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Pet Insurance Comparison 2014: Are You Ready To Pay for a Vet Emergency?

Winner

Runner-Up

HealthyPaws Logo

Third Place

Embrace Logo

As dog owners ourselves, we understand that the day to day expenses can add up and the cost of pet insurance is one that may appear unnecessary at first. Much like our health insurance, however, pet insurance is there when the moment comes that you need to fall back on the financial support an insurance plan can offer. And if you don’t have the plan already in place, you will likely find yourself in a tight spot. Our pet insurance comparison is here to help, including a few promo codes to save more.

We have selected the 2014 winners for best pet insurance providers and review the pros and cons for many different pet insurance programs available on the market today. We also discuss why you should consider making the investment in a pet health insurance plan. And our sister article, Is Pet Insurance Worth It, proves that no matter the additional expense, investing in health insurance for your furry family member will never make you sorry. At the end of this article, you can view our Reasons To Get Pet Insurance infographic.

Seattle Times Endorse CanineJournal's Best Pet Insurance Reco

Many thanks to The Seattle Times for their endorsement of our best pet insurance carrier recommendations.

Who Provides The Best Pet Insurance?

Want to jump straight to the reviews?

When Would You Need Pet Insurance?

Dog with vetWhen considering the monthly expense of pet health insurance, many pet owners want to know why they should invest in a plan to cover their family pet. Wouldn’t it be easier to stash those monthly payments in a savings account, just in case a major medical event should arise? While putting money aside is always a good plan, it does not always provide the extended financial cushion that the right insurance program can offer.

Scenario: Your Dog Has Cancer. Now What?

If the day comes when your faithful companion faces the fight of his life against cancer and your savings account sits at just $1,500 (the equivalent of five years of $25 pet health insurance premiums), your money is not going to stretch beyond initial diagnosis and treatments. With a pet health insurance plan, that monthly investment of $25 ensures that you have the money to pay for your dog’s treatment in minor and major illnesses. Filing your claim on your veterinary insurance plan with additional cancer coverage will ensure that a significant portion of what is paid to your veterinary clinic is reimbursed to you. (It is impossible to give exact figures in this instance since the type of cancer, location of cancer, age of the dog and treatment plans all affect the total cost of the bill, just like it does for humans.)

How Does Pet Insurance Work

In the United States the majority of pet health insurance plans work by having you, the pet owner, pay the veterinary fees upfront for your pet’s treatment. After paying the initial cost of your pet’s vet visit, request a duplicate, itemized receipt which you then send in to your pet’s insurance company along with a completed claim’s form. Depending upon the company and their backlog of paperwork, claims are usually processed within a month and a reimbursement check is sent back to you (some companies (our top three all do) guarantee a certain turnaround time on payout as an added benefit). The amount of your reimbursement is dependent upon your pet insurance policy details and exclusions, the type of procedure performed, the cost of that procedure, the allowance per procedure on your policy and your plan’s deductible. And, if you have more than one pet, do not forget to ask for a multi-pet discount — many companies offer this savings.

Before you Buy, Find Out What’s Covered for YOUR Pet

St Bernard with a Fractured LegOnce you have narrowed down your choices with our pros and cons list below, be sure to apply for a quote with each of the companies you are considering for pet insurance. Then, have your vet send in each of your pets records to the company that you are considering. A company who is truly interested in your business will diligently review your pet’s records and clearly outline any conditions that will be excluded from your pet’s health insurance plan. They may also be able to help you with any riders or add-ons that may be needed to cover higher risk items for your specific dog/cat or breed. This will help you to make the best decision by knowing precisely what they consider pre-existing for your pet so you won’t have to worry about it as you go for appointments and treatments in the future underneath your chosen plan. Note: No insurance company covers pre-existing conditions, but different ones may have different decisions on what they consider to be a pre-existing condition. Taking this extra step may seem like an unnecessary precaution now but when an emergency arises, you will be glad you asked all the questions upfront to be sure you were choosing the right policy for your family.

Wellness vs. Illness vs. Accident Coverage

When you think about car insurance, it covers you in the case of an accident only. You would never expect your car insurance to pay for your regular oil changes and tire rotations. And if your insurance did cover those maintenance costs, you would expect to pay more per month. Well, your pet insurance is no different; they also draw distinctions in coverage in similar ways. When shopping for a plan, make sure you are happy with both components: cost and right amount of coverage.

Accident Pet Insurance Coverage

Accident coverage is the most common and universally offered type of pet insurance. An example would be if your pet were unexpectedly hit by a car and rushed to the vet for surgery on a broken leg, this would fall under accident coverage with your pet health insurance company. So rather than shelling out $2,300 for an x-ray, diagnostic tests, surgery and medication, it would be covered by your insurance plan for which you had been paying monthly in case of such an accident. It would be impossible to have planned for this sort of accident during your monthly budgeting which is why having accident coverage would be crucial for helping you get through this difficult time — financially and maybe even emotionally — as it would reduce the stress. Every pet health insurance company offers accident coverage, no matter the age of your pet.

Illness Pet Insurance Coverage

Illness coverage is often restricted and/or becomes more expensive with age as the risk of illness goes up exponentially as your animal ages. So it is best to seek out pet insurance at the youngest age possible for your pet to reduce pre-existing condition risks and also to reduce the monthly cost. Some companies will even lock in the monthly price that you pay for coverage when you start your policy through the life of your dog. Sure it might cost a little more, but if your dog lives to be 15 years old, it will likely be worth it to invest in insurance for your pet now. Currently, the average age for enrollment is just under three years of age so we recommend you get started finding the right fit for your pet immediately. The illness aspect of insurance coverage is where you can really benefit over the lifetime of your pet’s policy.

Wellness Pet Insurance Coverage

Back to the car insurance analogy, why pay more every month to cover something that you can plan for (e.g. oil change or annual vet exam)? If you know the cost for your annual wellness exam at the vet will be $120, you can just set aside money in your savings account for that (put away $10 a month and you will be set!) so why give that money to someone else when you can at least earn a little interest on it in the bank? Wellness coverage is more subjective than illness or accident coverage. Illnesses and accidents — the emergency-type things you cannot plan for that effect your pets — are what you need to insure to make sure you can cover them financially when they arise, whereas wellness coverage really depends on you, and whether you’d rather save for those known annual expenses, or whether you’d rather have wellness insured so you don’t have think about coming up with the extra cash when the times comes.

Pet Insurance Quotes Comparison TableOne of the most time-consuming aspects of shopping for pet insurance is trying to understand the different pricing structures from the multiple carriers, especially given all the varying exclusions. Our team worked hard to secure insurance quotes for many different types of pets, breeds, and ages and have reported them on our Pet Insurance Quotes page in an easy-to-read-and-review comparison chart.

Pet Insurance Comparison: 2014 Winners

Below you’ll find our 2014 winners for best pet insurance companies based on a variety of factors ranging from price and coverage options to reimbursement rates and customer service. Please keep in mind that each policy is different for each pet and is subject to change over time so be sure to read your policy carefully before you sign up for the service.

1st Place Winner: Petplan

Best Pet Insurance 1st Place Winner

PetPlan (Affiliate)Website – Petplan

Petplan has the highest customer praise of any of the plans we reviewed because they actually cover what they say they are going to cover and that is a lot! So, sure the monthly cost is a little higher than some of the other options but only by a little. And, the money you will save if something goes wrong — the whole reason you are considering getting pet insurance to start with — will likely make up for the extra pennies you paid in your monthly premium.

They also cover both hereditary and congenital conditions (in most cases) and do not have age restrictions, all of which are very rare coverage areas in this industry. Unlike many other plans, Petplan offers unlimited claims for the lifetime of the pet and will not adjust monthly premiums for newly-discovered conditions from year to year, so long as you stay current with your plan. Get a discount for multiple pets and apply online via CanineJournal’s Petplan link and use the coupon code AFF00122 to save 10% (5% for signing up online + 5% with promo code).

