Best Pet Insurance in May 2024

Pet insurance policies function similarly to a human’s health insurance plan, only they’re designed for dogs, cats, and other domestic animals.

The best pet insurance plans offer various coverage options, a flexible claims process, and minimal policy exclusions. The right policy for your pet depends on their breed, age, existing health conditions, and behavior profile.

Erika's Picks for Best Pet Insurance

  • Best for discounts: Lemonade
  • Best for coverage options: Spot
  • Best for pre-existing conditions: AKC Pet Insurance
  • Best for exotic pets: Nationwide
  • Best for military: Embrace

. . .

Best for Discounts: Lemonade

Lemonade offers a 10% discount if you bundle your pet insurance with other coverage types that Lemonade offers, which includes renters, homeowners, auto, and life insurance.

You can also get a 5% discount for having more than one covered pet, and another 5% discount if you pay annually instead of monthly.

The basic plan is for accidents and illnesses and covers diagnostics, procedures, and medications related to new accidents and illnesses. You can add on additional coverage such as:

  • Vet visits
  • Dental illness
  • Behavioral conditions
  • Physical therapy
  • End-of-life and remembrance

You can also add a preventative care package that helps you pay for your pet's routine care. These packages can include:

  • Wellness exams
  • Fecal or internal parasite tests
  • Vaccines
  • Heartworm or FeLV/FIV test
  • Blood test
  • Routine dental cleanings
  • Flea/ tick or heartworm medication

You can adjust your deductible, co-insurance, and annual limit amounts to best fit your needs and budget.

Learn more about Lemonade.

Best for Coverage Options: Spot

spot pet insurance logo

While some pet insurance providers only offer accident-and-illness coverage, Spot offers both accident-only or accident-and-illness plans.

Accident-only plans cover medical care that arises from accidents and emergencies — things like broken bones, bite wounds, and toxic ingestions.

Accident-only covers the following:

  • Vet exam fees
  • Prescription medications
  • MRI, CT scans, and X-rays
  • Surgery and hospitalizations
  • Poison control consultation fees
  • Tooth extractions
  • Alternative therapies
  • IV fluids
  • Medical supplies
  • End-of-life expenses

Accident-and-illness plans cover everything above but also provide coverage if your pet gets sick or has allergies. This plan covers the following:

  • Microchip implantation
  • Behavioral issues (things like excessive chewing, anxiety, aggression, etc.)
  • Cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Orthopedic
  • Skin, eye, and ear infections
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Dental illness
  • Digestive illnesses
  • Infectious diseases
  • Diseases from parasites
  • Swallowed objects and toxins
  • Diagnostics and treatments

Note that both plans cover vet visit fees — this is rare in the pet insurance field and could save you a lot of money. The illness plan covers both in-person and virtual visits, while the accident plan only covers in-person visits.

Another notable feature is that there are no caps on coverage. So you'll never have to worry about spending more than your insurance will cover. You can submit claims up to 270 days after treatment — but the sooner you submit the claim, the sooner you receive reimbursement.

As long as your pet is eight weeks old or older, they can qualify for coverage. Also, there is no upper age limit for coverage, so you can get support for your dog or cat no matter their seniority. However, Spot doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. So if your pet already has an illness, you will not be able to receive coverage for that specific illness.

For example, if your dog already has hip dysplasia, the policy will specifically exclude covering costs for that. However, if later your dog breaks its leg, that would be covered.

Spot doesn’t offer any insurance plans for exotic pets (even the less exotic ones, like birds).

Plans start at $10 per month for cats and $15 per month for dogs and if you have more than one pet insured you can get a 10% discount. There is a 14-day waiting period after you sign up.

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself unhappy with Spot’s service, you can cancel within the first 30 days and get your money back.

Best for Pre-existing Conditions: AKC Pet Insurance

AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) is the exclusive partner of the American Kennel Club. AKC insures cats and dogs only.

Most pet insurance providers do not cover pre-existing conditions, but AKC Pet Insurance believes pets can overcome conditions and covers them after 365 days. There are some exclusions if you live in certain states, so check if your pet qualifies before buying a policy — which you can try risk-free for 30 days.

