Pet Insurance Reviews: The 2020 Mid-Year Review

As a consumer, pet lover and fiscal genius, you want pet insurance coverage that provides not only a low monthly rate, but also great value for what you get. You are looking for a broad plan that covers everything from acupuncture to vaccines and has enough room in case disaster strikes. We consulted with pet experts and dug into plans to come up with what we think is the best overall plan, complete with ratings on coverage, how they handle claims, reimbursements, deductibles, limits and more.

We reviewed over 25 pet insurance companies, looked at all of their policies, did sample quotes and reviewed ratings on other review platforms. We consulted with vets, pet parents and policyholders to see what their experience was with the various companies.

The companies we have selected below meet our criteria for transparent pricing and coverage, good and involved customer service, a wide variety of coverage options and fiscal strength backed by their underwriters.

We encourage you to read through these reviews to see what we’ve come up with.

Our Top Three Pet Insurance Companies Rated:

  Pets Best Spot Embrace
Our rating: 4.8 4.7 4.6
Underwriter rating: Unrated A A+
Wellness plan: Yes Yes Yes
Deductibles: $50-$1000 $100, $250, $500 $200-$1000
Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, 90% 70%, 80%, 90% 70%, 80%, 90%
Waiting Period: Accidents: 3 days, Illnesses: 14 days, Cruciate Ligaments: 6 months 14 days Accidents: 2 days, Illnesses: 14 days, Orthopedic: 6 months – exam and waiver can shorten
Upper age limit: No No 14
Annual limits: $5000 or unlimited $5000 to unlimited $5000 to $30,000
Dental coverage: Periodontal is covered if you keep up on cleanings Cleanings according to a schedule of benefits Up to $1,000/year

Cost Comparison

A note on pricing: rates will vary depending on where you live, your pets’ age and breed. Additionally, your pet policy premium will likely increase as your pet ages, to account for additional care your pet might need as they get older and increasing vet costs in your area.

Should you choose based on cost alone? We say no – there is a lot that goes into a quote and sometimes the cheapest initial quote may not end up being the lowest cost overall with rate hikes and overall payouts. We try to focus on coverage and value – after all, we would like to actually see your pets covered in case of accident or illness, even if the monthly premium is a little higher.

Here’s a look at our top three brands and their monthly premium costs. We looked at the top two dog breeds in the country, the Labrador Retriever and the French Bulldog, as well as a top cat breed, the Bengal.

For the plans, we chose the middle option, so not the lowest or highest plan. We used an 80% reimbursement with a $250 annual deductible and a $500 annual limit to make sure all the quotes were equal. We used a zip code in Phoenix, Arizona, so the quotes may vary depending on your location. We did not include Wellness coverage in any of these quotes.

 

  Pets Best Spot Embrace
Dog: Labrador Retriever – puppy $42.16 $67.16 $65.25
Dog: Labrador Retriever – senior $82.68 $115.13 $83.52
Dog: French Bulldog – puppy $45.66 $72.75 $92.05
Dog: French Bulldog – senior $124.95 $124.72 $117.83
Cat: Bengal – kitten $18.17 $24.26 $22.01
Cat: Bengal – senior $32.53 $36.39 $38.52

The 2020 Best Overall

Pets Best

Pets Best

Limits, reimbursements and claims are the best areas with our top plan for 202, Pets Best, at a score of 4.8 out of 5. Pets Best has no upper age limits, so it’s never too late to enroll your furry friends. One of the only companies started and run by a veterinarian, you can know that Pets Best truly has the animal’s best interests in mind. You can appreciate a high standard of care, and know that when you shell out money to help your pet get well, Pets Best will do its best to get that money back to you as quickly as possible, often reimbursing in as quickly as FIVE days!

Pets Best has some of the most comprehensive coverage out there, with accident only plans, accident and illness plans and routine care coverage to make sure your pet gets all they care they need. Pets Best is also one of the few plans that covers wellness and has dental coverage, beyond just dental accidents.

Pets Best doesn’t require a vet visit for certification, and has short waiting limits, so your pet is essentially covered within two weeks of enrollment.

