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Pet Insurance Reviews

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PETS BEST

Created by a veterinarian who had seen too many loving pet owners forced to choose euthanasia over treatment for their four-legged friends, Pets Best pet insurance helps people worry less about the costs of caring for their dogs and cats. They offer a 24/7 pet helpline to answer questions you may have about your pet's health, along with support via text, phone, or online chat.

As with most pet insurance companies, Pet Best asks you to give them some basic information about your pet, such as age, breed, and zip code of residence. From there you'll be given three suggested plans. For our mixed breed, 7-year-old male dog, we were shown these options:

  • Essential: for $32.36/month, our coverage included Accidents, Illnesses, Cancer, Hereditary Conditions, Emergency Care, Surgeries, and Rx Medications.
  • Plus: for $37.76/month, we got all of the Essential coverage, plus any veterinarian exam fees.
  • Elite: for $39.51/month, we got all of the coverage from the first two plans, along with Rehabilitative/Acupuncture/Chiropractic care.

All three of those plans had an unlimited annual coverage limit, an annual deductible of $500, and a reimbursement level of 80%.

You can use the customization dropdowns above your three recommended packages to make a pet insurance plan specific to what you'd like to pay. Choosing an annual limit of $5,000 brought our premiums down by $4/month. Annual deductible options range from $50 to $1,000, and reimbursement levels can be 70%, 80%, or 90%. Pets Best had one of the lowest monthly costs out of all of the pet insurance companies in our review, starting at less than $5/month to cover a kitten and less than $8/month to cover a puppy. Of course, as your pet gets older, you can expect to pay higher premiums no matter which company you choose.

If you want to supplement your pet insurance with routine care coverage, Pets Best offers EssentialWellness for $16/month and BestWellness for $26/month. You'll want to determine if this coverage is worth what you'd pay over the course of a year, because some of the included benefits may not be a part of your annual care plan. For example, both routine care plans have a benefit for microchipping - $20 in the Essential plan and $40 in the Best plan - but you wouldn't need to have that done more than once.

For the most part, Pets Best clients rave about the service and coverage they've gotten through their pet insurance plans. One of the most common comments is amazement at how fast claims are paid: the company often reimburses claims within 5 days of submission (via direct deposit if you like). Also, many veterinarians accept Pets Best as a direct pay partner, meaning that you don't have to pay out of pocket during your visit. An "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau also demonstrate that Pets Best has a good history of providing pet insurance that delivers peace of mind to owners around the country.

The only complaints we saw were by customers who didn't agree with Pets Best waiting periods and pre-existing conditions policies. When starting a new policy, you should expect a 3-day waiting period for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and 6 months for cruciate ligament events or related conditions. However, we found that Pets Best representatives do a very good job of responding to customer concerns and complaints.

Overall, Pets Best continues to be a terrific choice for your pet insurance policy. From accident-only coverage to comprehensive plans that help pay for routine care and illnesses/accidents, Pets Best offers affordable plans that should appeal to everyone with a pet. For keeping your faithful animal companion happy and healthy for a long time, Pets Best earns our highest rating for the best pet insurance plan.

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EMBRACE

Since 2006, Embrace has ensured more than 100,000 dogs and cats throughout the United States. At the time of our review, they had a strong reputation with the Better Business Bureau as an accredited, "A+" rated company.

Embrace's rates are fairly competitive with most providers of pet insurance. You can customize your pet insurance policy according to your desired annual deductible ($200 to $1000), annual reimbursement limit ($5000 to $30,000), and reimbursement percentage (70% to 90%). For our 7-year-old dog, the three main packages recommended by Embrace were a little higher than some of their competitors', but we were able to tweak our preferences for deductible and reimbursement to get a monthly premium we liked.

If your pet has already been spayed or neutered, you may save 5% on your policy. You can also request this discount later if your pet undergoes the procedure after you start your coverage.

Wellness/routine care options exist, but they are a "supplementary, non-insurance benefit". It works similarly to an HSA (Health Savings Account), where you pay every month towards your account and those funds can be used to reimburse you for vaccinations, routine visits, grooming, and so forth. You can choose annual limits of $250, $450, or $650. With each of these plans, if you maximize the benefit you'll spend approximately 86% of the value that you receive. In other words, for the $250 plan, you'll pay about $216 out of pocket, and see a savings of about $34.

