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Pet insurance companies offer coverage for wellness visits, accidents, and illnesses so that you can afford the right medical care for your animals, especially since you never know if or when your pet will need to see a vet. The best pet insurance company is Nationwide, and it has all of these plan details and more.
To create this list of the best dog and cat insurance plans, we conducted an in-depth analysis of 25 pet insurers and more than 2,000 data points. Our scoring model gave more weight to an insurer's plan options and company features. Additionally, we considered the results of a survey of more than 400 pet owners who were interested in buying a policy, had a current policy, or previously had a pet insurance plan. Here are our picks for your best pet insurance options.
5 Best Pet Insurance Companies of November 2023
Best if You Want an Established Insurer : Nationwide Pet Insurance
- Annual Deductible Options USD: $100 - $1,000
- Reimbursement Percentage: 50 - 70
- Claim Turnaround Time: 9 - 12 days
- Minimum Maximum Enrollment Age: 6 weeks - 10 years
Nationwide has been in the pet insurance business since 2009, when it acquired Veterinary Pet Insurance, the oldest pet insurance company in the United States. Over the years, the company has built a reputation as an excellent all-around pet insurer with wellness, accident-only, and accident-and-illness plans.
Pet insurance plans offer the ability to mix-and-match wellness, injury-only, and illness coverage
Offers plans with unlimited annual coverage limits
Offers plans for exotic animals and birds
5% new-policy discount for existing Nationwide customers
Low 70% maximum reimbursement rate
All plans charge a deductible, starting at $100
Nationwide is a leading insurance company. In 2009, it bought Veterinary Pet Insurance, which has offered pet insurance since 1982. Nationwide now insures more than 1.2 million pets, and it's one of the only pet insurance companies to cover exotic pets, in addition to dogs and cats.
Nationwide offers a variety of plans to individuals:
- Major Medical: Major Medical is Nationwide’s basic accident and illness policy covering treatments and procedures for sudden injuries or illnesses. The deductible is $250. This plan uses per-condition annual limits, so review coverage details to see how much Nationwide pays depending on your pet's ailment.
- Major Medical with Wellness: For the most comprehensive plan, you can add pet wellness to the Major Medical plan above. This is called the Major Medical with Wellness option, which covers routine and preventive care, like wellness exams, vaccinations, and flea and heartworm medications.
- Whole Pet: Whole Pet coverage only covers unexpected accidents and illnesses. It has a $10,000 cap on annual benefits and a $250 deductible. You can choose a reimbursement percentage of 50% or 70%. Besides accidents and illnesses, Whole Pet also covers hereditary conditions and congenital conditions.?
- Pet Wellness: Available in some states, this plan covers routine and preventive care. Has per-condition annual limits, with a $500 overall limit.
- Modular: Pick and choose from the accident, illness, and wellness plans described above.
Nationwide is one of the few insurers we reviewed covering birds, reptiles, and other exotic pets for accidents and illness. The Whole Pet Coverage plan covers avian and exotic animals.
Nationwide’s plans have 14-day waiting periods for accidents and illnesses, and like most insurers, Nationwide typically doesn't cover pre-existing conditions (conditions your pet had before you signed up for insurance). However, Nationwide offers a process for exception requests if a pre-existing condition is considered cured. For more information, see our full Nationwide pet insurance review.`
Best Value for the Price : Figo Pet Insurance
- Annual Deductible Options USD: $100 - $1,500
- Reimbursement Percentage: 70 - 100
- Claim Turnaround Time: 9 - 12 days
- Minimum Maximum Enrollment Age: 8 weeks - no maximum
Figo's premiums tend to be a bit higher than its competitors, but what you pay in higher premiums comes back in the form of comprehensive coverage and, in some cases, 100% reimbursement for services.
One-day waiting period for injuries, 14 days for illnesses
Offers up to 100% reimbursement
No upper age limit for enrollment
Veterinary exam coverage requires an additional rider
Rehabilitation and alternative therapies require an additional rider
With most pet insurance companies, the maximum reimbursement—the percentage of your veterinary bill the insurance company covers—is 90% or less. But with Figo, you can choose a reimbursement percentage as high as 100%, so your bill will be covered entirely after reaching your deductible.?
Figo offers three accident and illness policies for dogs and cats:
- Essential: The Essential plan provides up to $5,000 in annual benefits.?
- Preferred: The Preferred plan’s annual benefits are capped at $10,000.?
- Ultimate: The Ultimate plan has an unlimited annual coverage benefit.
