Americans love their pets. Recent data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that 70% of US households — roughly 90.5 million families — own a pet. But only 3.9 million pets are enrolled in a pet insurance plan, a pet healthcare package designed to help families better afford vet costs.
Among the many costs of owning a cat or dog, unplanned veterinary visits can cost pet owners hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. Just as we protect our human loved ones with health insurance, we can also make sure that our furry friends are safe from unexpected health emergencies with pet insurance. A pet insurance plan mitigates the financial risk of owning a pet by providing coverage for emergency visits, routine exams and prescription medication, depending on your policy specifics.
Pet insurance is a financial tool that can help per owners save money on vet bills. If you’re worried about being able to afford major medical care for your furry friends, read on to discover our top six picks for best pet insurance companies.
Read more: Here’s How Much It Costs to Own a Dog or Cat
Best pet insurance companies
Coverage type: Accident, illness, wellnessStarting rate: $37 a month for dogs; $28 a month for catsMaximum annual coverage: $5,000 to unlimitedDeductibles: $100 to $750Pets covered: Dogs, cats
Figo is our pick for the most comprehensive pet insurance plan available. It offers best-in-class 100% reimbursement for covered expenses with $5,000, $10,000 or unlimited annual benefits (complete with 70% to 100% reimbursement). Like other carriers, preexisting conditions, preventative dental care, elective procedures and routine wellness are not covered unless you purchase a separate rider.
You can create your own custom plan to include coverage for veterinary exam fees and other wellness care. Figo also offers an extra care pack with coverage for lost pet advertising, vacation cancellation for pet emergencies, boarding fees, pet theft or loss, up to $10,000 per policy for third-party property damage liability and cremation or burial expenses.
Like most traditional pet insurance policies, you’ll need to pay for your vet bills up-front and then file for reimbursement through the Figo Pet Cloud mobile app, online or by faxing or emailing your paid invoice. Reimbursements are issued within 10 business days by mailed check or five business days via direct deposit. The Figo Pet Cloud app also lets you store your pet’s vet records online and connect with other pet parents in your area.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:There’s a one-day waiting period for accident coverage and the industry standard 14-day waiting period for illness coverage. Figo will insure pets once they’re eight weeks old and there’s no upper age limit.
Discounts:Figo offers discounts for multiple policies and up to 10% discounts for employees at participating vets. Costco members are eligible for a 15% discount on Figo pet insurance.
Coverage type: Accident, illness, routine careStarting rate: $9 a month for dogs, $6 a month for catsMaximum annual coverage: $5,000 to unlimitedDeductibles: $50 to $1,000Pets covered: Dogs, cats
For the lowest monthly premium and a solid array of policies for both accident and illness protection, we recommend Pets Best. This insurance provider offers inexpensive insurance coverage for pet parents. It can be a bit cumbersome to sort through all the conditions included and not included in its three tiers of policies, but doing so is worthwhile to ensure you opt for the right level of coverage.
Pets Best has plans that cover routine vet visits and for an additional $16 to $26 per month will cover the cost of vaccines, spay/neuter services, bloodwork, heartworm preventatives — a rare find in the pet insurance industry.
Like Figo, Pets Best is a reimbursement insurance plan. You can file a claim by snapping a picture of your paid invoice and uploading it via the mobile app or online website, answering a couple of questions then submitting it for reimbursement. You can also file via email, fax or mail by submitting their claims form and a copy of your paid, itemized vet invoice. Pets Best states you can expect reimbursement in as little as two days with direct deposit or five to seven days by paper check.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:Pets Best’s waiting periods for accidents are a bit longer than competitors — starting at three days — but illness coverage is standard at three days.
Discounts:Pets Best offers a 5% discount for pet parents who enroll more than one pet, and if you purchase a pet through a participating adoption center or animal shelter, you can receive another 5% custom discount code. You can also get special offers on training supplies, treats and products through Pets Best.
Coverage type: Discount planStarting rate: $10 monthlyMaximum annual coverage: UnlimitedDeductibles: NonePets covered: All: dogs, cats, birds, exotic animals, farm animals, small animals
Pet Assure is a little bit different than most pet insurance plans — it’s not technically pet insurance, but rather a discount plan that offers 25% off all in-house medical care at participating vets with no claims required. If your vet accepts Pet Assure — and you should find out before applying — we like that this plan offers discounts for preexisting conditions that aren’t covered by most policies.
