Best pet insurance companies of August 2023
Published 4:30 a.m. ET Aug. 1, 2023
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Pet insurance can provide some financial protection if your dog or cat needs emergency surgery or treatment for a sudden illness. But with so many companies to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you and your pet. Here are the best pet insurance companies, according to our expert analysis of 18 accident and illness plans.
Why trust our insurance experts
Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of insurance products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.
- 2,295 rates reviewed
- 360 coverage details evaluated
- 5 levels of fact-checking
- Embrace, ManyPets, Paw Protect, Pets Best and Spot have the top-scoring pet insurance plans.
- Dogs make up the majority of insured pets in the U.S. (80.1%) while cats make up 19.9%.
- 98% of pet insurance policies purchased in the U.S. are accident and illness plans.
The best pet insurance companies at a glance
- Best for a diminishing deductible: Embrace
- Best for affordable rates: ManyPets
- Best for flexible vet payment options: Paw Protect
- Best for direct vet payment: Pets Best
- Best for annual coverage options: Spot
- Great for 100% reimbursement coverage: Figo
- Best for fast claims processing: Lemonade
- Best for discounts and perks: MetLife
- Best for preventative care: Pumpkin
- Best for reimbursement amount: Trupanion
Compare the best pet insurance companies of 2023
|Company||Blueprint rating for cheap pet insurance||Monthly pet insurance for a dog||LEARN MORE|
|ManyPets||5.0||$36||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Pets Best||5.0||$50||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Embrace||5.0||$58||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Paw Protect||5.0||$58||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Spot||5.0||$59||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|MetLife||4.0||$51||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Figo||4.0||$55||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Lemonade||4.0||$55||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website||Via Petted's Website|
|Pumpkin||4.0||$60||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Trupanion||4.0||$60||Compare Rates||Via Petted's Website|
|Average monthly cost assumes unlimited reimbursement (or the highest level offered by that company), a $500 deductible and a 90% reimbursement percentage for an accident and illness plan. These average rates are based on dogs of various ages, breeds and ZIP codes. |
To find the best pet insurance, we analyzed 18 pet insurance companies using data provided by PetInsurer.com.
Each pet insurance company was eligible for up to 100 points, based on its performance in the following key categories:
Cost: 50 points. We calculated average rates for accident and illness pet insurance plans for dogs with unlimited annual reimbursement (or the highest level offered by that company), a $500 deductible and a 90% reimbursement percentage. Average rates were based on quotes for 10 dog breeds, three age groups and multiple ZIP codes. The lower the average rate, the higher the number of points.
Annual coverage limits: 10 points. Pet insurance companies that offer an annual reimbursement level of $100,000, or unlimited annual coverage scored in this category.
24/7 vet line: 10 points. Insurance companies that offer access to a 24/7 vet line earned points. Being able to call for medical advice might save you money on vet visits.
Routine wellness plan: 10 points. Pet insurance companies that offer an optional wellness plan add-on scored points. Wells plans can reimburse you for preventative care for your pet.
Pays vet exam fees: 10 points. If a pet insurance plan includes pet exam fees, the insurer received 10 points. If this is offered as a coverage add on, the insurer received 5 points.
Behavioral therapy: 5 points. If an insurance company covers behavior therapy in its pet insurance plans, it scored points.
Euthanasia or end of life expenses included: 5 points. If euthanasia or other end of life expenses are covered in pet insurance plans, an insurance company scored in this category.
Why some companies didn’t make the cut
Of the 18 insurance companies we evaluated, nine made our rating of the best pet insurance companies. Companies with higher-than-average rates for accident and illness pet insurance plans, or those with less coverage for comparable cost, did not make the cut.
Pet insurance overview
There are 4.8 million pets insured in the U.S. according to the North American Health Pet Insurance Association (NAPHIA) State of the Industry Report 2023.
Dogs currently make up 80.1% of insured pets in the U.S. and cats are the remaining 19.9%. But pet insurance for cats is becoming more popular — it saw a 32.9% increase from 2021 to 2022 while pet insurance for dogs increased by 19.7% during the same period.
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance, also called pet health insurance, is designed to reimburse you for your pet’s unexpected and unforeseen veterinary expenses.
These plans typically have a deductible, which is the amount you have to pay in vet bills before your pet insurance starts to pay.