Figo does have three optional riders (coverages) called "Powerups," you can add to your policy, including:
- Veterinary Exam Fees for Accident and Illness Visits: Exam coverage if your pet is injured or ill
- Wellness and Preventative Coverage: Including wellness exams, vaccines, and other routine and preventive treatments
- Extra Care Pack: Including boarding fees, lost-pet advertising, coverage if your pet damages someone's property, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Figo also offers a diminishing deductible. For each year that you are claim-free, Figo will reduce your deductible by $50 until it reaches $0.?
Figo was founded in 2015, and it’s based in Chicago. Its policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. For more information, see the full Figo pet insurance review.
Best for Lowering Your Premium : Metlife Pet Insurance
- Annual Deductible Options USD: $0 - $2,500
- Reimbursement Percentage: 50 - 100
- Claim Turnaround Time: 12 days
- Minimum Maximum Enrollment Age: 7 weeks
MetLife offers a variety of discounts that can lower your premiums, including savings if you're in the military, an animal welfare employee, a first responder, a healthcare worker, a member of a group plan, or make a purchase online. Additionally, if you have multiple pets on your policy, you have one deductible for all pets instead of individual deductibles for each pet.
No upper age limits
Plans cover veterinary exams and medications
Single-deductible family plans are available
Annual benefits limited to $10,000 for online enrollment
Two separate riders required for preventive and wellness care
Although many companies offer multi-pet discounts, you usually have to reach the annual deductible for each pet separately. But you can enroll up to three pets (dogs and cats) in a MetLife family plan and only pay one deductible. This can reduce your costs.
MetLife offers accident and illness policies for dogs and cats nationwide. Its policies have two-week waiting periods for illnesses, but accident coverage starts the day after you enroll your pet.?
You can add two separate MetLife riders for the below, which other insurers typically bundle together:
- Wellness Plan: Vaccinations, spaying, and neutering
- Preventive Care: Routine health exams, parasite prevention, and preventive treatments
The company offers multiple discounts, and it works with employers to provide discounted pet insurance to eligible workers. Some policy options (like deductibles and coverage limits) may vary by location and pet.
MetLife is a major insurance and financial services company founded in 1868, but is newer to the pet insurance field. It acquired PetFirst in 2020 and launched MetLife Pet soon after. Its policies are underwritten by the Independence American Insurance Company. For more information, see the full MetLife pet insurance review.
Best for Dental Coverage : Odie Pet Insurance
- Annual Deductible Options USD: $50 - $1,000
- Reimbursement Percentage: 70 - 90
- Claim Turnaround Time: 12 - 17 days
- Minimum Maximum Enrollment Age: No maximum
Odie is one of the small group of insurers we researched that offer coverage for dental illnesses, root canals, and crowns. Additionally, Odie's accident and illness policy will cover additional dental treatment if your pet regularly receives exams and cleanings.
Illness and injury plan covers some dental claims
Lower-than-average premiums (based on internal research)
No upper age limit
Regular teeth cleanings and exams required for periodontal disease coverage
Reimbursement sent through postal mail
Dental diseases are common in dogs and cats. Periodontal disease affects 80% of dogs over three years of age. Some insurance companies limit dental coverage, but Odie’s Illness and Injury plan provides significant protection. If you follow the company’s care requirements for dental exams and cleanings, Odie will cover periodontal disease, endodontic treatments, extractions, and more.
Odie offers two plans—an Accident-Only Plan and an Illness and Injury Plan. You can add optional riders that cover wellness exams and routine care. There’s no upper age limit for enrollment, and you can get up to 90% reimbursement for qualifying treatments. You can choose a deductible between $50 and $1,000, so you can adjust your policy to fit your budget.?
Odie is a relatively new company, founded in 2020.
For more information, see the full Odie pet insurance review.
Best for Military Families : USAA Pet Insurance
- Annual Deductible Options USD: $200 - $1,000
- Reimbursement Percentage: 70 - 90
- Claim Turnaround Time: 2 - 5 days
- Minimum Maximum Enrollment Age: None
Like its other insurance products, USAA only offers policies to military members and their families. USAA-eligible pet owners have multiple solid pet insurance options—the company was among the best we analyzed.
Covers complementary treatments and rehabilitative care
Significant discounts available for military families
Senior pets aren’t eligible for illness protection
Complementary and alternative treatments may only be covered for 12 weeks
Pet insurance can be expensive, and budget-conscious pet owners can save a significant amount of money through USAA. Most USAA members can get up to 15% off their premiums when buying a plan through the USAA Insurance Agency. But if you are current or former active duty military or have multiple pets to insure, you can get up to 25% off.?
