious pet owners can save a significant amount of money through USAA. Most USAA members can get up to 15% off their premiums. But if you are current or former active duty military or have multiple pets to insure, you can get up to 25% off.
USAA membership is required to purchase insurance from USAA; to qualify for USAA membership, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. military. Spouses and children of current or former military service members are also eligible.
USAA doesn’t issue or underwrite pet insurance policies. Instead, it partners with Embrace to provide discounted pet insurance options to eligible members.
Embrace offers accident and illness policies along with accident-only policies for dogs and cats. Embrace also sells a wellness plan that helps pay for routine care like vaccinations or microchipping.
Pet Wellness/Discount Plans
Pet wellness and discount plans can help make some treatments that aren’t covered by pet insurance—such as dental cleanings or spay/neuter procedures—more affordable. They work differently than accident and illness coverage from pet insurance.
- Wellness plans: With a wellness plan, the company will reimburse you up to a specified amount per treatment, up to an annual maximum. Through programs like Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Care, you pay monthly or annual fees and get routine preventative care.
- Discount plans: Discount plans, such as Pet Assure, give you a flat discount on eligible treatments or procedures. You show the discount card at a participating veterinarian’s office and receive a discount on your total. Unlike wellness plans, discount programs can be used in combination with pet insurance to pay for emergency care. Pricing varies, but is typically cheaper than insurance.
|Wellness Plans||Discount Plans|
When shopping for pet insurance, you need to be confident that your company will be around for the long haul and will be able to process your claims quickly. Nationwide is our top pick because it has a long history of providing pet insurance and paying out claims, and current Nationwide customers can get 5% off their premiums by purchasing pet insurance.
If you are looking for an insurer that has no upper age limit, Figo may be a better choice, while those with multiple pets may find that MetLife’s family plans offer the most affordable coverage.
Whatever your situation, spend some time shopping around and comparing quotes and exclusions from multiple companies to find the best coverage for you and your pets.
Guide for Choosing the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Should You Buy Pet Insurance?
If you aren’t sure if you should buy pet insurance, consider your budget and pet’s needs. For example:
- If your pet has chronic health conditions or is a senior pet: An accident and illness policy may be too expensive, and it may not cover your pet’s care. A discount plan may provide more value, since they don’t exclude senior pets or pre-existing conditions.
- If you want inexpensive coverage: If you want the least expensive coverage possible—but still want some protection in case of an emergency—an accident-only plan may be a good choice. Available for a few dollars a month, accident-only plans cover treatments for sudden injuries, like broken bones or bite wounds.
- If your pet is relatively young: Young, healthy pets—that haven’t shown any signs of health issues—are inexpensive to insure. Locking in coverage while your pet is young ensures you have protection against accidents and illnesses later on.
- If your pet needs surgery or chemotherapy: If your pet is already injured or ill and needs treatment, unfortunately, pet insurance won’t help you. Companies have waiting periods before coverage goes into effect, and any issues that existed before your policy enrollment will be excluded.
Understanding Coverage Exclusions and Pre-Existing Conditions
All insurance plans exclude pre-existing conditions: issues that were present before your pet’s policy effective date or that occurred during the policy waiting period.
If a pre-existing condition is considered curable, some companies will remove the exclusion if your pet is symptom-free for some period of time, like 6 to 12 months.
Some companies have bilateral exclusions, meaning if your pet is diagnosed with an issue on one side of the body, treatments for that condition on the other side are excluded from coverage.
And besides those common exclusions, most pet insurance companies have their own lists of excluded treatments (you can sometimes find these in sample policies). Be sure to understand the policy exclusions so you aren’t surprised later on.
How to Compare Pet Insurance Companies
Pet insurance companies vary a great deal in terms of coverage, pricing, and exclusions. When comparing companies, consider the following:
- Premium: Premiums will vary quite a bit from company to company, depending on your location and the age and breed of your pet. The best way to compare premiums is to get some sample quotes from a variety of companies, like the ones on our list above.
- Coverage limit type: Depending on the company, coverage limits can be annual, per condition, or per incident. Annual coverage limits have a single deductible, and it starts over every year. With per-condition coverage, each condition has its own deductible, but you only have to meet the deductible once for the pet’s lifetime. At the same time, you can quickly reach the condition’s maximum over your pet's lifetime. Per-incident coverage means the same deductible applies to every incident, and it starts over for every new incident.
- Deductible: The deductible is how much of the cost you have to pay before your insurer will reimburse you for claims. The lower the deductible, the higher your premium.
- Reimbursement percentage: The reimbursement percentage is how much your insurer will cover after you reach your deductible. For example, if your bill is $1,000 and the insurer offers 70% reimbursement, you’re responsible for $300 of the bill.