A few other features we liked about Embrace pet insurance:

  • Embrace follows a "deductible then copay" reimbursement model in contrast to some other pet insurance companies that use a "copay then deductible" model. Embrace's reimbursement could mean saving an additional $50 on a $1,000 claim.
  • Embrace uses an annual deductible, while some competitors use a per-condition deductible. An annual deductible only needs to be met once per year, regardless of how many claims you make. Plans with a per-condition deductible require you to pay a new deductible every time you go to the vet for a new condition. If your pet has an unlucky year, your out-of-pocket costs could be higher by a few hundred dollars with a per-condition deductible.
  • Embrace offers a 24/7 pet help line. This provides you with instant, real-time access to veterinary experts and decision support for any questions you might have about your pet's behavioral changes, possible poisoning, emergencies, and more. This policyholder benefit is valued over $99 a year and is included with every policy at no extra cost.

Another way to save is through Embrace's Healthy Pet Deductible. With this feature, your annual deductible will automatically decrease by $50 after every year that you don't make a claim on your policy. So, if you start out with a deductible of $200 per year, it would drop to $150 in year 2, $100 in year 3, and so on. Once you make a claim, however, your deductible for the following year is reset to your original amount. This is included with every Embrace policy at no extra charge.

We were surprised to see a $1/month "Billing Fee", evidently to cover the cost of monthly payment processing. We're not aware of any other pet insurance company that charges for that. There was also an enrollment fee of $25. Neither of these charges amount to very much money, but are still something you should be aware of.

As with many pet insurance providers, Embrace gets its fair share of complaints about claims being denied as pre-existing conditions. If you have a good medical history for your pet - and possibly a clean orthopedic exam - you shouldn't have any issues. The happy customers we found said that they were treated with the utmost respect and care, and that their claims were approved and paid very quickly.

Embrace does a lot of things right. Starting with an excellent reputation and comprehensive pet insurance plans, they add features such as their 24 hour help line, wellness coverage, and a Healthy Pet Deductible that few competitors can match. For all these reasons, Embrace is an outstanding option when it comes to pet insurance plans.

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HEALTHY PAWS

Healthy Paws is a pet insurance company with heart. Founded in 2009 by two professionals who met at a no-kill animal shelter, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation set the goal of helping all pets, homeless and adopted, to live their best, healthiest lives.

Where Healthy Paws really stands out is their personalized attention to their clients. Imagine getting a personal email after your Golden Retriever gets out of the hospital, just to see how she's doing. (Insurance companies for humans don't even do that, most of the time!) Time and again, we found customers praising this company for their friendly, concerned approach whenever claims are made.

Another plus with Healthy Paws is their convenient app. Claims can be submitted with photos/scans of documents right from your phone, which makes the reimbursement process happen even more quickly. Some people get paid back for claims in a week or less, which we think is amazing.

Compared with some pet insurance plans, this company also wins paws-down on deductibles: theirs are annual, not per-claim. This could save you a ton of money if you have multiple visits within a year for different reasons. You also get annual coverage with no limits, whether your bills total $500 or $50,000.

As with most pet insurance plans, your costs will depend on where you live, your pet's age/breed/gender, and the type of coverage you select. For reference, here were some of our options for a 7-year-old male mixed breed dog:

  • Lowest-priced option: 60% reimbursement, $500 annual deductible: $33.53/month
  • Middle-tier option: 70% reimbursement, $200 annual deductible: $44.15/month
  • Highest-priced option: 80% reimbursement, $200 annual deductible: $48.58/month

When we checked Healthy Paws' prices for covering a puppy, we found more options for reimbursement (up to 90%) and deductible (from $100 to $400). Most pet insurance plans are more expensive as animals age, so this is in line with other providers' plans.

You should also plan on paying a one-time fee of $25 to set up your account and cover your monthly billing costs.

