Comparing Pet Insurance Plans and Quotes
Pet insurance is a way to make vet care affordable and offset the cost of accidents and illnesses. Before you buy, it’s important to compare pet insurance rates and coverage to know you’re getting the best deal.
Pet insurance is becoming more popular as the cost of vet care increases nationwide. Vet care and sales have increased by 7.2%, from $31.4 billion in 2020 to an estimated $32.2 billion in 2021. Pet owners are turning to pet health insurance to offset these higher costs.
From 2016 to 2020, the total number of pets insured grew by 24.2%, with more than 3.1 million pets covered by insurance, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. It’s important to compare pet health insurance plans as different coverage options are available at various price points. Several factors are used to determine your price, including your ZIP code, pet’s age, breed, and species.
Table of Contents
Pre-existing conditions aren’t typically covered by pet insurance, so getting your pet covered while they’re young and healthy will offer them the most coverage.
It’s important to compare multiple pet insurance quotes because pet insurance isn’t regulated like human health insurance, and policies can vary widely by company.
Your pet’s age, breed, gender, species, ZIP code and coverage needs will determine how much you pay for pet insurance.
Comparing Pet Insurance Plan Options
Pet insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product, and owners should compare pet insurance plans before choosing a policy. There are generally three types of pet insurance plans available, including wellness plans, accident-only coverage, and accident and illness plans. Which you choose will affect the price of pet insurance and the savings you receive.
- Type of PlanDescription
- Accident & Illness PlanProvides coverage for accidents and illnesses and is the most common pet insurance plan. It is also the most expensive but offers the broadest range of coverage.
- Accident-Only PlanThis plan only covers accidents, like bite stings or ingesting a foreign object. Premiums are lower because illnesses are not covered like in an accident and illness plan.
- Wellness PlanPays for routine and preventive care that usually aren’t covered by other plans. A wellness plan can be added as a rider or bought as a standalone policy, depending on the carrier.
Accident-only pet insurance is typically used in an emergency, like your pet receiving an insect sting or ingesting a foreign object. For the broadest coverage available, consider accident and illness coverage, which also includes congenital and hereditary conditions. Most pet health insurance plans don’t cover preventive measures, like vaccines, wellness exams, tests, and medication for fleas, heartworm and ticks. A standalone or add-on wellness plan package can be valuable for covering these routine visits.
You should also consider different elements of the plan when you compare pet health insurance coverage. Though coverage types vary by company, most offer various coverage limits, deductibles and reimbursement amounts. The level of care your pet requires and how much you want to cover can help you choose which plan fits your needs best.
Other Factors to Consider When Comparing Policies
You know your pet best, which is why it’s important to choose the coverage that meets your needs. For example, a young puppy may be more accident-prone but have few illnesses, so an accident-only plan may be best. However, if you have an older dog or one with known health issues for its breed, an accident and illness plan may be worth it. If you can handle vet costs as they occur but want preventive care covered, a wellness plan could be just what you need.
Comparing Pet Insurance Plans With $5,000 Coverage
The average annual cost of vet care is between $700 and $1,500, so $5,000 in yearly coverage could be all you need. This plan comes with a $500 deductible and reimburses 80% of the covered vet costs after the deductible is met. In the pet insurance comparison chart below, Pets Best is the cheapest, while 24 Pet Watch is the most expensive for this level of coverage.
Average Cost at Different Companies for Policy with $5,000 Coverage
Scroll for more
- CompanyCost per Month
- 1.Pets Best$20
- 2.Pet Plan$22
- 9.24 Pet Watch$39
Monthly Cost for $5,000 Coverage Policy vs. National Average
Scroll for more
- CompanyMonthly Cost for $5k Coverage PolicySavings vs. National Average
- 1.Pets Best$2028%
- 2.Pet Plan$2219%
- 9.24 Pet Watch$39-41%
Before you decide on a $5,000 pet health plan, consider asking your vet what they charge for certain services that would be covered. Their rates can help you determine if the $5,000 plan would be sufficient or if you should go with a higher-coverage plan instead.
Comparing Pet Insurance Plans With $10,000 Coverage
You never know when an emergency can occur, and $10,000 can go much further than $5,000. With the average emergency surgery cost ranging from $1,500–$7,000 or more, the added coverage may be a wise choice. These plans include a $250 deductible and 80% reimbursement, with Figo being the cheapest and Nationwide the most expensive.
Average Cost at Different Companies for Policy with $10,000 Coverage
Scroll for more
- CompanyAverage Cost for $10k Coverage Policy
- 7.24 Pet Watch$51.95
Monthly Cost for $10,000 Coverage Policy vs. National Average
Scroll for more
- CompanyMonthly Cost for $10k Coverage PolicySavings vs. National Average
- 7.24 Pet Watch$52-3%
Chronic health conditions can get expensive quickly. If your pet requires continuous medications or vet visits, buying a $10,000 coverage limit pet insurance plan may be worth the higher premium cost compared to a $5,000 plan.
Comparing Pet Insurance Plans With Unlimited Coverage
Though it costs the most, an unlimited coverage pet insurance plan could be the best solution. After all, we can’t predict the future, and your pet could need a lot of vet care later on. With a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement percentage, Pets Best offers the cheapest rate. Spot has the most expensive plan, as shown in the pet insurance comparison chart below.
