Pet Insurance Comparison 2018: Who’s Best?

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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 three picks for pet insurance reviews this year, including 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 logoPets Best logoPetplan logo

4 and a half paws

4.65 / 5.00

4 and a half paws

4.55 / 5.00

4.30 paws

4.30 / 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 three picks this year. Below are some items you may want to check out to learn more about this subject.

  1. Get 3 Free Pet Insurance Quotes

    Open our pet insurance quotes to see an example of who offers the lowest prices.
  2. See how others compare to our top three by reading about the rest of the pack.
  3. Read why you can trust our review process and learn why we are a reputable source.
  4. Become an expert on pet insurance yourself by learning more.
  5. View our infographic to see some surprising statistics and fun facts.
  6. You may want to open up our pet health insurance terminology list for an 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 (i.e., 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 common 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 Ranking4.65 / 5.00
Policy Coverage4.25 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation4.75 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment4.75 paws
Price of Policy4.75 paws

Why Is Healthy Paws The Best Pet Insurance?

Yippee! Healthy Paws is our winner! 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 four annual deductible levels ($100, $250, $500 or $750), 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. Low Premium Prices – Most consumers report lower premium prices for similar coverage (unlimited lifetime benefits with no claim limits).

Coupon Code

Use this link and you will automatically receive up to a 10% discount. The actual discount varies based on individual state regulations. You can also visit our dedicated HealthyPaws promotions page to discuss current offers.

Read our in-depth review of Healthy Paws

2nd 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 logo2nd
Overall Ranking4.55 / 5.00
Policy Coverage4.75 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation4 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment4.75 paws
Price of Policy4.75 paws

Why Did We Choose Pets Best As Our #2 Pick?

  1. True Emergency Only Option – Pet Best offers an “Accident Only Plan” to cover you in case of unplanned emergencies, but it does not cover exam fees or specialty treatments. This plan has a $10,000 annual limit with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement, making it one of the least expensive options for pet insurance.
  2. Low Pricing – Pets Best was consistently among the least expensive pet insurance companies when we ran quotes.
  3. Customer Service Options – They offer live chat, phone, email, fax and FAQs to help answer your questions. We’re also impressed with its 24/7 Pet Helpline, which allows you to speak with a vet expert any time of day.
  4. Customizable Plans Tailored To What You Want – You choose what coverage you want to pay for instead of paying more for stuff you don’t want. Deductible options are from $50-$1,000, reimbursement is available for 70%, 80% or 90% and they offer two wellness plans.

Coupon Code

Our readers have access to an exclusive PetsBest discount of 5% off BestBenefit plans for the first year! Just use this link to get started (Eligible in all states except AK, FL, HI and TN and does not apply to accident-only plan or wellness rider). You can also visit our dedicated Pets Best promotions page to discuss current offers.

Read our in-depth review of Pets Best

3rd 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 logo3rd
Overall Ranking4.30 / 5.00
Policy Coverage4.75 pawsVisit Website
Customer Service & Reputation4.25 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment4 and a half paws
Price of Policy3.75 paws

Why Is Petplan Our #3 Pick?

  1. Fully Customizable Plans with No Limits – Pet owners considering Petplan can 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 ($250 to $1,000) and reimbursement rate (70%, 80% or 90%). There may be even more options available to you through the call center at this number: 800-237-1123 (our exclusive 5% discount will be honored for this phone call as well).
  2. Good 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.
  3. The Policy is Crystal Clear – Petplan’s program 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. Expanded Coverage – Petplan covers advertising lost pets, losing your pet, cancelled vacation due to pet illness, etc., which isn’t something widely covered by competitors.

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! You can also visit our dedicated Petplan promotions page to discuss current offers.

