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A pet injury or illness can turn into a large and unexpected vet bill. And as pet lifespans increase, medical expenses for a pet can mount. Pet insurance is one way to guard against the financial shock of a huge vet bill.
We evaluated 13 pet insurance plans on benefits and pricing to find the top six options.
Pets Best Insurance
Why we picked it: Pets Best has superior benefits and excellent pricing.
You’ll have ample choice when it comes to putting together a plan, with deductible options of $50, $100, 200, $250, $500 or $1,000. You can select a reimbursement level of 70%, 80% or 90%.
Pets Best has a three-day waiting period for accident coverage, one of the shortest waiting periods among its competitors. And when you take your pet to the vet, Pets Best offers direct payment (when the vet agrees to it) so you won’t have to pay up-front and wait for reimbursement. In addition to pet medical insurance you’ll have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line and the option to buy a routine wellness plan to help pay for expenses like vaccinations, annual exams and flea and tick prevention.
Potential drawbacks: With only two annual coverage options ($5,000 or unlimited), you don’t have a lot of flexibility. Other top competitors offer a wider range of annual coverage maximums.
Why we picked it: ASPCA has top-notch benefits at a very competitive price.
You are probably familiar with the ASPCA—American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—from its advocacy work, but the organization offers a great pet insurance plan, as well. You’ll be able to select a reimbursement level of 70%, 80% or 90%, and a deductible of $100, $250 or $500.
ASPCA’s plan covers pet microchipping and the veterinarian’s exam fee for illness and accidents. You’ll also have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line. If you want coverage for routine care, there’s an optional pet wellness plan.
Potential drawbacks: The waiting period for accident coverage is 14 days, while some top competitors offer a much shorter waiting period of two or three days.
Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
Embrace Pet Insurance
Why we picked it: Embrace offers plenty of coverage benefits and competitive prices.
You’ll have plenty to choose from with Embrace, such as reimbursement levels at 70%, 80% or 90%, as well as deductible choices from $200 to $1,000. And you’ll be able to pick an annual coverage amount of $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 or $30,000.
The Embrace plan has only a two-day waiting period for accident coverage to kick in, one of the shortest waiting periods we found. You’ll also have a “diminishing deductible” that shaves off $50 for every year you don’t have a claim paid. Customers have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line and can buy an optional wellness plan to help cover routine health care expenses.
Potential drawbacks: There’s a six-month waiting period for coverage of orthopedic conditions, but you may be able to reduce the waiting period to 14 days if your vet performs an orthopedic exam and signs a waiver.
Why we picked it: You’ll find a solid range of benefits at good prices.
Prudent Pet has an excellent choice of reimbursement levels, starting at 70% and up to 100%. You can select a deductible of $100, $250, $500 or $1,000. You’ll also get some extra perks such as coverage for pet boarding fees if you become hospitalized, as well as reimbursement for advertising and rewards if the pet gets lost or stolen.
Accident coverage kicks in after a five-day waiting period, which is shorter than some top competitors. You will have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line and the option to buy a wellness plan to cover routine health care.
Potential drawbacks: Maximum annual coverage limit choices are limited to $10,000 or unlimited coverage.
Why we picked it: Spot offers an excellent array of benefits at competitive prices.
You will have plenty of coverage options to choose from with Spot, including reimbursement levels of 70%, 80% or 90%, and a deductible choice of $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1,000. A wide choice of annual coverage maximums range from $2,500 to unlimited.
Spot covers the veterinarian’s exam fee for illness and accident visits. It also covers the pet’s microchipping. You will have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line. If you want coverage for routine health expenses, you can buy the optional wellness plan.
Note: This is the same plan and pricing offered by ASPCA but with different choices for annual limits and deductibles.
Potential drawbacks: The 14-day waiting period for accident coverage is much longer than top competitors that require only two or three days.
Why we picked it: TrustedPals offers quality coverage and superior pricing.
TrustedPals has a top-notch range of choices. You can select annual coverage limits of $4,000, $8,000, $15,000 or unlimited. Reimbursement choices are 70%, 80%, 90% or 100%. You can select a deductible of $0, $100, $250, $500 or $750.
TrustedPals covers the vet’s office exam fee for illnesses and accidents. You will also have the option to buy a wellness plan if you want coverage for routine health care costs.
Potential drawbacks: The 12-month waiting period for coverage for cruciate ligament or hip dysplasia is longer than top competitors. And it doesn’t provide access to a 24/7 pet telehealth line.
Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
Tips for Finding a Good Pet Insurance Plan
With all of the policy options available, comparing pet insurance coverage is often confusing. From exclusions to coverage limits to deductibles, here are some things to look for when shopping for the best pet insurance plan for your furry friend.
Most pet insurance buyers have an accident and illness insurance plan. Less popular are accident-only plans. There’s often an option to add a wellness plan for routine expenses like vaccinations and tick prevention.
Look For Coverage Levels That Fit Your Budget
Pet insurance plans provide choices in coverage levels. When the plan pays more, you’ll find that your monthly premiums are higher. When the plan pays less you can save money every month but you’ll be on the hook for more costs if your pet needs expensive treatment.
Deductibles are the out-of-pocket amount you must pay in vet bills before your insurer begins to pick up the bill. You’ll find standard deductible options of $100, $250 and $500.
The reimbursement percentage is the portion of vet bills your insurer will pay after you’ve paid your deductible. The higher your reimbursement level, the more your insurance premium will be. Typical reimbursement options are 70%, 80% or 90%.
The annual coverage limit is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay in the plan’s year. Common options start at $5,000 limit and go up to unlimited payout. The higher the limit you choose, the more you’ll pay for the premium.
When shopping for affordable pet insurance, try to compare plans with similar reimbursement levels.
Check the Waiting Periods
After you buy a pet insurance plan there are waiting periods before coverage actually starts. The waiting times and restrictions can vary among companies. For example, Pets Best has a three-day waiting period for accident coverage, while ASPCA’s is 14 days.
Pay attention to special waiting periods that are in addition to the usual accident and illness waiting times. Some plans have longer restrictions on coverage for conditions such as cruciate ligament issues.
Consider the Ease of the Claims Process
The last thing you want to deal with is a tedious claims process. Insurance companies like Embrace let pet owners file claims and get payment electronically through mobile apps.
A small number of companies like Pets Best can reimburse the veterinarian directly, so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for a hefty vet bill.
Identify Plans with 24/7 Vet Access, for Late-Night Trouble
When your pet is sick or has a medical emergency at night or on a holiday, your vet might not be available. Many pet insurance companies offer 24/7 vet helplines, so you can get guidance directly from vets. Look for plans that provide this service.
Look for Pet Plans That Cover Exam Fees
Every time you make a trip to the vet, you pay an exam fee for the visit. Companies like Embrace, Spot and TrustedPals cover exam fees for accident and illness visits. Some insurers only cover the cost of treatment and exclude exam fees from coverage.
Benefits Might Tip the Scale
Pet insurance plans can provide a slew of benefits, but the variations can make them hard to compare apples-to-apples. Look for differences in benefits like pet dental insurance.
Additionally, like human medicine, traditional treatment isn’t the only option. In some cases, alternative therapies like acupuncture or physical therapy might be essential to getting your pet back to good health. Some plans cover alternative therapies.
We used data provided by PetInsurer.com to score pet insurance plans based on price (30% of score) and plan benefits (70% of score) such as reimbursement levels and deductible options, waiting periods, 24/7 pet telehealth lines, routine wellness coverage and more.