After reaching your deductible, your insurer will reimburse you for a percentage of your eligible expenses, up to an annual maximum. Only a few pet insurance companies pay the vet directly.
Without pet insurance, you have to pay for all of your vet fees out of pocket. Rover.com’s report on the Cost of Pet Parenthood estimates the following annual expenses for pet owners.
- Annual check-up: $70 to $110.
- Dental cleaning: $430 to $590.
- Emergency vet bills: $160 to $1,290.
- Flea and tick prevention: $55 to $215.
- Wellness vet bills: $80 to $270.
These expenses add up to an estimated $795 to $2,475 per year, which can take a bite out of your budget. Plus, some emergency procedures can cost much more. According to the NAPHIA report, the most expensive pet insurance claim amounts paid in the U.S. last year were:
- $60,882 for a 2-year-old Flat-coated retriever with pneumonia.
- $60,215 for a 3-year-old English bulldog with pneumonia.
- $52,659 for a 10-year-old Akita with heart issues.
- $51,922 for a 4-year-old mixed breed with a wound.
Pet insurance can help cushion the financial blow if your dog or cat needs expensive emergency vet care, but it’s important to understand the coverage you’re buying to make sure it meets your pet’s needs.
Best pet insurance for dogs
Embrace, Many Pets, Paw Protect, Pets Best and Spot have the best pet insurance for dogs, based on our analysis of accident and illness plans. These top-scoring companies have competitive cost and coverage options.
ManyPets offers the best pet insurance for dogs if you’re looking to save on rates, Embrace is best for a diminishing deductible, Paw Protect is best for flexible vet payment options, Pets Best is best for direct vet payments — so you don’t have to wait on reimbursement — and Spot is best for annual coverage options.
Best pet insurance for puppies
Lemonade has the best pet insurance for puppies of the companies we analyzed, based on price. The average cost of a Lemonade accident and illness plan with $100,000 in annual coverage, 90% reimbursement and a $500 deductible for a 3-month-old puppy is $32 per month.
Pumpkin is also a good choice for puppy pet insurance if you’re interested in a wellness plan. Dogs under 6 months can get extensive preventative care through Pumpkin’s add-on Preventative Essentials plan.
Best pet insurance for senior dogs
Pumpkin also has some of the best pet insurance for older dogs. It has no special waiting period for problems like knee injuries or hip dysplasia and it provides coverage for virtual vet visits. Pumpkin has no upper age restrictions and no reducing coverage as your pet ages.
Best pet insurance for cats
Pets Best has the best pet insurance for cats out of the companies in our rating, based on cost. A Pets Best accident and illness plan for cats with unlimited coverage has an average monthly cost of $27.
Best pet insurance for kittens
Pets Best offers the best pet insurance for kittens, based on the average rates we reviewed. To insure a 3-month-old kitten with unlimited annual coverage will cost you about $21 a month.
Pumpkin is also a good choice for kittens under 6 months as its Preventative Essentials wellness plan will reimburse you for up to four vaccines.
Best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
Pet insurance won’t cover pre-existing conditions, including anything your pet showed symptoms for before pet insurance coverage starts or during a waiting period.
But some companies will cover certain issues if the pre-existing condition is considered curable, such as a paw fracture or upper respiratory infection, and if your pet has been free of symptoms and treatment for a certain time period.
Our top-rated pet insurance companies — Embrace, ManyPets, Paw Protect, Pets Best and Spot — all cover select curable pre-existing conditions. It’s important to understand which conditions each company considers curable, and how long it takes to be considered cured, before buying a plan.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Pet insurance may be worth it if you consider how much vet bills could add up to in an emergency situation.
According to a recent survey conducted by Lemonade, dog and cat owners in the U.S. would be willing to spend an average of $6,060 to save their pet’s life. Gen Z pet parents are willing to spend $11,153.
“Accidents can happen to any pet, regardless of age,” said Brian Jorgensen, head of MetLife Pet Insurance. “In the U.S., a pet receives medical care every 2.5 seconds, and 1 in 3 pets need emergency veterinary treatments every year.”
In the 2021 MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 62% of respondents said if they had to choose, they would put their pet’s health before their own.