Read our in-depth review of Petplan

The Rest Of The Pack

Here’s a list of companies we include in our annual pet insurance reviews with the year they were founded:

  • First: Healthy Paws 2009
  • Second: Pets Best 2005
  • Third: Petplan U.S. 2003
  • 24PetWatch 2000
  • AKC Pet Healthcare 2003
  • ASPCA Pet Health Insurance 1997
  • Embrace 2003
  • Nationwide acquired VPI in 2014 and started selling pet insurance as Nationwide (VPI was founded in 1982)
  • PetFirst 2004
  • Trupanion 2000

New Entrants Are Not Reviewed

Many new pet insurance companies are popping up due to the popularity and high demand.

In the past, we have seen new companies enter the pet insurance space with extremely low prices. However, after some time in business and paying some claims these companies increase their prices to make ends meet. This ends up hurting the customers because their premiums increase drastically and if they submitted a claim their pet now has a pre-existing condition. So, if they change providers, that condition will not be covered by another pet insurance provider. In the end, they may have been better off going with a different, more established company.

Because of this, we have decided not to review pet insurance companies that don’t have at least 5 years of experience (i.e., FIGO, founded in 2013, is right on the cusp). We feel that this gives companies time to establish a consistent pricing system and reputation, which helps us evaluate them better and gives customers a better idea of what to expect.

Why You Can Trust Our Reviews

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

Unlike some other sites, our reviews are conducted by writers and researchers who have no information about the monetary affiliation or relationships our site may have with any merchants discussed. 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 price upcharge and the service offered 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.

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

Learn More About Pet Insurance

While understanding who the best pet insurance companies is important, maybe you still need to get up-to-speed on the basics. So, we created a pet insurance 101 guide for those who are looking to learn more. It includes:

  • What Is Pet Insurance?
  • How Does It Work?
  • Why Do I Need It?
  • What Does It Cover?
  • How Much Is Pet Insurance?
  • Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
  • Real Reimbursement Stories

This helpful guide will give you a good understanding of your options when it comes to insuring your furriest family members.

Video: Benefits Of Pet Insurance

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

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

For those of you still on the fence, you’re probably wondering what kind of common scenarios your pup might get into where pet insurance would apply. Check out our list of common dog health issues to get an idea. For example, removing lumps and bumps is one of the most common surgeries for dogs and can cost more than $1,000 each time.

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. 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.

Got more questions? Hit us up in the comments below.

Have you had experiences (good or bad) with pet insurance?

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.
Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
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! She and her husband adopted Sally, a four-year-old hound mix, in early 2017, and she has brought so much joy into their lives. Life as pet parents has been very rewarding.

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Wayne
We got denied coverage from Pets Best in April 2018 for our small dog’s tooth extractions ($1,700) that were performed to treat periodontal disease. Here’s EOB from the denied claim:
“The condition being claimed is related to progressive periodontal disease. Progressive periodontal disease and conditions secondary to periodontal disease are not part of policy coverage. Please refer to the “Exclusions Applicable to All Plans” section in your Policy Form.”

However, according to https://www.caninejournal.com/is-pet-insurance-worth-it/#terms, “Non-Routine Dental” is covered by Pets Best. So I’m a bit puzzled by the accuracy of the info listed here. Can anybody clarify?

Thanks.

Wayne
Hi, Kimberly,

Thanks so much for your informative reply! I just dug out our policy (file downloaded: POL_IHC_5_PETS_PolicyBookletAnnualIllness_CA_v1.pdf). We are in California and have Pets Best $5,000 annual max plan for our five-year old bichon-poodle boy (he will be six in a few days).

The policy lists the following Items #23, #24 for Exclusions, without mentioning any of the conditions you noted above in order to obtain coverage for periodontal disease:

“23. Claims for teeth cleanings, except as provided under the Wellness Benefit if purchased. Gingivitis and progressive periodontal disease caused by the accumulation of tartar is not a covered expense.

24. Dental health care, however if injury to teeth is caused by an Accident, we do cover the cost of extractions of damaged teeth and of reconstruction of upper and lower canine teeth.”

