Best Pet Insurance in South Carolina: Top Companies & Plans (2022 Review)

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Sago palms, a native and abundant plant throughout South Carolina, contain a dangerous neurotoxin that is especially deadly to dogs, cats, and other animals that ingest it. Patient admissions for sago palm toxicity are far too common among veterinary clinics in South Carolina. They often entail extended hospitalization, prescription medications to reduce symptoms, and intravenous therapies to flush out toxins. A treatment series can easily cost over $2,000 a pop. 

Toxic ingestions are just one example of an emergency scenario that could leave you picking up the tab for a sky-high veterinary bill. Pet health insurance allows you to take early action against emergencies by securing coverage that can hedge up to 90% of out-of-the-blue veterinary expenses, all for an affordable monthly payment. 

In this review, we’ve rounded up the top five providers offering pet insurance in South Carolina:

 

Best Overall

spot pet insurance logo

OUR RATING: 4.9

Most Affordable

Lemonade Pet Insurance Logo

OUR RATING: 4.8

Best for Chronic Conditions

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

OUR RATING: 4.6

Best South Carolina Pet Insurance Companies & Plans

Provider Visit Site Waiting Period Money-back Guarantee Maximum Enroll Age BBB Rating
Spot Site Link 14 days Yes No upper age limit A
Lemonade Site Link 14 days for illnesses; 48 hours for accidents No 14 years old F
Embrace Site Link 14 days for illnesses; 48 hours for accidents Yes 14 years old A+
Healthy Paws Site Link 15 days Yes 14 years old A-
ASPCA Site Link 15 days Yes No upper age limit N/A

Pet Insurance Companies in South Carolina Reviews

Each of the following providers highlighted in this article only offers insurance for cats and dogs (except for limited equine coverage offered by ASPCA, though not in South Carolina.) If you’re looking to finance an unconventional pet, our guide on the best pet insurance for exotic animals will point you in the right direction.  

Spot

Spot pet insurance offers two versatile base plans, either accident-only or accident-illness, for policyholders to choose from depending on their coverage objectives. Pet parents who enroll with Spot will also have control over their customization choices of:

  • Five annual deductibles
  • Seven annual coverage limits including an unlimited option
  • Three reimbursement rates of up to 90% cash back
  • Two tiers of preventative care coverage. 

Even though Spot’s accident-illness plans start as low as $16 per month, adequate coverage for the average customer in South Carolina will look more like $30 to $50 per month for dogs and $18 to $30 for cats. Expect slightly more expensive monthly premiums if you opt to tack on preventative care coverage or pursue maximum coverage options with a low deductible. 

Relative to competing providers, Spot’s monthly rates fall in on the higher end, but a few added perks specific to Spot policies guarantee that you’ll get your money’s worth of coverage. Such features include microchip implantation for all plan levels, behavioral training, no upper-age limitations, and a complimentary $25 Amazon gift card with registration.* Interested pet owners also have access to a free training manual written by Spot’s partner, celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Milan, upon generating a custom quote. 

*Offer expires on December 31, 2022, and is only available in specified states. Review Spot’s promotional terms for more information.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Covers congenital and hereditary conditions
  • Option for unlimited annual coverage benefits
  • No age- or breed-based restrictions
  • Multi-pet discount of 10%

Cons

  • Bilateral exclusions may apply
  • Longer than average 14-day waiting period for accidents

Relevant Inclusions and Exclusions

Because Spot doesn’t enforce upper age limits, senior pets are more than welcome to be enrolled. Customers with older pets, in particular, should be aware that Spot does exclude some bilateral conditions from coverage. For example, if your cat or dog enters a Spot policy with a history of cataracts in its left eye, the onset of a cataract in its right eye later down the road won’t be covered by Spot. 

Lemonade

Lemonade pet insurance marries modern technology with robust veterinary coverage by supporting a completely digital business model. Using AI-powered technology to automate the tedious side of things, Lemonade can provide its customers with some of the most cost-effective rates on the market and reimbursements in a matter of minutes rather than weeks.

