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Pet Insurance Comparison 2016: Who’s Best?

When a copperhead snake snuck up and bit Alyssa Singer’s Doberman, Miles, on the muzzle, she didn’t think twice about rushing her pup to the vet. But the $600 vet bill stopped her in her tracks. Miles was fine after a dose of antivenom and some TLC, but Alyssa’s bank account is still recovering. Melissa Vincent’s Bichon Frise, Fenway, needed not one but two knee surgeries to repair subluxated patellas, a relatively common orthopedic problem in the breed. Melissa ended up shelling out more than $4,000 to get Fenway back up and running again.

Pet Insurance Reviews

Pet health insurance has been a growing industry and a passion of our’s since 2007. We work hard to bring you unique, unbiased reviews by conducting research and getting customer feedback. Below are our top 3 picks for pet insurance reviews for 2016 as well as our review criteria and what you should know about pet health insurance.

Our dog insurance reviews are constantly being updated so be sure to check in regularly for new information. Awards are given each year to help you find the best dog insurance company for your needs.

BestRunner-Up3rd Place
Healthy Paws pet insurance logoPetplan logoPets Best logo

4 and a half paws

4.56 / 5.00

4.38 paws

4.19 / 5.00

4.17 paws

4.00 / 5.00

Read ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website


Finding the best pet insurance can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve done in-depth research and spoken with real customers for each company to bring you our top 3 picks this year. Below are some items you may want to check out to learn more about this subject.

  1. Open our pet insurance quotes to see an example of who offers the lowest prices.
  2. Check out our SlideShare overview.
  3. See how others compare to our top 3 by reading about the rest of the pack.
  4. Read why you can trust our review process and learn why we are a reputable source.
  5. Become an expert on pet insurance yourself by learning more.
  6. View our infographic to see some surprising statistics and fun facts.
  7. You may want to open up our pet health insurance terminology page for easy side-by-side reference.

Seattle Times Best Pet InsuranceWoof! Woof! Big, slobbery kisses to The Seattle Times for its endorsement of our best pet insurance for dogs recommendations.

Price of Policy Rating

Pet insurance is unique in our reviews in that the price of each policy is unique to your pet, and is calculated based on a huge number of variables, including but not limited to your pet’s age, breed, location (ie. where you live), health conditions, and so forth. Our “price of policy” rating is calculated based on a number of quotes we run in addition to general reader and consumer feedback. Since the price for your pet may vary significantly from that of others for a given provider, we encourage you to get quotes from multiple companies.

1st Place: Healthy Paws

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

Healthy Paws logo1st
Overall Ranking4.56 / 5.00
Policy Coverage4.38 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation4.38 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment4 paws
Price of Policy

4.38 paws

Why is Healthy Paws the Best Pet Insurance?

Yippee! Healthy Paws is our winner for 2016! Why is Healthy Paws the top pet insurance? The competition was stiff this year, but ultimately, Healthy Paw’s consistent prices took them to top dog status!

  1. Lots of Plan Options with No Caps – We were impressed that Healthy Paws offers three annual deductible levels ($100, $250 or $500), three percentage options for actual vet bill payouts (70%, 80% or 90%) and there is no cap (per-incident, lifetime, or otherwise) on any of their claims.
  2. No Yearly Limits – Once you meet your annual deductible, all policy-covered incidents will be paid during that year, while most companies pay back after each incident deductible has been met. So, if your pet is susceptible to trouble more than once a year or you just want to be on the safe side, this plan could be a good fit.
  3. The Best Customer Service – Healthy Paws has some of the best customer service reviews in the business.
  4. Hereditary & Congenital Conditions and Hip Dysplasia – Most hereditary and congenital conditions, as well as hip dysplasia, are paid. These factors make it an especially great choice if you have a breed that is genetically predisposed to these types of conditions. But, be sure to sign them up when they’re young and do not have any pre-existing conditions.
  5. Low Premium Prices – Most consumers report lower premium prices for similar coverage (unlimited lifetime benefits with no claim limits) in comparison to Petplan.

Coupon Code

Use this link and you'll receive up to a 10% discount. If for any reason the discount doesn't show up, add in the SAVE10 Healthy Paws discount code to make sure you get this web discount.