To find out how Petplan won, along with pros, cons, coverage details and more, read our in-depth Petplan review.

2nd Place: Healthy Paws

HealthyPaws Pet InsuranceCanineJournal.com 2nd Place WinnerWebsite – HealthyPaws

Healthy Paws may have been more of a contender for our top winner if they were less expensive and more established. Their coverage is slightly more expensive than Petplan, but they have less exclusions than Embrace. Plus they’re one of the newer companies to the pet insurance game, having only been around since 2010. Use our 10% off Healthy Paws coupon code SAVE10 but remember, it is only good when you click through from this website.

We love that they offer three annual, not per-incident, deductible levels ($100, $250 or $500), three percentage options for actual vet-bill payouts (70%, 80% or 90%) and that there is no cap (per-incident, lifetime, or otherwise) on any of their claims. Healthy Paws also has some of the best customer service reviews in the business, and while they don’t pay for pre-existing conditions or offer a wellness option as an add-on, like Embrace, they do pay for most hereditary and congenital conditions, as well as hip dysplasia, which makes it a great choice for owners with breeds that are genetically predisposed to certain conditions (be sure to ask specifically for your pet to be sure they are covered).

To learn more about HealthyPaws and how it won our Runner Up award, read our HealthyPaws review.

3rd Place:​ Embrace

Best Pet Insurance 3rd PlaceEmbrace Pet InsuranceWebsite – Embrace

Embrace may have been our second choice if they did not have age restrictions for illness coverage. This dropped them to our third place winner since they do not cover older pets for illness and both our top contenders do. But, if you have a young, healthy dog or cat, this is the plan for you. They are known for having excellent customer service and reimbursement coverage.

You can also completely customize your plan (adjust deductible, reimbursement percentage and coverage options) so that you can create one that works within just about any budget. Embrace uses an annual deductible method of accounting for claims so that once your deductible has been met for the year, your insurance starts covering expenses at your plan’s reimbursement rate. They also move down one spot for annual vs. lifetime payout and limits.

For a more in-depth look at Embrace, please visit our Embrace Pet Insurance Review page.

Specialized Coverage

Upon researching our top winners for pet insurance, we came across several companies so specialized in their coverage. These companies stand out for coverage specifically for cancer and large breeds.

For Cancer

Pets Best is the only provider we found during our research that offers a cancer-only policy. It carries an annual coverage of $8,000 and a $30,000 lifetime coverage. This policy covers cancer diagnosis and treatment, exams, blood work, surgeries, medication, and chemotherapy.

For Large Breeds

Trupanion provides excellent coverage and would be our #4 pick. Since there is no #4 and Trupanion deserves a more meaningful mention for their coverage options, we’ve selected it as an awesome option for large breeds: While they have a higher premium, their higher pay-out over the long haul makes them a great match for large breeds that will likely have higher medical expenses due to their size.

Terminologies

Working with any type of insurance can be confusing. Below we will take a look at some of the common terminology used by dog insurance companies.

Deductible: Just as it applies in health insurance for humans, deductibles apply to pet insurance, too. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before you are eligible to receive reimbursement from your pet’s insurance plan. For most companies this deductible must be paid per incident rather than per year. Be sure to understand your agreement, as the annual vs per incident deductible is a big deal.

Co-Payment: Again, just as it applies to human insurance, the co-pay is the amount of out of pocket expense you must cover per incident after your deductible. The co-payment is usually listed as a percentage, for example 80/20 means that the insurance company will cover 80% of the remaining balance after your deductible is paid and you must pay the remaining 20%.

Pre-Existing Conditions: Every major company in this category excludes pre-existing conditions from their coverage. This means that any ongoing condition your dog or cat was diagnosed with prior to being covered by their policy will not be covered in future claims. An example of a pre-existing condition is a dog or cat that receives a diagnosis of hip dysplasia prior to being covered by insurance.

Incidents: The term incident is used to refer to the condition that is causing you to visit the veterinarian. Chronic conditions such as skin allergies are considered to be a single incident even if you pay your veterinarian multiple visits.

Exclusions: Exclusions are items which are not covered by your policy. This can include: pre-existing conditions, certain musculoskeletal disorders, congenital disorders, hereditary disorders, intentional injuries caused by you or your family and elective or cosmetic procedures.

Schedule of Benefits: The schedule of benefits is a document that is provided to you when you sign up for your policy. This document outlines conditions that are covered under your plan and the monetary allowance you are provided for each diagnosis.

Code: The word “code” is listed on your schedule of benefits with most pet insurance companies. Underneath this term you will see a number listed. This is the “code” the company uses to identify the diagnosis given to your pet.

Primary Diagnosis or Condition: This term will appear on your schedule of benefits and refers to the financial limit that the company places on a primary diagnosis or condition which includes injections, hospitalization, exams, surgery and treatment.

Primary Diagnostic Testing Maximums: This term also appears on your schedule of benefits and refers to the cost limit the company places on primary diagnostic testing. This allowance is generally made per bodily system. In many cases, this benefit limit does not extend to specialized diagnostic tests.

General Anesthesia Allowance: On the schedule of benefits, companies will also outline the maximum limit for general anesthesia costs as they apply to specific conditions.

Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatment Allowance: The schedule of benefits will also list the maximum reimbursement limit for chemotherapy and radiation treatment as they apply to specific conditions. These two amounts are generally split in to two allowances with the allowance for radiation being much higher than that for chemotherapy.

Secondary Diagnosis or Condition:  If your pet is treated for a second condition that occurs as a result of the primary diagnosis then it will be covered under the benefits listed as a secondary diagnosis or condition. This secondary condition will receive financial reimbursement in addition to the primary diagnosis or condition.

Endorsements: Depending upon the insurance company you choose, you may be given the opportunity to purchase an “endorsement.” Usually this comes in the form of a cancer endorsement. This is like an add on to your purchased insurance plan and extends the amount of coverage your pet receives for the specific illness listed – in this case, cancer.

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance Companies

Companies are listed in alphabetical order for your convenience. Please keep in mind that all information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

24PetWatch Review

Due to their limited coverage, with enrollment stopping in middle age and unavailability in Alaska, 24PetWatch may not be the most effective way to protect your pet. However, one of the benefits to this insurance company is that while they do have lifetime illness coverage, they do not have limits on lifetime accident coverage. A unique offering they have is a policy called Tenant Care which is specifically designed for pets that live with pet owners in rental properties to ensure Third Party Damage Coverage in addition to more standard coverage.

Pros

  • The cheapest monthly premium available for a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever is $10.95 for minimal accident coverage. This should be taken with a grain of salt as this will depend upon the type of accident and has a $50 deductible per incident.
  • Option to purchase coverage for hereditary conditions.
  • Provides coverage for prescription and holistic medication when prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.

Cons

  • Age limits exist for pets and range between six to eight years old for new enrollment depending upon the breed. These limits make coverage options limited.
  • Has a maximum payout per-body system for illnesses which can be inconvenient and impractical for certain animals.
  • Does not offer coverage for the state of Alaska.

ASPCA Insurance Review

Unfortunately when looking through the overall features offered by the ASPCA insurance company, this is not one of the most highly recommended companies. While they carry the power of the ASPCA name (note: they pay a licensing fee to use this name but are not affiliated with the ASPCA), they also have a record of very low reimbursements, even under their highest cost plan. Older pets and those with pre-existing conditions are not available for entry-level, lower-price plans. They are also known to adjust payback rates to what they consider “reasonable” which often does not cover your cost.

Pros

  • ASPCA insurance offers a significant range in their plan costs with the cheapest plan offered to a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever costing $14.70 a month for accident coverage only with a $100 annual deductible.
  • Every plan purchased results in a contribution to providing care for ASPCA animals.
  • ASPCA is one of the few companies to offer wellness coverage.
  • Prescription medication is covered on plans higher than level 2.

