Pet Insurance Guide

dog at the vets office

Pet insurance policies have many moving parts, and it’s essential to understand how each of those pieces works before you apply for coverage. Pet insurance reimburses owners for a portion of the cost of covered veterinary care. This coverage can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for unexpected injuries, illnesses, wellness care, and behavioral conditions.

But pet insurance plans vary in what they cover and how they payout, so it’s essential to understand your policy before buying. Most people purchase pet insurance to help protect their dog or cat from unexpected veterinary bills. 

Before you buy, it’s essential to understand precisely which  medical situations your pet’s policy covers. For example, does your plan pay for hereditary and congenital conditions? Does it cover diagnostic tests like blood work or X-rays? Is there a deductible, and if so, does that deductible reset for each state or incident? What is the maximum amount your policy will reimburse you per year? Does it include coverage for alternative therapies like acupuncture or hydrotherapy? This guide will walk you through the basics of pet insurance, explain the differences between policies, and offer tips on how to get the most value from your plan.

Funny pug dog playing with plush toy mouse

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance covers medical bills for your pet if injured or sick. The most common reason people get a policy is because of the high cost of vet care. Insurance will pay for most treatments, surgeries, medications, and more. When researching plans, you need to look at the coverage limits and deductibles. There are many different levels of protection available, so make sure you look at all your options before deciding.

It takes care of the unexpected and lets you focus on getting your pet healthy instead of worrying about the vet bill. But, of course, pets are unpredictable, so we offer several types of plans to help make it more affordable to keep them happy and healthy.

If you’re considering buying pet insurance, it’s essential to understand what is covered and what’s not. All providers cover accidents, but some plans cover only the most basic care while others offer a range of coverage options. Buying a policy can be like getting life insurance for a family member. It is a difficult decision because you want great coverage and want to save money. The best way to start learning about pet insurance is by looking at what is covered with policies.

You can choose your deductible, which means you pay more upfront out of pocket but have a lower premium. If your pet gets sick or injured and needs treatment, you pay the deductible amount first; then, the policy kicks in for anything over that amount.

There are usually limits on how much is paid out per incident, per year, or over your pet’s lifetime. Likewise, there may be limits on how much the plan will pay for specific treatments or illnesses. Policies may also have waiting periods for particular conditions or a maximum age limit for purchasing coverage for your pet.

Why Do You Need Pet Insurance?

The cost of caring for your pets can add up. Routine visits, emergency care, surgeries, and medications are all everyday expenses that can start to feel overwhelming. Pet insurance helps cover these costs so you can focus on what matters most: the health and happiness of your pet.

You do everything possible to keep your furry friend happy and healthy, but unfortunately, pets are prone to allergies, dental disease, ear infections, and more. The average dog visit to the vet can range from $300-$600. Pet insurance helps cover some of that cost to provide the best possible care for your pet without breaking the bank.

Some pet insurance companies cover accidents and illnesses, while others only cover accidents. Some cover preventative care like vaccines and annual exams, while others do not. It’s important to know what kind of coverage you have, so you can choose a vet that accepts your plan. Pet insurance does not work like human health insurance; you will be reimbursed after paying the vet bill out of pocket.

Many plans also have a waiting period of typically 10-14 days before your pet’s coverage begins. Some conditions like allergies or dental disease are not covered immediately. Waiting periods also apply to any pre-existing condition your pet may have at enrollment.

If you think pet insurance is right for you and your pet, there are many options to choose from online. Some companies even offer instant quotes so you can compare costs and find the best deal for you and your furry friend.

Couple walking with Beagle dog wearing in collar and leash in the summer park

Long story short, pet insurance is a type of coverage that helps cover the cost of medical care for your pets. It’s similar to human health insurance in that you pay a monthly premium and have a deductible before coverage kicks in. However, pet insurance works by reimbursing you after your vet visits instead of billing you directly or charging you copays like traditional human health insurance.

If you have never owned pet insurance yourself, it is essential to understand both the good and bad before looking at specific companies.

What Is Good Pet Insurance?

The best pet insurance offers ongoing canine and feline medicine with unlimited benefits, allowing owners to budget for the unexpected. Insurance for dogs is usually provided on an annual basis, with a monthly premium being paid by the pet owner. A variety of different policies are available from insurers, with the price of coverage being determined by the type and amount of required benefits.

Pet insurance is designed to provide financial protection for owners who have to pay for veterinary treatment due to their dog falling ill or having an accident. Insurance will ensure that the costs of any treatment are covered, eliminating the risks associated with paying large bills from one’s savings or current account. Good pet insurance covers all unexpected medical expenses caused by illness and accidental injury. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover routine care such as vaccinations, neutering, and flea treatments.