Read our in-depth review of Healthy Paws

2nd Place: Petplan

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

Petplan logo2nd
Overall Ranking4.19 / 5.00
Policy Coverage4.38 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation4.38 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment4 paws
Price of Policy

3.5 paws

Why is Petplan Our #2 Pick?

  1. Fully Customizable Plans with No Limits – This is a BIG one in our opinion as it allows you to only pay for what you think you will need, which could lower your monthly premium since you are not forced to pay for unlimited coverage with Petplan. New policy options were recently introduced that allows for pet owners considering Petplan to create a plan to best meet their needs and budget with a choice of maximum annual coverage amount ($2,500 to unlimited coverage), annual deductible ($100 to $1,000) and reimbursement rate (70%, 80% or 90%).
  2. The Best Customer Service – Petplan is among the best customer service options available in this industry, with 24-hour customer service via live chat, phone, email, FAQ, mail, and fax. In fact, we consider them equal to Healthy Paws.
  3. Policy is Crystal Clear – Petplan’s plan gets points for clarity – they are very specific about what your duties are as a pet parent and what they do and don’t cover so there are no guessing games involved.
  4. Hereditary & Congenital Conditions, Hip Dysplasia, and No Age Restrictions – Petplan covers both hereditary and congenital conditions (in most cases) and does not have age restrictions, making them truly a rare breed in the pet insurance category. Again, signing your pet up at an early age will make sure your dog is covered should one of these conditions present itself later (you don’t want it to not be covered due to a pre-existing condition).

Coupon Code

Use coupon code CanineJournal to receive an additional 5% discount (10% total if you sign up online). Alternatively, if you call 800-237-1123 you will automatically get the additional 5% discount!

Read our in-depth review of Petplan

3rd Place: Pets Best

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

Pets Best logo
Overall Ranking4.00 / 5.00
Policy Coverage3.5 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation

3.5 paws

Timeliness of Claim Payment

4 and a half paws

Price of Policy4 and a half paws

Why Did We Choose Pets Best as Our #3 Pick?

  1. True Emergency Only Option – Pet Best offers an “Essential Plan” to cover you in case of unplanned emergencies but it does not cover exam fees or specialty treatments. This plan has a $5,000 annual limit but still allows you to customize your reimbursement rate and deductible amount. This plan allows for one of the least expensive options for pet insurance.
  2. Customer Service Options – They offer live chat, phone, email, fax and FAQs to help answer your questions.
  3. Fast Claim Payment Pets Best says they pay claims in 5 days or less typically which is one of the fastest timelines we have seen in the business.
  4. Hereditary & Congenital Coverage – They cover full hereditary and congenital conditions including hip dysplasyia.

Coupon Code

PetsBest offers a 5% Multi Pet Discount! Just use this link to take advantage of this offer.

Read our in-depth review of Pets Best

SlideShare: Summary of Dog Insurance Reviews

The Rest of the Pack

The pet insurance industry is growing rapidly, and more and more families are purchasing plans to protect their furry family member and their bank account.

Here’s a list of companies we include in our annual pet insurance reviews:

  1. Healthy Paws
  2. Petplan
  3. Pets Best
  4. Trupanion
  5. Embrace
  6. ASPCA

Not Ranked (due to lack of information or new entrants): Nationwide (formerly VPI), 24PetWatch, AKC, FIGO, PetFirst and USAA

Why You Can Trust Our Reviews

Want to know how we come up with our winners and where we get our information from?

Unlike other sites, our reviews are conducted before any monetary affiliation or relationships with any merchants on this page are created. We take great pride in this since our reviews are authentic, and you can trust us. Some of the links you see are affiliate links. These links are added after the review is complete. What does this mean? It means that we receive a commission if you click on the link and buy. There is no up-charge on pricing, and the service quality is the same. This is how we can afford our continuous research on pet insurance comparisons so we can provide the highest quality and most up to date information for you. We appreciate your understanding and respect.

If you’d like to learn more about how we complete our reviews and our business, read our review process.

Learn More About Pet Insurance

We have many articles dedicated to pet insurance. We’ve divided our research into multiple pieces to avoid cluttering one page up. If you’d like to learn more about your options for insuring your valued family member, choose one of the articles below.