There are few restrictions with Pet Assure — no waiting periods, deductibles or annual maximums. The few exclusions to its discount plan include non-medical services, outsourced lab work or other services, food and medications.
Pet Assure plans are size-dependent — you choose a plan for one small or large pet (based on weight) or a multi-pet plan, which covers up to four animals of any size. The unlimited plan covers five or more animals. Discounts are deducted at the time you pay your vet bill, at participating vets.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:Pet Assure does not have waiting periods or eligibility requirements. However, this plan cannot be used if your vet offers its own discount service.
Discounts:You can also save approximately 30% on the price of your Pet Assure plan by paying annually instead of monthly.
Coverage type: Accident, illness, wellnessStarting rate: $72 monthly for dogs, $31 monthly for catsMaximum annual coverage: $20,000Deductibles: $100 to $500Pets covered: Dogs, cats
A newcomer to the pet insurance industry, Pumpkin offers comprehensive coverage that will reimburse you for many conditions other pet insurance companies deny, including dental disease, behavioral issues, parasite infection and hereditary disorders. But you’ll also pay higher monthly premiums in exchange. That said, if you’re visiting the vet frequently, this insurance offers a higher maximum annual coverage than most.
Pumpkin also offers 90% reimbursement coverage for dogs and cats with a choice of a $100, $250 or $500 annual deductible. Opting for a lower deductible will raise your monthly bill. You can also add $12 to $19 to your monthly plan to cover 100% of eligible wellness exam fees, vaccines and fecal tests.
Though preexisting conditions are not covered, a curable condition like a fractured paw or UTI will be covered if your pet remains symptom- and treatment-free for six months, except for knee and hind leg ligament conditions. Pumpkin does not cover spay or neuter surgery, though prescription food and supplements to treat an eligible accident or illness are covered.
In addition to more comprehensive coverage, Pumpkin will pay a portion of your vet bill upfront. If your vet requires full payment in advance, you’ll have to submit a claim as usual.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:Waiting periods are standard — it takes 14 days before coverage kicks in — but Pumpkin does not have a separate waiting period for cruciate conditions and hip dysplasia like other pet insurance companies. Pets that are eight weeks old and up are eligible, and there are no age cap or breed restrictions.
Discounts:There’s also a 10% discount added for each additional pet you sign up.
Coverage type: Accident, illness, wellnessStarting rate: $34 a month for medical coverage, $64 a month for complete coverageMaximum annual coverage: $10,000 to defined per conditionDeductibles: $250Pets covered: Dogs, cats, birds, exotic pets
Based on our research, Nationwide is the only company currently offering reimbursement pet insurance coverage for birds and exotic pets. To get quotes for your exotic pets, you’ll have to call Nationwide directly, but you can purchase pet insurance for a dog or cat online. Nationwide’s wellness features are robust and include annual exams, vaccinations, blood work, urinalysis and flea and heartworm preventatives.
Each plan comes with a $250 annual deductible, 90% reimbursement and defined annual benefits per condition, which is different from most pet insurance plans. The whole pet plan has a cap of $10,000 in annual benefits and pet owners can choose from a 50%, 70% or 90% reimbursement level. Nationwide also offers whole pet coverage, which includes congenital conditions. Pet parents have access to a 24/7 vet customer service line you can call for advice and quick help.
You can file a claim online, through the app, or email, mail or fax a state-specific claim form along with your paid veterinarian invoice.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:The pet wellness plan has a one-day waiting period when purchased alone, while the other plans have standard 14-day waiting periods. Pets under 10 years old can be added to a plan and are then covered throughout their entire life.
Discounts:You get a 5% discount for enrolling more than one pet and an additional 5% discount if you’re an existing Nationwide policyholder.