While some insurance providers offer primary routine care as an optional extra on their policies, it is not standard for most plans. Therefore, it is essential to compare policies closely when looking to get insured to ensure you have found one that offers all the benefits you require at an affordable price.

As with all good insurance, you pay a monthly premium in exchange for the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be hit with a massive bill for some unforeseen cost—such as an operation to remove a tumor or fix a badly broken leg.

One of the most important factors is the amount of coverage needed and what this means in terms of premium costs. You may want to get an estimate from a specialist who has experience dealing with these cases. Many online companies offer this service, but be wary as some may try to sell you things that aren’t necessary for your situation.

If your pet becomes ill, you’ll have to pay any vet bills up front and then claim them back. But if you have an accident or your pet develops an illness, the insurance company will pay out up to the amount stated on your policy. The best policies will also pay out a portion of the cost of boarding kennels or catteries plus other fees if you have to go into hospital yourself but not all cover this aspect.

Dog paw and human hand doing a handshake

What Is Bad Pet Insurance?

It’s essential to find the right pet insurance for your best friend, but there are a few things you’ll want to avoid. Here are some of the main types of coverage that bad pet insurance companies don’t offer.

Some pet insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, ranging from hip dysplasia to cancer. Because many of these conditions are genetic or even congenital, they can quickly appear in pets at a young age. So if you don’t have pet insurance early on, your four-legged friend might not be covered later.

If your pet has a health problem that can be solved with surgery and has aesthetic benefits, some pet insurance companies won’t cover it. For example, if your dog needs surgery to fix a torn ACL and has an overbite that could use correcting, most insurance plans won’t cover the latter because it’s considered an elective procedure.

Inadequate pet insurance will only cover accidents and illnesses; they won’t include routine care like checkups and vaccinations in the plan. You’ll have to pay for everything out of pocket, including neutering or spaying, flea and tick treatments, parasite treatments, dental care, etc.

Inadequate pet insurance will have low payouts and high deductibles. In other words, if your pet does get sick or injured and you need to file a claim with your insurance company, you might not receive enough compensation from them to cover all of your veterinary bills. You’ll have to pay for the difference out of pocket if that happens.

Insufficient pet insurance won’t reimburse you for prescription medication. Bad pet insurance plans will often charge a substantial fee to include prescription medication coverage as an add-on option in your policy.

Inadequate pet insurance will have high premiums compared to actual benefits. While it’s true that premium rates can vary wildly depending on where you live and what kind of coverage you want for your dog or cat, some general guidelines can help you find a good deal on pet insurance.

Some plans will cover accidents and illnesses up to a specific coverage limit per year. For example, your pet may be covered up to $1,000 each year for an accident or illness. However, if your pet incurs expenses that exceed that amount during the coverage term, your pet won’t be covered for those additional expenses.

If the annual limit is $1,000 and the premium is more than $83.33 per month (which would add up to $1,000 over a year), that’s not a good deal because you’re paying too much for insurance that won’t cover your pet’s needs.

Bad plans don’t let you choose your veterinarian. If they do allow you to visit any vet you want, they may only reimburse you if you see a vet they’ve pre-approved. So check with the company before buying a policy to determine what kinds of vets are covered by their plan (if any).


What Is a Standard Deductible for Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance works similarly to health insurance for humans. You choose a plan, pay your premiums, and file claims for reimbursement for covered expenses. There are several types of programs available, with different levels of coverage. The more extensive the range, the higher your premium will be.

One way to adjust your premium is by choosing a higher deductible. A deductible is an amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket before your pet insurance kicks in. So if you have a $300 deductible, you would pay the first $300 of any covered vet bills yourself before getting reimbursed.

The deductible is the amount you pay before your pet insurance provider starts paying for claims. The deductible is an essential factor in determining how much you’ll pay for premiums. A higher deductible will result in lower monthly premiums and vice versa.

Pet policies typically allow you to choose a deductible of between $100 and $1,000. The most frequent options are deductibles of $250 and $500. You will have to pay this amount toward your vet bills before the insurance company pays its share.

You may be wondering what deductible you should choose. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple question, as there is often a trade-off between low premiums and high deductibles.

With pet insurance, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. So if you select a high deductible (e.g., $500), you’ll pay less for your policy every month than if you’d chosen a low deductible (e.g., $250). However, remember that if your pet gets injured or sick, you’ll have to cover the first $500 of vet bills before your insurer kicks in any money. So while having a high deductible may save you money each month on premiums, it could cost you more over time if your pet requires extensive veterinary treatment.