This video serves as a great introduction to dog insurance and the benefits of owning a policy:

Reasons To Get Pet Insurance Infographic

Our dog health insurance infographic shows pet statistics and average costs of medical expenses.

Reasons to Get Pet Insurance Infographic

To embed this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

Pet Health Insurance Questions? We’re Here to Help!

Removing lumps and bumps is one of the most common surgeries for dogs and can cost more than $1,000. That’s a lot of money that you were not planning to spend, and most of us don’t have that amount of cash lying around. That’s one of the places dog insurance can come in handy. Insuring your pet can lift that weight off of you so you can focus on enjoying your time with your four-pawed friends, not worrying about having to pay for unexpected medical bills.

Have you had an experience with any pet insurance companies? Did you have a good or bad experience? Who’s the best (or worst) in your opinion?

Our site's mission is to help consumers make more informed purchase decisions. This post may contain affiliate links (marked with "Affiliate" when you hover over them) and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through these links. Our website accepts financial compensation to allow us to provide this free service to you, our reader, while eliminating the need to clutter pages with advertisements. Compensation does not influence the rankings of products. More info on our disclosure page.

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.

About Kimberly Alt
Growing up, Kimberly used to get the sniffles when she was around dogs. Thankfully, she grew out of her allergy and is now able to play and snuggle with dogs as much as she wants! Although she doesn't have a dog of her own she hopes to have a big dog someday!
  • Dave

    I was happy with Petplan until they raised my premiums by 50% when my dog turned 7 years old. As usual, they claimed that expenses etc. had gone up over the year; standard spin. Be aware of Petplan’s standard business practice.

  • Kimberly Kurimski

    Glad we could help! Best of luck!

  • Kimberly Kurimski

    Healthy Paws does not offer a multi pet discount and does not offer a wellness plan. Petplan and Embrace do offer a multi pet discount, but Petplan does not offer a wellness plan (Embrace does for an extra fee). Embrace charges an extra fee for non-routine dental treatments as well.

    Here’s my thoughts:
    Since you’d have to pay extra for the wellness plan from Embrace and extra for the non-routine dental coverage, I wouldn’t go with them. The price would most likely end up being higher. But be sure to run quotes to make sure my thoughts are correct.
    Healthy Paws doesn’t offer a multi pet discount so you’d have to pay full price for each pet, which isn’t bad but you could get a better deal with Petplan since they do offer a multi pet discount.
    I would probably have Petplan as my first choice in your situation. Petplan would give you a discount for the multiple pets and you could get coverage for the non-routine dental work and pay out of pocket for those yearly cleanings.

    However, make sure that the extractions won’t be considered pre-existing. I’d hate for you to go to all this trouble to not have them covered. If there are any signs of dental issues on your cats’ records the insurance company most likely won’t cover the extractions. (That goes for any insurance company.)

    And as always, run quotes for each of the top 3 companies to make sure my thoughts are in line with what is true for your situation. Who knows, it could be cheaper to go with Embrace and purchase the wellness plan in addition to the non-routine dental coverage!

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Kimberly Kurimski

    That’s a great question Sandra. Unfortunately, very few companies offer dental cleanings as part of their coverage. The other company we would recommend is Pets Best. Pets Best offers BestWellness which covers $100/year for teeth cleanings (in addition to other wellness related items). You’ll have to get a quote and put in your cat’s specifics to see how much it would cost.

    Did you friend pay $4,000 for two cats’ dental cleanings alone?! That seems a bit overpriced. Was there other work that was done as well?

    • Sandra

      Thank you for the suggestion! I will definitely look into that option!

      I think there were extractions and such that they had to perform once they got in there, thus a high price tag. My cats are 7, so I’m worried that there will need to be a similar level of care done to them, once they are under. And the potential for a $4k price tag is a little overwhelming.

      Thank you for all your advice!

      • Kimberly Kurimski

        If you’re worried about extractions too you’ll need more than a wellness plan. Wellness plans cover routine items: annual exam, spay/neuter, flea prevention, dental cleanings, etc. They do not cover non routine dental things like extractions. Does that make sense? Is that something you’re interested in getting covered? If so, we can try to help you find a plan that fits your needs.

  • John R.