Healthy Paws' reputation is one of the best. In addition to consistently positive reviews from their clients, they also have an excellent "A+" rating with the BBB as an accredited business. We love everything Healthy Paws gives to their pet insurance customers, and we're confident that they can help keep your pets' tails wagging for a long time.

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FIGO

Figo wants to revolutionize the pet insurance industry. As the creator of the first cloud-based approach to pet policies, they've made it easier than ever to keep your pet healthy and happy - and to submit claims for fast payment.

Figo is the only company in our review that offers plans with 100% reimbursement on qualified claims. Combine that with an unlimited annual coverage plan and your pet could be extremely well-covered in the event of a life-threatening accident or disease. Although some customers reported that claims processing had slowed down in recent months, Figo has been quick to respond, apologize, and reassure policyholders that they've gotten it worked out. The most recent customer comments we found confirmed that: claims are being processed and paid in less than a week.

Some pet insurance companies include reimbursement for veterinary exam fees, and others do not. Figo splits it down the middle: if you'd like that coverage for accident and illness visits, you can opt in for an extra premium each month. On a puppy policy, for example, you'd pay less than $2 per month for that additional coverage.

At the bottom of the main quote page, we also saw that Figo wants you to contact them if you adopted from a shelter or rescue, if you're a veterinary student or staff at a veterinary practice. Why? To give you an additional discount! You'll also save 5% if you pay for a full year of coverage in advance, rather than month-to-month. All plans have a $9 administrative fee for starting the policy.

Figo's premiums are very affordable. Using our own furry friend, a 7-year-old male Boston mix, we'd pay $13.18 for a policy with a limit of $10,000 in annual benefits, reimbursement at 70%, and a deductible of $1000. Veterinary exam fee coverage would be an extra $2.64 per month with that plan. On the higher end, we could cover him with a policy offering unlimited annual benefits, 100% reimbursement, and an annual deductible of $200 for just $52.41/month. That premium is an amazing rate, given that most competitor plans at those levels cost twice as much, if not more. Even adding the veterinary exam fee coverage, we'd still pay less than $65 per month.

Once you've entered your information, Figo makes it very simple to see what you can expect in terms of waiting periods. Just look on the right side of the page. Your pet will need to have been seen by a vet in the last 12 months, because Figo requires you to submit those records to process any claims. But, if your pet hasn't had an exam in the last year, you can still sign up for the policy and take him or her to the vet during the mandatory 14-day waiting period. If knee coverage is important to you, you can waive the 6-month waiting period if your pet has a clear exam within 30 days of your policy start.

We did find one feature disappointing - when it comes to reimbursements, Figo utilizes a "copay then deductible" model. This actually costs you a little more out-of-pocket for each claim than other pet insurance companies who follow a different model.

Unfortunately, if you're looking for routine/wellness coverage, you won't find it at Figo. These plans can typically save you between 10-20% a year on regular pet exams, office visits, and other costs to maintain the health of your pet. We're not sure if Figo has plans to introduce this in the future, but as of this review they don't offer any plan with this option.

Although every pet insurance company receives its share of complaints regarding denied claims due to pre-existing conditions or premium increases, Figo gets fewer of those than their competitors. It was much easier to find happy customers than unsatisfied ones.

Figo has excellent, affordable coverage options, straightforward pricing, and a cloud-based way to manage your pet's health. This "A" rated, BBB accredited company should be on your short list when it comes to your pet's accident and illness pet insurance plan.

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PET PREMIUM

Pet Premium wants to be your top resource for pet protection, from insurance to helpful articles, and even to help you find your next furry mascot.

When it comes to pet insurance, Pet Premium has some pros and cons. For example, you're free to use any licensed veterinarian you like, but be aware that Pet Premium reimburses you based on a specified incident limit for the condition being treated, not for what you actually paid. In other words, if you have a world-renowned vet who charges more for her expertise, you probably won't be reimbursed for as much of the bill. That's not nearly as customer-friendly as pet insurance providers that pay out based on actual costs.