There are several different plans to choose from:

  • Accident-only includes costs that arise from accidents and can include broken bones, bite wounds, bee stings, toxin ingestion, eye injuries, and more.
  • Wellness plans cover wellness exams, microchip implants, deworming, spay/ neuter, heartworm prevention, flea/ tick prevention, and more.
  • Heredity coverage includes heart disease, hip dysplasia, arthritis, eye disorders, diabetes, and more.
  • Exam coverage will reimburse you for vet exam fees for primary care, specialists, and emergency visits.
  • Breeding coverage includes emergency c-sections, gestational diabetes, eclampsia, and more.
  • Final-respects coverage is for end-of-life expenses. This includes burial, cremation, urns, and memorials.

If you ever have any concerns about your pet’s health, you can turn to their 24/7 vet helpline to chat with a veterinarian.

According to their website, the average policyholder spends between $45 and $50 per month for coverage. If you have more than one pet, you can qualify for a 5% multi-pet discount.

Best for Exotic Pets: Nationwide

While some pet insurance providers only offer policies for cats and dogs, Nationwide will insure those less common pets in your home, including birds, lizards, guinea pigs, and even pigs and goats. Note that wellness plans are not available for exotic pets.

You can choose between accident-only or accident and illness coverage and can add wellness coverage to your base policy if you want preventative care covered. There are three different plans to choose from:

  • Whole Pet offers either 70% reimbursement starting at $46 per month, or 50% reimbursement starting at $34 per month. Both plans have a $250 annual deductible and a $10,000 annual limit on coverage. It covers accidents and illnesses but does not include a wellness plan.

  • Major Medical offers accident and illness and you can choose to add wellness if you want. Major medical with wellness starts at $43 per month and $25 per month without wellness. Both options have a $250 annual deductible and plan limits are set per condition.

  • Modular coverage offers accident and illness coverage and you can set your reimbursement level anywhere between 50% to 90% — you can also choose your maximum annual benefit to be anywhere between $5,000 and unlimited. Wellness coverage is available as an add-on. There is a $250 annual deductible and coverage starts at $16 per month.

Best for the Military: Embrace

Have a lot of pets? No problem. With Embrace, you get a 10% discount when you insure multiple pets. They also offer a military discount of 5%. In some cases, you can save as much as 25% off your policy by combining discounts. 

Embrace offers an accident-only plan and an accident-and-illness plan. They also offer an optional wellness plan add-on. They only insure cats and dogs.

  • Full coverage covers “pretty much everything” including cancer, dental illnesses, chronic conditions (as long as they aren't pre-existing), orthopedic conditions, preventable conditions (parvo, parasites, etc.), and breed-specific conditions. Illnesses have a 14-day waiting period while accidents only have a two-day waiting period.

  • Accident-only coverage covers costs that are incurred due to an accident, such as broken bones, poisoning, cuts, broken teeth, etc.

  • The wellness plan covers extras like vaccines, microchipping, spay/neuter procedures, training, and prescription diet food. There is no lifetime maximum when it comes to claims, but you do have to look out for the annual maximum (which you choose).

Embrace has a convenient online claims process and processes accident and illness claims in 10 to 15 business days. Wellness claims are processed much faster, in just five business days.

Pet and owner in front of laptop. Best pet insurance

How to Choose a Pet Insurance Company

When researching different companies, keep in mind the level of coverage you’re looking for. Pet insurance providers offer a wide variety of coverage types. To keep premiums low, you can go with an accident-only policy, but an accident-and-illness policy will give you the most protection.

If you have room in your budget, you may want to spring for a wellness add-on (not all pet insurance providers offer this) to help you cover the costs of preventative care, such as vaccinations, dental cleanings, and annual checkups. Going the wellness route can help you keep your pet healthier and save money down the line. 

When reviewing coverage options, pay close attention to any exclusions. For example, some pet insurance providers won’t insure specific breeds. Most also don’t cover pre-existing conditions, but some do offer coverage if your pet is healed and no longer has a pre-existing condition. Paying attention to these small details will help you pick the right policy for your special pet. 