Cons

  • Coverage does not apply to hereditary and genetic conditions unless the two highest cost plans are purchased.
  • Dogs age 11 years and older are not eligible for their more comprehensive coverage plans.
  • Has a $10.50 signup fee and recurring annual fee.
  • Users have found that the ASPCA insurance often cuts claims down to what they consider to be acceptable rates before paying just a percentage of the “reasonable” claim cost.
  • Prescription medication is not covered on level 1.

Embrace Review

Embrace Pet InsuranceEmbrace is among the top-rated pet insurance companies but if you are the owner of an older dog or cat then you can cross this company off your list. With age limits on illness coverage, older pets are not covered for disease and sickness with this policy. If you are looking for highly customizable plans with full control over your coverage, deductible and reimbursement percentage, then this is a plan to consider. Embrace will cover genetic conditions.

Pros

  • Embrace is affordable on a monthly-cost basis with an accident only policy premium starting at $18.53 a month for a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever.
  • No per incident limits on their claims as they use an annual deductible method of accounting.
  • Covers genetic conditions.
  • Offers optional wellness rewards ($149 fee to cover up to $200 of your pet’s annual wellness exam. Excludes costs for dental cleaning, spay/neuter, etc. Call before you assume if you have questions). This is one of the only companies that offers wellness coverage.

Cons

  • Age Limit: Embrace places age limits on newly-enrolled pets in their program. After a specific age pets are only eligible for an accident policy but not for illness coverage.
  • Has a two week waiting period for accident and illness coverage and a six month waiting period for orthopedic conditions.
  • Deductible must be met prior to reimbursement of treatments.
  • Prescription medications coverage is optional and comes at an extra cost.

In Depth Review

Check out our in depth Embrace Pet Insurance Review.

Healthy Paws Review

HealthyPaws Pet InsuranceHealthy Paws users reports reflect good customer service, fast reimbursement and very few exclusion incidents. We also found their unlimited coverage (no payout limits) for the lifetime of the pet a unique and valuable feature.

Pros

  • Best in class in terms of customer care. Their customers are among the happiest in terms of the company delivering on all their coverage promises when the need arises.
  • There are very few exclusions in terms of what is covered, so once your pet has been accepted into their program, you are very likely to be happy with the service and payout you receive when a claim is submitted.
  • Unlimited lifetime coverage so no annual or per incident limits on claims.
  • Coverage is provided even if the pet travels with you out of your home state, Mexico or Canada.
  • Offers coverage for hip dysplasia for pets enrolled before six years old. Hip dysplasia coverage will not take effect for the first 12 months of the policy but this is still a rare offering in the pet health insurance world.
  • Prescription medication is covered.

Cons

  • Their minimum premium to cover a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever is $40.35 a month for a 70% reimbursement plan with a $500 deductible. But price must be considered along with the benefit received to determine the true value for you.
  • Healthy Paws is a newer player in this industry and will likely incur many changes in policies and offerings in the coming years. This could actually be deemed a pro, depending on your pet’s needs.
  • Veterinary exam fee is not covered. They claim that this allows them to offer a more affordable monthly premium on accident and illness plans, similar to a human paying a copay.

Pets Best Review

Pets Best InsurancePets Best offers a wide range of plan prices and their entry-level plan is one of the cheapest of those we reviewed. However, their deductibles are higher than many other companies, meaning more out of pocket expense for plan holders. Each plan offered by Pet’s Best can be customized for deductible cost, annual coverage cost and the level of reimbursement given. It can be difficult to understand their policy because of its limitations on specific conditions so it is best to read policy paperwork thoroughly before purchasing. They are one of the only insurers that offers alternative, holistic treatment coverage. Expect waiting periods for all aspects of this plan.

Pros

  • Pets Best plan for a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever starts at $14.94 a month.
  • Offers limited coverage for chiropractic and acupuncture services.
  • Hereditary conditions are given limited coverage if pets are enrolled before their second birthday.

Cons

  • Illness coverage does not begin until two weeks after the policy starts, accident coverage does not begin until three days after the policy begins and routine care coverage (if selected) does not begin until two weeks after the policy starts.

In Depth Review

If you are interested in learning more about Pets Best, visit our in depth review.

Petplan Review

PetPlan Pet InsurancePetplan is not the cheapest pet health insurance company if you look chiefly at monthly premium cost, but if you ask their users, you will find that the majority of them are very happy with the service. Petplan is recommended as the best of the best in terms of their level of coverage (unlimited lifetime — Healthy Paws and Trupanion are the only other companies that offer this) and the fact that they cover hereditary and congenital conditions. So, it will likely be one of the better deals in the long run.

Pros

  • No lifetime claims limit and cover hereditary, chronic conditions and congenital conditions that are not covered by most other plans.
  • Is claimed to be the best pet insurance provider in terms of the premiums versus coverage ratio, and one of the best when it comes to customer service.
  • Monthly premium does not adjust for newly discovered conditions from year to year (as long as you do not let your coverage lapse); also does not escalate based on claims.
  • There is a 5% discount for users purchasing an insurance plan online.
  • Covers prescription medications.

Cons

  • Higher cost monthly premiums than many other companies; begins at $37.53 for accident and illness coverage of a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever (this age and breed of dog will be used in each comparison to demonstrate relative pricing but carefully watch for accident only vs. accident and illness coverage).
  • A number of policyholders complain that Pet Plan delays payment on claims (often due to a short up-front waiting period as a new customer) and requires extensive proof of treatment documentation.

In Depth Review

Check out our in depth Petplan Insurance Review.

Trupanion Review

TruPanion Pet InsuranceTrupanion is somewhat unique as far as pet insurance companies are concerned because they offer coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions in their core plan as well as coverage for hip dysplasia. (Few companies offers coverage for hip dysplasia without add-ons.) The deductible and additional fees of this policy are higher than competitors. The lowest deductible offered causes monthly premiums to almost triple and each policy demands a $35 administration fee. They are among the few who cover some alternative, holistic treatment coverage. Trupanion operates their own insurance underwriting, unlike most other companies which are backed by other insurance brands. This allows them to pay back 70 cents back in claims payments of every dollar paid in premiums.

Pros

  • Have an unlimited lifetime limit on coverage.
  • Offers optional benefits for additional expenses that cover acupuncture, physical therapy, hydro therapy and behavioral modification training and therapy.
  • Hip Dysplasia is part of the core policy for no additional cost.
  • The core policy covers hereditary and congenital conditions as well as veterinary supplements.
  • Monthly premium cost does not adjust year-to-year for age.
  • Prescription medication is covered.

Cons

  • The cost of the lowest monthly premium for a 10-year-old black Labrador Retriever is $39.80 and this plan has a high $1,000 deductible.
  • Charges all policy holders a one-time $35 administration fee.

VPI Review

VPI Pet InsuranceVPI is one of the most commonly used pet insurance companies however; they are not the best in terms of their reimbursement costs. VPI is affordable and they do offer timely reimbursements as well as the ability to track claims in real time online. Unfortunately, VPI has a track record of poor customer service and “secretly” raising monthly premium rates as pets age. They offer cruciate surgery after 12 months on the plan which is a fairly common treatment which most plans do not cover.

Pros

  • Offers affordable* coverage for pets with the monthly cost for a standard plan for a 10- year-old black Labrador Retriever being around $32 a month.
    • *Be sure to read the CONS as it is not “affordable” if what you need to care for your pet is not covered!
  • Covers cruciate surgery* after 12 months on their policy, something that is rarely covered with other insurance plans. (*Cruciate surgery for ruptures is one of the most common orthopedic conditions in dogs and it runs across all breeds)
  • Offers physical therapy coverage in some of their plans and also offers wellness coverage.

Cons

  • Raises their monthly premium rates as pets age.
  • Has a great number of complaints by policy holders for declining to pay claims.
  • Has a track record of poor customer service and support.
  • Prescription medication coverage is an additional cost.