USAA membership is required to purchase insurance from USAA. To qualify for USAA membership, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. military. Spouses and children of current or former military service members are also eligible.?
USAA doesn’t issue or underwrite pet insurance policies. Instead, it partners with Embrace to provide discounted pet insurance options to eligible members.?Embrace offers accident and illness policies and accident-only policies for dogs and cats. Embrace also sells a wellness plan that helps pay for routine care like vaccinations or microchipping.?
Compare the 5 Best Pet Insurance Companies of November 2023
When shopping for pet insurance, you need to be confident that your company will cover and process your claims quickly. Nationwide is our top pick because it has a long history of providing pet insurance and paying out claims. Current Nationwide customers can get 5% off their premiums by purchasing pet insurance.?
If you're looking for an insurer without an upper age limit for pets, Figo may be a better choice, while those with multiple pets may find that MetLife’s family plans offer the most affordable coverage.?
Whatever your situation, spend time shopping around and comparing quotes and exclusions from multiple companies to find the best coverage for you and your pets.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance helps pet owners pay for their animals' medical needs. Think of it like human health insurance: You pay monthly premiums and deductibles so that when your cat, dog, or other pet needs to see a vet for an injury or illness, it doesn't cost you as much out of pocket.
Why You Need Pet Insurance
In a 2022 study, 45% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners thought they were financially prepared for pet expenses but were not. Could you pay anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars in vet fees at a moment's notice? If not, pet insurance helps pay for any urgent medical attention, typically through reimbursing a percentage of your costs.
When you get a pet, you're not required to get pet insurance—there's no penalty for not having pet insurance. However, pet insurance can help reduce worries about an unexpected medical bill for your pet. Insurance may be an additional expense, but the right kind of insurance could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over your pet's lifespan.
Pet Wellness and Discount Plans
Pet wellness and discount plans can help make some treatments not covered by pet insurance—such as dental cleanings or spay/neuter procedures—more affordable. They work differently than accident and illness pet insurance coverage.?
- Wellness plans: With a wellness plan, the company reimburses you up to a specified amount per treatment, up to an annual maximum. Through programs like Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Care, you pay monthly or yearly fees and get routine preventive care.
- Discount plans: Discount plans, such as Pet Assure, offer a flat discount on eligible treatments or procedures. Show the discount card at a participating veterinarian’s office and receive a discount on your total. Unlike wellness plans, discount programs can be combined with pet insurance to pay for emergency care. Pricing varies but is typically cheaper than insurance.
|?||Wellness Plans||Discount Plans?|
|?Company||Max Enrollment Age||Annual Deductible|
|ASPCA||None||$100, $250, $500|
Guide for Choosing the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Should You Buy Pet Insurance?
If you aren’t sure if you should buy pet insurance, consider your budget and your pet’s needs. For example:
- If your pet has chronic health conditions or is a senior pet: An accident and illness policy may be too expensive and may not cover your pet’s care. Discount plans could provide more value since they don’t exclude senior pets or pre-existing conditions.?
- If you want inexpensive coverage: If you want the least expensive coverage possible—but still want some protection in an emergency—an accident-only plan may be a good choice. Available for a few dollars a month, accident-only plans cover treatments for sudden injuries like broken bones or bite wounds.?
- If your pet is relatively young: Young, healthy pets that haven’t shown any signs of health issues are inexpensive to insure. Locking in coverage while your pet is young ensures you have protection against accidents and illnesses later on.?
- If your pet needs surgery or chemotherapy: If your pet is already injured or ill and needs treatment, unfortunately, pet insurance won’t help you. Companies have waiting periods before coverage goes into effect, and any issues that existed before your policy enrollment will be excluded.?
To help you decide, here's the average cost of an office visit to the veterinarian in major U.S. cities.
|Average Office Vet Visit Cost for Cat or Dog|
|New York City||$85|
Understanding Coverage Exclusions and Pre-Existing Conditions
Insurance plans generally don't cover pre-existing conditions or issues that occurred prior to the insurance policy, or during the policy waiting period. But there are some important exceptions to consider.
Some pre-existing conditions, such as bladder infections or vomiting, may be considered curable. If your pet is symptom-free for some period of time, like 6 to 12 months, a plan may cover that condition.?However, other pre-existing conditions won't be considered curable even if treatment occurs—such as cancer.
Insurers may accept your pet's pre-existing conditions if you're switching plans and another plan previously covered your pet.