Traditional pet insurance policies reimburse you for the costs of medical care after you pay your deductible. The lower your deductible, the more your premium will be. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. You can compare quotes from different providers to find the plan that offers the best combination of price and coverage for what you want.

You can also choose to have a per-incident deductible. You’ll have to meet the deductible every time your pet has an accident or illness. Or you may be able to get a policy with an annual deductible; after you’ve paid the deductible once per year, your insurance company will cover all other expenses within that policy year (usually one calendar year).


A low-deductible policy may be a better option if your finances are tight and you need maximum coverage at an affordable price. Also, if your pet has serious health issues or is at risk of developing one that requires frequent visits to the vet, the low-deductible policy is ideal. You do not have enough savings to cover a high deductible in an emergency.

The higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. You can compare quotes from different providers to find the plan that offers the best combination of price and coverage for what you want. Increasing your deductible can be an effective way to save money on pet insurance if you have a healthy pet. For example, if you are not taking your pet to the vet frequently, you probably do not need as much coverage if you have sufficient cash on hand to pay out-of-pocket in case of an emergency.

Top 11 Pet Insurance Companies

We all love our pets, but the unexpected costs of caring for them can add up quickly. That’s why more than 2 million households have pet insurance!

It’s important to note that pet insurance is not a replacement for routine care, such as your annual checkup and vaccinations. However, it can help with unexpected medical expenses, such as an injury or illness. When evaluating your options, keep in mind that coverage differs widely depending on the policy you choose and the pet insurance provider.

With the best understanding of the basics, it is time to dive into the top 11 pet insurance companies.

Nationwide Pet Insurance

If you have a dog or cat, you might be interested in getting Nationwide. These plans offer comprehensive coverage options ranging in prices. Some of the projects at Nationwide Pet Insurance cover not just accidents and injuries but illnesses, too. This is important because injuries and diseases are more likely to happen than accidents. However, some plans only cover accidents, so reading the fine print is essential.

Nationwide’s plan is unique because they offer accident-only coverage for cats, dogs, and birds. In addition, Nationwide Pet Insurance provides a range of plans and prices to suit your budget and pet’s needs. You can choose your deductible ($50-$500) and reimbursement level (70%-90%) for a plan that works for you. In addition, you can add coverage for preventative care, wellness, routine care, prescription medication, accidents & illnesses, dental disease, and more. Overall, the pricing is affordable compared to other providers with similar coverage.

Please keep in mind that wellness coverage is not included in basic plans when you are purchasing Nationwide Pet Insurance. Three other plans cost more that have this feature. Also, your pet must be younger than 14 years old to enroll in the accident & illness plan (Nationwide’s most popular plan). If you have a more senior pet with health issues, you may want to look elsewhere for coverage. Finally, there are no accident-only plans for those who only want short-term coverage or are looking for inexpensive options.

Progressive Pet Insurance

Progressive Pet Insurance is an insurance company that offers coverage for cats and dogs. Their policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI), the oldest and largest pet insurance company in the United States.

There are many pros to Progressive Pet Insurance. For one thing, they offer flexible coverage options that you can customize to meet your needs and budget. They will also reimburse you for a percentage of your bills for covered services, which can be as high as 90%. In addition, their plans are generally not very expensive and include discounts for insuring multiple pets.

There are some cons to Progressive Pet Insurance as well. For example, they do not cover pre-existing conditions or routine care such as annual exams or vaccinations. They also limit what they will pay out in benefits per year, so if you make claims that exceed the limit, you may have to pay some of the costs yourself.

Progressive Pet Insurance is a good option for pet owners who don’t want to spend too much money on veterinary bills each month but still want coverage for their animals. Their plans start as low as $15 per month with no deductible or claims forms required; however, it is essential to note that this only covers accidents and illnesses.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance

Pumpkin Pet Insurance is outstanding pet insurance. Their premiums and coverage consistently offer exceptional policies for dogs.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance offers the broadest coverage available. It covers any condition your pet develops, including congenital conditions such as hip dysplasia and inherited conditions such as cataracts. Other companies either exclude these conditions or charge higher premiums to cover them.

Pumpkin’s policies are also straightforward. Unlike some of its competitors, Pumpkin has no co-payments, no deductibles, percentage-based reimbursement rates, and no caps on payouts. Other companies typically have all four of these limitations in their policies.

With Pumpkin Pet Insurance, if your pet does get ill, you could benefit from a payout for veterinary fees depending on the level of coverage you choose. Some policies cover emergency boarding fees if you can’t look after your pet because you’re in the hospital. If your pet dies (apologies for the morbidity), some policies will pay out if he dies due to an accident or illness. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that should the worst happen, at least you’ll be able to afford treatment without worrying about bills.