Slideshare: Summary of Pet Insurance Reviews

Deciding Which Pet Insurance Company is Right for You

Injured dogIt takes a lot of careful thought and hard decision making when it comes to selecting the right company for your family pet. All of us want the best coverage but this can sometimes be prohibited by monthly cost. But remember: Monthly cost is something you can budget and plan for, but an accident or case of cancer is unexpected and an unplanned-for, costly expense. This is why insurance is needed when you decide to bring a pet into your family. Like other insurance, you must insure against the worse case scenario to manage your financial risk throughout your pet’s lifetime.

The trick to selecting the best pet insurance company for you is to select the plan that best suits your budget and unique needs.

How To Choose The Best Plan For You

  • Compare it to similar plans to select the one that offers the most value (value should be defined by benefits offered, not just price) to your family.
  • Consider the cost of monthly premiums versus the types (and value) of benefits received in the case of a health issue or accident.
  • If you have an older pet, age limitations will definitely play a part in forming your decision on the right pet health insurance plan for you.
  • Review any plan deductibles or payout percentages that may impact your real out of pocket cost in the case of emergency.
  • Lastly, if you have a Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever or any other dog breed that is susceptible to hip dysplasia (or other breed with hereditary- specific illnesses), you may want to take that into consideration in making your decision.

Once you have laid out all of the must-haves for protecting your specific pet or pets, and the financial impact that an accident or serious health condition may have on your family, it will likely be clear as to which company is right for you.

Reasons To Get Pet Insurance Infographic

Reasons to Get Pet Insurance Infographic

Please Share Your Pet Insurance Choices and Feedback With Us

Our readers provide the very best feedback and insight into which pet insurance they think is best so please leave your comments below. They will surely be helpful to so many people who are looking to make the same difficult pet health insurance decision for their pet. Thanks!

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

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About Sara Logan Wilson

Sara is the Brand Manager for Canine Journal. She adores dogs, though doesn't yet have one of her own. She blames this inconvenient truth on her small living space and looks forward to giving a sweet pooch (or two) a forever home some day soon.
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  • Tina

    Thanks so much for this review. It has been very helpful!

  • Happy Petplan customer

    I know this is an old post, but since my insurance reimbursement checks just came in the mail, I’m motivated to voice my support for Petplan.

    We had a similar experience as some other people: we were shocked (and really disappointed) to see the premiums for both dogs go up staggeringly after the first few years, and they have increased each year. The year I lost my job, we had to make some ugly choices, but making other sacrifices to keep pet insurance was the best. decision. ever.

    Even with the jumps in premium…

    Total premiums paid over the last 9 years= ~$2,100 per dog.
    Reimbursement for non-ACL knee injury in 2012 = $2,000 for one dog.
    Reimbursement for ACL knee injury in 2014= $2,000 for same dog.

    The vet says that there’s a good chance the other ACL will need to be treated in the next year, because that’s just how knees work. But I am losing no sleep about it. If I met a Happiness Manager in person, I would hug them and maybe cry, because my dogs are healthy and I’m about to cash the reimbursement check that’s going to let me pay my mortgage this month.

    Petplan is efficient, comprehensive, and doesn’t try to make medical decisions in place of the vet–they pay based on what a vet says is necessary.

  • LynneB

    I have had petplan for 5 years and have always been happy with them, until this year when I got my policy renewal. The rates are going up 33% for my two dogs. I called to ask why and apparently they increase rates based on your dog’s age and increases in veterinary costs in your area. Given that my dogs will certainly continue aging, their policy is quickly becoming unaffordable (my dogs are 4 and 5 years old, hardly geriatric dogs). Also, the $200 deductible is per incident, so you pay that for each claim. I’m looking at healthy paws, they told me they do not increase rates based on a dog’s age and their deductible is annual. The cost would only be a few dollars more and there is no per incident cap (Petplan is $10,000). I hate to leave petplan but they have become unaffordable given the benefits that they offer.

    • http://www.gopetplan.com Keith Guse

      Hi Lynne, it’s a pleasure to meet you! My name is Keith, and I manage Petplan’s social media presence. I saw that you took the time to mention your concerns, so I wanted to personally respond to them and thank you and see if i could be of assistance. Having been with us as long as you have, I hope I’ve had the chance to “meet” your furry family members on our Facebook page (if not, please introduce yourself!). I can certainly understand how a premium increase of that level would leave you concerned and frustrated. If I can offer a bit of clarity to the excellent points you’ve already mentioned, Petplan’s rates may increase due to age and veterinary inflation, but this may not be every year, as it is all driven by actuarial data that we receive. As the cost of veterinary care and the age of the pet increase, so may our rates in order to be able to cover the increased risk of your pet developing a serious illness or accident. I know that a premium increase can be difficult to budget for, and we would be happy to work with you to see if there is anything we can do on your policy side to help with the costs. I really do believe we offer the best value product in the industry. In addition, while a pet insurer may not claim to increase premiums based on age, they will likely still need to raise your premium over time to reflect other factors, such as the increase cost of new technology and advances in veterinary care. I do understand the appeal of an annual deductible, but at Petplan, we utilize a per-condition deductible and flexible reimbursement levels to offer you the best-value premium. When you consider that serious illnesses tend to be chronic, a per-condition deductible can be very beneficial, as you’d only need to satisfy that condition deductible once per policy year. If you’ve ever had a pet with allergies, you could satisfy that in the first month, easily, but we hope you never have to! In addition, your veterinary exam fees are covered for illnesses and injuries – saving you upwards of $150 for each visit, a cost you could have to pay upfront with another provider. I know it can be a difficult situation to be in when your premium changes, but you can always rest assured though that you have the protection of your Petplan family through your pets’ golden years. If you have any questions or would like us to take a look at your policy to see if there are any options for providing you with a lower premium, please email me at [email protected] or give one of our Happiness Managers a call at 1-866-467-3875 and we will be happy to assist you. Thanks once again, Lynne.

  • anonymous

    A wonderful, unbiased, comprehensive comparison!! Thank you so much for putting this together!

  • Brian

    Great article. I was getting ready to sign up with Embrace and did not know about losing coverage for older dogs. I just signed up with Petsplan and spoke with a guy named Richard that was very helpful. I also just dropped my very expensive VPI insurance. VPI does a great job marketing to large companies which is how I signed up. Shame on me for not doing more research on looking at VPI on the front end.

    • http://www.coverstorymedia.com/ Michelle Schenker

      Thanks Brian for the feedback and glad out site saved you from a potential pitfall. Petplan is what I have for my dogs and they have not let me down, not even when my dog almost did not make it from a poisonous snake bite last year!

  • Sonia

    Hi, I will be only in the country for about 2-3 months and every pet insurance plan seems to be for an entire year. I will be leaving in January with my pet so wondering if there are any options for my dog?? Thanks.

     

    • Sara

      Hi Sonia, we don't know of any policies that offer a month-to-month contract right off hand, but will look into it and will let you know if we find any options! Thanks for your comment.

  • Me

    Beware of companies giving 30 or 60 trials. You should value what's you pay for and once the trial is up, the cost usually turns you off. Question: Do you really want to see that your pet insurance is paying for itself? That would mean my pet would need to have something bad happen for me to use it. I want my pet happy and healthy and only when something really bad happens will I know I have the insurance to support me. It would be like you getting car insurance and running into someone, because you wanted to see how well it worked. If you think that way, I beg you to never own an animal. Also, do not depend on your veterinarian to have the right answers for phi, as they are as confused as you are. You can want it all covered but what are you willing to pay for it? Do not tell either that because your pet is living they need to give their services away. Having a pet is no different from owning a car, kids or home, they cost and there is a choice to take that cost and responsibility on. DO NOT transfer your lack of responsibility to others.

