Top Pet Insurance Picks for May 2024 (Dogs & Cats)

Ever worried about unexpected vet costs for your pet’s illness or accident? Imaging tests (X-rays, MRIs) and treatments (meds, surgery) can add up fast. But fear not, pet insurance can help!

Our Insure Advisor research picked Nationwide as the best overall company. They offer a variety of plans, some with unlimited yearly coverage, and even insure exotic pets like birds!

To find the top pet insurance options for dogs and cats, we analyzed 25 companies and considered over 2,000 details. We also took into account what pet owners prioritize, by surveying over 400 current and past pet insurance users.

Top Pet Insurance Companies for Covering Dogs & Cats: Pros & Cons

Choosing the right pet insurance can feel overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of the top companies in May 2024, highlighting their pros and cons to help you find the best fit for your furry friend:

1. Best if You Want an Established Insurer: Nationwide Pet Insurance

Pros:

  • Solid Reputation: Nationwide is a well-established insurance company with a proven track record.
  • Variety of Plans: They offer a wide range of plans with different coverage levels and deductibles to fit your budget.
  • Unlimited Annual Coverage: Some plans offer unlimited coverage for accidents and illnesses, providing peace of mind for unexpected vet bills.
  • Covers Exotic Pets: Unique benefit! Nationwide also insures birds, reptiles, and other exotic animals.

Cons:

  • Potentially Higher Costs: Nationwide’s plans might be pricier than some competitors, especially for younger pets.
  • Customer Service Reviews: While generally positive, some reviews mention occasional long wait times for customer service.

2. Best Value for the Price: Figo Pet Insurance

Pros:

  • Affordable Rates: Figo is known for offering competitive prices, making pet insurance more accessible.
  • Short Waiting Period: Enjoy accident coverage as soon as the next day after enrolling (restrictions may apply).
  • Customization Options: Choose from various reimbursement percentages, deductibles, and annual coverage limits to personalize your plan.
  • 24/7 Pet Telehealth: Get free consultations with licensed vets for minor issues, potentially saving on vet visits.

Cons:

  • Limited Coverage Options: Figo offers fewer plan options compared to some competitors.
  • Newer Company: While Figo is growing, it might not have the same long-term track record as established insurers.

3. Best for Lowering Your Premium: Metlife Pet Insurance

Pros:

  • Budget-Friendly Premiums: Metlife offers some of the most affordable pet insurance plans, especially for older pets.
  • Shorter Waiting Periods: Get coverage for accidents and illnesses quicker than some competitors (check specific policy details).
  • Multiple Deductible Options: Choose a higher deductible to lower your monthly premium and vice versa.

Cons:

  • Limited Coverage Options: Similar to Figo, Metlife might have a smaller selection of plans compared to other companies.
  • Reimbursement Limits: Some plans might have lower reimbursement percentages or annual coverage limits, so carefully review details.

4. Best for Dental Coverage: Odie Pet Insurance

Pros:

  • Comprehensive Dental Coverage: Odie offers exceptional dental coverage options, including routine cleanings and even dental surgeries.
  • Multiple Plan Options: Choose from accident-only, accident & illness, and wellness plans to fit your needs.
  • Alternative Therapies: Some Odie plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic care.

Cons:

  • Potentially Higher Premiums: Due to the focus on dental coverage, Odie’s plans might be more expensive than some competitors.
  • Limited Availability: Odie is not available in all states, so check their website for coverage in your area.

5. Best for Military Families: USAA Pet Insurance

Pros:

  • Military Discounts: USAA offers special discounts for active military personnel, veterans, and their families.
  • Multiple Plan Options: Choose from accident-only, accident & illness, and wellness plans to customize your coverage.
  • Bundling Options: Bundle your pet insurance with other USAA insurance policies for additional discounts.

Cons:

  • Limited Eligibility: USAA pet insurance is only available to active military, veterans, and their families.
  • Fewer Reimbursement Options: Compared to some competitors, USAA might offer fewer reimbursement percentages for covered claims.

More: The Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance works just like your own health plan. You pay a monthly fee (premium) and sometimes a small upfront cost (deductible) to the insurance company. Then, if your precious pup, cuddly cat, or other pet needs a vet visit for an accident or illness, the insurance company helps foot the bill! This means you won’t have to worry about emptying your savings to give your pet the care they need.

How Pet Insurance Works for Your Furry Friend

  1. Pick Your Plan: Just like human health insurance, you choose a plan that fits your budget and needs. This plan will outline coverage details, deductibles, and reimbursement percentages.
  2. Pay Monthly Premiums: Similar to other insurance, you’ll pay a set amount each month to keep your pet covered.
  3. Vet Visit Woes? No Problem (Mostly): If your furry friend gets sick or injured and needs a vet visit, you typically pay the bill upfront.
  4. Reimbursement Time!: Here’s where pet insurance shines. You submit a claim to your insurance company along with the vet bill. Once approved, they reimburse you a percentage (based on your plan) of the covered costs, minus your deductible.