Coverage type: Accident, illnessStarting rate: $38 monthly for dogs, $24 monthly for catsMaximum annual coverage: $5,000 to $30,000Deductibles: $200 to $1,000Pets covered: Dogs, cats
If your pet is injury-prone, Embrace may have the best policy for emergency visits, vet specialists and hospitalization costs. Embrace covers just about everything — except for preexisting conditions. Its Healthy Pet program decreases your deductible by $50 for each year you don’t receive a claim reimbursement. Once a claim is filed, your deductible resets to the original amount.
You can also enroll in one of Embrace’s additional wellness plans, which are available in amounts of $250, $450 or $650 per pet. You can use the funds right away for your pet and pay back the balance monthly. You’ll receive a discount of around $25 depending on the plan you select.
Claims can be filed online, by fax or by mail and are typically processed within 10 to 15 business days, with reimbursements paid by mailed check or direct deposit.
Waiting period and eligibility requirements:The waiting period for accidents is just two days; illnesses require 14 days. You can purchase accident and illness coverage for pets up to 15 years old and accident-only coverage for pets 15 and older.
Discounts:If you have multiple pets, you’ll receive a 10% discount on both policies, and if you’re a military member, you’ll receive a 5% discount.
Best pet insurance companies, compared
Frequent vet visits
Accident, illness, wellness
Accident illness, routine care
Accident, illness, wellness
Accident, illness, wellness
$28 a month for cats; $37 a month for dogs
$6 a month for cats; $9 a month for dogs
$31 a month for cats; $72 a month for dogs
$34 a month for medical; $64 a month for complete coverage
$24 a month for cats; $38 a month for dogs
Max Annual Coverage
$10,000 (varies per condition)
Cats, dogs, birds, exotic pets
All US states
All US states
All US states
*47 states (excludes Massachusetts, Louisiana, Alaska and Hawaii)
All US states
Pet insurance works similarly to human health insurance. You’ll pay a regular premium in exchange for receiving reimbursement for your veterinary expenses. There will usually be a deductible amount that you’ll need to pay first before getting money back from insurance coverage. While most pet insurance companies only cover cats and dogs, Nationwide Insurance is one of the few to include birds and “exotic animals” in its policies.
How does pet insurance work?
There are two types of pet insurance plans — reimbursement policies and discount plans. Most pet insurance policies operate on a reimbursement basis, which means they require up-front payment to the veterinarian’s office. You then file a claim for reimbursement, which is determined by your deductible, reimbursement percentage and annual coverage maximum. Reimbursements may be mailed to you via a check or sent through direct deposit into your bank account. Some reimbursement policies will also pay your vet directly if your vet allows payment plans. Keep in mind, many policies have a maximum annual coverage limit, after which you’ll no longer be reimbursed for vet expenses.
Pet insurance with a discount program can lower your vet bill at the time of payment. Your vet will need to participate in a discount program for you to take advantage of these savings.
Is pet insurance expensive?
Based on the companies profiled here, you can expect to pay between $9 to $72 a month on pet insurance for a dog and $6 to $31 for a cat. The amount you pay for pet insurance depends on a few different factors, including your pet’s age, breed, location, health, provider, type of coverage, deductible and reimbursement amount.
Is pet insurance worth the cost?
If your pet visits the vet frequently, insurance might be worthwhile. However, if your pet is healthy and only goes for exams, it may not be worth the price for insurance. Keep in mind, the older your pet gets, the more expensive pet insurance and vet care can be. You should weigh your anticipated vet expenses and consider your pet’s health before deciding if pet insurance is right for you.
Is pet insurance tax-deductible?
No, pet insurance is not tax-deductible. It is considered a cost of owning a pet and is usually paid with post-tax dollars unless your employer offers pre-tax pet insurance coverage.
If you own a service animal, however, like a guide dog, the IRS lets you deduct pet insurance costs on your taxes. Therapy animal expenses are not currently tax-deductible.
Is pet insurance only for cats and dogs?
Most pet insurance companies only cover cats and dogs, but some insurance companies offer coverage for other pets. For example, Nationwide and Pet Assure offer insurance for birds and exotic pets.
CNET reviews insurance carriers and products by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each category. For pet insurance, we examine coverage types, starting rates, deductibles, maximum annual coverage, pets covered and availability.
For this list, we also included uncommon coverage options, including preexisting conditions, dental exams and emergency care.
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