  • Mark

    Hi, great article. I have Petplan and have been extremely happy with their customer service, who they refer to as " Happiness Managers," as well as being reimbursed over $3,000 for Hip Dysplasia, WHICH IS COVERED AS STANDARD IN ALL OF THEIR POLICIES. (You mentioned that Trupanion was the only company that offered hip dysplasia coverage without an add-on, which was incorrect)! I couldn't be happier with going with Petplan, and I know my vet is a big supporter since they don't require a vet diagnosis or signature to submit a claim form like all the others do. Thanks again for the great info!

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for your feedback! We do mention that PetPlan covers most hereditary conditions in their policies, and hip dysplasia falls under that category. Glad you've enjoyed your experience with them!

      We also have updated the language re: Trupanion to reflect this terminology. You are correct that it was a bit misleading. Thank you for helping us stay on top of the details!

  • Andrew

    I wanted to say that you have really helped me trying to figure out if I could get pet insurance. My vet suggested that I get it on my border collie that was diagnosed last week with diabetes, but most places seem like that they won't cover it. Or the cataracts that she got because of it.

    I see a lot of comments that "if you care for your pet," but regular insurance doesn't make you pay upfront and then tell you that you get pennies on the dollar after their deductible, other charges, and your premium. I just got furloughed because the government doesn't think that they should pay us after 20 years in the service. I retired, government pushed contracts back six months, didn't get retirement check for two months, couldn't find a job for six months, Colorado messed around lying for four months for unemployment and never got a dime.

    My pets have always gone yearly for checkups, but my 14 year old has several large tumors and now my border collie has diabetes. I have had dogs all my life and have never needed insurance, but it seems that they only there to take your money instead of helping.

    If I didn't have the money now to pay, then what? You pay upfront and then maybe get reimbursed some later. It's a losing battle.

    • Anderson

      I feel like the pet insurance companies, especially the providers listed in the top three of this page, do a great job of letting you know exactly what is covered. You are correct, if you don't have the money to pay for pet insurance now, it is not going to do much good. However, once you do the research, you should have a very clear view of what each particular insurance provider will cover.

  • Doug

    Wish I had this info years ago when I signed up for VPI. I assumed that all pet insurance was similar. I've spent thousands in insurance premiums and thousands in vet bills. Despite having their top-of-the-line policy, they pay out very little. I've also had MANY problems with errors — I've received Explanation of Benefits stating completely erroneous diagnoses, have brought this to their attention, and had to resubmit claims. I have no idea why they make so many errors. Maybe they figure their customers don't read the EOBs and won't bother to follow-up.  

    Instead of paying out all this money in premiums, I should have set aside money each month in an account. Now, if something catastrophic happens, I still pay money to the vet AND the high VPI monthly premium (over $70/month).  

    I've been very dissatisfied with the coverage at VPI and will cancel it soon. By the way, while checking my account online at VPI, I was solicited to write a review. It came as no surprise that they never published it. Their legal disclaimer states that they can pick and choose what they want to publish. If they published all reviews, they'd be in trouble.

  • Kelly Doyle

    One major difference I've seen between VPI and the others that I didn't see mentioned here is that VPI has an allowance limit on all injuries and illnesses. They are listed in a document called, "VETERINARY PET INSURANCE VPI® MAJOR MEDICAL PlAN BENEFIT SCHEDULE" that I found on their website. You mentioned that they cover crutiate, ACL, however looking at the fine print it appears from this document that their limit of coverage for ACL is $670. (The usual cost being around $4,000.)  If this is correct then this is a MAJOR difference from the others who cover a straight percentage of the total bill.  A difference that consumers should be aware of before purchasing. Correct me if I'm wrong. Thank you for the wonderful reviews!

  • guest

    Wow – what a great job you guys did! And I know how much time you had to put into it because I've done my own research and it takes a lot of time to understand all of the options out there. There is not one company that has exactly the same policy structure and options as another. They have all craftily created their own unique plans.

    Minor thing, but I wanted to point out that you have spelled the names of two of the companies incorrectly on this. Pet Plan is actually Petplan (although it is spelled correctly on the page where you do the more in-depth review of them). TruPanion is actually Trupanion. I'm surprised those companies have not already sent in a correction.

    Of course, I am very pleased that you have listed Petplan as your #1 choice for both dogs and cats. Why? Because that's the plan my dog is on! And they were a huge help last year when a lot of things started happening with my then-11-year-old Lab/Chow mix. I'm so glad I switched from one of the old "legacy" insurers (one of the ones who uses their own benefit "schedule" to reimburse, rather than paying directly off the vet bill) when my dog was already 10 years old! Yes, as you've indicated, that is one of the things that Petplan is great about — they are open to senior dogs! A few others are too but I find, when you put everything together, Petplan takes the most effort to show that it cares as much about its senior insureds as it does its middle-aged and puppy insureds. But I do agree that Embrace and Healthy Paws are excellent companies, and I might have more seriously considered Embrace, had they allowed new insureds over the age of eight, and Healthy Paws, had they been in biz a bit longer, they were very new when I was changing plans, but I'm not as keen about the fact that they don't pay for the office visits.

    • Summit

      Your review is informative and I am considering changing my pet insurance from Healthy Paws to Petplan for the many reasons noted in your summary.  

      This decision is based upon my recent claim submitted to Healthy Paws which was denied. By way of background, my cat was experiencing diarrhea on or off. My claim was denied since Healthy Paws stated that the clinical symptoms preceded the diagnosis prior to the effective date of the policy.

      Okay, I can understand their position, however, going forward any claim that is submitted that relates to Gastroenteristis will be denied including diarrhea which is very common in cats, dogs, as well as humans.

      It is worthy of noting that Gastroenteristis is defined very broadly and therefore, I am no longer shielded from anything that remotely falls under this category; although my cat experienced 1 of the 4 symptoms which was diarrhea (bloody or dark in color). Our cat's diarrhea didn't include the noted criteria. Further his feces was analyzed and came back negative. The remaining 3 symptoms are vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight loss. Once again, emphasizing that my cat had 1 of the 4 symptoms.

      Healthy Paws is a highly recommended company and the fact that the cat's diarrhea could have occurred for more than 10 reasons, however, the causal connection made is that diarrhea "definitively" equates to Gastroenteristis. 

      In conclusion, I am now more informed regarding clinical systems vs. diagnosis, and that fact that this information is not outlined in the fine print.

  • Laurel F.

    Purina is no longer in the pet insurance business. They sold the company to 24PetWatch and I have a feeling the policy will not be as good as it was. Purina was awesome!! It was great insurance and had fast payments, but after reading the reviews of 24Petwatch we will be changing insurances.

    • Wendy S.

      I too had Purina Pet Care that was switched to 24PetCare. So far, they have honored claims in the same manner as our original policy. However, they did try to exclude anything related to upper respiratory for my one cat. I called them about it to complain. My *kitten* at the time simply had the sniffles like a whole slew of kittens do; how could they now use it as an excuse to deny claims on anything and everything as broad as respiratory in nature, I asked. They told me that I could have my vet submit some form and sign it, which they had to mail to me. I had my vet fill out the form and send it. The insurance company removed the exclusion. So basically, you gotta keep on your toes and don't let them get away with sneaking something into your new contract that was not present in the original. I had to call to even find out that such a form exists. Geesh! I really hate the sneaky ways of insurance companies!! Some seem to make it as confusing as possible and they know that no one wants to read the 5 or 10 pages of fine print.

      OK, I'm done venting. Now I want to know what happens if I switch. If anyone has any experience about switching to Embrace, please let me know how they did. I am thinking about switching all pets (I have 2 cats and a dog. We may rescue another pup on Nov 16th). So, for example, my other dog (still a pup at 17 months), was sick at one point and we had the vet do some xrays because we thought he swallowed something. They found nothing and it turns out that our pup probably had the dog flu (from doggie daycare). So, how do I know that Embrace isn't going to say they just won't cover anything related to puking!?

  • Petsecure

    I have dog health insurance and I totally support you because, sometimes we fall and we haven't insurance at that time. It shouldn't be an option for our lovely dog and pet.  Nice topic and useful comment; I like it.

