Top 9 Florida Pet Insurance Plans for 2020
There are a lot of animals that both live in and visit Florida, and it’s a great place for them to be, with beaches, dog parks, outdoor cafes and much more for dogs, cats and owners alike to enjoy. According to data by Banfield, 267,476 dogs and 52,558 cats live in The Sunshine State. When you own an animal, the responsible thing to do is get a pet insurance policy, but you need to understand how this will work with your personal vet, and how this will impact your vet bill.
Dogs and cats in Florida also have higher-than-average cases of arthritis and dental disease, and they have less obesity issues than pets in the rest of the country. Fleas and ticks can be problematic in the state due to the warm climate, so make sure your pet is up-to-date on all flea and tick medications.
As you look at the issues your pet can encounter while living in Florida, it’s great to consider your pet’s lifetime, to determine if pet insurance is worth it. If you have a specific breed, you can research to find out if your dog or cat might have hereditary or a chronic condition, so you can do a little planning. With the right routine care, and access to expensive medical techniques in Florida, you will hopefully have a long life with your pet.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance is primarily designed for accidents and illnesses related to your pet’s health. It works in a similar fashion to human health insurance, but the main differences lie in pre-existing condition coverage and the reimbursement model. You can get more coverage by choosing a lower deductible and a higher reimbursement percentage, and you might pay more each month, but then pay less once the bill comes.
You can submit a claim easily with most companies, often by taking a picture of the vet bill and uploading to your pet insurance website. Claims are paid based on the terms and conditions of your policy, so it is important to insure your pets early and well.
Types of Pet Insurance Plans
There are usually four types of pet insurance plans available for purchase:
- Accident-only: These plans are usually the lowest-cost per month, but they only cover unexpected accidents such as your dog or cat getting hit by a car, insect stings or catfights.
- Accident and Illness: These plans are more comprehensive and offer coverage for unanticipated illnesses or accidents. These are the most commonly purchased options.
- Wellness Included: There are pet insurance plans that offer a wellness coverage option, usually for an additional monthly cost. These use a schedule of benefits to determine how much the plan will pay for each item, such as vaccinations and exam fees.
- Additional Riders: Often a part of more robust plans, you won’t necessarily know you are paying for additional riders, but these show up as endorsements to your plan when you have cancer coverage or holistic care coverage.
Pet Insurance Companies in Florida
If you are looking for a pet insurance company, then you are living in a great state. Florida has a lot of options, with a homegrown company in SPOT Pet Insurance, located in West Palm Beach, and most other insurance companies writing policies in the state.
Lots of pet insurance companies offer insurance coverage directly with the vet now, calling this Vet Direct Pay or something similar. This is great news because this means after you meet your deductible, the pet insurance company pays directly to your vet, meaning the vet will hold off on billing and do the claim for you, instead of the typical reimbursement that happens in most pet insurance claims.
Popular Pet Insurance Companies in Florida
Pets Best is a very popular policy for the pet owner who is looking for a low-cost monthly plan, a wellness plan option, a configurable deductible and a variety of reimbursement levels. Pets Best is also working directly with some vets in the Florida area who work directly with their pet insurance plan, so working with them could mean your vet bills are paid first, instead of using the typical reimbursement model.
Highlights: No annual limit, 90% reimbursement
Underwriter: American Pet Insurance Company/Independence American Insurance Company
Here’s a look at a quote for a one-year-old French Bulldog in Miami:
Trupanion is one of the longest-running pet insurance companies, with policies written in both the United States and Canada. They do a lot of business in Florida, and they use a different underwriter for this state. They do not have a wellness plan, but they focus a lot on complete coverage, so your pet is not in need of emergency care as often.
Highlights: 90% reimbursement for all plans, Vet Direct Pay
Underwriter: American Pet Insurance Company
Located in West Palm Beach, SPOT has great coverage including a wellness plan option. If you are into dog training, then this is the plan for you. They partnered up with famed dog trainer Cesar Millan to encourage dog training to make it so pets don’t have as many accidents – therefore not needed as much care.
Highlights: No age cap on coverage, wellness coverage
Underwriter: United States Fire Insurance Company
Embrace Pet Insurance
If you want an all-encompassing plan that has wellness coverage options, a variety of configurable plans, and deep coverage for all sorts of things like dental, hip dysplasia, cancer and even a pre existing condition clause where your pet can ‘grow out’ of their pre existing condition. They also have a reasonable waiting period of a few days for an accident and a couple of weeks for an illness.
Highlights: Up to 90% back on claims, diminishing deductible
Underwriter: American Modern Insurance Group
FIGO Pet Insurance
FIGO is an insurance company with great coverage, and a huge technology component with their pet cloud, a place where you can seamlessly track the health issues of your dog or cat, so you can be sure to have all of the correct information when you show up for veterinary treatment. They have a configurable plan, but don’t yet offer wellness, so keep that in mind.
Highlights: Easy pet data cloud, No per-incident maximums
Underwriter: Markel Insurance Company
Petplan is another one of the older pet insurance companies, with one simple plan for its pet parents. If you are looking for a plan that covers exam fees, and has no extra charge for online vet visits and has holistic therapies included, then Petplan is a good choice for you.