Last but not least, take note of the waiting period (how long before coverage kicks in) and what the provider’s cancelation policy is — that way, there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for you down the road. 

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Similar to how you have health insurance, pet insurance can make managing the costs of your pet’s healthcare easier. Once you choose a policy, you pay a monthly or annual premium to maintain coverage. From there, when your pet needs veterinary care, you may be able to file a claim to cover some or all of the costs of that care.

The great thing about pet insurance is it’s much simpler than health insurance. You can typically take your pet to any licensed veterinarian for care. 

With most pet insurance policies, you pay the vet bill out of pocket and then submit a claim to the pet insurance company. Once they approve the claim, you receive a reimbursement (minus your deductible). Reimbursement typically comes about 14 days after submission. 

You can only receive a reimbursement for care covered by your pet’s policy. Accidents, illnesses, surgeries, prescription medication, hospitalization, and diagnostic tests are commonly covered (unless you have an accident-only policy). 

Unfortunately, pet insurance doesn’t cover every health-related expense. Pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, alternative therapies, behavioral issues, and preventative and routine care are often excluded from coverage. In some cases, you may be able to add additional coverage to your base policy to cover some of these issues.

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can come in handy, but it may not be a necessary expenditure for you and your pet. Consider the advantages and disadvantages before buying pet insurance.

Pros

  • Future savings: You can’t predict what type of trouble your pet may run into. If you think you’ll struggle to manage unexpected vet expenses, pet insurance can come to the rescue. 
  • Less financial stress: By safeguarding you against unexpected expenses, pet insurance can provide peace of mind for your finances.
  • Flexible care: Most pet insurance plans allow you to choose any licensed veterinarian, so you can keep your pet’s favorite doctor. 

Cons

  • Cost: Pet insurance impacts your monthly budget and you may never need to use it. Your premiums are also likely to increase as your pet ages. 
  • Exclusions and limits: Some policies exclude certain conditions you want coverage for or may have annual or lifetime payout limits.
  • Deductibles: On top of your monthly or annual premium, you also have to pay a deductible for each claim before coverage kicks in.

FAQs

Is pet insurance worth it?

Many pet owners get a lot of value out of their pet insurance policies and are grateful they have coverage when unexpected veterinary expenses arise. That being said, how much value you’re likely to get out of pet insurance is difficult to predict.

Ideally, your pet will remain healthy and you won’t have to file many claims. Pet insurance may cost you more in the long run or it may save you a lot of cash — either way, the peace of mind may be worth it for you, regardless of whether you ever have to file a claim.

Is pet insurance expensive?

Generally, pet insurance is one of the more affordable types of insurance on the market. You can expect to spend about $20 to $30 a month for basic coverage or closer to $50 to $100 for more extensive coverage.

While pet insurance may seem expensive at first glance, it can save you thousands on vet bills. This is especially true if your dog or cat is a breed known for inheriting health issues or getting injured easily (although common breed-specific ailments are also sometimes excluded from coverage). 

Does pet insurance only cover cats and dogs?

Many pet insurance providers only insure cats and dogs, but some insure a greater variety of pets, such as reptiles, birds, and small mammals. If you look hard enough, you should be able to find the coverage your pet needs.

Nationwide is an example of a major pet insurance provider that provides coverage for more exotic pets like hamsters, hedgehogs, birds, and even mice.

Latest Articles
Happy young traveler giving registration manager her passport for check-in while standing by counter.

TSA PreCheck® vs. Global Entry: Which Is Better?

Woman holding phone in her hands, calculating budget at home.

YNAB Review: Real-Time Budgeting App

Best Chase Credit Cards in May 2024

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review: 1.5% Flat Cashback Rate

Related Articles

Man stroking an old, loyal Labrador retriever on an autumn sunny day.

Lemonade Pet Insurance Review

As a loving pet owner, you want to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy. But unfortunately, no matter how wonderfully you take care of

Compare To Other Cards

Best Offers From Our partners

Reward rate

Welcome bonus

Annual fee

Regular APR

Recommended credit

Author picture

I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.