Different Coverage Types of Pet Insurance

  1. Accident-Only Plans: These plans offer coverage for unexpected accidents, like broken bones or swallowed objects. They’re generally the most affordable option, but won’t cover illnesses.
  2. Accident & Illness Plans: This is the most comprehensive coverage, offering reimbursement for accidents and a wide range of illnesses, like cancer or allergies. It provides peace of mind knowing your pet is covered for most medical scenarios.
  3. Wellness Plans: These plans focus on preventive care, covering costs for routine checkups, vaccinations, and sometimes even spaying/ne neutering. Think of it as an investment in your pet’s long-term health.

Pet Wellness vs. Discount Plans

While pet insurance helps manage unexpected illness and accident costs, there are other options to keep your pet healthy and manage routine vet care expenses. Here’s a breakdown of pet wellness plans and discount plans to help you decide which might be right for you:

Pet Wellness Plans:

  • Focus: Preventive care. These plans typically cover the cost of routine checkups, vaccinations, and sometimes even spaying/neutering.
  • Think of it as: An investment in your pet’s long-term health potentially reducing future vet bills for treatable conditions caught early.
  • How it works: You pay a monthly or annual fee for the plan, and the covered services are included at no additional cost during your pet’s wellness visits.
  • Good for: Pet owners who prioritize preventive care and want predictable budgeting for routine vet services.

Discount Plans:

  • Focus: Reducing the overall cost of vet care. These plans are not technically insurance, but offer membership discounts on vet services.
  • Think of it as: A way to get discounted rates on various vet services, potentially saving money on both routine and unexpected care.
  • How it works: You pay a monthly membership fee to join the plan, then receive discounted rates on vet visits, medications, and other services offered by participating providers. There are no reimbursements involved.
  • Good for: Pet owners on a budget who want to save on vet bills, but may not need the comprehensive coverage of pet insurance.

Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:

FeaturePet Wellness PlansDiscount Plans
FocusPreventive careReducing overall vet costs
CoverageRoutine checkups, vaccinations, spaying/neutering (sometimes)Discounts on various vet services
CostMonthly or annual feeMonthly membership fee
ReimbursementNoNo
Good forPet owners prioritizing preventive care and predictable budgetingPet owners on a budget who want to save on overall vet costs

Also remember: Both pet wellness plans and discount plans can be valuable tools for managing pet care costs. Consider your pet’s needs and your budget when deciding which option is the best fit for you and your furry friend!

What Does Pet Insurance Cover (and Not Cover)?

There are different types of pet insurance plans available, but most offer coverage for accidents (like broken bones) and illnesses (like cancer). Some plans also cover wellness care, such as routine checkups and vaccinations.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s typically included and excluded:

  • Covered: Accidents, illnesses (depending on the plan), some wellness care (optional)
  • Not Covered: Pre-existing conditions (with some exceptions), routine care (unless you have a wellness plan), cosmetic procedures

Important Note: Be sure to carefully review the policy exclusions of any plan you’re considering. This will help you avoid surprises down the road.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet insurance varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Pet’s Age: Generally, younger pets are cheaper to insure.
  • Pet’s Breed: Certain breeds are more prone to specific health problems, leading to higher premiums.
  • Your Location: Vet costs can vary by area, affecting insurance rates.
  • Coverage Type: Accident-only plans are the most affordable, while comprehensive accident & illness plans cost more.
  • Deductible and Reimbursement Percentage: Higher deductibles and lower reimbursement percentages typically mean lower premiums.

Is Pet Insurance Right for You?

Here are some things to consider when deciding if pet insurance is a good fit for you:

  • Can you afford unexpected vet bills? Vet care can be expensive, especially for emergencies or ongoing treatments.
  • Do you want peace of mind knowing your pet is covered? Pet insurance can help reduce stress and allow you to focus on your pet’s recovery.
  • Is your pet young and healthy? Younger pets are generally less expensive to insure.

The Final Pawprint

Finding the right pet insurance can feel like sniffing out a hidden treat. You want a company you can trust to be there when your furry friend needs it most, with a claims process that’s smooth sailing, not a ruff experience.

Nationwide takes the top spot for its long history of providing pet insurance and paying out claims. Plus, if you’re already part of the Nationwide family with another policy, you score a 5% discount on your pet insurance premium!

Looking for an insurer who welcomes senior pets with open arms? Figo Pet Insurance doesn’t have an upper age limit, making them a great choice for older companions.

Do you have a multi-pet household? MetLife Pet Insurance offers family plans that might be the most budget-friendly option for your furry crew.

Remember: Every pet (and pet parent!) is unique. Take your time to shop around, compare quotes, and understand exclusions from different companies. This way, you’ll find the paw-fect coverage that keeps your wallet happy and your furry friend healthy!

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