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The Best Pet Insurance Companies 2019

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Janet Johns Find Pet Insurances

What is Pet Insurance

Imagine a fun day hiking in the woods with friends and your trusty canine companion Baxter. Everything is smiles and jokes until you hear poor Baxter let out an unusual cry and limp towards you. You rush him to the nearest pet hospital where they inform you that Baxter broke his leg and they’ll need to operate to fix it.

Baxter is your best friend, and nothing would stop you from making him feel better, not even the $800 tab. That’s when you realize that $800 is a lot of money, and that you should have a way, much like your health insurance covers for your own issues, to pay for Baxter’s. 

Luckily, pet insurance  is very much a reality today, and there are hundreds of options for you to choose from. Pet insurance works the same way human insurance does—when you insure your dogs, cats, and other animal friends, you can cover a large portion of their medical expenses based on your choice of coverage.

Generally, you can choose from pet insurance plans that include illness, injury, and wellness coverage. You can mix and match your plans (although remember that not every company offers every type) or choose comprehensive coverage to ensure that your companion is always protected should the worst happen.

Even so, choosing the right pet insurance boils down to knowing both your pets’ health condition, and the type of insurance you’re seeking. Check out some of our top choices below, and keep reading our pet insurance reviews to learn everything you need to know about choosing the best pet insurance for all your furry, feathered, and scaly friends:

Top Pet Insurance Services

These pet insurance companies offer some of our favorite packages and plans for pet insurance. Read about them below and explore our expert pet insurance reviews to learn about each more in depth:

1- PetsBest

As one of the most affordable and flexible pet insurance plans, PetsBest represents one of the best pet insurance for dogs and cats. The company’s plans include a useful Accident Only Plan, which covers your pets in case something unexpected happens while excluding regular treatments or exams. The plan reimburses you for up to 90% of veterinary costs, and payments are usually made in an impressive 5 days.

Even better, the company doesn’t impose any lifetime or age limits for their plans, so you can obtain pet insurance for dogs or cats whenever you need. PetsBest also offers an excellent unlimited annual plan for dogs and cats that covers accidents, illnesses, and some injuries. Some other PetsBest highlights include:

  • Choose from accident only and combined illness and accident, and add wellness coverage as well to give you 360-degree coverage
  • Resolve claims quickly with wait times as short as 5 days in some cases
  • Cover accidents for as little as $6 a month for cats and $9 a month for dogs
  • Get help and answers when you need them with a 24/7 pet support line and access to support staff via chat and phone
  • Discover the best pet insurance plan with customizable packages

VISIT PETS BEST

2 - PetPremium

PetPremium stands out from the pack thanks to its awesome customer service and its impressive coverage across all fifty US states. The company’s insurance plans cover either accidents or provide total coverage, and you can add wellness coverage for a small premium. We were also impressed by the surprising 1-day wait periods for both accident and wellness coverage.

We were also happy to see that you can choose the reimbursement level you want in your plan between 70%, 80%, and 90%, as well as deductibles (which include $100, $250, or $500). They also offer great flexibility for your maximum annual amount, with choices up to $20,000 and even unlimited options available.  Some other standout features from PetPremium include:

  • Gain access to a breeder directory to find the perfect dog for you
  • Make sure PetPremium’s pet insurance for dogs is right for you with a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Sign up for a service that has outstanding customer reviews across the board
  • Go with a vet you trust with no limitations from PetPremium’s insurance coverage
  • Take advantage of preventative care with several options for PetPremium’s wellness add-ons

VISIT PET PREMIUM

3 - Healthy Paws

We found that Healthy Paws offers one of the more unique, top tier pet insurance plans on the market. The company is well-known for its no-cap payouts, meaning there’s no limit on how many claims you can make. Moreover, the company’s plans extend to your four-legged friend’s entire lifetime, and it even covers hereditary and congenital health conditions.

One of the biggest pluses for us is the quick claim times, and Healthy Paws delivers with an impressive 99% of claims processed within 2 days. Additionally, we were happy to see that you can set up your insurance so that Healthy Paws pays out medical visits directly (though this may vary from vet to vet, so be sure to double check). Some of our other favorite features from Healthy Paws include:

  • One single plan makes your shopping simple and gives you the full extent of Healthy Paws’ awesome benefits
  • Stop worrying if Baxter’s sudden illness is too expensive and give him the treatment he needs thanks to unlimited payouts
  • Work with the vets you and your pets are most comfortable with because Healthy Paws doesn’t include any restrictions
  • Choose from the reimbursement and deductible that fits your needs best to ensure your pets are always covered

VISIT HEALTHY PAWS 

4 - Pet Assure

Although this is not technically an insurance plan, Pet Assure’s discount plan offers its own value for pet owners whose pets are not eligible for coverage, or who prefer a simpler option that guarantees at least some costs will be covered. For $99 (for the single pet plan), you are eligible for a 25% discount on any in-house veterinary services for providers in the company’s network. If you have more than one pet, you can spend $199 for the unlimited plan.