    I am a Petplan Pet Insurance customer since 2012 and unfortunately I had a very large vet bill last year when my Boxer began having seizures. I won’t get into the details of my dog’s situation, but I can say that Petplan was excellent throughout the entire situation. The claims process is pretty straightforward and when I had questions, Petplan was quick to point me in the right direction. I ended up getting reimbursed almost $3,000, so that was a major relief.

  • We stand by Healthy Paws as our #1 pick for best pet insurance. I suggest you get a quote from each of our top 3 picks to get an idea of what your monthly premium will be. (You can do this online by visiting each company website.) Ask your vet about any common illnesses for rottweilers and try to have them covered in your pet insurance plan. If you want, you can share your findings with us here and we can help you narrow down your choices.

  • Just heard back from VPI, here’s what they said: Previous injuries will be a pre-existing condition under any new policy. However, if there was no injury to the other leg your pet may have future benefits for an ACL injury. Please note that on our medical plans there is no ACL coverage for the first 12 months of the policy.

    In summary, if your dog’s other ACL was torn in that first year it would not be covered.

  • I did some digging on their website and here’s what I found:
    -If you have the Whole Pet with Wellness plan it reimburses 90% of your vet bill. This includes treatment for ACL related services with no waiting period, providing the ACL injury is not pre-existing.
    -The Standard plan, Superior plan, Medical plan and Major Medical plan offer benefits for the ACL, as long as the policy has been in force for a minimum of twelve consecutive months and the condition is not pre-existing to the policy. Any ACL-related services within the first twelve months will not be covered per the terms of the policy.

    However, I found in another section on VPI’s website the following:
    Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries Within First 12 Months of Coverage
    The diagnosis, medical management or surgical correction of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage or rupture that occurs during the first 12 months of the policy is not covered. Diagnosis and treatment of ACL injuries after the policy has been continuously in effect for longer than 12 months may be eligible for coverage.

    This is very vague and unclear in my opinion. So I decided to reach out to them. I just sent the message this morning and will make sure to let you know what I hear back. I’m not getting a good feeling about their ACL coverage. If they are guaranteeing that an ACL tear on the second leg is covered, I would request that they state that in the contract for you. Very clearly. However, it is still confusing.

    In the mean time, feel free to take a look at this comment thread. It includes our top 3 picks and how they handle ACL tears.

  • Magwheelz

    Just found out my dog has diabetes and has an appointment later today to get started on insulin. Do these plans cover this after it’s already been diagnosed (pre-existing condition I guess)? My current vet doesn’t even take insurance but would seek out another one if I had to. Thanks

    • Unfortunately since diabetes would be a pre-existing condition the insurance company wouldn’t cover it.

      • Magwheelz

        Well I could have just cancelled the appointment and made one with another vet however many days would be required after enrolling- wouldn’t have been good for my dogs health though. But at least for the diabetic part- adding it up it wouldn’t be worth getting the insurance. Still may look into it in case of other problems down the road, but probably not. Just keep my fingers crossed and pray a lot I guess.

        • Yes, I agree with you. Looking into pet insurance still isn’t a bad idea. There are other illnesses or accidents that could be covered if you have pet insurance before they are diagnosed or occur. We’ll be thinking of your pup and hope for a healthy, long life.

        • Yes, I agree with you. Looking into pet insurance still isn’t a bad idea. There are other illnesses or accidents that could be covered if you have pet insurance before they are diagnosed or occur. We’ll be thinking of your pup and hope for a healthy, long life.

  • I’m so sorry about this. We will talk to Healthy Paws about this immediately and get back to you. You should be getting a 10% discount with our link. Again, we are terribly sorry and will let you know what we find out ASAP.

    • fredmertz

      No matter what link you follow or code you enter, you get the same “10% discount”. It doesn’t appear possible to pay a non-discounted rate, which means there’s not really any discount at all.

      • We spoke with the Healthy Paws Founder and here’s what we discovered.

        There are discounts on both Step 1 and Step 2 of HP’s funnel. On Step 1, HP communicates you’ll be receiving lifetime discounts and on Step 2 HP communicates the actual savings. Actual savings works out to be about a month free every year. If your discounts were showing up the same with and without the link/code then it’s possibly a caching issue.

