Home Insurance The Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2023

The Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2023

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The Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2023
Matheus Bertelli / Pexels

Pet insurance can be a valuable resource for pet owners facing unexpected medical expenses for their dogs or cats. When a pet requires emergency surgery or treatment for a sudden illness, having insurance can offer financial relief and peace of mind. With numerous pet insurance companies in the market, selecting the most suitable one can be overwhelming. Our expert analysis of 18 accident and illness plans has helped identify the best pet insurance companies that cater to different needs and preferences.

Photo / Matheus Bertelli / Pexels

Pet insurance overview

According to the North American Health Pet Insurance Association (NAPHIA) State of the Industry Report 2023, the U.S. has a staggering 4.8 million insured pets. Among them, dogs account for the majority, comprising 80.1% of all insured pets, while cats make up the remaining 19.9%. Interestingly, there has been a noticeable shift in pet insurance trends.

Over the past year, pet insurance for cats has been steadily gaining popularity, experiencing a significant 32.9% increase from 2021 to 2022. In contrast, pet insurance for dogs, while still on the rise, saw a relatively lower growth rate of 19.7% during the same period. This changing landscape indicates a growing awareness and willingness among pet owners to protect their feline companions with insurance coverage.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance, also known as pet health insurance, serves the purpose of reimbursing pet owners for unexpected and unforeseen veterinary expenses that may arise during their pet’s life.

One key feature of these insurance plans is the presence of a deductible, which is the initial amount the pet owner has to pay for veterinary bills before the insurance coverage kicks in.

Once the deductible is reached, the insurer will then reimburse a percentage of the eligible expenses, usually up to a predefined annual maximum. It’s worth noting that only a limited number of pet insurance companies offer direct payment to the veterinarian.

Without the safety net of pet insurance, pet owners are solely responsible for covering all veterinary fees out of their own pockets. The Cost of Pet Parenthood report from Rover.com estimates the average annual expenses incurred by pet owners, including regular check-ups, dental cleaning, emergency vet bills, flea and tick prevention, and wellness vet visits. These costs can range from $795 to $2,475 per year, potentially straining the pet owner’s budget.

Furthermore, some emergency procedures can be incredibly costly. As per the NAPHIA report, significant pet insurance claims paid in the U.S. last year include cases of pneumonia in a 2-year-old Flat-coated retriever, pneumonia in a 3-year-old English bulldog, heart issues in a 10-year-old Akita, and a wound in a 4-year-old mixed breed. These claims amount to substantial sums, reaching tens of thousands of dollars, highlighting the importance of having proper pet insurance coverage.

In light of these potential financial burdens, pet insurance can be a valuable tool to mitigate the impact of expensive emergency veterinary care. However, it’s essential for pet owners to thoroughly understand the coverage provided by their chosen policy to ensure it adequately meets their pet’s specific needs.

Best pet insurance for dogs

Several companies excel in providing pet insurance for dogs, namely Embrace, Many Pets, Paw Protect, Pets Best, and Spot. Our assessment of accident and illness plans reveals that these companies offer the most comprehensive coverage and competitive costs.

If you’re seeking a cost-effective option, ManyPets emerges as the top choice for dog insurance. On the other hand, Embrace stands out for its unique diminishing deductible feature, which can be highly beneficial for pet owners.

For those who value flexibility in vet payment options, Paw Protect comes through as the best option. It provides various payment choices, accommodating different preferences and needs.

Pets Best takes the lead when it comes to direct vet payments, eliminating the hassle of waiting for reimbursement. This swift process ensures your pet receives the necessary care without delays.

Lastly, Spot offers excellent annual coverage options, making it an attractive choice for those seeking comprehensive and reliable coverage throughout the year.

Best pet insurance for puppies

Lemonade stands out as the top choice for pet insurance for puppies, primarily due to its competitive pricing. When analyzing various companies, Lemonade’s accident and illness plan proved to be the most affordable option. For a 3-month-old puppy, this plan offers $100,000 in annual coverage, 90% reimbursement, and a $500 deductible at a reasonable cost of $32 per month.

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If you’re considering a wellness plan for your puppy, Pumpkin is a noteworthy option. Their pet insurance covers not only accidents and illnesses but also provides extensive preventative care for dogs under 6 months. The add-on Preventative Essentials plan from Pumpkin ensures that your young furry companion receives the necessary preventive treatments to stay healthy and happy.

Best pet insurance for older dogs

Pumpkin offers excellent pet insurance for senior dogs, ensuring they receive the best care. Unlike other providers, Pumpkin has no specific waiting period for conditions like knee injuries or hip dysplasia, allowing immediate coverage for these issues. Moreover, the insurance plan includes virtual vet visits, making it convenient for pet owners to seek professional advice without leaving their homes.

One of the standout features of Pumpkin’s pet insurance is its lack of upper age restrictions. This means that even older dogs can be covered under their plans, ensuring they receive the necessary medical attention in their senior years. Additionally, Pumpkin’s coverage does not diminish as your pet ages, providing consistent support and financial protection throughout their life.

