What Is Pet Insurance: How Pet Insurance Works, Cost & Companies

what is pet insurance
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Many pet owners fail to secure pet insurance despite its importance. However, it can assist you avoid going into debt in the event that your cat or dog experiences a medical emergency. Insurance for pets is a form of health coverage that helps pay for unexpected vet bills. Although pet insurance can serve as a financial safeguard, it is important to compare policies and learn exactly what is covered before making a final decision. Dog insurance and cat insurance are two popular options for protecting your furry friend.

What Is Pet Insurance?

To aid with the substantial outlay of money required for veterinary care, pet owners can purchase insurance policies. The coverage provided here is analogous to that of medical insurance for people. The high cost of veterinarian care can be mitigated, if not totally eliminated, by purchasing pet insurance. Finding the best pet insurance for your needs requires careful consideration, evaluation, and comparison.

A deductible, or initial out-of-pocket cost, is typical in health insurance policies for both people and their pets. The cost of veterinary treatment in the owner’s area is taken into account by the majority of insurance companies when determining premiums. Not all veterinarian care may be covered, either.

How Pet Insurance Works

Companies often demand a health checkup and impose a waiting period before coverage starts in to discourage owners from purchasing insurance for their pets if they are already sick. There is typically a few-day waiting time before accident coverage kicks in.

You’ll need to front the money for the veterinarian charge before submitting a claim for reimbursement. If your insurance claim is valid, you can expect a direct payment to your bank account or a check in the mail. As a general rule, this takes no more than a week, however, it may take longer if your claim is very complex or if you choose to have your reimbursement sent via snail mail. Your reimbursement will be based on the specifics of your plan.

Average Veterinary Care Costs

As early as prehistoric times, humans were bringing animals into their homes and hearts, creating a bond that would last till the end of time. In many households, pets are treated more like children than mere possessions. As the field of veterinary medicine has advanced, more and more human medical procedures are becoming available for animal companions. Expenses associated with these treatments might add up quickly. According to a Betterpet post from June of 2022, the average cost of an emergency exam is between $100 and $200, while the average cost of an overnight stay is between $1,000 and $2,000.

Annual checkups, vaccinations, bloodwork, and dental cleanings are all part of primary care for pets. However, subspecialties within the field of veterinary medicine, including neurology and oncology, are expanding at an astounding rate. In addition, pets, like their human owners, can experience sudden medical needs. The ASPCA estimates that in 2021, the average cost of preventative care (i.e., vaccinations, wellness exams, and so on) will be between $160 and $220.

Some people might be put off adopting a pet because they can’t afford the possible hefty costs of medical care. Economic euthanasia describes the practice of putting a pet to sleep because of the financial burden of necessary medical care.

What Affects Your Pet Insurance Cost?

The type of coverage you buy and where you live affect the average cost of pet insurance. Also, insurers will consider:

#1. Species

Insurance rates for dogs are higher than those for cats, and for male pets in general, rates are higher.

#2. Breed

As a rule, larger pets have shorter lifespans and higher medical costs, therefore their insurance premiums reflect this.

#3. Age

Insuring a younger pet can save you money because they have fewer medical problems in their early years and therefore cost less to treat.

#4. Location

Insurance rates are not the same for every state and ZIP code. Higher premiums are typically associated with living in a high population density.

Most policies also include “endorsements,” or optional extras, that can be purchased in addition to the main plan in order to provide more comprehensive protection at a higher cost. Endorsements are frequently used to cover costs such as examination fees, routine checkups, or even prescription meals.

To be clear, getting pet insurance isn’t always cheaper than not getting it at all. Your pet may go their entire life without being sick or injured, in which case the only veterinary care you’ll need to pay for will be their yearly exam. However, not everyone is willing to take the chance of forgoing insurance. Consider your pet’s age, breed, health, and susceptibility to accidents to determine an appropriate level of coverage. If you don’t have thousands of dollars on hand to cover an unexpected surgery, you may have to decide between helping your pet and conserving money.

Pet Insurance Companies

Here is a selection of the finest pet insurance providers, based on your specific requirements.

#1. Healthy Paws

There is only one accident and illness plan available for cats and dogs at Healthy Paws. It allows you to pick a deductible between $100 and $500 and has no per-incident, yearly, or lifetime benefit restrictions.

By utilizing a mobile app, Healthy Paws is able to process claims quickly, usually in under two days. If you can’t afford the initial veterinarian charge, you might choose to pay for it directly instead of getting reimbursed.

Enrolling your pet in Healthy Paws when they’re still young is recommended, as coverage options and reimbursement rates diminish with age.


The ASPCA provides emergency care, emergency and preventative care, and wellness checks for cats and dogs. Horse insurance is available to riders in some states.

The American Society of Pet Animal Advocates (ASPCA) offers competitive premium rates and greater policy flexibility than many of its competitors.