With pet insurance, you may not have to worry about depleting your savings if your pet needs expensive medical treatment. This peace of mind might be worth the average cost of unlimited coverage — $47 per month for cat pet insurance or $55 per month for dog pet insurance.
In a 2023 MetLife pet insurance study, 59% of pet owners who have pet insurance said their financial health had improved during the past year, while only 32% of those without pet insurance said the same.
What does pet insurance cover?
What pet insurance covers depends on the type of plan you buy. There are three main types of pet insurance coverage.
- Accident-only: Accident-only plans tend to be the cheapest form of coverage. They cover the diagnosis and treatment of injuries resulting from accidents, such as lacerations, poisoning, car accidents and foreign body ingestion. These policies do not provide any coverage for illnesses or chronic conditions.
- Accident and illness: The most common form of pet insurance, accident and illness plans provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses. This coverage includes accident benefits plus coverage for illnesses such as cancer, digestive problems and infections.
- Wellness: Some comprehensive plans may include some routine or preventative benefits such as vaccinations and dental care. Generally, however, wellness plans must be purchased as an add-on to your accident and illness plan.
Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?
Pet insurance accident and illness plans do not typically cover spaying and neutering, but you can often get coverage through a wellness plan.
One exception may be if your pet develops a condition that makes spaying or neutering a medical necessity. If your pet is already enrolled in pet insurance, and the medical condition is not pre-existing, desexing might be covered.
What doesn’t pet insurance cover?
While pet insurance covers unexpected injuries or illnesses, it doesn’t cover everything, such as non-curable pre-existing conditions. Policies typically exclude:
- Pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is any issue that your pet was diagnosed with prior to its policy effective date or during the policy waiting period. For example, if your cat has arthritis, the insurer will deny any claims related to treatments for that condition. Some insurers may cover curable, pre-existing conditions if the condition doesn’t reappear for a certain period of time, like a year.
- Routine care. Pet insurance doesn’t cover preventative or routine care, such as spaying or neutering, vaccinations, wellness exams or parasite prevention. However, some companies sell wellness plans that will reimburse you for some of those expenses.
- Elective or experimental treatments. Pet insurance doesn’t cover elective or cosmetic treatments, such as tail or ear docking or root canals. It also doesn’t cover experimental treatments or clinical trials.
- Breeding. Pet insurance doesn’t cover treatments related to injuries or accidents resulting from breeding, whelping (for dogs) or queening (for cats). However, some companies, such as Trupanion, offer riders for pets that will be used for breeding.
How does pet insurance work?
Pet insurance works by reimbursing you for a portion of your pet’s medical expenses. When you purchase a policy, you typically choose a deductible, reimbursement level and reimbursement percentage.
- Deductible: Similar to a health insurance deductible, a pet insurance deductible is the amount of money that is subtracted from your claim payout before you’re reimbursed. Some insurers have an annual deductible, while others have a per-condition deductible. Deductibles typically range from $0 to $1,000. In general, the lower your deductible, the higher your pet insurance rates.
- Reimbursement level: The reimbursement level is the maximum your insurer will pay in a year. Some companies cap reimbursements at $15,000 or less, but some offer unlimited reimbursement.
- Reimbursement percentage: Your insurer doesn’t cover all of your veterinary bills. After reaching your deductible, the pet insurance company usually pays a percentage of the remaining claim amount. Most companies will reimburse only 70% to 90% of the bill. However, there are a few companies, such as Figo, that will cover 100% after reaching your deductible.
The majority of pet insurance companies operate via reimbursement. You pay for your pet’s care and submit a claim afterward. The insurer reviews your claim and, if it’s approved, will send you a reimbursement check for the covered amount. Some companies offer direct veterinary payments, but they are the exception to the rule.
How much does pet insurance cost?
The average cost of pet insurance is $45 per month for a dog for $5,000 of annual coverage, or $55 per month for a policy with unlimited annual coverage.
Pet insurance costs an average of $30 per month for a cat, for $5,000 of annual coverage, or $47 per month for unlimited coverage.
Average monthly cost of pet insurance by state
|State||$5,000 annual coverage||Unlmited annual coverage|
|Source Petinsurer.com. Average monthly rates are for pet insurance plans available in that state with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement level, or the closest available. Rates are the average of a medium mixed-breed dog at two ages: 3 months and 3 years. One ZIP code was used per state. Your rates will vary based on your ZIP code and other factors.|
Factors that affect your pet insurance premium
How much you pay for pet insurance will depend on several factors.