We enrolled in the current Pets Best plan 2.5 years ago when our body was three. Had no idea then he would be prone to periodontal disease….

We are considering whether to switch to another plan with Pets Best or start with another company all over again. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Best,
Wayne

Wayne
Hi, Kimberly,

Thanks so much for reminding of pre-existing exclusions! In our case, in addition to the consideration of dental coverage, another motivation is to switch to a plan with no max, because our current Pets Best plan has a $5,000 annual max, which could be easily maxed out in the event that something serious happens. I called Pets Best today and was surprised to find out that even if we upgrade to such a plan within Pets Best, it would actually be considered as a new policy and pre-existing exclusion would apply. Our dog does have allergy, which is covered now, but would fall into this category to be excluded if we switch to any new plan (with the same or a new carrier).

Pets Best CSR also confirmed that they do not have any plan that covers non-routine dental (except for accidents).

Meanwhile, Pets Best offers a stand-alone Cancer Only plan, for ~$15/month ($200 deductible, 90% reimbursement), which can be purchased separately. Seems an option to consider, but cancer is not the only expensive condition that could happen to dogs (in our case, Bichon Poodle mix, 11 pounds). Other conditions like diabetes and knee problems would cost a fortune too.

I also called PetPlan. They do offer dental coverage for gum/periodontal disease, which is considered curable with no pre-existing exclusions! But they require a 1-year waiting period for this, which doesn’t sound bad. But again, if we switch, we would lose our current coverage for allergy. So far, allergy only costs a couple of hundred dollars a year (even without insurance), but gum disease cost $1,800 this year alone. So in principle, we would live with it if we trade dental for allergy coverage. But I’m not sure which one would be more expensive down the road, and was told allergy can stay forever.

It would be a hard decision. Neither one is ideal. Could go with two plans combined, but that won’t be cost effective either…

I’m trying to make a decision soon and take action before our dog turns 6-years old in a few days.

Any timely suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thankfully,
Wayne

Jonathan Kov
Looking to buy a plan just to protect myself in the event of a major expense. PetsBest offers a plan with an unlimited annual limit, $1000 deductible, and 70% reimbursement rate for $10.35 per month. Lets pretent my 2 year old dog needed a $8000 procedure. Thus, this procedure would cost me $2100. ($8k, less 1K, times 30%) Obviously if I up the reimbursement rate or lower the deductible, my monthly rate would increase. Has anyone else done it this way? Does anyone have a pos/neg opinion on PetsBest? Thanks
Michelle
My labradoodle has a CCL tear and is in need of a $5,000 surgery. I currently don’t have insurance. From what I hear, it is common for dogs to eventually have the same issue in the other leg. As of now, his right leg is fine. If I was to sign up for insurance now, I know the surgery he needs now on his left leg wouldn’t be covered because it was pre-existing. But, what if he gets a CCL tear in his good leg a year from now? Would that be covered since it is a different leg or would it be considered pre-existing since he already had the same issue in the left leg?
Kay
Good morning,
My Cat was diagnosed with a benign hemangioma (basically a bloody non-cancerous tumor) on his toe and the hemangioma and the toe was completely removed. The vet considers him cured. Would insurance agencies still consider this a pre-existing condition even if non-cancerous, removed and considered cured?

Thanks!

Brian
I have a Aussiedor that recently ingested a piece of a toy and had to undergo surgery to remove it. He’s only 7 months old currently and unfortunately I didn’t have pet insurance at the time. The surgery went well and he’s ok now but I am now looking into pet insurance after having to spend such a large amount of money on the surgery. If he was to ingest something in the future and require surgery again would the claim be denied?
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
Great question Brian and I think the answer would depend on the company. I would suggest that you call the companies you are considering and ask them about your specific question to see whether it would be considered a preexisting condition or not.
Mel
Shopping for pup insu now. Dental coverage is important to us, who does or does not include it and who has best dental?
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
Non-routine dental is covered by most major companies. In fact, every company we reviewed offers this except for 24PetWatch and PetFirst. You can see these details and more here: https://www.caninejournal.com/is-pet-insurance-worth-it/#what-does-it-cover