  • Watson

    The main reason to get pet insurance is to pay the vet’s bills if your pet gets sick or is injured. If your pet is part of the family and you would do anything to get the money to pay for treatment, then you should consider insurance. If you have enough disposable income or savings to be able to pay the vet yourself, then you might not need it.

  • Jane

    Hi all, Really the above posts matters a lot. Thank you everyone for your valuable information. I am learning more about the pros for pet insurance and the price comparison too.

  • Diane

    PurinaCare considers ingesting a foreign body as an illness not accidental. Before I purchased a policy, I had taken my puppy to the vet because she had a very small piece of plastic in her poop. The vet checked her out and said she was fine. Several months later after purchasing a policy from PurinaCare, she swallowed a piece of a rubber toy that lodged in her small intestine. She was critical within 36 hours and had emergency surgery to remove the "foreign object" which cost approximately $4,000. She would have died without the surgery. PurinaCare considered this a pre-existing "illness" and wouldn't pay a dime. Most companies I have researched consider a foreign object to be an accident. Beware of PurinaCare if your dog ever chews or swallows "anything" other than dog food or treats! Read every word of your policy. Insurance companies didn't get rich by being nice. They are a business for profit.

  • Chris

    Based on your report I have signed my two dogs up for coverage with Petplan. One thing that is inaccurate in your report is that you state "Monthly premium does not adjust for age." According to Petplan's own website: "Coverage is never decreased due to pets aging. Premiums do increase upon pets reaching certain age brackets." You should probably make the correction in your report.

    • Canine Journal

      Hi Chris and thank you so much for this clarification. We have updated our site to reflect this update and apologize for any confusion. We also use PetPlan for our dogs and were unaware of this when we purchases out plan. We have had excellent experience with them to-date though and wish you and your pets the best. Thanks!

      • Keith

        Hi, I wanted to insure my five year old German Shepherd girl with PetPlan however they would only offer their very basic plan as they told me German Shepherd's are now on their special breed list and suffer from more illnesses than other dogs or is it because they are one of the most popular breeds in the UK and PetPlan has paid out too much? 

  • phyllisj

    At Pets Best Insurance, we’re pet owners and pet lovers, too. We don’t want anyone to go through the pain of euthanizing a pet simply because they can’t afford to treat liver cancer in dogs.

  • Anonymous

    I also didn't know that they offered such extensive services.  Wow, pet insurance is just about as complicated as human insurance.  I was also surprised when I found out that pet insurance was not just for cats and dogs.  You can have just about any pet covered that you want covered.  Pet insurance is something that is a long time coming.  I mean it didn't exist even just a few years ago and every trip to the vet was like several hundred dollars.  Because of that, I'm sure that only vets that serviced rich clients were the only ones that made money.  I know there were many times that I wanted to take my pet to the vet and could not.  I was so sad about this.  Now, I can pay one manageable fee every month and be totally fine.  I'm so happy about this now.  I haven't decided which brand I am going to go with though.  I've been reading and hearing about some great things when it comes to Embrace pet insurance.  I am probably going to look into that company more deeply first, then a couple others.

  • Anonymous

    I remember a number of years ago when I decided to research pet insurance companies to provide better coverage for my aging dog how I was amazed at how little competition there was out there and few choices I really had to go with.  The coverage was simple and restrictive and ultimately, because my dog was older, I decided not to go with any of them because the premiums would have been higher than it really seemed to be worth in comparison with the kinds of care that he needed. 

    After reading this article, it amazes me in a completely different way just how many different options a pet owner has these days.  I think it is a wonderful development for people like myself whom want to provide the finest care possible for their pets and do so in the most affordable way. 

    With all these different providers, it clearly indicates that competition is on the rise and that things should get more affordable with each passing year that the industry continues to grow.  I have a new puppy now and I definitely plan on insuring him soon.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for doing all the work for this article and for linking it to your quote chart! It literally saved me hours of time. I was able to cross several potential pet insurance companies right out of consideration due to higher prices, lower reputation, and coverage limitations. The remaining are the ones I am getting quotes from. I am not necessarily going for the lowest premium when I make my decision, so much as the best value and service for the money.

    I've also been thinking of getting a microchip, but am unsure how much financial sense it really makes. I noticed when I clicked over to your chart, all of those quotes specify they are for dogs that do not have microchips, and I was wondering how much of a difference that would really make. I do not see how a microchip would really help a dog not get into an accident or not get sick.

    Before I choose a company, I will make sure I understand microchips and that I know the company I choose will offer a discount and that the discount will cover the cost of the chip in the long run.

    • Hank

      By having your dog microchipped, you can expect to save around $2 a month on pet insurance. The savings is nice, but you should really have your dog microchipped for other reasons. I know most dog owners do not think about their dog running away, but you just never know. When a stray dog is picked up and taken to a shelter, the first thing they do is check for a microchip. This should lead to an immediate reunion between the owner and the dog. That kind of security is priceless to me, but the $2 a month savings on insurance certainly helps as well!

  • Anonymous

    I know, I am going to sound like a walking advertisement, but I had such a great experience with Embrace. During a family cookout one day, my dog accidentally ran into a beehive while catching a frisbee and got stung many times. We did not realize he was having an allergic reaction to being stung until we saw him having immense difficulty breathing and noticed his face swelling. One trip to the emergency veterinary care hospital alone would have cost thousands, let alone the emotional stress of having an emergency during the middle of a nice family gathering. Lucky enough for me, I knew to insure my dog as a puppy right after I adopted him, so instead of the emergency draining my savings, I at least knew that it would be covered.

    I never realized that Embrace covered illness without an age limit since I insured my dog as a puppy, though. Just that makes me even more glad that I chose this company. I have had nothing but good service from them as far as insurance companies go, and I am especially glad to know that as my dog gets older and his chances of getting sick increase, Embrace will help cover him.

  • Anonymous

    I remember when pet insurance was still a largely unknown service in this country.  I cannot really speak for other countries, but from what I know of how Americans feel about their pets, I would bet that we are on the leading edge of the industry worldwide. 

    Reading through this comparison tells me just how far it has all come and that tells me that there is obviously an increasing demand for this type of thing as every year passes.  Visits to the vet are getting more and more expensive and with the economic crunch we are collectively going through as Americans, one can argue that we need our pets now more than ever to relieve the stress of the daily grind just trying to make ends meet.

    I like that there is competition now more so than in the past, because it gives options to the pet owners that want to be able to provide the best and most consistent care to their animals.  I do not think this would have been possible twenty years ago simply because people were not thinking about it.

  • Anonymous

    Before reading this article, I was vaguely aware of pet insurance and sort of dismissed it. I mean, it seemed like a luxury item, just like a studded collar and bottled water. Why go through the time and expense of getting pet insurance? In short, I was the skeptic that the author was talking about.

    Of course, the author is also a veterinarian, and the scenarios described in the article hit straight to the heart. I am convinced now that pet insurance is every bit as necessary as dental insurance is for people.

    I dislike the idea that I would have to front a lot of money and then wait a month (a considerable amount of time, considering the potential amounts of money involved), but I still like that considering the alternatives. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to read all the fine print of what will be covered so that you can make sure procedures are covered and such before diving in. That part leaves a bad taste, but once again, even having a portion of the procedures covered can make a huge difference to you and your pet.

    • Micheal Brown

      Having a pet is easy but to maintain is not so easy. If the pet had a fatal disease that needed to be treated, then we also spend some money but if the pet dies the money goes to waste. So we need to insure our pet in case to lower our expenses and treat in a proper manner.

  • Anonymous

    There are so many insurance companies to choose from as a pet owner. Frankly, I was a bit surprised. I guess I've had ASPCA insurance shoved down my throat from so many websites, emails, and ads in the vet's office that it's hard to believe there are other companies out there. However, I am grateful that there are so many to choose from.

