Best Pet Insurance Companies & Plans 2021

0
171

[ad_1]

Anyone who has ever taken a sick or injured pet to the vet knows how expensive veterinary care can be. It’s in those sorts of situations where having a financial safety net to fall back on can be most helpful. It’s also in those situations where you shouldn’t have to decide between the health of your pet and your family’s financial well-being.

As a relatively new form of insurance – the first policy was issued in 1982 – pet insurance is not as well understood as other types such as homeowners, renters, or life insurance. In our unbiased rating of the Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2021, we aim to help you choose the best insurance company for your pet and illuminate pet insurance by looking at what it does and doesn’t cover as well as what factors will affect the price of a policy.

The Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2021

Figo »

3.6 out of 5

Company

No Limit MAXIMUM ENROLL AGE (yo)
30 Days MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
Learn More »
Learn More

Healthy Paws  »

Healthy Paws

Best Pet Insurance Company of 2021

Sample Premium for Dogs
$39.10
Sample Premium for Cats
$12.71
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Healthy Paws: Healthy Paws offers a single pet insurance plan that covers accidents and illnesses with an annual deductible and no payout limits. If you want to lower your premiums, Healthy Paws gives you the option of either raising your deductible or lowering your reimbursement level. Also, Healthy Paws covers what it calls alternative care for your pet, which includes hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. What Healthy Paws’ plan doesn’t cover is things like wellness expenses, vet exams, and treatment for behavioral issues. As a bonus, it has a Refer-a-Friend program. After your referred friend completes the application process, Healthy Paws will donate $25 to help homeless pets.

Trupanion  »

Trupanion

Offers Per-Condition Deductibles

Sample Premium for Dogs
$63.61
Sample Premium for Cats
$28.06
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Trupanion: Trupanion is unique in our rating for offering direct payment of veterinarian expenses. This means that if you use a participating vet, Trupanion will pay the vet’s office before you leave and you won’t need to file a claim. Trupanion is similar to Healthy Paws in that it also has only one plan and no payout limits, but Trupanion offers more plan options, including a Recovery and Care Rider and a Pet Owner Assistance Package. It also offers a lifetime per-condition deductible, as opposed to Healthy Paws’ annual deductible. The company also has a refer-a-friend program, where you can earn $25 for each friend referred, up to a limit of $100 a year.

Pets Best  »

Pets Best

No Upper Age Limits for Enrollment

Sample Premium for Dogs
$18.80
Sample Premium for Cats
$11.13
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Pets Best: The main plan from Pets Best covers accidents and illnesses for cats and dogs with no age restrictions on enrollment. This plan has three levels: Essential, Plus, and Elite. Going up the tiers adds benefits like covering exam fees for accidents and illnesses and coverage for rehab. The company also has two wellness plan options to cover things like microchipping, flea and tick prevention, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and deworming. This is the highest-rated company in our rating to offer coverage for routine and preventative care. Plans through Pets Best have an annual deductible, with payout limit options ranging from $5,000 a year to unlimited. Among companies in our rating, Pets Best also has a shorter than average waiting period (the period of time between when your policy takes effect and when you can file claims) of three days for accidents. If added to your policy, routine care can be used immediately.

Embrace Pet Insurance  »

Embrace Pet Insurance

Offers Healthy Pet Deductible Credits

Sample Premium for Dogs
$24.16
Sample Premium for Cats
$11.65
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Embrace Pet Insurance: Like all the companies in our rating Embrace doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, though they do have an exception to this rule. If your pet suffers from what is deemed to be a curable condition and has been symptom- and treatment-free for at least one year, the company may cover the condition again in the future. Embrace also features what it calls a diminishing deductible that allows your deductible to decrease each year your pet is healthy and you don’t file a claim. Policies through Embrace also cover veterinary exam fees, which is unusual among companies in our rating. And while Embrace doesn’t offer wellness insurance policies or riders, it does offer a Wellness Rewards plan that covers items such as grooming and training.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance  »

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Covers Range of Pets Including Horses

Sample Premium for Dogs
$32.21
Sample Premium for Cats
$18.41
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance offers accident and illness coverage as well as accident-only coverage for cats and dogs. These plans have adjustable annual deductibles and adjustable annual payout limits. In addition to covering most accident and illness-related issues, ASPCA covers treatment for behavioral issues such as fur pulling, destructive chewing, and excessive licking. You also have the option to add a preventative rider to your main plan. ASPCA is unique in our rating for offering insurance policies that cover horses. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance licenses its name from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and is not a part of that organization.