They even have optional Vet Direct Pay for participating vets, meaning you won’t have to pay out of pocket minus your deductible and coinsurance. Pets Best has also expanded their services with a 24/7 vet help line, where you can call with any questions, to help cut down on actual vet visits. They also have a mobile app, so you can take pictures of invoices and upload right into your portal.

We also like their Unlimited plan option. This means they will cover your pet (after your deductible and reimbursement) with no limit for the year. If your pet has a serious illness or injury, you will be grateful for this coverage.

Pros
No upper age limits
Vet direct pay
Exam fee coverage
24/7 pet helpline
Free direct deposit
Unlimited annual plans
Great customer ratings

Newcomers

Spot Pet Insurance

SPOT Pet Insurance

Newcomer SPOT Pet Insurance is in our number two spot due to their high ratings with a great longtime pet insurance underwriter in Crum and Forster, their all-encompassing plans with dental and wellness and their focus on pet training to alleviate a lot of unnecessary claims.

Cesar Millan, renowned dog trainer has thrown his allegiance behind SPOT. What does this mean? Well, did you know that a majority of pet accidents could be eliminated with proper training? With SPOT’s focus on pet (and pet parent) training, your trips to the vet will be cut down.

SPOT also offers Accident and Illness, Accident Only and Preventive (Wellness) add-ons. Some notable items in their policies include their coverage of prescription food for covered conditions (not overall health), supplements (also for covered conditions), veterinary treatment and exams, and innovative treatments like stem cell therapy.

How will SPOT separate themselves from other Crum and Forster brands? They pay great attention to the pet parent with their customer service and they have a 30-day cancellation policy.

Pre-existing conditions can be tricky with any policy – they are not something pet insurers like to cover, and understandably so. However, SPOT lets you off the hook with pre-existing conditions if your pet exhibits no symptoms for 180 days. This goes for anything except ligament injuries, so your best bet with a pet that is prone to these is to insure them young.

We are excited to see what else SPOT brings as they grow as a true disruptor in the pet insurance marketplace.

Pros
Wellness care benefits
Flexible plans
Exam fees are covered
24/7 vet helpline
Prescription food coverage

 

 

Companion Protect Insurance Review

Companion Protect

Another newcomer is Companion Protect. While they are new to pet insurance, they are in no way new to insurance in general, as a lot of their leadership team comes from Asurion. They are underwritten by Aspen American Insurance Company, who have an ‘A’ Excellent rating with AM Best, considered the industry standard for insurance underwriter ratings.

It’s notable that Companion Protect does require preapproval for certain things such as: pet care over $2500, overnight hospitalization, surgical procedures, tissue or organ transplants, hip dysplasia and veterinary specialty fees. While this extra step may seem like a lot, you can know there will be no surprises in coverage when it comes down to your pet’s care.

Companion Protect also has more discounts than a lot of other pet insurance companies. They have a multi-pet discount, an active and veteran military discount and a discount for people who work or volunteer in animal welfare.

Companion Protect also has good wellness coverage, also called Preventive Care. For pets under age seven, you’ll get one annual exam including anal gland expression. For pets over the age of seven, you can get two such exams per year.

Similar to health insurance for humans, Companion Protect has a network of in-network veterinarians. This means that their pricing and treatment plans are already accepted by Companion Protect, so if you can use an in-network veterinarian, you will see even more savings. You can check to see if your vet is already in their network, and you can also suggest that your vet become in-network.

Pros
Straightforward policy
Clear approvals

 

Strong and Steady

Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace

Where Embrace really excels is in its coverage of your youngest furry friends. They offer a diminishing deductible, which they call their ‘Healthy Pet Deductible.’ Every year that you don’t make a claim, you save $50 off your deductible. That can be a great savings over the life of your pet if you enroll early and while your pet is still healthy. And if you need to enlist the help of your policy in the event of accident or illness, Embrace is there with nose-to-tail accident and illness coverage, covering exam fees, surgery, alternative therapies, rehab, and much more to help your pet get back to their healthy self.

Embrace also lets pets ‘outgrow’ preexisting conditions. If you have a pet with a preexisting condition, but they don’t experience symptoms or have treatment for 12 months, they will reevaluate coverage.