You'll choose between two types of coverage: Accident-Only and Total Coverage. Once you know which kind you want, you'll then be able to further customize your premiums according to the deductible, reimbursement level, and annual coverage limit. For our dog, a 7-year-old, mixed breed male, we were quoted $27.93/month for a plan that reimbursed 70% of each claim, with a deductible of $500 and an annual coverage limit of $2500. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we'd pay $104.02/month for a plan with no coverage limits, a $100 deductible, and a reimbursement level of 90%.

If you have a kitten or a puppy, you can expect to pay much less. We entered information for a 6-month-old kitten at the highest deductible, lowest coverage limit, and lowest reimbursement level and were quoted less than $10/month for the Total coverage plan.

One plus with this provider: Pet Premium's deductibles are annual, not per visit or per condition.

Unlike some pet insurance policies, Pet Premium's come with add-on coverage for preventative/wellness care. Your cost depends on your pet's details, but you can expect to find Basic, Standard and Prime options; for our dog, we would spend anywhere from $9.95 to $24.95 per month for that additional service. Depending on what your pet actually needs during a year (a health certificate? Urinalysis? Deworming?), the extra premiums may not be worth what you get, so check the details carefully.

How does Pet Premium's reputation compare with insurance providers with a longer history? Overall, you could say that it's "so far, so good". Even though they've only been in business since 2013, Pet Premium is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and had an "A+" rating at the time of our review. There are also hundreds of reviews on the Pet Premium site with ratings of 4- and 5-stars; it's worth noting, though, that most of those seem to be collected before the customers have had a reason to use their pet insurance plan.

We look forward to getting more feedback from Pet Premium clients in the future, to better establish how well the provider does on paying on claims, not just having an easy process for becoming a policyholder. Until then, they stay in the middle of the pack among pet insurance companies.

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ASPCA

Who doesn't know the ASPCA and their heartfelt please to care for animals in need? As an extension of their great care and concern for animal welfare, the ASPCA has partnered with a leading, longstanding insurance company to offer policies to cover pets, making veterinary care more affordable for owners around the nation.

ASPCA's plans start out more expensive than many of their competitors. While many other companies cover kittens and puppies for less than $10/month (even less than $5/month for kittens), ASPCA starts at over $11 per month for both kittens and puppies. When we looked at their pricing for our dog, a 7-year-old male, mixed breed dog, their rates were more competitive with other plans. On a policy that included a $5000 annual limit, 70% reimbursement, and a $500 annual deductible, we would pay $38/month. On the upper end of the spectrum - unlimited annual limit, 90% reimbursement, and $100 annual deductible - our premium would be $114.97/month.

You can customize your plan as you like. Available annual limits are $5000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and unlimited. Reimbursement levels are 70%, 80%, and 90%. And, annual deductible options are $100, $250, and $500.

Once you've selected your plan, you can add preventive coverage if desired. ASPCA has two plans: Basic and Prime. For our pet, we were quoted $9.95/month for Basic and $24.95/month for Prime. Each wellness plan has annual benefits, such as $175 towards a dental cleaning (Prime only) or $20/$25 towards deworming. You'll want to add up the benefits to see if it would be worth your monthly premiums, since some benefits (such as a health certificate) may not be useful to you on a yearly basis, if ever.

ASPCA pet insurance policies all come with a $2 per-payment fee for all plans that are billed monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. You can eliminate this fee if you opt to pay your premiums in full on a yearly basis. We like that ASPCA doesn't charge any enrollment or set-up fees.

The underwriter of ASPCA's pet insurance policies, Crum & Forster, is both accredited and "A+" rated by the Better Business Bureau. In over a thousand independently-verified customer reviews, ASPCA's average was a near-perfect five stars. We found compliments praising the ease of submitting claims through the ASPCA app and fast payments on claims.

On the other hand, we found quite a few customer reviews that said they had a very difficult time getting claims approved and paid by ASPCA. Several long-term customers observed that the service they received got worse over the years, with many more denials of "pre-existing conditions" along with much higher premiums. Some clients also said that when their policies renewed, it triggered another 6-month waiting period even though they had a continuous policy paid automatically every month. We didn't see responses from the ASPCA on those complaints, which isn't encouraging.

If you're specifically looking for an unlimited annual coverage plan, ASPCA is one of just a handful of providers that can meet your needs. However, expect that you may pay more, especially if you're covering a younger pet, than you'd spend on a competitor's policy.