Even though this may seem unorthodox, Pet Assure’s real selling point is that their discount is guaranteed on eligible services. There are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or any age or breed restrictions. Moreover, there are no deductibles, so no matter the size of the bill, you’ll always be covered for at least a quarter of the price. Here are some other great benefits we liked about Pet Assure:

  • Get enrolled for free in Pet Assure’s lost pet recovery program to make sure you can always find your pets even in the worst cases
  • Gain an additional 15% discount on medications ordered from PetCareRX.com
  • No waiting periods required means you simply present your card at participating vets to see your discount automatically applied

VISIT PET ASSURE 

How Does it Work?

Even though it works a lot like regular health insurance, pet insurance does have a few quirks that make it unique. You sign up your pets the same way you would yourself or your family. When you’re applying with an insurance company, they’ll ask you some questions about your furry friends such as their age, if they’ve had any conditions in the past, any congenital issues they may have, and more. Once you’ve selected a plan and signed up, however, the differences compared to regular insurance become more notable.

The best pet insurance for dogs and cats will usually cover injuries and accidents, illnesses, and in some cases wellness. When you sign up, most pet insurance companies will let you choose from one, two, or all three of those options (although wellness is usually considered an add-on for many companies), and you’ll also be able to select the guaranteed payout you want based on your claims.

Unlike health insurance for people, pet insurance is known for its quick payouts and for guaranteeing reimbursements as well as claim fulfillment times (for example, several of our top pet insurance reviews feature companies that guarantee 5-day claim resolutions for certain medical procedures). To get reimbursed, you simply need to pay your vet during your pet’s visit and ask for a duplicate itemized invoice. Once you submit that with your claim to your insurance provider, they’ll reimburse the funds within their guaranteed resolution period.

In terms of covering treatments, your insurance is usually covered by your monthly premiums. This means that no matter what, as long as your payments have been consistent, you’ll be able to get your puppy or kitten exactly the care they need and deserve.

Why Do I Need Pet Insurance?

It may seem like a silly expense, or like going overboard on useless purchases, but it’s never a question of if we’re going to give our furry friends the care they need. Pet insurance exists so that no matter what the situation, you can assure your pets can get the proper treatment when they need it, and you can rest easy knowing your wallet won’t suffer the consequences. These are just a few of the reasons why you should consider pet insurance:

  • You shouldn’t have to choose between your dog and your bank account. Pets are known for being hardy and more resistant to disease than we are, but they still get sick and need care. Moreover, some procedures and treatments (such as hip dysplasia, cancer, and other serious conditions) can cost thousands of dollars over your pet’s lifetime. The best pet insurance guarantees that no matter the issue, you can give your pets the care they deserve without having to worry.
  • Even among the healthiest pooches and kittens, accidents happen. In addition to being sturdy, pets love to explore and push boundaries. Who hasn’t had a dog attempt a terrifying leap down the stairs, or chase a cat too hard into a wall? Even so, accidents happen, and they can be devastating for both you and your wallet. Insurance guarantees you’ll always be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Vets are getting more expensive. While they may not make as much as doctors, vets are still in the business of making money, and the average cost of vet care has risen over the years. Today, your vet bill can range from $500 to roughly $3000 depending on your pet’s condition.
  • It can help you find your missing pet. While its not standard across the industry, many of the best pet insurance companies give you the option of adding lost pet recovery to your plan. This includes helping guarantee a reward, tracking services, and advertising for your missing pet.

What Does it Cover?