- Type of pet: Cats are typically cheaper to insure than dogs.
- Breed: Some breeds are more prone to illnesses and hereditary issues that could lead to higher medical expenses. These dog breeds are more expensive to insure.
- Age: Older pets cost more to insure because they are more likely to have health issues that require veterinary care.
- Gender: Female pets are about 5% cheaper to insure, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
- Location: If you live in a city where vet expenses are higher, that will be factored into the cost of your pet insurance.
- Coverage options: When you buy pet insurance, you’ll choose an annual coverage limit, deductible and reimbursement level. To save on your pet insurance premium, you could choose a low annual maximum, a high deductible and a low reimbursement level. However, this means you’ll get a smaller payout when you file a claim than you would if you had a low deductible and high reimbursement percentage.
To ensure you’re getting the best deal for your pet, compare pet insurance quotes online.
Pet insurance discounts
Many companies offer discounts that can make insurance more affordable. Common discounts include:
- Multi-pet discounts: If you enroll two or more pets, you may qualify for a discount.
- Upfront payment discounts: If you pay your pet insurance in one lump sum rather than opting for monthly or quarterly payments, you may qualify for a discount.
- Military discount: If you are a military service member or veteran, you may qualify for a discount.
How to buy the right pet insurance plan for your pet
Americans spent $35.9 billion on vet services last year, according to the American Pet Products Association, and we’re projected to spend $37 billion this year. Vet care can break your budget if you haven’t planned ahead by saving or buying affordable pet insurance that meets your pet’s needs.
When shopping for pet insurance, ask yourself the following questions:
- How is my pet’s health? Young, healthy pets are relatively inexpensive to insure. Pets with pre-existing conditions will have less coverage, meaning pet owners will pay more out of pocket even with pet insurance coverage.
- How old is my pet? Older pets are much more expensive to insure and they are more likely to have claims denied due to pre-existing conditions. For older pets, an accident-only plan could be a good alternative.
- Do I have an emergency fund? Even with pet insurance, you’re still responsible for the deductible. If you don’t have money tucked away in savings, coming up with that money can be challenging, so a plan with a low deductible may be a better choice. Just keep in mind that a lower deductible will cause you to pay a higher premium.
- Do I have a way to cover upfront veterinary fees? The majority of pet insurers work via reimbursement, so you’ll have to pay for your veterinarian for your pet’s care at the time of service and wait for reimbursement. If you don’t have a way to cover the cost — such as from your savings or with a credit card — you may want to choose a company that offers direct veterinary payments.
Your deductible is the amount of money subtracted from your claim payout. For example, if your deductible is $500 and your vet bill is $1,000, you’ll receive up to a $500 reimbursement, depending on your coverage limits. Most insurers only reimburse a percentage of the remainder.
No, pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. However, some companies will consider some pre-existing conditions “cured” if the pet is symptom-free for a certain number of days. This will vary by insurer, so make sure you understand the terms and conditions before committing to a plan.
Pet insurance covers unexpected injuries or illnesses, not routine care. Wellness exams aren’t covered unless you purchase a wellness plan or rider to your accident and illness plan.
Pet insurance is not tax-deductible, but you may be able to write off a portion of your pet’s medical expenses if your pet is a certified service animal, like a guide dog. You might also be able to claim vet bills on your taxes if you are fostering a pet for a nonprofit organization that is registered with the IRS, your pet is established as a business animal such as a guard dog if you are self-employed or if your pet generates income for you, like a show dog or pet influencer with a monetized YouTube channel.
You can typically still buy pet insurance after a diagnosis, but that health condition will be excluded from coverage as a pre-existing condition. Depending on the diagnosis, you may only be able to purchase a basic accident-only plan.
Best pet insurance by state
- Best pet insurance in California
- Best pet insurance in Colorado
- Best pet insurance in New York
- Best pet insurance in Texas
Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:
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- VA: Fatal dog experiments moving ahead despite criticism from Congress, veterans groups
- Happy news: Pet adoptions are way up amid coronavirus crisis, even with shelters closed to public
- Forget dogs and cats. The most pampered pets of the moment might be our backyard chickens
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