        I hope this helps and let me know if there’s anything else we can do for you!

        • Ryan N.

          Those discounts are discounts given to everybody – it’s a bit of a sham and I’m surprised you endorse it as you are claiming to be an objective reviewer. It’s not a discount if it’s the price they need to be competitive with other pet insurance carriers.

          Also, just to be clear there is no difference whether you click the link or not – caching is not the issue.

  • Charisse

    My GSD has to have her knee repaired (ACL tear). Some companies cover the other knee if it becomes injured and some do not. Can you tell me what is the best insurance company for me?

    • Hi Charisse,
      Let us look into this more so we can be sure we provide you the right answer. Stay tuned…

    • I did some digging and here is what I found on ACL (aka CCL: cranial cruciate ligament):

      Healthy Paws says if your pet was showing any problems with the other knee before enrollment it is considered a pre existing condition. So HP will cover the other knee if you sign up today (with no knee problems in that other leg) and your GSD tears her other CCL in the future.

      Petplan says they will cover the other CCL if the first leg remains healed for 12 months.

      So between Healthy Paws and Petplan it sounds like Healthy Paws is the better option since there is no mention of a healing period like there is with Petplan (12 months). However, before signing up be sure to discuss this with your pet insurance company.

      I have also contacted Embrace but am waiting for a reply. I will let you know what I hear back and if I find any other information about this.

      • I also just received this message from Healthy Paws:

        In regards to your question, Healthy Paws has only one bilateral-exclusion on our policy, applying to cruciate ligament problems. Your pet would be eligible for coverage for future cruciate ligament injuries if there had been no signs/symptoms with either leg before enrollment or during the 15 day waiting period. As your pet has sustained an injury to the right cruciate ligament prior to enrollment, we would not be able to provide coverage for any future treatment for the cruciate ligament on both the right and left leg.

        • I just heard back from Embrace and this is what they said: Unfortunately, knees are bilateral and that would be a preexisting conditions.
          So going with Embrace would not be a good option for your case.

  • Newell Smith

    Regarding VPI/Nationwide, my dog was impaled on a large branch in a creek. She had a hole in her belly the size of a quarter. The animal hospital had to operate on her overnight. They made a five inch incision to clean the wound and make sure there was no perforation of her stomach, and they installed a drain tube. The bills were over $1500. VPI/Nationwide treated it as a routine laceration and paid only $375. They said I couldn’t talk to a medically trained reviewer, but could only talk to customer service, who would only talk about the “code” for laceration. They told me to go talk to my state insurance commissioner if I had a problem with it.

    • Oh no I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope your dog is doing better. Such a scary story. As for the insurance company, if it’s a code that they are having an issue with maybe the vet can bill it under the code that fits VPI/Nationwide better. Maybe then more of the cost will be covered.

  • Thanks for taking the time to review our recommendations and our process but I am sorry to hear that you have dismissed our reviews. Just to give you a little background on how our company works, we conduct independent research and write up unbiased reviews. I am one of the primary writers for Canine Journal and I know nothing about the financial relationships while I am doing my research. Being open and honest about whom we feel is the best in a category and telling our readers our findings is our top priority.

    Unfortunately, compensation is a necessary part of operating a business. So we have chosen to receive affiliate compensation rather than ask our readers to pay . We have researchers, writers, editors, analytics, marketing, social media and content strategists to pay for all of their hard work. I hope you can understand our business process and please reconsider our reviews. We pride ourselves in being honest, unbiased and trustworthy to our readers. I hope you find a pet insurance company that works great for you and your pup!

    If you’d like to learn more about our review process you can read about it here: http://www.caninejournal.com/int/our-review-process/

    • Angela

      Is that why FIGO isn’t on here? I have read every word of these insurance companies’ contracts and after doing that—we went with FIGO. We’ve had them for 9 months and they’ve paid out over $4,000 (one got pneumonia and one ingested an entire bone) in bills for my two puppies in that time. They cover office fees, when none of the others do and their claims service has been wonderful. You can also text them anytime with your questions if you are at work or somewhere you can’t talk—I kind of like that.

      • Kimberly Kurimski

        We actually cover FIGO here: http://www.caninejournal.com/pet-insurance-reviews/#figo

        We’d love to hear about your experience with FIGO! Tell us what you love/hate about them.