If you are looking for routine dental cleanings to be included, you will probably want to explore adding a wellness component to your policy. Not every wellness plan has this coverage though so be sure to read carefully. We would recommend adding BestWellness to a PetsBest insurance plan. https://www.caninejournal.com/pet-wellness-plans/#pets-best

Mark
I almost when with petsbest until i asked about what is required to maintain dental coverage (i asked because it is. Ot in the policy) i was told that a yearly cleaning was required regardless if they need it or not, i said that my vet (and many others) recommend against cleaning unless needed due the the risk of being put under which is especially true of an older dog. Anyways i asked them to point to the language “dental cleaning required every year to maintain coverage” in the policy and they sent me the same policy that I reviewed that had no such language and said “we are very clear in our polanout the dental coverage” yet when asked again they answered with the same response. I am very leary about all of these companies if you look at the policys the language is very vague and limited to give them lots of latitude in approving claims. I have no doubt that if you have a healthy no prexisting condition Fido and breaks his leg it will be covered as well as Cancer, but more common things like teeth or say swollowing an object twice in one period will be depending on the insurer and the sneeky language contained in the policy itself.
Bernemom
Just got a 9 week old bernedoodle puppy, first generation from a Bernese mom and standard poodle dad (he’s gonna be a big boy!). Read all of your great information here (THANK YOU!) and given that we have a puppy, I’m leaning towards Healthy Paws. Just wondering if you have any thoughts / experience on how these companies handle annual rate increases. From reading many comments, it seems that even if costs seemed reasonable in the beginning, many folks have faced the issue of major premium increases.
ben
i have a 5 yr old rescue. Currently have Nationwide/VPI and they want me to renew at a price near $950. we have their major medical plan with wellness plus rider. This seems like a very high price. Any suggestions on other plans would be appreciated.

PS- ion the paperwork from the adoption agency it has a pre-existing skin issue that the vet has determined no longer exists will the condition ever be covered?

Lynn
As others have mentioned, it seems every single pet insurance company has horror stories. Any company will do its due diligence to try to find any little thing in your dog’s past that can be used against you to say it’s a pre-existing condition. If they can’t, then they’ll cover it.
I can already see how hard Pets Best pushes to try to get that proof. We are in the process of our first (very simple) claim to try to get credit toward our deductible for <$20 of anxiety meds. PB wants everything but the kitchen sink from our vet/us. So now I realize, they have her full records, and let's say…if she has any future stomach issues, they'll use it against us that she saw a vet (the week before her coverage began) for being sick from eating poop in the woods. Even though I know any GI issues in the future are unrelated, they'll still say it's pre-existing.
Note that some of these companies don't allow repeat occurrences within 12 months, either. Like, if your dog gets an ear infection and it's covered once, then gets another one within 12 months, they'll deny it. I've read many, many comments to that effect.
Just be smart. Know what's in your dog's records, and think to yourself if it's honestly worth it to try to have Illness coverage. Look at it from the insurance company's eyes and try to imagine what they'll use against you. Do you really want to pay premiums for years, only to find out everything is "pre-existing" when the time comes to use your policy?
I think we're going to go with Accident-Only, and that's that.
Rainu
Is healthy paws the only one of your top 3 that has “Unlimited lifetime coverage so no annual or per incident limits on claims”?
I thought ‘pets best’ also had no annual limits? But do they have “limited lifetime coverage and per incident limits on claims”?

Does petbest coverage of hip displaysia after age 6 get reduced as well?

Audrey
I have Pets Best since 2 years ago and I love it. It had saving me a looot of money. I got when I got my cat, and until now he only had has sickness so everything it’s been covered.
Melissa Fargo
Besides Trupanion do any others pay the vet directly minimizing your out of pocket payments?
Rikki
Good morning,

Thank you for all the great information. I love that fact that you are answering every comment too. very awesome!!