Embrace’s Wellness Rewards also work a bit differently than the other pet insurance companies. You can sign up for an allowance each year in three different amounts: $250, $450 or $650. Older and younger pets benefit most from the higher amount, while other pets can do just fine with a lower amount of maintenance. You can spend this allowance on covered pet wellness items such as: Vaccinations, prescription diet food, microchipping, acupuncture, Reiki and more. These do not impact your deductible and come in as a separate charge on your bill.

Pros
Covers chronic conditions
Wellness coverage option
Exam fees are covered
Physical therapy is covered
High annual limits

 

Innovators

Figo Pet Insurance

Figo

While some companies have apps and member portals, there is one that has a Pet Cloud, and that one is Figo. For technology, Figo takes the cake. With Figo’s Pet Cloud, you can store information about your pet in one location and use it for reminders of important appointments, or to have all of their records with you in case of emergency. Most emergency vets surveyed said they would love to have access to all of a pet’s records in an emergency. Since most times, emergency care happens after normal business hours, the Figo Pet Cloud would provide a solution to all of these problems that no other insurer can provide.

Figo is one of the newer pet insurance companies on the market, but they are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving. A couple of changes have recently occurred: they have brought claims management in-house, allowing for 50% of claims to be processed within 24 hours. Additionally, they have partnered with a new insurance underwriter, the Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC) offered in 95% of the United States. If you see some old reviews with complaints over coverage, those are typically under the old underwriter.

We like their Ultimate plan for the high annual benefits ($20,000), strong coverage, and high chiropractic and acupuncture limit ($1,000), but we feel like you also get good value out of their Preferred plan, which is slightly cheaper and has a $10,000 annual limit. However, if you have a breed which is prone to chronic conditions, you may want to consider the Ultimate to avoid having more out-of-pocket expenses for around $5-$10 a month.

 

Pros
No per incident cap on claims
Lifetime maximum benefit of at least $100,000
No upper age limits
Exam fee add-on available
Rehabilitation therapies add-on
Can waive waiting period with exam

Cons to note: Still no Wellness, but they hope to add this soon. Stay tuned!

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws

Coming in at a 4.4-out-of-5 rating, Healthy Paws ranked well in all categories, excelling in coverage, limits and claims. Healthy Paws ranks the best for pets with chronic conditions, since they have no lifetime limits on their policies. Their mobile app allows for easy and quick claim processing, and they don’t have claim limits, meaning your animal is covered with the best treatment possible through a licensed veterinarian. Healthy Paws also scored well in customer service and has good reviews from happy pet owners across the web.

One thing Healthy Paws does not offer is wellness coverage, and while we understand the reasoning, it seems to be something lots of pet parents are looking for, even signing up for vet care plans through their veterinarian or pet stores. We feel this is a gap that Healthy Paws does not meet and is a big part of why they are not in our top three.

Healthy Paws has moved down our list due to a few concerns: We have a hard time getting any communication from this company, and we are concerned that will reflect on our website visitors. Some recent Yelp and Google reviews are also concerning, and we have heard on a number of occasions that the premium has risen significantly, to the point that pet parents can’t afford the monthly payment anymore. This makes it hard to switch companies, as once you have had pet insurance and filed a claim, your pet now has a pre-existing condition if you want to switch to any other companies.

Healthy Paws is also not available to Washington residents, and that is their home state. We’ll keep you updated when we learn more.

Pros
One plan equals no guesswork
No lifetime limits
Mobile app for claims processing
Direct deposit of claims

 

Cons to note: Recent consumer reviews state they have been having difficulty getting ahold of customer service and that claims are taking a long time. We have also experienced difficulty in reaching Healthy Paws, so we take that into account in our review.

Best for Pets Exotic Pets and Bundling

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Nationwide

Have a chinchilla? A hedgehog? Any kind of exotic pet can be covered by Nationwide, where that is not the case with any other pet insurer. While most pet insurers only cover dogs and cats, Nationwide covers most exotic animals. This is good news for people who want some broad coverage for avian and exotic pets, although these plans are paid on a benefit schedule and not necessarily reimbursed on an ‘actual costs’ basis, they are still the best (and only) choice for pets that are not a dog or a cat.

