The 6 Best Pet Insurance Options of 2020
Secure the best care for your four-legged family members
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Pets are very important family members and — like humans — deserve the best medical care. No matter what type of pet you have, it's important to be prepared to pay for medical costs such as wellness visits, immunizations, spaying/neutering and emergency care. One way to offset the cost of regular vet visits is through a pet insurance policy.
Pet insurance policies offer varying degrees of coverage. Some of the most common options available include basic coverage for common illnesses and accidental injury, wellness plans for routine immunizations and preventative care, veterinarian plans for regular check-ups and surgical discounts and additional liability plans should your pet bite or harm another person. Below are some of the best options available for every type of pet insurance.
Best Veterinary Discount Plan: Pet Assure
Founded in 1995, Pet Assure is a veterinary discount plan that covers cats, dogs and most types of animals. There are no exclusions to the types of services covered and no annual limits. To receive the 25-percent discount, all you must do is use one of Pet Assure's in-network veterinarian providers. If you are on the fence about purchasing a pet insurance policy but still want to realize savings on your pet's health care, this is a good option to consider. There are four plans available: single cat, single dog, family (covers two to four animals of any size) and unlimited.
Best for Birds and Exotic Pets: Nationwide
Nationwide is one of the biggest insurance companies in the United States and is the largest pet insurer in the nation. With Nationwide, you can use any veterinarian anywhere in the world. In addition to its regular pet insurance plans for dogs and cats, Nationwide is the only provider to offer a plan exclusively for birds and exotic pets. The Avian and Exotic Pet Plan covers accidents, illnesses, examinations, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays and hospitalization for more uncommon pets like chinchillas, chameleons, hedgehogs, tortoises, amphibians and more.
Best for Life-Saving Care: Figo
Figo Pet Insurance offers comprehensive pet plans for dogs and cats. For life-saving treatments, there is no co-pay or deductible. You can go to any U.S. licensed veterinarian of your choice and reimbursements are not docked for visiting a specialist. That said, there is a 5-day waiting period after enrollment for accidents and a 14-day waiting period for illnesses. There is a 6-month waiting period for cruciate ligaments and patellas (knees). However, if you have your pet examined within the first 30 days after enrollment and no pre-existing conditions are found, the waiting period is waived.
As the first "cloud-based" pet insurance, Figo handles its policies through its “pet cloud” where policyholders can obtain policy documents, renew policies, make payments, add a pet, file a claim, receive reminders for when immunizations are due and more via a cloud-specific email address/login. Three plans are available: Essential (limit of $10,000), Preferred (limit of $14,000) and Ultimate which offers unlimited coverage.
Best for Unlimited Lifetime Coverage: Healthy Paws
Healthy Paws pet insurance offers plans for dogs and cats that cover illnesses and accidents, hereditary and congenital conditions, cancer care, chronic conditions, emergency and specialty care, x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization, prescriptions and alternative care. Healthy Paw’s has one plan — an Unlimited Lifetime option — which, as the name implies, offers unlimited lifetime benefits once you have paid your deductible (there is no payment cap on payouts to cover your pet’s medical expenses). You can use any licensed U.S. veterinarian and claims — which can be submitted via the company’s mobile app — are usually paid within 3-10 business days. There are some exclusions to coverage including pre-existing conditions like cruciate ligament issues, as well as spaying/neutering, preventive health care, parasite control, dental health care and anal gland expression. Healthy Paws pet insurance is underwritten by Chubb Group, an A.M. Best “A+” rated insurer.
Best Value for Price: Embrace
While Embrace pet insurance may not be the absolute cheapest, the company's plans are affordable and comprehensive. Embrace offers pet insurance for cats and dogs in all 50 U.S. states. Coverage is included for breed-specific, genetic and congenital conditions as well as cancer treatment, exam fees, alternative therapies and rehabilitation, ER and specialist care, diagnostic testing, hospitalization and surgery, prosthetic limbs, mobility aids, dental illness up to $1,000 per year (in most states) and drug coverage for take-home prescriptions. Of course, there are some exclusions to coverage, including routine veterinary care, pre-existing conditions, breeding, pregnancy, cosmetic procedures (such as tail docking), DNA testing or cloning and a few others.
Embrace is the first pet insurance company to introduce a “diminishing deductible” which means that for every year you are claim-free, you will receive a $50 reduction in your pet’s annual deductible. Eventually, you could end up with a zero deductible. Also, fees are not paid based on a set price for a procedure or service but based on the actual veterinary bill.
Best for Extra Expenses: Petplan
Petplan offers pet insurance policies for cats and dogs of all ages and insures them with no exclusions for hereditary or chronic conditions. Petplan's broadest plan offers coverage for extras like boarding fees if you are in the hospital and even travel expenses if you must cut a vacation short because of a pet illness or emergency. Petplan offers coverage in all 50 U.S. states and D.C. Its U.S. operations started in 2003 but the company has been in business for over 35 years in the UK. Standard plans include coverage for examinations, accident or injury, surgery, x-rays, diagnostic treatment, prescriptions, cancer care and dental treatments. Annual coverage limits are $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 or $25,000 with deductibles ranging from $100 to $1,000. The reimbursement pay depends on the plan you choose but ranges from 70 to 90 percent.