Administering its insurance under one accident-illness base plan, Lemonade ensures that even its bare minimum policy is comprehensive. Still, despite its stand-alone standard coverage, Lemonade gives its policyholders plenty of say over customization options of:

  • Three annual deductibles
  • Five annual coverage limits of up to $100,000
  • Three reimbursement rates
  • Three levels of preventative care coverage

Lemonade markets accident-illness coverage for as low as $10 per month, but pet owners in South Carolina should expect to pay somewhere between $20 and $40 per month for dogs and $14 to $25 for cats. 

If you’re interested in preventative care coverage for things like vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, annual diagnostics, etc., Lemonade offers three tiers of wellness plans, with one specifically designed for puppies and kittens, for the following monthly rates:

  • Basic Preventative package: $15+ per month for dogs, $10+ per month for cats
  • Preventative+ package: $17+ per month for dogs, $12+ per month for cats
  • Puppy/Kitten Preventative package: $40+ per month for puppies, $34+ per month for kittens

Coverage for exam fees and physical therapy can only be purchased as individual add-ons for an additional $1 to $5 each month. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 10% off your monthly premium when you bundle with Lemonade homeowners, renters, or auto insurance 
  • Two-day waiting period for accident-only claims
  • Convenient, fully digital customer experience
  • Up to $100,000 in annual coverage benefits

Cons

  • Upper age limits on pets 14 years old and over
  • Might deny coverage based on breed life expectancy
  • Won’t cover behavioral training

Relevant Inclusions and Exclusions

Lemonade, unfortunately, has a longer list of standard exclusions than we would like, denying the possibility of reimbursement for expenses related to behavioral therapy, dental illness care, cremation and burial, and more. Microchipping and spay/neuter coverage are also only available by purchasing the Puppy/Kitten Preventative package, which pets older than two are not eligible for.  

Embrace

Embrace pet insurance boasts comprehensive pet healthcare with an array of accommodating customization options and an exclusive vanishing deductible feature. Still, its longer than average waiting periods and upper age limits might not be the best fit for all pets, especially older cats and dogs. 

Embrace offers two types of standard coverage; one just for emergency injuries and another for accidents and unexpected illnesses. Embrace’s accident-only plan comes with fixed customizations of a $5,000 annual cover limit, a $100 deductible per year, and a 90% reimbursement rate. 

On the other hand, its accident-illness policy can be tailored to your liking with the customization options of:

  • Five annual deductibles starting at $200
  • Five annual coverage limits of up to $30,000
  • Three reimbursement rates

The average cost of an Embrace accident-illness policy in South Carolina lands somewhere around $40 to $60 per month for dog insurance and $20 to $40 per month for cat insurance. As usual, these rates may vary based on your pet’s age, breed, medical history, and ZIP code. 

Embrace offers a few savings opportunities for its South Carolina customers to help them cut down their monthly rates even further, including:

  • 10% multi-pet discount 
  • 5% military discount for both former and active-duty military service members
  • Employee benefits discount of 10% (for employees of companies who partner with Embrace via their Employee Benefits program)

 Policyholders can also save big through Embrace’s Healthy Pet Deductible, which reduces their annual deductible by $50 for every year they don’t file a pet insurance claim. This feature is included in all policies at no extra cost.

For your pet’s routine care needs, Embrace’s signature allowance-based Wellness Rewards program allows you to spend your preventative care stipend on whatever you want, with no per-item limitations. So, for example, if your dog seems to always have a bad case of funky breath, you can spend your entire annual allowance on dental cleanings if you so please, no questions asked. 

The monthly costs for annual Wellness Rewards coverage are arranged into the following order:

  • $250 per policy period for $18.25 per month
  • $450 per policy period for $35.42 per month
  • $650 per policy period for $52.09 per month

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Free medical history review 
  • Stackable discounts for potential savings of up to 25% off
  • Deductible that is automatically reduced by $50 for every year you go without filing a claim

Cons

  • Six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions like cruciate ligaments or hip dysplasia
  • Dogs and cats over the age of 14 do not qualify for accident-illness benefits

Relevant Inclusions and Exclusions

Because of its age restrictions on accident-illness coverage for pets over the age of 14, we probably wouldn’t recommend Embrace for prospective customers looking to cover a senior furry family member. And even though older pets are still eligible for accident-only coverage, their benefits are capped at $5,000 per year, which can be quickly exhausted for geriatric pets needing more complex and intensive emergency care. 