Best pet insurance for cats

Pets Best is a leading provider of pet insurance, particularly excelling in coverage for cats. Our rating places Pets Best as the top choice due to its competitive pricing and comprehensive plans. For cat owners seeking accident and illness coverage, the Pets Best plan stands out with its attractive monthly cost of $27 on average, ensuring peace of mind and financial protection for your feline companions.

When it comes to pet insurance for cats, Pets Best emerges as the clear winner in our assessment. Their accident and illness plan offers unlimited coverage, giving cat owners the confidence they need to face unexpected veterinary expenses without breaking the bank. At just $27 per month, this plan strikes an excellent balance between affordability and coverage, making it the preferred choice among pet owners.

Best pet insurance for kittens

Pets Best is known for providing top-notch pet insurance plans, especially for kittens. After reviewing average rates, we found that insuring a 3-month-old kitten with unlimited annual coverage will only cost around $21 per month.

Another great option for kittens under 6 months is Pumpkin. They offer a Preventative Essentials wellness plan that covers up to four vaccines, providing peace of mind for pet owners.

Best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

Pets Best is known for providing top-notch pet insurance for kittens, with competitive rates compared to other options in the market. However, it’s essential to be aware of the limitations of pet insurance. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered, which includes any health issue your pet displayed symptoms of before the coverage began or during the waiting period.

There are some exceptions, though. Certain companies may cover pre-existing conditions if they are considered curable, such as a paw fracture or upper respiratory infection, and if your pet has remained symptom-free and untreated for a specific duration.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance can provide significant value, especially when considering the potential costs of emergency veterinary care. A study by Lemonade revealed that dog and cat owners in the U.S. would spend an average of $6,060 to save their pet’s life, with Gen Z pet parents willing to spend even more, around $11,153.

The importance of pet insurance becomes evident when you realize that accidents can happen to pets of any age. Brian Jorgensen, head of MetLife Pet Insurance, highlights that in the U.S., a pet receives medical care every 2.5 seconds, and one out of every three pets requires emergency veterinary treatment every year.

Surprisingly, a significant number of people prioritize their pet’s health over their own. The 2021 MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study found that 62% of respondents would choose their pet’s well-being if faced with such a decision.

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Pet insurance offers peace of mind, ensuring that you won’t have to deplete your savings to cover costly medical treatments for your beloved pet. The average cost of unlimited coverage is approximately $47 per month for cat insurance and $55 per month for dog insurance.

Furthermore, pet insurance doesn’t only provide financial protection; it can also positively impact your overall financial health. In a 2023 MetLife pet insurance study, 59% of pet owners with insurance reported an improvement in their financial well-being during the past year, while only 32% of those without pet insurance could say the same.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance coverage varies depending on the type of plan you choose. There are three main types of pet insurance: accident-only, accident and illness, and wellness plans.

  • Accident-only plans are usually the most affordable option. They cover injuries resulting from accidents, such as lacerations, poisoning, car accidents, and foreign body ingestion. However, these plans do not provide coverage for illnesses or chronic conditions.
  • Accident and illness plans are the most common type of pet insurance. They cover both injuries and illnesses. This includes benefits for accidents as well as coverage for illnesses like cancer, digestive problems, and infections.
  • Wellness plans may be included in comprehensive coverage or purchased as an add-on to accident and illness plans. These plans often cover routine or preventative benefits like vaccinations and dental care.

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

Pet insurance plans usually do not include coverage for spaying and neutering procedures as part of their accident and illness policies. However, there is an option to obtain coverage for these procedures through a wellness plan.

What doesn’t pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance provides coverage for unexpected injuries and illnesses that may occur to your pet. However, it’s important to understand that there are certain limitations and exclusions in these policies.

One major exclusion is pre-existing conditions. These are any health issues that your pet had been diagnosed with before the policy’s effective date or during the waiting period. For instance, if your cat has arthritis, any claims related to treatments for that condition would be denied by the insurer. Some insurers may consider covering curable, pre-existing conditions after a certain period of time without recurrence.

Routine care is another aspect not covered by pet insurance. This includes preventive procedures and regular check-ups, such as spaying or neutering, vaccinations, wellness exams, and parasite prevention. Some companies, however, offer separate wellness plans to reimburse a portion of these expenses.

Elective or cosmetic treatments, like tail or ear docking, as well as experimental treatments or clinical trials, are also not covered under typical pet insurance policies.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance functions by providing reimbursement for a portion of your pet’s medical expenses. Once you buy a policy, you can select a deductible, reimbursement level, and reimbursement percentage according to your preferences.

The deductible in pet insurance is similar to health insurance deductibles. It represents the amount subtracted from your claim payout before you receive reimbursement. Deductibles can be either annual or per-condition and typically range from $0 to $1,000. Lower deductibles generally lead to higher pet insurance rates.

Your chosen reimbursement level determines the maximum amount your insurer will pay in a year. While some companies cap reimbursements at $15,000 or less, others offer unlimited reimbursement options.