PetFirst Pet Insurance  »

PetFirst Pet Insurance
Sample Premium for Dogs
$23.19
Sample Premium for Cats
$12.35
App Available
No

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

PetFirst Pet Insurance: Founded in 2004 and purchased by MetLife in 2020, PetFirst offers accident and illness coverage for cats and dogs along with the option of adding routine care coverage. You can also enroll your pet in PetFirst plans regardless of their age, something that isn’t true of all the companies in our rating. PetFirst’s plans offer adjustable annual deductibles and payment limits as well as a decreasing deductible.

Figo  »

Figo
Sample Premium for Dogs
$22.15
Sample Premium for Cats
$23.40
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Figo: Figo offers three pet insurance plans that cover accidents and injuries for cats and dogs. Higher-level plans increase the annual payout limit. There are also options to cover veterinary fees and prescription food. You can use its Pet Cloud mobile app to connect with a licensed veterinary professional 24/7, to gain access to your Figo account, and for more social purposes like finding local dog parks or sharing photos with other pet owners.

Petplan  »

Petplan
Sample Premium for Dogs
N/A
Sample Premium for Cats
N/A
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Petplan: In addition to accident and illness policies, Petplan covers vet exams, unlike most of the companies in our rating. Petplan also covers virtual vet visits which could be a boon for those who have trouble making it to a vet’s office. Additionally, Petplan says it will cover up to $1,000 in boarding fees for your pet should you be hospitalized. Petplan’s policies come with an annual-style deductible and payment limits.

Nationwide  »

Nationwide
Sample Premium for Dogs
$60.52
Sample Premium for Cats
$35.45
App Available
Yes

Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.

Nationwide: Nationwide is the first insurer in the U.S. to offer pet insurance. Its main plan covers both routine and preventative care for your cat or dog. You also have the option of separately purchasing accident and illness insurance or wellness plans. Nationwide is the only company in our rating to offer coverage for birds and other exotic pets such as chinchillas, ferrets, rats, amphibians, lizards, snakes, and tortoises. While Nationwide looks expensive compared to other companies in our pet insurance rating, keep in mind that the plan includes wellness coverage, something most of the other companies don’t include in their main plans.

When deciding which insurance company to choose for your pet’s health insurance, ask yourself questions such as:

  • What type of policy do I need?
  • Will it cover the possible future health conditions of my pet?
  • What type of deductible does it come with?
  • What are the payout limits?

The most common type of policy in our rating is for accident and illness only. While many people may assume that routine care will be covered in a pet insurance plan, as is often the case with health insurance for people, in pet insurance that is more the exception than the rule. If you choose an accident- and injury-only plan items like spaying and neutering, microchipping, deworming, vaccinations, and nail trims will probably not be covered.

Next, you should closely examine which conditions, diagnostic tests, and treatments are covered. If you have a breed that is prone to certain hereditary conditions, such as congenital conditions or hip and elbow dysplasia, check to see if the company you are interested in covers that. It should be noted that if your pet is currently displaying symptoms, or has had symptoms of a condition in the past, this will be considered a pre-existing condition and will likely not be covered by any of the companies in our rating. As with many types of insurance, you don’t want to find out the hard way that something you expected to be covered by insurance isn’t. Also, check for age limits before applying, as some companies won’t insure older pets or will limit them to accident-only plans.

After you’ve examined the policy and found that it covers the things your pet may likely require, look for the type of deductible offered. A deductible is the amount of money you pay the company before your policy starts covering your veterinary expenses. In general, the companies in our rating offer two types of deductible: an annual deductible or a lifetime per-condition deductible.

An annual deductible may be the kind you are most familiar with. It’s often seen in health insurance for people where every year you have a new deductible to meet before your policy starts covering your expenses. The same is true for pet insurance plans. A per-condition deductible means that for each different condition there will be a deductible. Neither type is inherently better or worse than the other. If your pet ends up at the vet multiple times within a policy period, each time with different injuries or illnesses, an annual deductible will likely be less expensive. If your pet ends up with an illness that will require care over multiple years but has no other issues, then a per-condition deductible will likely be less expensive.

While you’re examining the policy or company, look to see what payment limits are offered. In our rating, there are companies with annual limits and some without payment limits. Annual limits put a cap on how much your policy will reimburse you for covered expenses within a year.

You also might want to research whether the company you are considering allows you to customize your premiums. Many companies allow policyholders to adjust aspects of their policy like the deductible, reimbursement rate, or payout limit to customize their monthly cost. When you lower your payout limits and reimbursement percentage, your premiums will go down. You can also lower your premiums by raising your deductible.