If you plan on getting a Pumpkin policy, be aware that there may be caps on how much you can claim for each condition or illness—and potentially lifetime limits. Finally, the premiums can be expensive and increase as your pet ages, so it may not be worth insuring pets as they get older and are more likely to develop illnesses such as cancer.


Spot Pet Insurance

Spot Pet Insurance is not an established insurance company. It’s better. They don’t try to make money by refusing to cover 75% of claims or by making you jump through hoops to get reimbursed. They just charge you a monthly fee, and they pay your vet bills up to some limit per-incident and some limit per year. Like conventional insurance companies, they have different plans with different limits; unlike them, they are not trying to trick you into buying a too-small plan for your needs that are suitable for their profitability.

Spot Pet Insurance is a new and relatively small pet insurance company. With no customer reviews available, it’s hard to say how well they’ll take care of you when your pet needs medical attention. However, Spot Pet Insurance offers preventative care coverage, including vaccinations, flea/tick treatment, and heartworm prevention. Other companies only offer these coverage options as add-ons, so this is a great perk!

There is no annual limit on what Spot will pay out for treatments, so if your pet develops a serious condition or injury, they will continue to cover the necessary therapies until he recovers (or passes). There are no lifetime limits on their policies either. So you don’t have to worry about them dropping your policy if you file any claims in one year.

Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance has been around since 2006, which is longer than many other pet insurance companies. Embrace offers four base plans: Wellness Rewards, Major Medical, Major Medical with Wellness Rewards, and Whole Pet with Wellness Rewards. Each plan has an annual deductible of $100 to $1,000, based on your choice, and reimbursement rates of 70% to 90%. The company also offers two additional riders: Alternative Therapies and Accident Only.

The Wellness Rewards program lets policyholders receive up to $250 in wellness reimbursements for routine treatments like vaccinations and flea prevention. Policyholders can choose from three levels of Wellness Rewards coverage: 100% coverage after a $100 deductible, 80% coverage after a $100 deductible, or 50% coverage after a $250 deductible.

Embrace Pet Insurance, which has 5-star reviews across the board by consumers, is an ideal insurance solution for anyone who wants to ensure their furry family member is taken care of in their time of need. Embrace Pet Insurance offers customized policies, but they also provide excellent customer service.

At Embrace Pet Insurance, you can set up a custom policy that allows your pet to be fully covered. You can even add coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions, so you don’t have to worry about your pet’s medical needs.

Pets Best

Pets Best Insurance has been a pet insurance provider offering policies for dogs and cats since 2005. Unlike many providers, Pets Best provides coverage for both dogs and cats. This can be convenient for households with both types of pets and those with multiple pets of the same species.

Pets Best is one of the few providers that allows you to customize your deductible and reimbursement rate. This helps you keep premiums down, but remember: the higher your deductible is, the less Pets Best will pay on your claims.

Pets Best Insurance Pet Insurance is a popular choice for pet owners looking for the best pet insurance plan. They currently offer three different plans, which vary by the reimbursement percentages and the annual deductible. Deductibles with Pets Best can also be on a per-incident basis, meaning you only have to pay your deductible once per incident, not per claim or year. Reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%.

Pets Best offers plans for dogs, cats, and lifetime care options. They also provide optional accident coverage, one of the most affordable options out there. In addition, Pets Best is one of the few companies that offer a rider that covers dental accidents and illness.

Pets Best Insurance offers a 5% discount if you enroll more than one pet and a 5% discount if you purchase coverage online. They also provide multi-pet policies; however, there is no discount for purchasing more than one plan at a time.

Pets Best provides coverage for unexpected vet bills to help keep your pet healthy with no annual limits on reimbursements, lifetime renewal of your pet’s insurance policy, and unlimited claims. In addition, depending on your plan, you can get coverage for a specific condition or accident for up to $14,000 per condition. Pets Best also offers routine care add-ons covering wellness visits and vaccinations, dental care, cancer treatment, etc.

ASPCA Pet Insurance

The ASPCA Pet Insurance Program is one of the most comprehensive plans. It is the only pet insurance endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The plan provides coverage for both accidents and illnesses and some preventive care, including vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery.

The plan includes a policy deductible, which you can choose from $50 to $1,000, and your reimbursement level for covered expenses, 80%, 90%, or 100%. The plan covers genetic, congenital, and hereditary conditions (except those expressly excluded). It allows you to choose any licensed veterinarian anywhere in the United States or Canada. You’ll pay an additional premium if you want coverage for routine wellness care such as annual checkups or vaccines. (For more on this type of coverage, see “The Best Pet Insurance Providers.”)