Average Cost at Different Companies for Policy with Unlimited Coverage
Scroll for more
- CompanyAverage Cost for Unlimited Coverage Policy
- 1.Pets Best$35.04
- 2.Healthy Paws$41.59
- 5.Pet Plan$60.67
Monthly Cost for Unlimited Coverage Policy vs. National Average
Scroll for more
- CompanyMonthly Cost for Unlimited Coverage PolicySavings vs. National Average
- 1.Healthy Paws$4229%
- 4.Pet Plan$61-3%
- 5.Pets Best$61-3%
Why You Should Compare Pet Insurance Plans
You should compare pet insurance coverage plans because options and costs vary by company. You want to get the best deal with the most coverage, and the only way to do that is with a veterinary insurance comparison. Cats usually have fewer health issues than dogs and see the vet less often, so don’t be surprised when you compare dog insurance to cat insurance and find that it’s more expensive.
Your pet’s gender and age also matter, especially if they already have health issues when you apply for the policy. If you want to ensure your pet is covered, a cat insurance comparison or dog insurance quote comparison is key to understanding the policy and making the right choice before you buy.
Pre-Existing Conditions: Why They Matter
A pre-existing condition is an accident or illness your pet has already been treated for before buying pet insurance. This condition could be a ligament tear, ear infection, urinary tract infection or injury. Pre-existing conditions are not covered by any pet insurance policy.
If your pet has a pre-existing condition, it can significantly limit how much value you get from your pet insurance plan. You can avoid having uncovered pre-existing conditions by acquiring your policy while your pet is still young and before health issues occur.
Which Factors Affect the Price of Pet Insurance Plans
There are several factors that affect the price you pay for a pet insurance plan. Where you live and your pet’s age are just two elements that impact your costs. Be sure to consider the following factors when you compare pet health insurance coverage.
- AgeThe younger your pet, the better your pet insurance rates. As your pet ages, they are more prone to health issues and may require more vet visits.
- SpeciesDogs are creatures of adventure, while cats are typically homebodies. The more accident- and illness-prone dogs are more expensive to insure. If you have a bird or exotic pet, the only major company offering pet insurance is Nationwide.
- BreedMixed breeds tend to have better genes than purebreds, so their owners pay less for pet insurance. If your pet’s breed is more susceptible to certain health conditions, expect to pay more for pet insurance.
- GenderOwners of female pets usually file fewer claims than those with male pets. Coverage for male pets may cost more because providers perceive them as riskier to insure.
- Policy DetailsYour coverage limit, deductible, reimbursement percentage and policy type will affect your cost. The more the insurance company is responsible for, the more you’ll pay in premiums.
- LocationVet care costs vary by location, with urban areas costing more than rural areas. Pet insurance costs are typically higher in areas with higher vet costs.
Tips for How to Compare Pet Insurance Plans
When you compare pet insurance plans, it’s best to choose the same coverage options across different companies to see the range in costs. Unfortunately, pet insurance is not regulated like human health insurance, so coverages, limitations and exclusions can vary widely. Here are the things to consider when choosing companies to compare pet insurance rates and coverage.
Weigh the type and amount of deductible.
The deductible is how much you pay before insurance kicks in. Consider how much you can pay out-of-pocket and the cost savings if you choose a higher deductible. Make a note of annual versus per-incident deductibles, which can significantly affect your total costs.
Confirm the policies offer coverage for any common hereditary conditions your pet’s breed may have.
If you haven’t already, look up your pet’s breed for common health issues. Some companies may have exclusions, which can help you narrow down the best provider.
Compare the reimbursement percentages.
The reimbursement percentage is how much the insurer pays after you’ve met your deductible. The more financial burden you put on the company, the more you pay in premiums each month. Figo offers a 100% reimbursement level, while most companies cap it at 90%.
Factor in the cost of the premiums.
You have to pay monthly or annual premiums on top of deductibles and any remaining amount the plan doesn’t cover. A cheaper premium usually means you pay more in out-of-pocket costs for care.
Make sure the coverage is comparable and meets your pet’s needs.
While you may not be able to compare apples-to-apples with all companies, make sure you’re getting the coverage your pet needs. Coverage for sickness costs extra, but it could be worth it if your pet gets diagnosed with a chronic condition.
Read the fine print to learn about any waiting periods or gap periods.
Most pet insurers have a waiting period, which is how long after the policy is effective before coverage kicks in. This period can range from a few days to a few months, so make sure you’re aware before you finalize the policy.
Find out about the claims filing process.
With most insurers, you can file a claim online, through the company’s app, by fax or by mail. Filing online is the quickest. You can usually get reimbursed the fastest if you have direct deposit set up.
Compare any add-ons or extra benefits, like vet helplines or discounts.
Companies like Pets Best and Nationwide offer a 24/7 emergency vet helpline at no extra cost. You can usually score a 5% multi-pet discount if you insure more than one pet. Nationwide and Embrace offer 10% for multiple pets, and current Nationwide insureds get another 5% off.
Make sure exam fees are covered.
Some companies cover exam fees, while others only offer this coverage with the wellness plan add-on (or not at all). If you want exam fees covered, read the policy carefully before finalizing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Insurance Plans
It’s not surprising that pet owners have many questions about insurance coverage. By understanding the answers to the most frequently asked questions about choosing and buying pet insurance plans, you can find the best policy for your pet.
About the Author
- American Pet Products Association. "Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics." Accessed December 16, 2021.
- North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Section #2: Total Pets Insured." Accessed December 1, 2021.
- Yelp Cost Guide. "How much do veterinarians cost?." Accessed December 1, 2021.