        • Angela

          I outlined much of it above but I was so nervous to get pet insurance because if you read Yelp reviews, many don’t pay claims or try to wiggle out of paying claims. We have two English Bulldog puppies. One is 9 mo now and one is 1. Not 2 months after getting FIGO my youngest got kennel cough that turned into pneumonia. FIGO paid 90% after my $200 deductible. They even sent him a get well card. Then he was walking at the dog park and another dog bit his eye and tore it, requiring $300-400 worth of vet bills. All covered except my 10%. Last week my older pup swallowed a hunk of bone and vomited for 2 days straight requiring a trip to the emergency vet and endoscopic surgery. We did have to pay the $200 again but I didn’t even flinch at signing for the nearly $3,000 procedure because I knew we would be reimbursed. But this could be any (good pet insurance), what makes FIGO different? As I mentioned, I read all the contracts. Like all the words! FIGO covers exam fees and only like one other plan did — this adds up, $40 a pop and we’ve probably had 6 between my two guys. That’s added value! They have benefits like death benefit (heaven forbid) that pays for euthanasia and cremation which I just went through and costs me several hundred bucks. They will pay you a lost dog reward fee of your dog goes missing so you can offer a reward for your dog! Or $1,000 if your puppy gets lost and never found 🙁 They don’t use a benefit schedule — which was important. They pay off the actual vet bill. No claim forms. Upload the bills and done. Nothing for your vet to complete. Just send in the invoice. Anyway, I felt like they had many perks and wish they were listed on the comparison charts.

          • Kimberly Kurimski

            Thanks for sharing your experience with us Angela. We recently added FIGO to our pet insurance articles this year and hope to include them in our comparison table in the near future! Glad to hear they are treating you well!

  • Sam

    This is about Healthypaw and the note by caninejournal after Healthypaw’s review. The discount is not true: either way I tried it never came up. And I tried many ways. See below.

    This is the note by caninejournal above: “Use this link and you’ll receive a 10% discount. If for any reason the 10% discount doesn’t show up, add in the SAVE10 healthy paws discount code to make sure you get this web discount”.

    1. I would never know if I truly would get the discount, but I used the link. I used the link, I got a $40.59 quote for my pet.
    2. I did not use the link; i went straight to their website. I got a $40.59 quote for my pet. Same input; same output. Just did not use the link.
    3. I started over; did not use the link, just went straight to the website, but not I entered the “save10” discount code. I got $40.59 on my quote.
    4. I called the customer rep from Healthypaw to understand. I explained the above and got an answer. “Yes you are getting a 10% discount”
    5. I said – “I’m sorry if I’m a bit skeptical, especially after what I’ve seen and shared with you. Let me try again. Same outcome.
    6. I asked again: “Am I truly getting the discount? 10% is a good discount and I don’t want either caninejournal or healthypaw to mislead me”. The customer representative said – “yes”. I said: “well, maybe this is not the right plan for me”. I was not expecting a harsh reaction. I was hoping she would do something for me. She abruptly said – “We want to make sure we have happy customers. Good bye”. No other consideration or attempt to resolve the matter; talk to a supervisor or an apologize for my struggle; or doing something. Nope. She abruptly said that phrase and hang up right after. No time for me to say anything else. I thought that was rude. I noticed that caninejournal says in its review and I will quote: “They have great customer service”
    5. I thought. Let me take a step further. Maybe Healthypaw got my email and the discount is linked to my email. Let me rule that out. I asked my wife to go straight to the website (no link from canine journal used); plus, she used her email (different email obviously); she entered a fake name of pet, not my pet’s name (just in case the quote was linked to my pet). My wife obviously, kept all remaining inputs the same: age, address, zip code, breed. Are you curious about the outcome? The quote came up at $40.59. Shocking.
    6. I called again, and went to the prompts. I got Lisa. I did not even mention why I called. She said: I’m just the just the receptionist. Nobody is available right now. I can ask someone to call you back when they are done. I asked: “Can I wait on the call center queue?” She said: “no, that’s not an option”. I asked: “Am I calling during business hours?”. She said: “Yes”.
    7. I thought: well, how can I not wait on the queue? It is not a call center? I’m sure I called the call center number on its website (1-855-898-8991).
    8. It MIGHT be because today is Sat and not the cream of the crop is working on Sat. Don’t know. But, it is just another watch out on customer service.
    9. So, bottom line: watch out on the discount note by caninejournal and also the discount that Healthypaw claims they offer. I’m offering all the details so you, consumer, can judge by yourself. I was hoping Healthypaw could reach me out and clarify this. All this happened between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM EST. My quotes and contact info are there for the 27560 zip code. There won’t be a hundred people quoting at the same time for this zip code at the time indicated above. It will be easy to find my contact info. But I’m a bit skeptical. And it is unlikely that will come back to this forum just because I don’t do this very often. So, I won’t see any replies. Consumers, watch out. Cheers!

