It’s hard to go wrong with any of the pet insurance companies on this list. Value-wise, AKC and Pets Best are both excellent choices, with emergency plans for both cats and dogs starting at less than $10 per month. If you have an older pet, Pets Best may offer the superior value. AKC’s five-day turnaround on claims is among the best in the industry, topped only by Prudent Pet Insurance (among the carriers in this list). For vet-direct payments, choose Pets Best, Embrace, or ASPCA.
If you have a pet, but that pet isn’t a dog, cat, or horse, Nationwide is the option for you. For horses, your go-to is ASPCA, as long as its horse insurance policies are available in your state.
How Much Is Emergency Pet Insurance?
Premium costs vary on a number of personal factors, including the age and breed of your pet as well as your location. Premium levels also hinge on variables like annual coverage amount, reimbursement percentage, and deductible chosen. We found the cost of emergency pet insurance (considering premiums only), generally ranged from under $5 per month to over $50, with older dogs seeing the highest premiums. But the premium is not the only cost you should expect to pay with pet insurance.
For example, say your dog is covered by an accident-only plan with a $500 deductible, a 90 percent reimbursement level, and a $10,000 annual benefit. That dog then suffers an injury that results in a $5,000 vet bill. Assuming all injuries are eligible for coverage, the plan would pay out $4,050 toward the vet bill and you would pay the remaining $950; that’s $500 out of pocket with the deductible, and then 90 percent of the remaining $4,500.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
When you purchase pet insurance, you agree to pay a premium in exchange for coverage. Once you have an insurance policy and your pet experiences an accident or injury, the insurer will either reimburse you the cost of veterinary care or pay the vet directly—up to the limits of your policy.
There is a bit of cost sharing when it comes to pet-insurance claims, just as there is with health insurance. In addition to premiums, you’re responsible for paying a deductible and coinsurance costs. (This is why choosing a higher deductible and/or a lower reimbursement level results in a lower premium.)
The following factors have a direct impact on individual premiums:
- Where you live: Living in a higher-populated area, with more vehicles on the road, also brings with it an increased risk of a pet being involved in a car accident. This could result in a higher premium with some careers.
- Your pet’s age: The older the pet, the higher the chance a health issue might present itself, which brings a higher premium. In order to get the best possible rates, consider shopping for policy when your pet is still young and healthy.
- Your pet’s breed: Certain breeds are more prone to certain behaviors, which certainly has an impact on premium determination.
- Your deductibles, coinsurance, and coverage limits: As mentioned above, these three items are perhaps the most influential factors on premium.
For accident-only plans, annual deductibles generally range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the company. Reimbursement percentages generally range from 70% to 90%.
What Is Excluded From Emergency Pet Insurance Coverage?
Emergency pet insurance is there to cover exactly what it sounds like: emergencies. If a dog runs into the street and is struck by a motorist of some kind, most emergency policies would cover the resulting injuries. The same goes for if a pet swallows something they shouldn’t, an incident that typically requires emergency surgery to extract the item. Simply put, an emergency pet policy is there to cover the sudden, unexpected incidents that often demand immediate action.
It is not, however, there to cover everything. For things like illness, disease and even preventative care, a more comprehensive policy is generally required, as emergency policies generally do not fall under that purview.
Pet owners seeking a more all-encompassing approach to their pet risk-management strategy might consider an illness or wellness policy of some kind, which offers coverage far beyond the more narrow scope of an emergency policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. But will that same policy cover a recently diagnosed condition? In most cases, no, unless the pre-existing condition is considered cured for a certain number of days, also called a waiting period. If the condition is not cured, most pet insurance companies will not cover it. Except for AKC pet insurance. AKC covers pre-existing conditions on its accident-and-illness plans after a 365 day waiting period, even if they aren’t considered cured.
Yes, most pet insurance companies make you wait anywhere from two to 30 days. Separate waiting periods apply to injuries and illnesses, and waiting periods differ between companies. With AKC pet insurance and Embrace, for example, customers have to wait just two days for injury coverage to take effect for their pets.
Pet insurance carriers may require a veterinary exam or a summary of your pet’s most recent vet visits, in order to verify their physical condition. Anything in a pet’s medical history before policy inception is subject to exclusion from coverage. But policy exclusions vary from carrier to carrier so it’s important to ask whether a condition you’re concerned about will be covered.
No. Cats and dogs are typically covered by all carriers offering pet insurance, while “exotic” animals, such as birds, reptiles, etc., are covered only by a select few. In this list, Nationwide and ASPCA stand out as the only two pet insurance carriers who offers coverage for birds and exotic animals.