My Question: is there something wrong with Geiko/Nation Wide/Progressive? I am looking at Nation Wide right now and quoted me at 43 for emergencies and wellness. looks like Nation has their own through petinsurance.com where as Progressive runs through Pets Best.

regards,

yukip
I wanna get the Healthy Paws pet insurance for my dog but they don’t offer the wellness plan. So what should I do?
Juddpaynter
Seems to me that none of these insurances are perfect. They all have negative feedback on other websites.
Donald Bowman
I forgot to mention, the pup will be 8 weeks and 1 day old this Saturday. I will need to get him/her all shots, including parvo. We will be bringing the pup straight to vet for shots, then to our home.
Donald Bowman
We will be adopting a puppy this Saturday. A coworker’s dog had unplanned puppies and I volunteered to take one. As we have not been able to coordinate schedules with the owner, this will be our first time seeing the pups. We will choose one based on personality, so I don’t have a name or gender yet. Is it possible to get pet insurance before seeing the dog?
Dani
I’ve fostered dogs & adopted senior dogs, never had pet insurance. My most recent senior dog passed away after only 3 days of illness & an $8,000 vet bill. I’m curious if pet insurance covers rescue dogs – really tough to know of any ‘pre existing conditions’ these little angels might have. And, if pet insurance covers holistic, integrative veterinary care.
Thank you!
Fran
I have no pet insurance and paid out of pocket for TPLO surgery . I decide to get pet insurance and my dog tears his other ACL–would insurance cover the second TPLO?
Jon Kova
Just FYI everone. I was just at my local vet. Asked him about pet insurance. He’s the owner of the business, and highly sought after as a vet in my area. (Owns more than one location.) He told me he still can’t believe most folks don’t buy pet insurance. I asked him his favorites, as he is the person that fills out the forms, etc. He gave me 4. Trupanion, Embrace, ASPCA, and Petplan. I asked if he had to narrow that list down which would he choose, and he told me Trupanion or Embrace.
CH GARTUS
Wondering why no insurance accepts pre existing conditions – Seems like the only one that does is Pet Assure but they are more like a discount club than insurance – Anyone have experience with this company?
Tanya Carrere Cooper
I have used Healthy Paws Pet Insurance for my last 4 pets. My service dog was the first one I ensured after our previous baby passed. He was diagnosed with a deadly cancer and passed as well. I didnt think cancer would be covered but sure enough, it was. The bill was steep and Healthy Paws paid it very quickly. We adopted three 3 month old pups from a reputable shelter and quickly insured them. Good thing, in less than a month one had a bladder problem. The next month a different one was vomiting. Each trip to the ER and overnight stays cost about 1K each…it was paid by Healthy Paws. Our most recent ER visit was our baby boy RJ who needed ACL surgery $3800 going in. Not only did Healthy Paws pay their portion, it was within 7 days. They also took the time to email us to ask how he’s recovering. Amazing customer service, and I love the mobile app. I can see if the claim waz reviewed, processing or complete. Best insurance Plan!!!!! Thanks Healthy Paws Pet Insurance!!!
Daryl
When getting quotes on-line from companies are everyone’s rates based on their type of animal/breed/age ONLY or is the State or County within the State you live in part of the equation? We live in New York/Westchester County & I’ve received quotes from Healthy Paws & Pets Best ($30-$35 range) and they are much lower than Trupanion or Embrace( $60-$65 range) for basically the same annual limit (unlimited); deductible ($250) and reimbursement (90%) Most of our friends in NY recommend Trupanion, Embrace or ASPCA which based on your comparisons doesn’t make sense if Healthy Paws/Pets Best offers the same for less so it would be nice to know if there is going to be an upcharge in our quote once we plug in our address/state/county
Damian
Are there any insurance companies that will truly not increase premiums as my dog ages ?