After meeting your deductible, the pet insurance company typically covers a percentage of the remaining claim amount. Most companies reimburse between 70% to 90% of the bill, though a few, like Figo, offer full 100% coverage after the deductible is met.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance is essential for many pet owners to safeguard against unexpected veterinary expenses. The cost of pet insurance varies depending on factors like the type of pet, coverage limits, and additional benefits offered.

For dogs, the average cost of pet insurance is approximately $45 per month. This plan typically provides $5,000 of annual coverage. However, if you opt for a policy with unlimited annual coverage, the monthly cost increases to around $55.

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On the other hand, cat owners can expect to pay around $30 per month for pet insurance with $5,000 of annual coverage. If they prefer unlimited coverage, the monthly cost rises to about $47.

Average monthly cost of pet insurance by state

STATE$5,000 ANNUAL COVERAGEUNLMITED ANNUAL COVERAGE
Alaska$25$34
Alabama$22$30
Arizona$25$35
Arkansas$20$28
California$28$42
Colorado$29$43
Connecticut$37$49
Delaware$28$38
Florida$27$43
Georgia$25$34
Hawaii$29$40
Idaho$27$40
Illinois$27$41
Indiana$24$32
Iowa$22$32
Kansas$26$35
Kentucky$24$34
Louisiana$22$30
Maine$27$37
Maryland$27$42
Massachusetts$28$43
Michigan$28$38
Minnesota$25$38
Mississippi$23$32
Missouri$22$33
Montana$21$30
Nebraska$24$34
Nevada$26$39
New Hampshire$28$37
New Jersey$26$39
New Mexico$22$29
New York$28$43
North Carolina$28$38
North Dakota$21$30
Ohio$23$35
Oklahoma$21$31
Oregon$31$44
Pennsylvania$27$39
Rhode Island$23$31
South Carolina$26$36
South Dakota$25$35
Tennessee$26$34
Texas$21$30
Utah$24$34
Vermont$26$37
Virginia$26$38
Washington$25$43
West Virginia$25$34
Wisconsin$27$37
Wyoming$24$35
Source Petinsurer.com

Factors that affect your pet insurance premium

  1. Pet type is a crucial factor in determining pet insurance costs, with cats generally being less expensive to insure than dogs.
  2. The breed of your pet also affects insurance costs, as certain breeds may have higher medical expenses due to susceptibility to illnesses and hereditary issues.
  3. The age of your pet plays a role in insurance premiums, with older pets being more expensive to insure due to higher health risks.
  4. Female pets are typically around 5% cheaper to insure than male pets, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
  5. The location where you live impacts pet insurance costs, with higher veterinary expenses in cities leading to higher premiums.
  6. Conversely, living in areas with lower vet costs may result in more affordable insurance plans.
  7. Coverage options significantly influence the price of pet insurance, including the choice of annual coverage limit, deductible, and reimbursement level.
  8. Opting for a lower annual maximum, higher deductible, and lower reimbursement level can help lower your premium.
  9. However, choosing higher deductible and reimbursement levels will result in a larger payout when filing a claim.
  10. Balancing coverage options is essential, as it affects the overall cost of pet insurance and the amount you’ll receive when making a claim.

Pet insurance discounts

  1. Pet insurance companies offer various discounts to make coverage more affordable.
  2. Discounts include multi-pet discounts for enrolling multiple pets and upfront payment discounts for paying the full policy amount at once.
  3. Military service members and veterans may be eligible for a special military discount on pet insurance.
  4. The actual cost of pet insurance depends on factors like coverage type, pet’s age and breed, and location.
  5. To find the best and most cost-effective pet insurance plan, compare policies and discounts from different providers while considering your pets’ specific needs.

How to buy the right pet insurance plan for your pet

Americans spent a substantial $35.9 billion on vet services last year, and this expenditure is projected to rise to $37 billion this year, as reported by the American Pet Products Association. The cost of vet care can put a strain on your budget if you haven’t prepared for it in advance, either through savings or by investing in affordable pet insurance that adequately covers your pet’s needs.

When you are in the market for pet insurance, it is essential to ask yourself a few crucial questions to make an informed decision:

  1. Assess your pet’s health: Insuring young and healthy pets is usually more cost-effective. On the other hand, pets with pre-existing conditions might have limited coverage, leading to higher out-of-pocket expenses even with pet insurance.
  2. Consider your pet’s age: Older pets are generally more expensive to insure and often face denials for claims due to pre-existing conditions. In such cases, an accident-only plan could be a viable alternative.
  3. Evaluate your emergency fund: Remember that pet insurance typically involves a deductible, which you are responsible for paying. If you do not have sufficient savings to cover this amount, it may be challenging to manage, making a low-deductible plan a better choice. However, bear in mind that lower deductibles usually result in higher premiums.
  4. Check reimbursement and payment options: Many pet insurers operate on a reimbursement basis, requiring you to pay your veterinarian at the time of service and then wait for reimbursement. If covering upfront veterinary fees is a concern, consider companies that offer direct veterinary payments to ease the financial burden.

Making well-informed choices regarding pet insurance can help you ensure that your beloved companion receives the best care possible without causing significant financial strain on you and your family.