The other good news about Nationwide, besides being known as the most successful pet insurance company out there, is your ability to ‘bundle’ pet insurance coverage with other types of coverage such as auto, home and other insurance products, leading to overall savings.

While Nationwide has some of the higher premiums from the outset (first quote), they tend to have a high claim payout rate of other insurers.

Pros
Can bundle with other insurance products
Only insurer that covers exotic pets
Strong record of claims payouts
Wellness plan
Oldest pet insurance company (was Veterinary Pet Insurance)

 

Best Industry Shakeup

Trupanion Pet Insurance

Trupanion

While most (95%) of the pet insurance industry operates off of claims and reimbursements, Trupanion is here to shake things up with a real-time dashboard for claim approval, and a promise to pay with veterinarians that allows you to take your pet to a vet approved in the Trupanion program and have them treated with little or no out-of-pocket cost to you. This is revolutionary and is sure to shake up the pet insurance industry as more people flock to a plan that pays up front, not days or weeks later.

However, they are no longer the only company with Vet Direct Pay, since PetsBest and even newcomer Companion Protect have started to bring more vets on board.

Trupanion also does not offer wellness coverage, on purpose. They state that most customers do not get the true value out of the wellness coverage, so they prefer to offer a more comprehensive accident and injury plan.

On first glance, the premium may look more costly than some others, but it’s important to note that many insurance companies raise premiums quite frequently, sometimes for no apparent reason (such as claims filed or age of pet).

 

Pros
90% claim coverage
One simple plan to choose from
Comprehensive coverage
Quick claim payouts
Lots of vet endorsements

 

Petplan Insurance Review

Petplan

And don’t forget about Petplan. They boast a long history, since they started in the UK, and were brought over to the U.S. by a husband-and-wife team – a true family business! We love Petplan because they cover quite a bit in every policy – accidents, illnesses, hereditary and chronic conditions, and veterinary exam fees. Now, you don’t have to let cost get in the way of your pet getting the care they need. Policyholders love Petplan because they pay claims easily and quickly, and they have great breed coverage. Go Petplan!

Important to note: We have never been able to get ahold of anyone at Petplan, so we are hesitant to recommend this policy until we hear more. Stay tuned!

Other Pet Insurance Companies

There are other pet insurance companies entering the market all of the time. However, some are too new, or they have a lack of communication where we feel like we are unable to recommend them as a top review.

Did you know?

Pet Insurance was designed for emergencies – that’s it. Now, you can find plans that cover some routine care, and you can purchase riders or add-ons that cover routine exams, vaccinations and spay and neuter, even getting coverage for things like euthanasia, chiropractic care, MRI and more.

The question becomes – are you prepared to care for your pet if disaster strikes? In the past, veterinarians were faced with the hard choice of putting down animals that had otherwise curable ailments because they didn’t have the medical technology to fix them and their owners simply didn’t have the money to provide the care. Now, with advancements in medical care, the technology is there. Animals can receive major surgery, anesthesia, chemotherapy, prosthetics and much more, and now their humans have the burden of shouldering the cost. If your four-legged friend got a major disease or was in an accident, and you were told their life could be saved if only you could pay, would you do it? Most people would if they could, however, only four percent of pet owners have pet insurance coverage today.

Pre-existing Conditions

You can’t find a pet insurance policy that covers pre-existing conditions, and the reviews are mixed on who is the best with them once your pet actually needs care. From our point of view, the best thing to do is get pet insurance as soon as you get a pet, and the earlier in their life, the better. While some blogs and news articles advise people to start a pet savings account, most likely, you won’t have near enough saved to avoid financial ruin if your pet gets really sick. It’s better to have peace of mind by paying a monthly rate since your pet was young, than to not have the money if something happens.

Illness and accident are certainly not reserved to older animals, and things can show up as a pre-existing condition later on if you don’t get your pet on a policy right away. Conversely, get your pet covered with a pet insurance policy right when you get them, and you can get bills for tons of really intensive medical work covered up to 90%.