    • fredmertz

      I just had the exact same experience with the quotes and scanned the comments looking for information. Thanks for proving I’m not crazy. Well, not crazy about this. I know the reviews are all excellent, but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth for sure.

  • Blobbers

    So recently I’ve noticed blood in my dog’s urine. I haven’t taken her to the vet yet. Would she be exempt from pet insurance, since it hasn’t officially been diagnosed?

  • Hi Sonia,
    We wanted to do a little research to make sure we give you correct info on this one since we had never heard of anyone carrying two policies on their pet.

    – When considering two insurance policies to cover the same condition usually one would have to be a primary insurance policy and the other would be considered secondary insurance. The primary would cover as much as possible under the policy terms and then the second insurance would ‘kick in’. Filing with both companies as the primary, for full reimbursement, would be considered insurance fraud! I would recommend checking with each company on how this situation would be handled under their policy terms.

    – Both Petplan and Embrace use the same criteria when determining annual rate increases with premiums adjusted in future policy years based on veterinary inflation and age factors. Here are links to the information on Embrace’s criteria for annual rate increases:

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/aging

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/veterinary-inflation

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/pet-population-changes

    – We have run sample quotes this week with Petplan for a medium mixed breed for 6 months, 2 years, 4 years, and 8 years to show how their premiums change based off of current data. (*5% online discount applied, using zip code 19073, bronze policy, $200 deductible, and 80% reimbursement) 6 months – $23.67, 2 years – $25.79, 4 years – $33.13, 8 years – $55.72.

    • Sonia

      Thanks for your reply Michelle. I really appreciate the research on this topic. I would prefer not to carry two policies, but after reading so many posts on different boards it really seems like the safest option at least for the first 2 years. Just as you noted insurance carriers state the criteria they use to determine annual rate increases, but my issue is there really is no transparency especially regarding increases do to geographical area. So many pet owners are caught off guard with premium increases and I don’t want to be one of those. For me it’s more of a safety net and having an alternate option. I wouldn’t file a claim with both carriers, but I do think having a policy with a low deductible and one with a high deductible makes sense until I feel settled with the right insurance provider.

      As an aside, I have received quotes from almost all pet insurance carriers and I currently signed up for a 2 month free trial with Embrace. I received a quote from Embrace before signing up for the free trial. Once I received my policy for the 2 month free trial from Embrace there was already a price increase to continue the policy after the 2 month free trial than from my original quote. I called to see why and to see if they could adjust this to the original quote. On the plus side, there was really no hold time and the customer service rep was very friendly. She was going to look into this and I asked her to email me back. I was emailed promptly, maybe within 15 minutes and I was told that the original quote was only good if I purchased it within 24 hours and that the quote from my 2 month free trial reflects a projected increase for my state in September.

      At this point this really has more of a feeling of a free trial with a bumped rate and that makes me feel uneasy about pet insurance. I did send a reply email to a customer service rep that evening, but I haven’t heard back so if I don’t hear something back on Monday, I’ll follow up and post. I will mention that the increase is not that much a difference $0.32 more per month, but it’s still a negative difference. My plan was to sign up for the free trial and immediately lock the original quote I received. I was just really surprised that the increase came with the free trial.

      • Thanks Sonia for keeping us in the loop. Very interesting to hear the ins and outs from someone going through the consideration and purchase process right now. All the best!

  • Hi Sonia,
    We wanted to do a little research to make sure we give you correct info on this one since we had never heard of anyone carrying two policies on their pet.