Some companies have bilateral exclusions, meaning if your pet is diagnosed with an issue on one side of the body, treatments for that condition on the other side are excluded from coverage.?
Besides those standard exclusions, most pet insurance companies have lists of excluded treatments (you can sometimes find these in sample policies). Be sure to understand the policy exclusions so you aren’t surprised later.
How Animal Breed Affects Cost of Insurance
Insurance premiums can vary widely based on the breed of animal you have. Some breeds have genetic dispositions toward specific health problems. For example, Rottweilers and Labradors are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, which can be expensive to treat if surgery is required. On the other hand, mixed-breed animals are cheaper to insure on average because they are less likely to have genetic predispositions for specific medical conditions.
Dog Insurance Cost by Breed
|?Breed||Annual Cost||Monthly Cost|
|?Pembroke Welsh Corgi||$909||$75.77|
|?German Shorthaired Pointer||$827||$68.93|
Cat Insurance Cost by Breed
|?Breed||Annual Cost||Monthly Cost|
How to Compare Pet Insurance Companies
Pet insurance companies vary greatly in coverage, pricing, and exclusions. When comparing companies, consider the following:?
- Premium: Premiums will vary quite a bit from company to company, depending on your location and the age and breed of your pet. The best way to compare premiums is to get sample pet insurance quotes from various companies, like the ones on our list above.
- Coverage limit type: Depending on the company, coverage limits can be annual, per condition, or incident. Annual coverage limits have a single deductible, starting over every year. With per-condition coverage, each condition has its own deductible, but you only have to meet the deductible once for the pet’s lifetime. At the same time, you can quickly reach the condition’s maximum over your pet's lifetime. Per-incident coverage means the same deductible applies to every incident, starting over for every new incident.
- Deductible: The deductible is how much you have to pay before your insurer will reimburse you for claims. The lower the deductible, the higher your premium.
- Reimbursement percentage: The reimbursement percentage is how much your insurer will cover after you reach your deductible. For example, if your bill is $1,000 and the insurer offers 70% reimbursement, you’re responsible for $300 of the bill.
- Included and excluded treatments: As described above, insurance companies have many different policy exclusions. Take the time to understand those exclusions so you’re not left on the hook for a big, unexpected bill.
Selecting a Pet Insurance Company
After choosing a company, you can usually get a quote for coverage and enroll your pet online. Most pet insurers have online portals (and some have mobile apps) where customers can view their policies, make payments, and submit claims.?
When you purchase a policy, read the fine print. Some companies require you to submit all your pet’s medical records after you enroll; otherwise, your claims will be denied.?
What Are the Disadvantages of Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance can be valuable in protecting pets, but it has a lot of limitations you should know about:
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered: No insurance company covers these, with a few specific exceptions, such as the condition being wholly cured for 12 months.
- Premiums may increase over time: Most pets have more health issues as they age.
- Coverage is often subject to limits: Many policies set annual or lifetime payment caps on how much of your pet's care costs are covered.
- Upfront payment required: Although a few pet insurance companies will pay your vet directly, most won't. You'll first have to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed by your insurer.
- It can be expensive: Many pet parents will pay more for insurance than they get out of it. So, insurance can help protect your bank account if your pet experiences an expensive medical need in the future.
Which Pet Insurance Companies Pay Vets Directly?
Most pet insurance requires you to pay your vet bill upfront and then get reimbursed. However, a few companies will make payments directly to veterinarians if you and the vet meet certain conditions.
- Trupanion will pay for covered expenses at checkout if the veterinarian has Trupanion's payment software. You will still be responsible for your copay.
- Pets Best pays your vet after you and your vet sign and fill in a veterinarian reimbursement release form. You'll submit that form with a claim. If the claim is approved, Pets Best reimburses your vet. You'll still have to pay your deductible, coinsurance, and fees for any non-covered items to your vet.
- Healthy Paws typically requires you to pay the vet and get reimbursed for covered costs. However, if you can't do that, you can contact the company to request direct payment before the treatment. Your vet must be willing to accept direct payment.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Pet insurance premiums can be significant, so how do you know if pet insurance is worth the cost? When deciding whether to enroll your pet in a policy, consider these variables:
- Pre-existing conditions: All pet insurance companies exclude coverage for treatment of pre-existing conditions (though some will cover them as non-pre-existing after a lengthy period). If your pet already has serious health issues, such as ligament conditions or diabetes, you may find that your policy is less useful because your pet’s current treatments aren’t covered. By contrast, insuring healthy pets before any illnesses or conditions appear ensures that their treatments will be covered if conditions develop later on (as long as the policy doesn’t expressly exclude them).?