Look for value over price

Don’t just get roped into the cheapest monthly premium. There are accident-only plans or plans with tons of exclusions that may look really cheap but really don’t cover a thing, where for $10 or $15 more a month you can get coverage that is really comprehensive. Get a few quotes and work out the value over the life of your plan and your pet before simply settling on a monthly rate. This doesn’t mean you need the most expensive plan either but use your best judgment, so you end up with a plan that really works for you and your pet family.

Cost Explained

A note on pricing: rates will vary depending on where you live, your pets’ age and breed. Additionally, your pet policy premium will likely increase as your pet ages, to account for additional care your pet might need as they get older and increasing vet costs in your area.

Should you choose based on cost alone? We say no – there is a lot that goes into a quote and sometimes the cheapest initial quote may not end up being the lowest cost overall with rate hikes and overall payouts. We try to focus on coverage and value – after all, we would like to actually see your pets covered in case of accident or illness, even if the monthly premium is a little higher.

Other terms defined:

Deductible – the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly rate, but the more you’ll have to shell out each time your pet visits the vet. If you have a higher cost animal, this may be the way to go. You will need to reach your deductible before your pet insurance company starts contributing to your vet costs, but you’ll still need to submit any and all claims so your vet visits can count toward your deductible.

Coinsurance/Co-pay – Most companies cover between 70-90% of the bill, after you have reached your deductible. One company, Figo, has a 100% reimbursement option, but you will pay a higher monthly premium to get this.

Annual limit – An annual limit is the maximum amount an insurer will pay toward your animal’s costs in a given year. Some companies make it look like you are getting a good value

Exclusions – These are things that are not included in your coverage. For example, a plan may cover prescription food for a covered health condition, such as allergies, but it may exclude prescription food for weight loss.

Incidents – An incident is the condition that is causing you to seek veterinary care. This can be a one-time situation, like a car accident that causes injury to your pet, or it can be ongoing, like cancer.

Pre-existing conditions – Every major pet insurer excludes pre-existing conditions. What is considered a pre-existing condition may vary depending on the company. Some companies require you to get a veterinary exam within 30 days of signing up for the policy, while others request that you have had a vet exam within the last year. These are to eliminate what could be considered a pre-existing issue. For example, if your pet has a limp but you have never had them checked out, the company wants to make sure they are not liable to treat that limp since whatever caused it existed before you paid for insurance.

Schedule of Benefits – A Schedule of Benefits is slightly different that insurance, where the vet and the insurer come to an agreement on payment. With a Schedule of Benefits, there is already an agreed upon amount that will be paid for a given service, regardless of the actual cost. You may see these types of benefits as a part of Wellness plans, where a company will pay a max of $100 or $150 per year for vaccinations, as an example.

How to Choose a Pet Insurance Plan

There are a lot of factors to consider when looking for a pet insurance policy. In the past, there were  a limited number of pet insurance companies, but that number is growing every year. As more and more companies enter the market, this is good news for you because policies get more competitive.

You don’t always have to choose the largest and most well-known company, but you should look at the following factors as most important:

  1. Value – When you look at a quote, you should take into account what is being quoted when you see the price. Does your quote include wellness coverage? Is dental care included? What is the reimbursement level selected or the deductible? Make sure you are not influenced by a low monthly premium which leaves out a lot of coverage.
  2. Coverage – Looking at the different policies can be confusing. You might want the premium in coverage, but you may not use it all in one year. That said, you should weigh out what you are comfortable spending on your pet each year out of pocket, and then decide what level of coverage you want.

Picking a pet plan is a personal choice, and if you take the time to make an education decision, looking at our reviews and our recommendations for the top brands, then you should have success with whatever plan you choose.

FAQs

If my pet has a pre-existing condition, am I out of luck?

If your pet has a pre-existing condition, should you still get pet insurance? Our answer is yes – just because your pet has allergies that are pre-existing doesn’t preclude them from getting in an accident or having another illness at some point in their life.

Why do rates rise over time?

Insurance rates rise over time as your pet grows older, because as a pet ages, they typically need more healthcare.

You can read more FAQs on our Pet Insurance FAQ page.

2 Comments

  1. Josh

    We love Pets Best! Been through a few companies over the years…

    Reply
    • 365

      Thanks for the feedback. :o)

      Reply

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