Healthy Paws

Offering one straightforward accident-illness policy and no per-incident, annual, or lifetime maximums for any of its policyholders, Healthy Paws does a good bit of the decision-making for its customers, which might be ideal for someone who wants a more hands-off enrollment experience. 

Healthy Paws does leave some wiggle room for its customers to customize their plans based on their coverage and budget needs. But an owner of an older cat and dog will be on a much tighter leash in terms of what they’ll be able to modify about their policy. 

Here’s how age correlates to coverage customizability in a Healthy Paws policy:

  • Dogs and cats 5 years and below — Three deductibles as low as $100 and three reimbursement rates of up to 90%.
  • Dogs and cats between 6 and 7 years old — Three deductibles as low as $250 and three reimbursement rates of up to 80%.
  • Dogs 8 years and over — Deductibles of $750 or $1,000 and reimbursement rates of 50 or 60%.

Pet owners in South Carolina interested in pursuing coverage through Healthy Paws should expect to shell out between $40 to $50 per month for dog insurance and $18 to $25 for cat insurance. For such limited coverage, we would’ve expected Healthy Paws to have the lowest monthly rates out of all five providers, but with fixed unlimited coverage, it makes sense why this provider’s premiums are slightly hiked.  

All in all, Healthy Paws is an ideal policy for pet owners who feel secure in their ability to cover out-of-pocket preventative care costs and are instead looking for preemptive protection from emergency-related expenses. We also think that Healthy Paws doesn’t offer optimal coverage for senior pets, so if you’re looking to cover an older pal, you should opt for a provider without age-based restrictions. 

Pros and Cons

Pros 

  • Has donated over $1.6 million to 300+ nonprofit animal welfare organizations
  • Includes automatic unlimited coverage benefits for all policyholders
  • Hosts an easy-to-understand mobile app for convenient plan management and claim submissions

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer preventative care coverage of any kind
  • One-time initial enrollment fee of $25
  • No multi-pet discount

Relevant Inclusions and Exclusions

We’d be remiss if we didn’t call out Healthy Paws’ exclusion of any preventative care from its coverage terms. Although Healthy Paws is upfront about prioritizing unforeseen veterinary expenses over predictable ones like general health maintenance, most veterinary health professionals would agree that prevention is always better than cure. 

ASPCA

ASPCA is the only provider in this review that offers coverage beyond cat and dog insurance, offering horse insurance in 12 select states but unfortunately excluding South Carolina. Nonetheless, South Carolina residents still have complete access to either accident-only or accident-illness coverage through ASPCA.  

ASPCA’s base plans and prices are identical to Spot’s because both providers are underwritten by Crum & Forster Insurance. However, annual coverage limits and range of deductibles differ between the two. ASPCA policyholders can customize their coverage based on the following options:

  • Three annual deductibles as low as $100
  • Five annual limits with a maximum of $10,000
  • Three reimbursement rates
  • Two elective preventative care riders — Gold ($9.95 per month) and Platinum ($24.95 per month)

South Carolina customers considering accident-illness coverage through ASPCA should anticipate an average monthly cost of $30 to $50 per month for dogs and $18 to $30 for cats.

Pros and Cons

Pros 

  • Offers plans for cats, dogs, and horses
  • Low $100 deductible available
  • Includes microchips and vet office visits fees for all plan levels

Cons

  • Maximum annual coverage option is only $10,000
  • Upper age restrictions on accident-illness eligibility for pets older than 14

Relevant Inclusions and Exclusions

ASPCA, like every other pet insurance provider, doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Any injuries, illnesses, or other health complications that arise before your policy goes into effect or during the 14-day waiting period will not be covered by ASPCA. 

ASPCA may, however, cover a condition that is deemed cured by a licensed veterinarian after your pet goes 180 days without symptoms or in need of any treatment related to said condition. This clause doesn’t apply to knee and ligament conditions. 

How Does Pet Insurance Work in South Carolina?