    As a pet owner, I feel it's extremely important to insure your pet. While you may take the best care of your pet possible, accidents do happen. Being able to pay to treat your pet is priceless. The last thing you want to do is put down a pet because you couldn't afford the treatment that would save her life.

    I do wish there were companies who were concerned about insuring other pets though. While dogs and cats are the most popular pets, many people own rabbits, reptiles, hamsters, and a number of other pets. I know that these pets don't live as long, but accidents can occur with these pets as well – accidents that are treatable. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a company that cares about these pets. It's sad, but I guess more people are only concerned about dogs and cats.

  • Anonymous

    I found this article to be pretty enlightening regarding this topic which is starting to get a little bit more national attention over the last five or ten years.  Having it explained and knowing what to expect should you have to file a claim really helps me understand what I would be paying for if I had taken out a policy. 

    Reading this though makes me wonder if it is similar to the human healthcare industry where applying for coverage is largely predicated on the health of the subject at the time of submission.  An older dog is clearly going to have more problems than a younger dog and the insurance company could likely expect to pay more for that policy over a shorter amount of time.
     
    For that reason, I think insuring a dog while still in the puppy stage makes a lot of sense.  Even though you are paying for insurance you likely won’t need for years, it establishes a policy for that dog going forward that will pay off more so as they mature.  It also will make you more likely to take your dog to the vet.

  • Anonymous

    Comparing pet insurance is not an easy task. As some just starting out, I am really trying to do things the right way and part of that means getting insurance on everything I need insurance on. I did not even realize all the things you need to get insured for and how confusing it can be.

    I love animals and I want to get a few more pets. I have a puppy and I just know I will be wanting to add to my pet family soon. When I was younger we had pets, but I don't think my parents had insurance on them, so I can't ask them for advice on which pet insurance to buy. However, they were able to tell me all of the things that cost them money for the pets I had while I was growing up and that was actually helpful to me. I really had no idea about the cost of some of the medical issues and just the routine shots and preventative care.

    Articles like this one are very much appreciated. Sometimes it is easy to think you are getting a good deal, only to find out that you are going to end up spending more in the long run because you weren't paying attention to detail. I think I've made my choice and this article helped me get there! Keep 'em coming!

  • Anonymous

    You know I was so happy awhile back when I realized that they were finally introducing pet insurance to the market.  So many of us love our pets and we want them to have the healthiest lives possible.  I know many of us would take our little pumpkins to the doctor all the time if we could afford it, but vet bills are just the same as human bills for the most part. 

    If you want them to get shots, get their teeth cleaned, or have a checkup, you're out hundreds of dollars.  Though we might take great care of our pet at home, who has hundreds of extra dollars to spend every month?

    Sometimes you have it, but if you want go to the vet, you usually had to save for a few months.  Thank goodness for pet insurance.  The funny thing about it though is that I know now the vets are making more money.  There are so many people who probably went to the vet once a year and are now probably going on a regular basis.  What a great thing for everyone involved, pets, owners, the insurance company and vets!  Everyone is winning out!

  • Anonymous

    I think you started a trend. Since I read this article I have seen pet insurance ads everywhere and really, if you had asked me a month ago, I would not have know one company that sold pet insurance. I do think a smart pet owner will buy this kind of insurance. It just makes good sense to do so.

    For myself, I would just like to have some pet insurance that covered the basic cost of wellness things. That would probably save me tons of money in itself. It's either that or put the money back every month anyhow so I can pay it out to the vet once a year. And even then, that would be assuming that nothing else would go wrong and that there were no illnesses or emergencies. Since I have more than one pet and they are all pretty playful and have free run of the land, the chances that none of them are ever going to get sick or hurt are pretty slim.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I really don't just have all that cash laying around for trips to the vet or anything else. For me, I'm better off just buying the insurance.

    • Dr. Doug K.

      Most wellness coverage offered with pet insurance is usually a break even proposition. Embrace has their Wellness Rewards where you will come out a few dollars ahead every year, but with most companies, you'll come out ahead some years and possibly behind other years. Wellness expenses for your pet are expected and can be planned for in advance. You are already paying these out of pocket now. You'll be better off putting those premium dollars toward accident and illness coverage. That's where the risk is for having to pay thousands out of pocket unexpectedly.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great resource for people like me who are trying to decide on what kind of pet insurance to get. It's not like pet insurance is the most highly advertised kind of insurance so without articles like these, it is kind of hard to even try to figure out who sells pet insurance. On top of that, you have to try to find pet insurance that works for you and your pet. So, this information is much needed!

    Personally, I have children who love animals, so I need a policy that gives discounts for multiple animals being on the policy. Currently, we have 3 animals, but I look for that number to go up soon enough. And I do not want to spend all my time trying to deal with an insurance company who is going to fight me for reimbursement or may filing a claim so difficult that I would rather just pay for it myself than to deal with them.

    I have yet to decide on a company because I still have some things to compare and have to decide on a budget for this, but I know I will come back to this site to learn more about pet insurance before it is all said and done.

  • Anonymous

    When I started looking at investing in insurance for my dog and his seemingly more frequent vet visits, I really did not know what I was getting myself into.  I kind of figured that it was a one-size-fits-all sort of thing, but I could not have been more wrong.

    I certainly did not consider the breed of dog to be a determining factor in the price of insurance.  Much the same as I think of how human insurance providers operate, they have to disregard things like race and ethnicity, but pet insurance does not have that kind of discrepancy.  It makes good sense too, larger dogs are notoriously more problematic in their later years than smaller breeds.

    I also did not consider the cost savings provided by having your pet microchipped.  It does stand to reason though that premiums would be lower if you knew definitively where your pet was at all times and in the event of a runaway, you could retrieve your animal that much sooner, leaving him or her out of harm’s way for longer periods of time and in your own private care.

  • Anonymous

    Wow!  I had been considering getting pet insurance for my little one, but was saving the shopping for when I had more time.  But I was starting to be frustrated because I really wanted her to be covered.  I was a little concerned that if something happened, she wouldn't be covered.  So I had planned to just grab the first company I found online and then switch if need be after I had time to research things. 

    I cannot tell you how happy this article makes me.  You actually did all of my work for me.  I had no idea that there were this many companies offering pet insurance.  I wonder why no one came up with the idea much sooner.  It's interesting that the companies will look at my pet's records in order to decide whether or not she will be covered.  That makes me feel safer. 

    With insurance, there's often a concern in the back of your mind, "Is this going to be covered?"  When in reality, if you are buying insurance, shouldn't you be buying peace of mind?  I wish that they did this with human health insurance companies.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most costly expenses when it comes to owning and caring for a pet can be their medical bills. Many times it seems like the bills never end. There are the regular vet check ups, the needed vaccinations, medication for worms, flea treatments, and all manner of additional care that must be paid for.

    Fortunately, this article gives a lot of information about a number of the top pet insurance companies. They actually go into a fair amount of detail and explain both the good and the bad of each insurance offering. The nice thing is that this article gives you plenty of information in order to make a solid and informed decision.

    Personally, I think that any pet owner should read this article and then really consider the consequences of NOT carrying any type of pet insurance. If your animal were to get really sick would you want to be forced to make a treatment decision based on whether it was affordable or not? Having solid pet insurance will never leave you in a position of having to decide between treatment or pain and death.

  • Anonymous

    The first time I ever heard about pet insurance was then I bought a puppy from the local animal shelter. They had some kind of discount they offered to people who bought their animals from the shelter. I thought that was pretty cool and I also thought it was a great marketing tactic, but I did not buy the insurance.

    I didn't buy the insurance because it was the first one I learned of. Yes, giving discounts to people who buy their animals at a shelter is a great way to drum up business, but I don't want an insurance provider who has great marketing skills. I want one who offers what I need to take care of my pets.

    I've been doing some shopping around because I want insurance for my pet. I have heard far too much about vet expenses to think that I want to try and take care of my animals without insurance. What I would like to do is find a plan that I can combine with other types of insurance, but it still has to be the right plan for my animals. Of course cost is a factor, but I really just want to make sure I can take care of the health of my animals in a quality manner.

