Emergency Pet Insurance: What’s Covered? (2023)

by | 1/23/2023

According to the Federal Reserve’s 2021 Economic Well-Being Report, 45% of American adults can’t afford an unplanned $400 expense.

Veterinary emergencies can cost well over $400, leading some panicking pet parents to turn down life-saving care due to cost. We think you should never have to worry about money when your precious pet needs your full attention.

To help you prepare for the unexpected, we’ve reviewed companies that offer emergency pet insurance. Pet insurance is a fast-growing financial tool that allows pet owners to pay affordable monthly rates for coverage of unanticipated veterinary bills.

Keep reading to learn about:

 

  • Common pet emergencies and costs
  • Pet insurance company reviews
  • What to do if you don’t have pet insurance

Does Pet Insurance Cover Emergencies? 

Yes, pet insurance covers emergencies. In general, traditional accident/illness plans and accident-only plans are designed for unexpected veterinary visits. Emergencies are unexpected by default, which means your pet insurance agency will most likely reimburse you for related costs.

Please note that most* pet insurance works on a reimbursement system. This means you’ll have to pay vet bills out of pocket at the time of your pet’s service. Once your buddy is back home safe and sound, you’ll submit a claim to your pet insurance provider for reimbursement. 

If the items you submitted are covered, you’ll get a percentage of the money back. However, you’ll have to cover the entire cost upfront, so we recommend always having some emergency vet savings on hand.

Waiting periods are also a factor to consider. A waiting period is a time frame at the beginning of your policy before coverage begins. Providers enforce different waiting periods for accidents and illnesses, often ranging from two days to two weeks. Orthopedic conditions and cruciate ligament injuries can have waiting periods of up to a year, so keep this in mind when purchasing a plan. Your veterinarian will need to specifically note in your pet’s medical records that its hips and knees are healthy before your insurance policy starts.

Any situation – even a serious emergency – won’t be covered if it occurs during a waiting period.

*Trupanion pet insurance is a pet insurance company that will pay your vet directly at the time of service. As long as you’re using a licensed veterinarian, you’ll just cover the deductible and your portion of the bill, and Trupanion will handle the rest.

Best Pet Insurance For Emergencies

We sifted through the fine print and selected our top three picks for the best pet insurance companies with emergency care coverage. These companies cover a wide range of serious mishaps and associated treatments, allowing you to give your pal outstanding care. 

Provider

Spot

Lemonade

Pawp

Quote

Visit Site

Visit Site

Visit Site

Our Score

4.9/5

4.8/5

4.3/5

IV Fluids

Yes

Yes

Yes

Hospitalization

Yes

Yes

Yes

Toxic Ingestion

Yes

Yes

Yes

External Injuries

Yes

Yes

Yes

BBB Rating

A-

F

A+

Below, you’ll find reviews for the top providers that offer emergency pet insurance coverage. Most of these companies have accident/illness plans for your pet’s unexpected veterinary needs. Some also offer wellness packages to keep your pet up-to-date on routine care services like vaccinations, dental cleanings, and checkups.

Here, we’ll focus mainly on emergency coverage and price points. Read our comprehensive pet insurance company reviews to sniff out more information on each provider’s policy terms and exclusions.

Spot Pet Insurance

Spot provides highly customizable and comprehensive accident/illness plans for dogs and cats of all ages.

Spot covers the following items associated with emergency vet care:

  • Surgery and hospitalization 
  • IV fluids and medications
  • Poison control consultations
  • MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays
  • Unexpected external injuries

Spot’s plans typically cost $30-$50 per month for dogs and $18-$25 for cats. You can mix and match Spot’s annual deductibles of $100-$1,000 and annual payouts of $2,500-unlimited to personalize your monthly premium. 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Highly customizable plans
  • Unlimited annual coverage option
  • Preventive healthcare packages

Cons:

  • No prescription pet food coverage
  • Higher premiums

Read our Spot pet insurance review for more information.

Lemonade Pet Insurance

Lemonade offers pet insurance coverage at competitively affordable rates. We like that you can bundle your Lemonade pet insurance with the company’s other services for some solid discounts.

Lemonade will reimburse you for unexpected veterinary costs, including those related to emergencies. 

Lemonade covers:

  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • IV fluids
  • External injuries
  • Blood tests and urinalysis
  • X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds

With Lemonade pet insurance, you’ll pay around $37 per month for dogs and $15 for cats. Lemonade offers low deductibles of $100-$500 to help your coverage kick in sooner. When building your plan, you can also choose from annual payouts of $5,000-$100,000.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Affordable monthly premiums
  • User-friendly app and website
  • Add-on coverage for preventive care, exam fees, and physical therapy

Cons:

  • Not available in all states
  • Low BBB rating

Find out more in our Lemonade pet insurance review.

Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace provides coverage for your pet’s unexpected accidents and illnesses. We like Embrace’s Healthy Pet Deductible, which knocks $50 off your annual deductible for every year you go without filing a claim.

With an Embrace accident/illness plan, you’ll get coverage for the following emergency veterinary items:

  • Emergency surgery and hospitalization
  • Biopsies, X-rays, MRIs
  • Emergency and after-hours care

Embrace’s coverage costs about $30-$40 per month for dogs and $15-$20 for cats. The provider offers deductibles ranging from $200-$1,000 and annual limits of $5,000-$30,000. You can combine rates for different prices and levels of coverage.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Healthy Pet Deductible program
  • Flexible pre-existing condition policy
  • Cancer medication coverage

Cons:

  • Annual maximums
  • Wellness Rewards won’t save you much money

Read our Embrace pet insurance review to learn more.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws pet insurance provides coverage for the unexpected. It’s a good option for pet parents seeking accident/illness and emergency care coverage. 

We like the provider’s dedication to animal welfare; the Healthy Paws Foundation has donated nearly $2 million to deserving animal rescues and shelters.

Healthy Paws covers the following items for your furry friend’s mishaps:

Healthy Paws coverage costs around $40 per month for dogs and $20 for cats. Considering Healthy Paws offers unlimited per-item, annual, and lifetime payout on all plans, these prices are competitive.

Healthy Paws limits plan customization by age, so it’s not the best option for older pets. For pets 3 years old and younger, you can choose from annual deductibles of $100, $250, and $500.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited lifetime payout on all plans
  • Competitive rates
  • Dedication to animal charity

Cons:

  • Customization limited by age
  • No preventive care packages

For more information, check out our Healthy Paws pet insurance review.

Prudent Pet Insurance

Prudent Pet offers customizable accident/illness coverage and wellness care plans to pets of all breeds and ages. 

It’s a solid option for emergency coverage and will reimburse you for costs associated with:

  • Emergency surgery and hospitalization
  • Diagnostic tests 
  • CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs
  • Poison control consultation fees
  • IV fluids and medications
  • Unexpected injuries

With Prudent Pet, you’ll pay about $39 per month for dog insurance and $23 per month for cat insurance. Prudent Pet’s plans are less customizable than those from other top providers, but you can still select deductibles of $100-$1000 and coverage limits of $10,000 or unlimited when building your plan.

Pros:

  • Unlimited annual payout option
  • Poison control consultation coverage
  • Access to 24/7 vet helpline

Cons:

  • Longer accident-only waiting periods
  • No mobile app

Find out more in our Prudent pet insurance review.

Pawp Pet Insurance

Pawp doesn’t offer traditional accident/illness coverage. Instead, it designed a plan specifically for your pet’s emergency medical care. 

A Pawp plan gives you unlimited access to a 24/7 vet helpline and a $3,000 emergency fund.

You can use the fund for items like:

  • Toxic ingestions
  • Choking and difficulty breathing
  • Severe gastric blockages
  • Life-threatening injuries

Pawp charges a flat monthly fee of $24 per month for any pet. This feature is great for pet parents of senior animals or those at risk of breed-specific conditions.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • 24/7 online access to veterinary professionals
  • $24 flat rate for all pets
  • Up to six pets allowed per plan

Cons:

  • Coverage is only for emergencies
  • $3,000 emergency fund only available once per year

Check out our Pawp pet insurance review for more information.

Common Pet Emergencies & Costs

Before we dive into pet insurance agencies and plans, let’s look at some common pet emergencies. We’ll go over average costs for treatment with and without pet insurance, so you’ll better understand how crucial coverage can be.

Toxic Ingestion

What is toxic ingestion?

Toxic ingestion is when your pet consumes something poisonous. 

Foods that are toxic for pets include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and some sugar substitutes. Several common household toxins might be lurking around your home in the form of plants, coins, and insecticides, so be sure to keep potential dangers out of your pet’s reach.

Take a look at this extensive list of animal toxins to learn more.

What are the signs?

If your pet has ingested something toxic, it may exhibit physical symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, drooling, or difficulty breathing. Toxic ingestion can also cause neurologic reactions like confusion, stumbling, dilated pupils, and seizures.

What’s the cost?

Toxic ingestion is a serious veterinary emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention. For treatment, you’ll pay anywhere from $500-$3,000, depending on the severity of the situation. The vet may need to induce vomiting, drain your pet’s stomach, administer IV fluids, or do surgery to remove the toxin.

With emergency pet insurance, your provider will reimburse 70-80% of these vet costs, assuming you’ve met your deductible. With a tool like Pawp’s Emergency Fund, you would get reimbursed up to $3,000, potentially covering the whole incident.

Intestinal Blockage

What is an intestinal blockage?

Intestinal blockage, or bowel obstruction, occurs when your pet swallows something it can’t pass. This serious condition can prevent food and water from passing through your pet’s body, causing intestinal damage and reduced blood flow.