There’s no cap on how much you can claim during your pet’s lifetime. In addition, you’ll receive a 10% discount on premiums if you insure two or more pets with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, and there are no breed restrictions or enrollment periods.


Figo Pet Insurance

When you first get a pet, it can be hard to think about anything besides the joys of playing fetch and cuddling with your new furry friend. But as any pet owner knows, there are plenty of unpleasant realities that come with being a pet parent, including veterinary bills.

Figo Pet Insurance was founded in 2012 by two partners who wanted to make it easier for dog and cat owners to care for their pets without breaking the bank. Today, Figo is one of the fastest-growing pet insurance companies globally and has recently expanded into Canada. With plans designed specifically for dogs and cats, Figo offers a variety of options depending on the level of coverage you need.

Figo is an excellent option for pet owners who want coverage for unexpected emergencies. Their plans cover everything from accidents and illnesses to behavioral issues and chronic conditions like arthritis or diabetes. In addition to routine vet visits, Figo also covers doctor-prescribed medications and alternative treatments such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.

The biggest drawback to Figo is that they don’t cover routine care such as vaccines, annual checkups, spay/neuter surgery, or teeth cleaning. So if your primary concern is covering those expenses, you may want to opt for a more extensive plan or company.

Fetch Pet Insurance

Fetch Pet Insurance is a pet insurance plan covering both dogs and cats. It offers a range of customizable plans, so you can find a policy that fits your needs and your budget.

The Insurance Company of of the State of Pennsylvania underwrites Fetch Pet Insurance. As a member of the Crum & Forster group of companies, The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania has an A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best Company, an independent financial services rating agency that evaluates insurers based on their financial strength, operating performance, and ability to meet policyholder obligations.

Fetch Pet Insurance was founded by husband and wife Mark and Beth Robertson in 2011. After a traumatic experience with their dog’s health, they were inspired to provide better pet insurance than what was available.

Fetch provides two types of pet insurance coverage, Accident Only and Accident and Illness. The Accident Only policy offers a range for accidental injuries, including poisonings, fractures, and burns. The Accident and Illness plan has everything the Accident Only plan covers and treatment for illnesses or diseases like diabetes or cancer.

Fetch’s Accident Only plan covers up to $10,000 in vet bills per year for your pet’s treatment of an injury. The Accident and Illness plan covers up to $14,000 per year. There is no limit on how many claims you can make with Fetch within a year; however, there is a 14 day waiting period for illness coverage after enrolling your pet in the Accident and Illness policy.

Trusted Pals Pet Insurance

Trusted Pals Pet Insurance offers pet insurance plans to customize coverage for your dog or cat. With Trusted Pals, you have the option to add wellness and routine care coverage, which many insurers don’t offer. However, while it could be a good fit if you’re looking for a comprehensive policy with maximum flexibility, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind.

Trusted Pals Pet Insurance offers a range of different plans, from simple, affordable insurance plans to more comprehensive plans. Trusted Pals even provides coverage for older pets and pre-existing conditions. In addition, the rates are competitive, and they offer discounts if you pay annually instead of monthly.

Keep in mind that Trusted Pals Pet Insurance can’t accept every pet that applies for coverage. Some breeds are considered too aggressive or vulnerable to be covered under plans. In addition, some pre-existing conditions may not be covered by plans. Also, while Trusted Pals Pet Insurance offers a 10% discount if you insure two pets, it doesn’t offer discounts for enrolling multiple pets at once or insuring pets over eight years old.


EUSOH is not pet insurance. It’s a better way to care for your pet. By joining a community of pet lovers, you’ll always have access to the money you need if your pet gets sick or injured—no more worrying about how to cover the cost of care. You’ll never have to choose between your wallet and your pet again.

The idea of EUSOH is to harness the power of a community to help each other in cases of high medical bills. The platform is designed to help pet owners avoid paying hundreds or thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for veterinary care by creating a shared environment where pet owners can contribute and share in the costs of their furry friends.

EUSOH members pay an annual fee, which is then used as a shared pot to cover the cost of unexpected vet bills when they arise. This can dramatically reduce your costs when compared to traditional pet insurance policies. And it makes things easier for those who have never taken out pet health insurance before, as there are no complicated forms or paperwork and no need to provide details of your pet’s medical history.

EUSOH offers two plans: one for dogs, cats, and smaller animals, and one for horses. There’s also an optional rider called Plus Care that provides coverage for accidents/illnesses outside your normal plan.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not intended as financial, medical, or legal advice and should only be used for informational purposes. Please consult with your accountant, health professional, or attorney on any legal or financial matters regarding your specific situation.

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