- Included and excluded treatments: As described above, insurance companies have many different policy exclusions. Take the time to understand those exclusions so you’re not left on the hook for a big unexpected bill.
Selecting a Pet Insurance Company
Once you choose a company, you can usually get a quote for coverage and enroll your pet online. Most pet insurers have online portals (and some have mobile apps) where customers can view their policies, make payments, and submit claims.
When you purchase a policy, be sure to read the fine print. Some companies require you to submit all of your pet’s medical records after you enroll; otherwise, your claims will be denied.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance involves deductibles, copays or coinsurance, and coverage limits. Most pet insurance companies pay claims through reimbursement, so the policyholder pays for the pet’s care at the veterinarian’s office at the time of treatment and submits a claim afterward. If the insurer approves the claim, the company sends the policyholder reimbursement via check or electronic transfer.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, approximately 98% of pet insurance policies issued are accident and illness plans. These policies cover treatments for unexpected injuries and diseases, including cancer, kennel cough, and broken limbs. The remainder of the plans tends to be accident-only plans that only cover unexpected injuries, not illnesses or chronic conditions.
Pet insurance doesn’t usually cover routine care or preventative treatments like vaccinations, wellness exams, or dental cleanings. However, it may be possible to get partial coverage for these expenses by purchasing a separate discount plan or wellness plan, or by adding a wellness rider to your policy.
Do Pet Insurance Premiums Increase With My Pet’s Age?
It is possible to get coverage for senior pets, but you should expect higher premiums.
Health risks tend to increase as a pet ages, so enrolling an older pet will be significantly more expensive than insuring a younger one. Once your pet is insured, you can expect the premiums to increase as your pet gets older.
Some pet insurance companies have maximum enrollment ages for certain policies, such as 10 or 12 years; after that age, you won't be able to enroll your pet. If you enroll before your pet reaches the cutoff age, coverage will typically continue regardless of your pet's age, as long as there are no gaps in coverage. Your best option is to find a carrier that has no age limit.
Here are our top-rated pet insurance providers with no maximum enrollment ages, along with their annual deductible options.
|Pet Insurance Companies With No Maximum Enrollment Age|
|Company||Max Enrollment Age||Annual Deductible|
|ASPCA||None||$100, $250, $500|
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?
In 2021, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association reported that the average annual premium for accident and illness coverage for a dog was $583.91, and it was $342.84 for a cat. Those amounts are significant, so how do you know if pet insurance is worth the cost? When deciding whether to enroll your pet in a policy, consider these variables:
- Pre-existing conditions: All pet insurance companies exclude coverage for treatment of pre-existing conditions (Though some will cover them as non-preexisting after a lengthy period). If your pet already has serious health issues, such as ligament conditions or diabetes, you may find that your policy is less useful because your pet’s current treatments aren’t covered. By contrast, insuring healthy pets before any illnesses or conditions appear ensures that their treatments will be covered if conditions develop later on (as long as they aren’t specifically excluded by the policy).
- Age of pet: Older pets are much more expensive to insure than younger pets. They’re also more likely to have existing health issues, which the insurance company wouldn’t cover if the conditions were diagnosed before the pet’s enrollment date. Insurance is more affordable for younger pets and securing a policy before your pet develops health issues will help minimize treatment costs down the line.
- Breed of pet: Some breeds of cats or dogs are more prone to health issues than others. For example, some dog breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, a serious orthopedic condition. Some companies exclude particular breeds or charge higher premiums because of the higher risk of developing health issues.
- Savings: If your pet needed emergency care, would you be able to cover the cost yourself? Treatments can be expensive and, without insurance, you’d have to cover the entire cost yourself. For example, treatments for broken bones usually cost over $2,000.
In general, pet insurance can be a cost-effective choice if your pet is relatively young and healthy. If you have a senior pet or a pet with existing health issues—or if you have a substantial financial safety net—you may be better off skipping insurance and self-financing instead.
Our Methodology: How We Reviewed Pet Insurance Providers
Our team evaluated 25 pet insurance providers, including wellness-only programs, and collected over 2,000 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed 43 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact on potential customers.
The top picks were selected based on factors like plan options (weighted 33% in total), company features (29% in total), and fees, discounts, and limits (13% in total). We took into account the availability of instant online quotes, claim turnaround times, and whether or not the insurer will conduct a medical record review when you apply, among other important considerations.
We also conducted a survey of 408 people who currently have pet insurance (23% of respondents), are considering getting pet insurance (56.4%), or have had pet insurance in the past (20.6%). Their responses were used to better understand customer satisfaction with the available features, claim reimbursements, and customer service of pet insurance companies.
For more information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.