Another thing to look for is discounts. Many companies offer discounts for veterans, animal care employees, and people insuring multiple pets.

  • Choose the type of policy you need: You will most likely be choosing between an accident- and illness-only policy and a policy that includes routine care. Some policies offer the option of covering routine care.
  • Examine the policy to see if it fits your pet’s needs: Check to see if your pet is within the policy’s age limits. If you own a breed of cat or dog that is prone to certain conditions, make sure the policy you are considering will cover those conditions.
  • Choose your preferred type of deductible: In our rating, the two most common types of deductible are a per-condition deductible and an annual deductible.
  • Choose your preferred type of payout limit: In our rating, companies generally have either an annual payout limit or no payout limit.
  • Check if the company offers adjustable premiums: Many companies allow you to customize your premiums by adjusting your payout limits, reimbursement percentage, and deductibles.
  • Look for discounts: Common discounts include those for veterans and those for people insuring multiple pets.

Other things to consider when shopping for pet insurance is customer service and if there are any available add-ons. Some companies in our rating offer add-ons like wellness plans and alternative care plans (covering things like hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care). Also, review the level of customer service available. Most companies offer customer service via email, online chat, or phone, with a few offering mobile apps.

Most of the pet insurance policies in our rating are designed to cover your cat or dog in case of accidents and illnesses but are not intended to cover routine veterinary care. This means that if your pet becomes sick or is injured in some way, the policy would cover some of your veterinary expenses. However, if your pet is going to the vet for routine care like vaccinations, dental care, and annual exams, their expenses would not be covered by the policy. There are a few pet insurance companies that either offer plans to cover preventative care, like Nationwide, or riders for the main policies, like PetFirst.

Many pet insurance policies will cover hereditary conditions. The asterisk next to this is that your pet cannot already have shown symptoms of the condition or it will be considered a pre-existing condition.

Typically, pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. This means that if your pet has previously been diagnosed with a condition, or if you have noticed symptoms that are related to the condition, care for that condition will not be covered by your policy. Again, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, Petplan doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, but if the condition has been considered cured for an extended period of time, it could be covered again in the future.

Also, almost all of the companies in our rating offer coverage options exclusively for cats and dogs. The exceptions include Nationwide, with its Avian & Exotic Pet plan, and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, which also covers horses.

  • Accident and Illness Insurance: These policies cover your pet in the case that they are injured or fall ill.
  • Wellness Insurance: Wellness policies generally cover more routine issues like exams, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and nail trims.
  • Exotic Pet Insurance: This type of insurance covers pets that aren’t cats or dogs. Very few companies offer this type of insurance.

Most pet insurance policies are for when your pet is injured or becomes ill. Sometimes this will be split into separate accident or illness plans.

Wellness policies, plans, and riders are rare. Some companies, like ASPCA and PetFirst, offer routine care or preventative care riders, while companies like Nationwide offer separate wellness insurance policies. One thing to look out for is that some companies, like Embrace, offer a wellness rewards plan. These are not necessarily insurance policies or riders but are designed to cover things like check-ups and other preventative care up to a certain amount each year. When researching different companies with wellness add-ons, look to see whether the wellness plans are a type of insurance policy or not.

The third type of insurance is designed to cover pets that aren’t cats and dogs, such as birds, reptiles, and small animals. Only one company in our rating, Nationwide, offers such a policy. Its Avian & Exotic Pet policy covers accidents, illnesses, and some preventative care such as exams. While it doesn’t offer an exotic pet plan per se, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance does offer plans that cover horses.

Pet Insurance Plan Availability

Healthy Paws »
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Trupanion »
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Pets Best »
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Healthy Paws » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Trupanion » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Pets Best » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Figo » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Petplan » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan
Nationwide » Company
Accident & Illness Plan
Accident Only Plan
Wellness Rider
Wellness Plan

The pet insurance policies in our rating cost between approximately $19 and $64 per month for a large 1-year-old female mixed-breed dog and between approximately $11 and $35 per month for a 1-year-old male domestic shorthair cat. The prices for both animals are based, where applicable, on a policy with a $5,000 annual limit, 90% reimbursement rate, and $500 deductible.

The monthly premiums for pets are based on several factors, including whether your pet is a cat or dog, their age, any pre-existing conditions, where you reside, and how you choose to adjust your deductible and coverage limits. In our ratings, and according to research from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average premiums for dog insurance is higher than those for cat insurance.