If your pet has a hereditary or congenital ailment that has not yet been diagnosed, the ASPCA will cover the costs associated with treating or managing that condition no matter how old your pet is when you enroll them in coverage. Additionally, treatable pre-existing diseases are covered, provided your pet is symptom-free for at least 180 days. It could take up to a year at certain other businesses.

#3. Spot 

Spot makes it simple to provide the best possible protection for your pet. It’s one of the few insurers that offers plans with no out-of-pocket maximum, or complete (100%) coverage. In addition, you can choose a plan with a very low ($100) deductible to further lower your out-of-pocket costs related to medical treatment.

However, coverage prices will rise if you opt for a modest deductible or co-pay. In addition, Spot’s premiums are already higher than average, but the firm has no maximum age limit for insuring new animals, so it could be a suitable option if your pets are on the older side.

#4. Pumpkin

Pumpkin provides low-cost plans with an add-on for wellness kits for young cats and dogs, which aren’t typically covered by insurance. Puppy preventive care packages, for example, contain four puppy immunizations and one yearly fecal test in addition to the annual wellness exam price.

Additionally, Pumpkin will pay for parasite lab testing and reimburse you for up to four shots your puppy got before being insured under the preventive pack. Not all states offer the Pumpkin Preventive Essentials package, though.

#5. FIGO

With FIGO’s 100% reimbursement option, pet owners can lower their copayments to nothing. (Other providers typically charge at least a 10% copayment.) Figo doesn’t put a cap on how much it will pay out in a year, but it does have a cap on how much it will pay out in total over the course of your pet’s lifetime.

If you want coverage with no out-of-pocket costs or a limitless benefit payout, you should be prepared to spend above-average premiums. Figo’s lack of rider alternatives and coverage restrictions for preexisting conditions are other significant negatives. Extra insurance can cover veterinarian exams, but not preventative or wellness services.

There is full mobile support on the Figo Pet Cloud app. The app’s features include 24/7 access to a licensed veterinarian, the ability to manage pet insurance documentation and payments, and in-app purchases.

#6. Embrace

Embrace will cover your pet for sickness and injury up to age 15! Even if you’re above the age of 65, you can still buy accident-only insurance. That’s unusual, as most insurance providers won’t cover pets who are 10 years old or older.

There is no wellness insurance plan available via Embrace. Instead, pet owners can enroll in the Wellness Rewards program and donate a certain amount each month to help pay for preventative treatment. Unused money do not carry over to the next year, so be sure your annual donations cover the necessary amount of preventative treatment.

Reduced deductibles are an additional perk of Embrace pet insurance. In the event that you do not obtain a claim reimbursement during the year, Embrace will refund $50 of your annual deductible.

#7. Pets Best

In addition to selling accident and illness policies, Pets Best also provides a number of wellness plans to cover your pet’s regular medical needs.

Pets Best insures pets as young as 7 weeks, when most providers require 8 weeks. There is also no maximum age requirement, so even older pets are eligible for protection.

Wheelchairs and prosthetic devices recommended by a veterinarian to treat a covered accident or sickness are typically not covered by insurance, but Pets Best will pay for them if necessary.

There are, however, two-way exclusions at Pets Best. Cataracts in one eye, hip dysplasia, and luxating patellas are all examples of conditions that Pets Best will not cover if they are first diagnosed on one side of your pet’s body but later spread to the other.

#8. Lemonade

Besides the standard accident and illness coverage, Lemonade also provides an optional preventative care rider that pays for routine wellness exams, vaccinations, and tests for common health problems like heartworm and parasites. Fees for veterinary checkups and complementary therapies like acupuncture can be covered by a separate rider.

When policyholders have extra premium money, Lemonade gives it to a charity of their choice. You may sign up for updates on where Lemonade will be available next by visiting their website.

#9. Trupanion

To insure both cats and dogs, Trupanion provides only one policy. In addition to tests, operations, hospital stays, and medicines, alternative therapies, dental illnesses, prosthetic equipment, and prescription meals are covered.

Simply have your vet sign up with Trupanion’s direct payment program, and Trupanion will pay your vet immediately for covered services without you ever having to submit a claim. As is customary with pet insurance, policyholders are relieved of the initial payment or reimbursement claim.

Trupanion’s high premiums and single plan make it undesirable to most consumers. Nonetheless, it provides extensive protection. In exchange for paying higher-than-average premiums, we will cover your pet for 100% of eligible claims, with no annual or lifetime limits.

#10. Nationwide

Nationwide is the only major pet insurer that offer coverage for exotic pets like birds and lizards. Goats and pot-bellied pigs are included among the tiny mammals that can be protected. (However, venomous or endangered species, as well as any animal not specifically listed on the Nationwide website, are ineligible.)


Is it good to have a pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a smart investment for any pet owner to make. When it comes to the care of your pet, even if you think you have plenty of money saved up, pet insurance can save you thousands of dollars.

Does pet insurance pay everything?

When you take out a pet insurance policy, you’ll get some level of cover for vet expenses and medical care as standard.

Can you get pet and use it straight away?

Unless specifically stated in your policy, you often can’t lodge a claim right after purchasing pet insurance.

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