Highlights: Unlimited annual payout, get up to 90% back
Underwriter: XL Specialty Insurance Company
Nationwide Pet Insurance
Nationwide is the oldest pet insurance company in the country, and the only one that covers exotic animals. Since Florida allows a pet parent to own more exotic pet varieties than most other states, you are in luck. Their plans are also customizable and they offer wellness. While their plans may look more costly at first glance, they have a strong history of claims coverage, which is a strong factor to consider when purchasing a policy.
Highlights: Exotic pet coverage, strong claims coverage history
Underwriter: National Casual Company
Companion Protect is a bit of a newcomer for consumer purchase, but they have been around as an employee benefit or as a veterinary partner for a while. They have a very comprehensive, easy-to-sign-up for plan. You simply enter your zip code and your pet’s age, and you will get a quote. Coverage includes trauma, car accidents, foreign body ingestion, hip dysplasia, diabetes, arthritis and more.
Highlights: One easy policy, wide variety of ailments covered
Underwriter: Aspen American Insurance Company
Healthy Paws is a great pet health insurance plan if you want a low-cost plan that has no lifetime limits. If you are looking for an insurance policy that has wellness, you may want to look elsewhere, since Healthy Paws doesn’t cover preventive care. Pet wellness is an important part of overall pet health, so it is good to look for a plan that doesn’t just cover accidents and illness.
Highlights: One easy plan, low monthly rate
Underwriter: Chubb Insurance
What’s the Best Pet Insurance for Floridians?
Choosing the best company for you depends on the breed of dog or cat you have, your location, the type of care you’d like to seek for your pet, and basically what you are looking for in a policy. If you are looking for a policy that has a simple, one-size-fits-all approach, then you want to choose a product that supports that such as Healthy Paws, Trupanion or Companion Protect. If you are looking for a more customizable plan, then consider Embrace, Nationwide or Pets Best.
Here are some things you should check on before you secure a policy:
- Does this plan offer dental?
- Does this plan offer a wellness care option?
- What are the upper age limits?
- Is there any pre existing condition coverage?
Those are just a few things you can check out before deciding on a plan. Remember that some plans are more basic, while others have more options. Keeping in mind that veterinary care has really advanced, your dog or cat can be treated for pretty much anything, depending on where you live. If you are in Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or another larger area, you can get all types of treatments and rehabilitations for your dog or cat.
Pet Friendly Florida
Dogs have a great life in Florida. Not only are they welcome at many beaches across the state, there are many beaches dedicated solely to dogs like Dog Beach in Jupiter, FL and Hollywood Dog Beach in Hollywood, FL, which has a waterfront pet play area from Friday to Sunday. If your pup would rather stay on dry land, then you can enjoy several dog parks all around Florida, such as Happy Tails Dog Park in Plantation, that has separate areas for various-sized pets as well as agility equipment.
Pet friendly companies are also popping up all over Florida. In south Florida, pets can come to any business in co-working spaces WeWork or The LAB, as long as the company is okay with it. Bigger companies like the Kimpton Surfcomber hotel also allow pets, not only for guests, but for employees too. In a generation that owns more pets than any other age group in America right now, being able to bring their pets along in their day-to-day life is a huge perk.
Florida Veterinary Costs
Florida has an annual cost for veterinary care for dogs and cats of $1200-$1300, according to data from Petplan. Luckily, pet insurance is available to cover anywhere from 70 to 100 percent of those costs, depending on your plan and provider.
Where you live in Florida does make a difference in your rate each month. Fort Lauderdale is the most expensive, followed by Miami, Sarasota, Orlando and Tallahassee, according to quote data we got from Figo Pet Insurance.
*Quotes are for $14,000 in annual coverage with a e $250 annual deductible as well as 80% reimbursement. We used a sample dog of a three-year-old mixed breed weighing between 21-70 pounds. Puppies, senior dogs and various breeds can change the rate.
Pet owners may find themselves in a situation where pet care is too expensive, and Florida has a lot of resources in these situations.
Low-Income Pet Help for Floridians
Florida has a lot of assistance for pet parents who find themselves in a tough situation, from spay/neuter services to food pantries all over the state. Here are a few of the resources available:
Palm Beach County Pet Food Bank – Works with Peggy’s Pantry, Passion for Paws, Inc., and Kibblez of Love to provide pet food to owners to assist them in hard times.
Fairy Tail Endings – Non-profit organization dedicated to keeping pets and their families together when they are financially struggling.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets – High-quality, low-cost vet care, spay/neuter and a pet food bank to help pets in the region.
Pet Project for Pets – Assists in keeping pets and their owners together in times they are needed the most such as during terminal illness or financial worries.
TLC PetSnip, Inc. – High-quality and affordable spay/neuter that goes out into the community and will travel to pet owners.
You Can Make a Difference, Inc. – Strives to prevent animal neglect through preventing overpopulation with spay/neuter services.
Florida residents want the top level of care for their pets, and pet insurance can help cover a lot of these costs and give you peace of mind for emergency situations.