Pet insurance is a risk product designed to provide pet owners with peace of mind that their dog or cat is guaranteed adequate veterinary care in the event of a medical emergency, no matter how expensive. It works to prevent pet owners from having to map out their pet’s treatment approach around what they can afford instead of what their pet needs. 

Pet insurance in South Carolina operates under the same reimbursement basis as it does throughout the rest of the United States. Some reputable providers like Healthy Paws, Trupanion, Pets Best, and Fetch offer direct vet payment as an option alongside traditional reimbursement processes. 

In the event that an accident or illness ever left you with an astronomical vet bill, your provider would reimburse you for eligible emergency-related expenses based on the coverage specifications that you selected during enrollment.

You may already be familiar with these coverage details, but let’s recap them anyway:

  • Annual coverage limit — Most providers put a cap on how much they’ll pay for covered vet expenses per year, but you’ll find a few here and there that offer unlimited annual payouts, though they’ll likely cost more per month. Some pet insurance plans also instate lifetime and per-incident maximums. 
  • Annual deductible — Your annual deductible is the amount you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket before your provider will start to chip in. The higher your annual deductible, the less you’ll pay per month, but you’ll have to fork over a much larger upfront payment at the animal hospital should your pet ever need emergency care. By default, the lower your annual deductible, the higher your monthly premium will be. Yet, it’ll only require a small sum of money before your insurer takes over your veterinary dues for an eligible accident or illness. 
  • Annual reimbursement rate — Once your claim has been approved, your provider will reimburse you for an agreed-upon percentage of the vet costs at hand. Standard reimbursement rates are typically 70, 80, or 90%, but some providers with age restrictions sometimes offer lower reimbursement rates for older animals. 

Adjusting your plan customizations is one of the most effective ways to reduce your monthly premium if you end up with an initial quote that’s out of your price range. But remember, the lower your annual coverage limit and reimbursement percentage, the less coverage you’ll have. 

How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance in South Carolina for You

Even though we often emphasize that the earlier you enroll your cat or dog, the more you’ll get out of your coverage by keeping abreast of pre-existing conditions, we also don’t recommend rushing blindly into a plan for the sake of time. 

Skipping over the research stages could leave you either paying for coverage you don’t need or finding out you’re underinsured through a claim denial, thus leaving you with no other option than to pay out of pocket. Both scenarios completely defeat the purpose of having pet insurance in the first place. Fortunately, both are also avoidable if you do your due diligence. 

To start strong in your search for the best pet insurance in South Carolina, first, figure out what kind of coverage you need, as well as how much. Are you looking for the most basic emergency insurance coverage available or for more comprehensive protection to cover things like chronic conditions, critical illnesses, and even routine care?

After you’ve zeroed in on your coverage objectives, you’ll want to generate a custom pet insurance quote from at least three credible providers and begin comparing prices from there. Remember that every pet insurance plan has its own unique coverage scope, so even once you find a price that works, go through the fine print to make sure you’re not getting lowballed because of a long list of exclusions. 

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost in SC?

On average, standard accident-illness coverage among the most reputable pet insurance policies in South Carolina costs between $30 to $50 per month for dog owners and $14 to $22 for cat owners. Keep in mind that these are generalized estimates, and your personal premium could very well fall above or below based on where you live in South Carolina. 

For example, accident-illness coverage through Spot for a 4-year-old medium mixed breed in Charleston, South Carolina, will cost $33.56 per month, whereas the same coverage for the same dog but based in York, South Carolina, will cost $25.03 per month. 

To also exemplify just how much your monthly rate could vary in South Carolina across all five featured providers, we generated a sampling of quotes for both cats and dogs in the table below. 

All of the following estimates are based on an alias policyholder with a 2-year-old pet — either a medium mix breed dog or a domestic short-haired kitty — living in Columbia, South Carolina, and selecting the most popular accident-illness plan customizations as recommended by each provider. Sample wellness costs for our dog and cat insurance quotes chose the most basic add-on available.