  • Anonymous

    Pet insurance was something I began looking at with my last dog. Unfortunately, she had health problems that pretty much made the insurance impossible to get. Just like human insurance companies, there are a number of companies that don't want to insurance pets with health problems. Now that I have a new puppy, this is something I've been thinking about again. I was happy to see there there are many options to choose from.

    When it comes to my pet I don't care about the cost of the insurance. What I care about is the coverage. I want to know that my pet will get the help she needs should something happen. I will definitely check out the Pet Plan option. I love the fact that there's no cap on the amount of coverage and that there are discounts for multiple pets. Thank you for sure a great resource that will help me get the best coverage for my pets. I can wait to dig deeper and find a plan for my pup.

  • Anonymous

    I probably have the worst reason of all for wanting to buy pet insurance. Yes, I love my animals and yes, their health is important to me. But so is the health of my children and myself. Yet, at times, I forget to get us in for our checkups. If I have insurance, then I am more likely to go to the doctor because otherwise, it would be a waste of time and money to have insurance at all. Wasting time and money is not something that sits well with me, so getting insurance for my pets actually means they will be healthier by default.

    I know this is kind of an odd way to think but at least I recognize it and take it for what it's worth. And really , as long as I am taking care of my pets, what difference does it make how I got there? They are healthy and safe and that is all that really matters.

    But, since I am so frugal, I love the way you compare them on the table. It allows me to make a well informed decisions or at least gives me somewhere to start with one. Otherwise it would probably involve me and a phone book and a few wasted hours.

  • Anonymous

    There is no doubt that medical care and treatment options can be expensive. This is also true for our pets. As the author of this article indicates, while pet insurance may seem to be unnecessary at first, consider the impact of a serious illness or health problem could have. For example, what would happen to you financially if your pet developed cancer or some other serious illness? The author uses the number of 1500 dollars as an arbitrary example. This amount would just barely be enough to cover the diagnosis and the initial treatments, not to mention the additional expenses which would be incurred.

    As with anything, it is always important to know the details of whatever pet insurance plan you are considering. The author says that most plans work by you paying up front for the vet bills and then being reimbursed by the insurance company. They will generally pay your claim and issue a check within a month.

    Each insurance plan may be different as well. Know exactly what is covered under each plan, and what is not covered. Obtain quotes from different insurers.

  • Anonymous

    It is really too bad that so many of our decisions have to be made based on cost alone. When I was looking for pet insurance, I found that it was not as affordable as I had hoped it would be. As a results, I was tempted to buy the plan with the lowest premium. But then I did some research and found that I may end up spending more money in the long run by going with the lowest premiums. This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.

    What I did was take a look at the vet bills from the prior years. I averaged them out to see what I spent out of pocket in an average year. Then I looked at the premiums and what was covered. Doing this I could figure up what it was going to cost me a year as compared to the previous years. Even without any major illnesses or accidents, I still saved money by choosing a pet insurance provider that did not have the lowest premium, but did cover the most. Of course, I have more than one pet, so that counts, but only to a certain extent because most places give you a discount for more than one pet insurance policy.

  • Anonymous

    There is another element to pet insurance that I just thought about. I was thinking about insurance in general because of the Obamacare conversations going on all over the Internet when it I had a thought about combined insurance and the discounts you get for things like that. I know that you can gets discounts on your insurance plans if they all go through one provider, but I also doubt that many health insurance plans have pet insurance. I mean, you probably cannot combine the two or if you can, I have no idea which insurance company you would do that through.

    But, I wonder if you could get a discount on your homeowner's insurance for having pet insurance. I don't mean that you could combine the policies, although again, that may be possible and I just don't know of a company that does it. But it would be your homeowner's insurance that would pay up if your dog bit someone and had rabies, right? So would it not make sense for them to offer you a discount if you had pet insurance since it means you are more likely to see that your dog has all his shots? Just a thought to ponder.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all the pet insurance reviews! I love finding all the information I need on one single site. So far, this one is the best for giving detailed information on pet insurance as well as other pet information. I have several animals, so for me, it is not realistic to not buy pet insurance. Of course I need plans to cover several animals, so I have to do my research to make sure I get the insurance that is right for me.

    My pets are all young and have no pre-existing conditions, so I am not worried about that portion of it. But I do have a new puppy who needs all his shots and in my experience, dogs tend to need more visits to the vet than other animals, like my cats. I want to insure all of them, but my main focus is on him. I would much rather find what I need with one company than to have to go through several companies to make sure all my pets are covered. The information you provided here about pet insurance is going to make adding my puppy to a policy much easier, as I am looking to switch them all to one.

  • Anonymous

    One of the biggest things that I consider before I get a pet is whether or not I can afford to take care of that pet. When I was younger, pet insurance would never even have crossed my mind, but then health insurance for myself was not something I was very concerned about either. I guess I did get smarter with age. Either that or I just can not afford to put out the cash that I know I can end up putting out if I do not have health insurance for myself or my family. In our house, the pets count as family too.

    As far as issues like cancer go, I do not know that I would even try the treatments, much less make my pet do it. But I have been in the position of having a dog hit by a car and not having the money to pay for the enormous bill that was the result of the accident. I never even thought of anything like that before it happened to me. Today, those are the kinds of things that I do think about because I do not just want to keep my pet healthy. I also want to keep my finances in good order as best I can.

  • Jason Brown

    First, I thanks to you posting the detailed information about pet insurance. These day’s pet health insurance has became very popular and accepted largely by many pet owners. After all pet insurance give you peace of mind as it takes away all the financial tensions and insures your pet’s health in case of any emergency or illness.

  • Steve S

    Regarding some information on Healthy Paws, we'd like to provide more information and correct some misconceptions:

    1) We are not the most expensive pet insurance company. While we do provide a premium pet health plan and back it up with a commitment to customer service, we are also very affordable. Average cost for a 2 year old mixed breed is about $30/month or about a $1 a day.

    We welcome price comparisons to our plan and also hope pet parents will educate themselves on the differences in pet insurance companies. With our unlimited lifetime benefits and comprehensive coverage for accidents and illnesses, our customers are very pleased with their coverage and have rated us one of the top companies at some of the other pet insurance review sites.

    2) When we launched Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and our non-profit Foundation in 2009, we knew our customers wanted their pet insurance company to be deeply committed to helping pets, but also a company that offered long-term financial strength and stability.

    To give you the added confidence and security that your Healthy Paws pet health plan will deliver on its promise today and long into the future, we created a strategic partnership with Aon Corporation, the world's largest global insurance broker with over $30 billion in assets. In addition, our pet insurance plan is underwritten by the Markel Corporation, an A-rated insurer, with over $1 billion in surplus.

    This combination of pet passion, entrepreneurial leadership, insurance expertise, and financial strength provides our customers with a smart, affordable pet insurance plan that will protect pets today, tomorrow, and long into the future.

    Thanks for giving us the a chance to provide this information about Healthy Paws.

    Regards,

    Steve

    Co-Founder, Healthy Paws

    • Michelle

      Hi Steve and thank you for the clarifications and additional information provided above. We have made some slight modifications to better reflect value vs. just looking at cost in a bubble as we know no two pet insurance companies are the same nor are our reader's pets. So, we will continue to work together to educate on what makes your company as well as your competitors stand apart from one another so that pet owners can make the right choice to best meet their unique set of needs.

      Also, we will be updating this article soon to reflect pricing for a three year old lab in addition to the pricing we currently show for 10 year old labs since the majority of pets are insured around the age of 2-3. This should add more helpful information on pricing in addition to the other pros and cons we have researched and shared.
       
      As always, it is out policy to provide an unbiased review of all merchants so the information you have provided will be considered alongside all competitive pet insurance information to inform the opinions on this website.
       
      Thanks!