Although they generally deliver similar coverage, many pet insurance companies offer their own combination of packages and service options (you can compare plans in our expert pet insurance reviews). Most plans provide coverage in these three major categories:

  • Accidents – This type of coverage includes unexpected issues and vet visits. Everything from injuries such as torn ligaments, broken bones and bad backs to other emergencies like bite wounds, reactions, and more.
  • Illness – Though we like to think our pets are the paragon of health, they encounter health issues that require care and attention too. Illness insurance covers treatments for problems like stomach bugs, long-term illnesses, and even serious diseases like cancer, arthritis, and chronic allergies.
  • Wellness – Also considered “preventative” care, wellness insurance helps you cover annual checkups, spaying and neutering, lab testing, and routine vaccinations. Wellness plans are usually not included by default in many insurance packages but instead offered as add-ons.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Let’s say you have a rainy-day fund for any emergencies that may come up, and you put in $50 a month. After 5 years, you have an impressive $3,000 saved before you learn that Baxter has torn his right knee ligament which requires therapy and surgery.

At that point, your brain may be doing mental summersaults trying to figure out how to pay bills. It turns out the x-rays and diagnostics were $400, while the surgery will cost you $3,000 and 6 months of therapy will run you another $40 a week. Just like that, you’re already tapping into your bank account, and wiped out your entire rainy-day fund.

Pet insurance lets you avoid that scenario by simply converting that payment into a premium that goes toward coverage. That way, you can always say yes to your pet’s treatments and avoid damaging your long-term finances.

Common Health Issues Pet Insurance Should Cover

Despite the varying degrees of coverage available, most pet insurance plans should cover some basic issues. Make sure you compare plans with our expert pet insurance reviews to find the plan that fits your pet’s needs best to avoid overpaying something you don’t need. These are some of the common health issues pet insurance should cover:

  • Emergency services – This is a vital necessity when it comes to pet insurance, as many of the issues you’re likely to have to pay more for involve emergencies. This includes hospital visits, unexpected surgeries and treatments, injuries, and sudden acute illnesses.
  • Standard treatments – Most of your dog or cat’s vet visits are not emergencies, but they do add up. The best pet insurance plans cover standard treatments such as vaccinations, medications, diagnostic tests, and treatments.
  • Congenital conditions – This is a trickier one, but many pet insurance companies will still cover issues that could be considered congenital. This includes complications like hip dysplasia, eye problems, diabetes, heart conditions, and more.
  • Alternative treatments – This is another less common area, but many pet insurance companies are starting to cover alternative treatments for regular issues. This includes new treatments such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and more.
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FAQs

Do most pet insurance plans cover vet visits by default?

In general, no, they don’t. This doesn’t mean you can’t add it to your insurance, however, but the standard is for it to be an add-on. Most companies’ regular insurance plans will focus on the more expensive aspects of pet care (surgeries, accidents, chronic or acute illnesses), but will start extending coverage once the issue has been diagnosed. However, you can still get your pet insurance to cover routine visits if you add a “wellness” package to your insurance plan. Even so, there are some pet insurance companies, as well as some discount programs, which will cover regular vet visits, standard treatments, and diagnostic tests.

How much does pet insurance cost, in general?

Although there are several factors that could affect your monthly premiums—everything from your pet’s health history, age, and what deductible and reimbursement rate you choose—pet insurance plans in general don’t cost you very much month to month. On average, most pet insurance premiums run you between $20 and $50 a month. It is important to keep in mind, however, that pet insurance for dogs is slightly pricier than pet insurance for cats.

How quickly can I get reimbursed for my pet’s vet visit or treatment?

Pet insurance is well-known for having significantly faster resolution times than regular insurance claims, but it’s still not immediate. While most companies advertise how quickly they can complete a claim and reimburse you, they will generally have at least a two-day waiting period, with times ranging up to 6 months when dealing with orthopedic conditions. Usually claim resolution times will vary based on the type of claim you make—accidents get resolved the quickest, followed by illnesses, and lastly by orthopedic conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.

Does pet insurance cover my pet’s preexisting conditions?

Even though it’s becoming more common for companies to do so, the prevailing trend is for preexisting conditions not to be covered under your standard pet insurance plan. This includes conditions like chronic illnesses or any major issues your pet may have had before you signed up for your pet insurance plan. Regardless, you can still find some pet insurance companies that will cover preexisting conditions, although they may be significantly pricier than your standard insurance package

My dog is already old, can I still cover them?

More and more, it’s becoming common for companies to extend their coverage to older animals as well as puppies, kittens, and more. Yet, it’s still not a fully standard practice, and your insurance premiums may be slightly higher than normal. This is due to older animals, much like older people, tending to be more prone to getting sick or developing costly problems. Even so, you’re still likely to find a company that will insure your old reliable friend so they can live out their golden years in comfort and care.