Provider Sample Monthly Cost For Dogs Sample Monthly Cost For Cats Sample Monthly Wellness Cost 
Spot $31.90 $18.39 $41.85 for dogs; $28.34 for cats
Lemonade $21.50 $14.33 $37.50 for dogs; $24.33 per month for cats
Embrace $39.61 $21.48 $58.36 for dogs; $40.23 for cats
Healthy Paws $40.69 $18.78 N/A
ASPCA $31.90 $18.39 $41.85 for dogs; $28.34 for cats

Final Thoughts

One common hesitation about pet insurance, which often keeps many pet owners on the fence until something does happen, is the hypothetical chance you’ll end up paying a premium for years only to never actually end up making a claim. If this does happen to be the case, then lucky you! No claims filed means your pet hasn’t endured a critical illness or injury — and that’s the best-case scenario, right? 

And as for the money you put forth, it wasn’t all for nothing. Even though you never had to use your emergency coverage, it still gave you the invaluable peace of mind that should your pet get into trouble, money wouldn’t be a confounding factor in your pet’s access to quality medical care. 

Information for Pet Owners in South Carolina

From the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the shoreline of Myrtle Beach, the Palmetto state has no end of pet-friendly spots for sniffing out an adventure that you’ll never forget. But, before you hit the road with your pup in tow, there are some pet laws specific to the state of South Carolina that you need to be aware of to keep your pet and others safe. 

South Carolina Pet Laws

From beach regulations to animal bite liability laws, here are some of the most important South Carolina pet laws to abide by as you venture throughout the state with your pooch:

  • South Carolina enforces a statewide leash provision that deems it unlawful for any person to bring a dog into a public park or facility unless it is crated, caged, or on a leash under six feet in length. 
  • However, dogs engaged in hunting efforts are allowed to be off-leash as long as they’re under the voice control and supervision of their owner. 
  • Residents of South Carolina with more than three dogs in their household must have a kennel license registered with their local county. 
  • Pit bulls, in particular, must be fully vaccinated, microchipped, and either spayed or neutered. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine. 
  • Any dog owner that fails to have their dog vaccinated for rabies and keep a rabies tag on the animal’s collar could face a fine of up to $200 in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Fun Things to Do With Your Pet in SC

Barc Parc South is easily one of the best places in South Carolina to take your dog. This is more than just an ordinary dog park, though, because it boasts multiple lawns and grassy areas as well as several bodies of water. The park spans a full 14 acres and is a great place for your dog to make some new friends.

If your pup loves getting its paws wet, you’ll find some nice beaches that welcome dogs. Hilton Head accepts dogs on most of its beaches, and Kiawah also welcomes dogs. Though you can also take your dog to Surfside Beach, this beach prohibits animals from the middle of May through the middle of September.

There are also some great restaurants that welcome four-legged guests, including the Brown Dog Deli in Charleston and the Lost Dog Cafe in Folly Beach. Fuel Charleston offers gourmet dishes in an old gas station and welcomes pets.

South Carolina Pet Resources

  • Greenville County Spay/Neuter — The County of Greenville’s animal services department offers free spaying and neutering for dogs that are at least 40 pounds and puppies that will grow to at least that size. Low-cost spaying and neutering are available for other-sized dogs as well as cats.
  • Animal Allies Spay & Neuter Clinic — This local clinic performs more than 16,000 surgeries every year and offers affordable rates for pet owners based on their incomes.
  • Pawmetto Lifeline —  Free spaying and neutering are available from this clinic for those who meet specific requirements and can put down a small deposit. It also operates a mobile vaccine clinic that travels to cities across South Carolina. The organization also offers a pet food pantry.
  • Columbia Humane Society — CHS offers free pet food and other supplies for pet owners who live in Columbia. It also provides spay/neuter services at affordable rates. 
  • Pet Helpers — Designed to assist pet owners in various states, this organization has food pantries in major parts of South Carolina that provide dog owners in need with basic supplies as well as treats and food.

Our Methodology

The 365 Pet Insurance research team looks at all pet insurance policies and comes up with our reviews based on coverage, plan options, cost, reputation, customer service, and species eligibility. We’ve also created a rating system to score pet insurance brands.

We’ve consulted with pet experts and dug into plans to develop what we think are the best overall plans, complete with ratings on coverage, how they handle claims, reimbursements, deductibles, limits, and more.

To make our list, pet insurance companies must have:

  • A variety of plan options
  • Affordable monthly rates

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.