The Best Insurance Companies For Pets

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Among the many costs of owning an animal, 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 pups and kitties are safe from unexpected health emergencies with pet insurance. Pet insurance mitigates the risk of owning a pet by providing coverage for emergency visits, routine exams and prescription medication, depending on your policy specifics. 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.

“We have done a lot of research on how to promote pet insurance because when people can’t afford veterinary care, they drop their animals in shelters,” says Dr Sarah Reidenbach, a California veterinarian. If you think you can’t afford insurance or don’t think it’s worth it, Reidenbach recommends looking into catastrophic plans that will at least cover lifesaving surgeries and medical emergencies. So we talked to Reidenbach, Fitzgerald, and three other veterinarians and pet experts about how to find the best pet insurance policy for you and your dog or cat.

“When we do adoptions, we say at least ten times, in ten different ways, ‘Check out pet insurance immediately.’ There are great offers that have to be started within 72 hours to seven days of adoption,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond, Washington. Pet insurance tends to get more expensive as your pet gets older, and many companies don’t cover preexisting conditions, “so as your pet ages and experiences more accidents or illnesses, it can be harder to secure affordable coverage for them,” says Fitzgerald. As Thomas says, “You will pay a bit more for an older animal and the costs associated with ageing, but pet insurance can still be extremely beneficial.”

A lot of the questions you’ll need to ask will depend on your pet’s particular profile, so you’ll need to know its age, breed (if possible), and medical history. Certain dog breeds are predisposed to dental disease, bloat, breathing problems, and even joint issues. Reidenbach says even partially related treatments can be excluded. “For example, diabetes can lead to urinary tract infections, so those infections may not be covered,”.

“We know our pets are due for blood work and vaccines each year, so we can budget and plan for those expenses,” says Dr Katie Woodley, a holistic veterinarian. Reidenbach, for instance, opted for a plan that covers only major events like broken bones and hospitalization.

  • FIGO

Coverage type: Accident, illness, wellness
Starting rate: $37 a month for dogs; $28 a month for cats
Maximum annual coverage: $5,000 to unlimited
Deductibles: $100 to $750
Pets 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).

You can create your own custom plan to include coverage for veterinary exam fees and other wellness care.

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.

There’s a one-day waiting period for accident coverage and an industry-standard 14-day waiting period for illness coverage.

  • Pets Best

Coverage type: Accident, illness, routine care
Starting rate: $9 a month for dogs, $6 a month for cats
Maximum annual coverage: $5,000 to unlimited
Deductibles: $50 to $1,000
Pets 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. 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, and heartworm preventatives — a rare find in the pet insurance industry. Pets Best also has a reimbursement insurance plan.

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.

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.

  • Nationwide

Coverage type: Accident, illness, wellness
Starting rate: $34 a month for medical coverage, $64 a month for complete coverage
Maximum annual coverage: $10,000 to defined per condition
Deductibles: $250
Pets covered: Dogs, cats, birds, exotic pets

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.

They have a wide range of plans and 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.

The pet wellness plan has a one-day waiting period when purchased alone, while the other plans have standard 14-day waiting periods. You get a 5% discount for enrolling more than one pet.

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