- Age of pet: Older pets are much more expensive to insure than younger pets. They’re also more likely to have existing health issues, which the insurance company wouldn’t cover if the conditions were diagnosed before the pet’s enrollment date. Insurance is more affordable for younger pets, and securing a policy before your pet develops health issues will help minimize treatment costs.?
- Breed of pet: Some breeds of cats or dogs are more prone to health issues than others. For example, some dog breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, a serious orthopedic condition. Some companies exclude particular breeds or charge higher premiums because of the risk of developing health issues.?
- Savings: If your pet needed emergency care, would you be able to cover the cost yourself? Treatments can be expensive, and without insurance, you’d have to cover the entire cost yourself. For example, treatments for broken bones usually cost over $2,000.?
In general, pet insurance can be a cost-effective choice if your pet is relatively young and healthy. If you have a senior pet or a pet with existing health issues—or a substantial financial safety net—you may be better off skipping insurance and self-financing instead.?
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance involves deductibles, copays or coinsurance, and coverage limits. Most pet insurance companies pay claims through reimbursement, so the policyholder pays for the pet’s care at the veterinarian’s office at the time of treatment and submits a claim afterward. If the insurer approves the claim, the company sends the policyholder reimbursement via check or electronic transfer.?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, approximately 98% of pet insurance policies issued are accident and illness plans. These policies cover treatments for unexpected injuries and diseases, including cancer, kennel cough, and broken limbs. The remainder of the plans tend to be accident-only plans that only cover unexpected injuries, not illnesses or chronic conditions.?
What Are the Types of Pet Insurance?
There are three main types of pet insurance:
Comprehensive (Accident and Illness): Depending on the policy, it may cover injuries from accidents, such as broken bones; chronic conditions like cancer; illnesses such as urinary tract infections; behavioral issues like destructive chewing; diagnostic testing; and prescriptions.
Accident-Only: Common coverages include lacerations, broken bones, bee stings, and heat stroke.
Basic Wellness Care: Might cover wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, microchipping, and deworming.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet insurance typically covers injuries like broken bones, cancer, illnesses, diagnostic testing, prescriptions, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more. It will all depend on the pet insurance and coverage plan you select for your pet.
Pet insurance usually does not cover elected procedures like spaying and neutering, though some wellness plans may cover them. If you have to pay out of pocket, these procedures average around $300 for dogs and $150 for cats.
What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover?
No pet insurance policy covers pre-existing conditions—though some offer coverage of curable conditions after a waiting period. Pet insurance also doesn’t usually cover routine care or preventive treatments like vaccinations, wellness exams, or dental cleanings. However, it may be possible to get partial coverage for these expenses by purchasing a separate discount plan or wellness plan, or by adding a wellness rider to your policy.?
What's the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs?
The best pet insurance for dogs is Figo, according to Investopedia research. It offers comprehensive coverage with few exclusions and covers curable pre-existing conditions after a 12-month waiting period. Coverage includes dental illness and injury, as well as alternative treatments. We also like that it has high coverage limits and a number of optional add-ons, such as a wellness package.
What's the Best Pet Insurance for Cats?
Investopedia has named Figo as the best cat insurance as well. It offers flexible and comprehensive policies, fast turnaround for claims, short waiting periods, and live access to a licensed vet 24/7. Figo has a wider range of deductibles than many competitors, with higher annual limits and reimbursement percentages.
How Are Pet Insurance Costs Determined?
Pet insurance costs are partly determined based by the annual maximum, deductible, and reimbursement level that you choose. Other factors like your pet's age, your location, your coverage needs, and your pet's health needs also play a big role. If your pet does not need surgery, you may pay less for pet insurance over the course of your pet's life. If your pet has a chronic illness, they'll need more care and you may have to pay more out of pocket, depending on your coverage and deductible.
What Is the Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs and Cats?
Our team evaluated 25 pet insurance providers, including wellness-only programs, and collected over 2,000 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed 43 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact on potential customers.?
The top picks were selected based on factors like plan options (weighted 33% in total), company features (29% in total), and fees, discounts, and limits (13% in total). We took into account the availability of instant online quotes, claim turnaround times, and whether or not the insurer will conduct a medical record review when you apply, among other important considerations.?
We also conducted a survey of 408 people who currently have pet insurance (23% of respondents), are considering getting pet insurance (56.4%), or have had pet insurance in the past (20.6%). Their responses were used to better understand customer satisfaction with the available features, claim reimbursements, and customer service of pet insurance companies.
For more information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.