Companies tend to increase your premiums for pets as they age, with some companies even refusing to start new policies for pets over a certain age.

This will depend on a number of factors including whether your pet’s breed is predisposed to certain genetic conditions, your financial situation, and what your expectations for a pet insurance policy are.

If your pet is a breed prone to certain conditions, insuring your pet before they show symptoms could be a way to ensure you will be able to afford treatment for those conditions should they arise. If your pet is already showing symptoms of the condition, then no company in our rating would cover treatment for that condition as it would be considered a pre-existing condition. Even in these circumstances, a pet insurance policy might still make sense for you as your pet may develop other issues that require medical attention.

Veterinary expenses for pets can be expensive and pet insurance may not cover them for you. For example, according to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the average price of a surgical vet visit was $426 for a dog and $214 for a cat. If your dog had an accident and required a $426 surgery, but your policy has a $500 deductible, then you would be paying for the cost of the surgery out of pocket. But, if your dog required follow-up care related to the accident, and it was covered by your insurance policy, then you would be covered for those additional expenses once your deductible was met.

Some people will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having an insurance policy while others will be more comfortable placing money into a savings account for veterinary expenses.

  1. Select a pet insurance company.
  2. Fill out a form for a quote.
  3. Schedule a visit with your vet or request they send in your pet’s medical records.

Once you’ve chosen a pet insurance company that suits your needs, you can fill out a form on the company’s website to request a quote. You will usually be asked your pet’s name, whether they’re a cat or dog, their breed, age, where you live, and broad questions about whether they have any preexisting conditions. Once you’ve received the quote you will likely be asked more specific questions about your pet’s medical history. You will also be asked to select a plan, where applicable, and make decisions about your deductible, payout limits, and reimbursement rates.

At some point in the process, the company will likely either request you schedule an exam with your vet or that your vet submit your pet’s medical history. Some companies will wait until you file your first claim before requesting your pet’s medical records. If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, whether officially diagnosed by the vet or not, those conditions will generally be excluded from your coverage.

Do Pet Insurance Plans Only Cover Cats and Dogs?

No, in our rating we have two companies that offer insurance policies for more animals than just cats and dogs. Nationwide offers a policy for birds and other exotic pets while ASPCA Pet Health Insurance offers plans that cover horses.

Do Pet Insurance Plans Offer Discounts?

Yes, many pet insurance companies offer discounts. To help make policies more budget-friendly, many companies offer discounts when you insure multiple pets. There are also some discounts for veterans, active members of the military, and people who work in jobs related to animal care.

Pet Insurance Discount Comparison

Healthy Paws »
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Trupanion »
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Pets Best »
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Embrace Pet Insurance »
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Healthy Paws » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Trupanion » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Pets Best » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Embrace Pet Insurance » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
PetFirst Pet Insurance » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Figo » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Petplan » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **
Nationwide » Company
Multiple Pet Discount
Military Discount
Assistance Pet Discount
Animal-Care Workers Discount **

* A 5% affiliation discount may apply to individuals who belong to select military, law enforcement and service animal training organizations that have a relationship with Nationwide. ** Animal-care worker discount is offered to pet owners who works at animal care facilities such as shelters

Do Pet Insurance Companies Have Networks?

Pet insurance companies generally don’t have networks. While Trupanion does partner with some vets to provide instant reimbursement on its policies, you can still use this insurance with other vets.

How Do You File a Pet Insurance Claim?

With most pet insurance providers, to file a claim you will fill out a claim form on the company’s website, in its app, or by printing it out and mailing it. You typically submit an invoice from your vet with your claim.

Learn More

For more information about pet insurance visit our guides:

Other Ratings From 360 Reviews

For more information about other types of insurance visit our guides:

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing pet insurance to guide prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.

U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which pet insurance companies Americans are most interested in. We found 19 companies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources. After conducting a thorough analysis, we were able to condense the initial list to the 9 overall Best Pet Insurance Companies. With the companies determined, we conducted a comprehensive research on their features to create a general layout of what consumers should know to assist with their purchasing decisions.

We then compared the available plans provided by our top pet insurance companies across several criteria, including but not limited to cost, wellness riders, waiting periods, plan coverage, claim processing time, unique features, and customer satisfaction. Research shows that these are the most important criteria for people shopping for pet insurance.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.

U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from professional reviews as well as consumer reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent pet insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of pet insurance companies and their plans. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of pet insurance companies. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.

(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations, and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company’s score compared to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:

  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.

We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than one was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

[ad_2]

Source link