What are the signs?

Signs of intestinal blockage include vomiting, weakness, bloating, dehydration, loss of appetite, and inability to poop.

What’s the cost?

Treating your pet’s intestinal blockage can cost $2,500-$5,000. If your furry family member requires major surgery, the bill could be upwards of $7,000.

Foreign object ingestion typically qualifies as a covered accident, so your pet’s intestinal blockage is likely eligible for coverage. Depending on your provider, you’ll get 70-80% of your money back for your pet’s intestinal obstruction treatment.

Severe Bleeding

What causes severe bleeding?

Severe bleeding, or hemorrhaging, is the rapid release of blood from a vessel. Your pet’s severe bleeding can result from things like deep cuts, bite wounds, or car accidents.

What are the signs?

You’ll notice severe bleeding from your pet’s external wounds, but you should also look for signs of internal hemorrhaging. Symptoms include pale gums, increased heart rate, swelling, vomiting, low body temperature, and collapse.

What’s the cost?

The cost of your pet’s emergency visit will depend on the cause of the bleeding. If your pet was in a fight with another animal, you might pay $500-$1,000 for treatment, disinfection, surgical repair, and prescription medications. 

Other bleeding issues might cost more. For example, if your pet is hit by a car or has a hemorrhaging tumor, it might need major surgery to repair internal wounds. Such procedures can cost up to $8,000.

According to the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, many owners have their pets put down after car accidents because they can’t afford treatment. With a pet health insurance plan, you can avoid such heartbreaking decisions.

What Options Are Available If You Don’t Have Insurance?

If you don’t have pet insurance, you’ll need to budget pet care costs and save money for emergencies. Emergency veterinary visits are far pricier than routine ones – especially if your pet needs after-hours or critical care. Consider the expenses discussed in this article and create a savings plan to meet those costs should they ever arise. 

If you can’t afford a traditional pet insurance plan, we recommend purchasing a Pawp plan. You’ll pay around $300 per year for access to unlimited online vet services and a one-time $3,000 emergency fund. 

No matter what, we know saving money takes time, and emergencies don’t wait. Here are some pet owner resources to help you provide your pet with top-notch care on a budget:

  • The Humane Society of the United States has compiled some pet owner financial assistance resources. You’ll find low-cost options for veterinary care, spay/neuter procedures, and pet food assistance.
  • The Brown Dog Foundation is a public charity organization that helps financially struggling pet parents afford emergency vet care. The foundation works to “bridge the gap between the cost of medical expenses and saving the family pet.”

Final Thoughts

As a pet parent, few things are scarier than a veterinary emergency. We suggest purchasing a pet insurance policy that covers emergency care items to plan for the mishaps you don’t see coming.

Emergency pet insurance is an excellent tool that gives you peace of mind to handle unexpected vet bills. With the right coverage, you can support your pet’s needs instead of worrying about breaking the bank.

You’ll get reimbursement for the costly and scary vet visit, so you can focus less on money and more on getting your buddy back in tip-top shape.

Our Methodology

​​Here at 365 Pet Insurance, our research team looks to examine all pet insurance policies and comes up with reviews based on:

  • Coverage
  • Plan options
  • Cost 
  • Reputation
  • Customer service 
  • Species available
  • Wellness benefits 

We’ve created a 5-star rating system to score pet insurance brands based on a 100-point scale. To develop a list of the best pet insurance plans, we looked into plans, rating coverage, claims handling, reimbursements, deductibles, and limitations. 

Each factor is weighted differently based on the following factors:

  • Monthly Pricing (25 points): How each pet insurance company charges for their plans is a crucial part of the decision-making process of the customer. Affordable rates and comprehensive coverage are the defining characteristics of providing the best pet insurance.
  • Coverage (20 points): We scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Providers offering broader coverage and more unique treatments received more points.  Pet insurance policies are not offered by all companies for older pets. Providers who have an age limit on the pets they cover were deducted points.
  • Plans (15 points): Pet insurance providers offer accident-and-illness plans, accident-only plans, wellness add-ons, and pet preventive care add-ons, so customers can choose the right plan for their pets. We also factored in costs to achieve the most comprehensible review for your pet’s needs.
  • Customization Options (10 points): You can ensure your pet only gets what they need by customizing your policy. A higher score was earned by providers who offered a greater range of annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates.
  • Customer Service (10 points): We scored companies based on their website accessibility and usability, mobile apps, and grating points to companies with the most customer experience options.
  • Industry Reputation (10 points): We assessed each company’s industry reputation by reviewing up-to-date BBB ratings and accreditation information, as well as their years of experience in the industry.
  • Waiting Periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident and illness waiting periods scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.

Our team revisits each company’s information at the end of every month to make updates and ensure the information is as accurate as possible.