    – When considering two insurance policies to cover the same condition usually one would have to be a primary insurance policy and the other would be considered secondary insurance. The primary would cover as much as possible under the policy terms and then the second insurance would ‘kick in’. Filing with both companies as the primary, for full reimbursement, would be considered insurance fraud! I would recommend checking with each company on how this situation would be handled under their policy terms.

    – Both Petplan and Embrace use the same criteria when determining annual rate increases with premiums adjusted in future policy years based on veterinary inflation and age factors. Here are links to the information on Embrace’s criteria for annual rate increases:

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/aging

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/veterinary-inflation

    o https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/after-you-enroll/renewing/pet-population-changes

    – We have run sample quotes this week with Petplan for a medium mixed breed for 6 months, 2 years, 4 years, and 8 years to show how their premiums change based off of current data. (*5% online discount applied, using zip code 19073, bronze policy, $200 deductible, and 80% reimbursement) 6 months – $23.67, 2 years – $25.79, 4 years – $33.13, 8 years – $55.72.

  • Thanks for sharing your story and advice K.B.

  • Tim

    Agree 100%! Do NOT go w/ VPI. I wish I would have known that if you bring your dog in on the first day the policy kicks in, they will consider any issues as pre-existing. Therefore don’t bring in on day one and tell your vet they just started that day… otherwise it is pre-existing (sure this is the same for all dog insurance).

  • JollyJim

    For about 6 years I’ve had petplan and have been mostly satisfied with them as insurance companies go. Small claims maybe once every other year for minor accidents or blood work. However, each year they keep raising the rates even though my 11 year old girl is very healthy. I just received a renewal notice and it’s higher than my insurance with 100% coverage & no deductibles. I personally think animal insurance is a rip off without being regulated like human insurance companies are. Too many routine things are not covered, like teeth cleaning. But, if one loves their companion, one should have insurance. i’m switching companies today.

    • Sorry to hear about this Jim. Petplan and most pet insurance companies base pricing on the risk associated with the breed, age and your geographic location. If the dog is a purebred and/or the breed is prone to certain issues, pricing will likely go up as the pet ages. Pet Insurance is highly regulated under Property insurance, so it’s more similar to car insurance than human health insurance. Several companies offer health maintenance plans, including our #3 pick Embrace, but that comes at a price that is not much different from what you would pay at your vet’s office anyway for the services. So, we recommend that you keep that money in your pocket until you need it vs. paying it out each month.. but, it’s your call. Petplan and most pet insurance is bought to cover unexpected items like accidents, illness and injuries. We like to think of it like other insurance – you have it just in case but hope you never it. Best wishes to you and your sweet girl!

  • Hi Kendra,
    Thank you. We do a lot of work to make sure our reviews are unbiased and provide the best recommendations for our readers. I am not sure about the BBB ratings you found but the Petplan we have reviewed is also known as Fetch, Inc. and they are located in Philadelphia, PA. You can find their rating of A+ here: http://www.bbb.org/washington-dc-eastern-pa/business-reviews/insurance-companies/fetch-incorporated-in-newtown-sq-pa-155937065 That being said, you are correct to do your research as company’s certainly change over time. I can tell you first hand that I have Petplan for my dogs and have been very happy with their help when I needed it. You can read the story of my dear Lily here. Good luck and keep us posted on your decisions. Thanks!

  • 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.

    • 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 socialmedia@gopetplan.com 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.

    • JulieM

      Thanks LynneB for your review on petplan. I too have been with them since my Australian shepherds were puppies which is 5 years ago. Both my policies have gradually increased every year and has doubled from 2009-2014!! They aren’t even 6 years old yet! I am unable to afford petplan unfortunately because I believe they are a good company but I can’t see paying for an increasing annual premium for 2 dogs on one income anymore.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • Tina

      They have never published mine either. I think this company shouldn’t even be on the radar of pet insurance companies unless of course there are only 10 companies. But the only comment should be wouldn’t recommend.

      • Wow, thanks Tina and Doug. We appreciate your sharing your experiences.. they definitely help when we are reviewing and ranking companies. And, you are correct, there are not that many companies in this space. Thanks and take care.

  • 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.



    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.

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