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TRUPANION

For more than 15 years, Trupanion has aimed to give pet owners peace of mind through easy-to-understand insurance coverage. All of Trupanion's pet insurance plans pay 90% of your total bill - a nice feature, compared with other companies' plans that only pay at 70-80%. Another advantage is that you can choose any licensed veterinarian in the country; select vets and animal hospitals participate in a direct pay relationship with Trupanion, saving you from having to pay up-front costs and waiting to be reimbursed.

Trupanion will first present you with three common plan configurations to choose from. Your monthly premiums will depend on the gender, age, and breed of your pet, as well as your zip code, so take these prices as a general guideline:

  • $750 deductible = $40.29/month
  • $200 deductible = $73.16/month
  • $0 deductible = $123.01/month

If none of the packages they give you fit what you want, you can use the customize tool to select the deductible and corresponding premium that you'd prefer. For our 7-year-old, medium mixed-breed male dog, the lowest premium we were quoted was $31.97 for a deductible of $1000. All plans come with a one-time enrollment fee of $35.

There are a few add-ons available with Trupanion. You'll find them at the bottom of your quote page, because the cost depends on the pet insurance plan you select. These extras include Recovery/Complementary Care (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and behavioral modification) and Pet Owner Assistance (cremation/burial costs for accidental death, boarding fees for owner hospitalization, and so on). There is no option for including any kind of routine/wellness care.

As with any pet insurance plan, it's important to know what you're getting - and what you're not. First, your deductible is per-incident, not per year. So, if your deductible is $500 and your pet gets an ear infection in January and a UTI in May, you can expect to pay $1000 in deductibles before any coverage kicks in.

Also, Trupanion defines pre-existing conditions as "any illness, condition, or injury for which signs or evidence of their potential manifestation existed within the 18 months prior to the policy enrollment date, or during applicable waiting periods." Some customers complained that Trupanion uses the "potential manifestation" part to deny coverage - if you mentioned to your vet 12 months ago that your dog had thrown up and now she's got a condition for which vomiting can be a symptom, it may be rejected as a pre-existing issue.

Those complaints may be part of the reason that Trupanion's rating with the BBB is an "A" instead of an "A+" - but that's still a very solid reputation as an accredited company.

Trupanion makes understanding pet insurance easier than some companies by making sure you know what you're paying for, what's included, and what isn't. They also simplify things by paying all claims at 90%, limiting your decision-making strictly to how much you want to pay for your per-case deductible. Just be aware that their broad definition of pre-existing conditions may limit your ability to make a claim on your pet's illness.

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PETPLAN

Petplan has been offering insurance coverage for dogs and cats for more than 14 years. As an "A+" rated, accredited business with the BBB, they've demonstrated that they respond appropriately to customer concerns and are trustworthy in what they provide.

When you're deciding if Petplan is the best insurance for your pet, you can use their handy Claim Calculator to see what you'd pay with various configurations of coverage limits, deductibles/reimbursement levels, and so on. We liked that we could get an idea of what we'd pay in premiums and out-of-pocket before giving them our contact information.

You'll be offered three plan packages to choose from:

  • Basic - this includes $5000 in annual coverage, a deductible of $500, and reimburses you for 80% of the total bill per claim. In our case, this was priced at $38.89/month.
  • Recommended - this level of coverage includes an annual limit of $15,000, a deductible of $300, and 80% reimbursement. For our pet, the monthly costs for this plan was $59.09.
  • Premier - for unlimited yearly coverage, a deductible of $250, and 80% reimbursement, we'd pay $80.15/month for our pet.

You can also use the Customize tool below your three-plan quote, to change your annual limits (anywhere from $2500 to unlimited), deductible ($250 to $1000), or reimbursement percentage (70% to 90%).

Every plan covers imaging, surgery/rehabilitation, prescription medications due to an accident or illness, non-routine veterinarian exam fees, accidents/injuries/illnesses, cancer treatments, and diagnostic treatments. You'll also get 24/7 veterinary assistance through PetCoach, and round-the-clock Petplan customer support.

However, Petplan does not cover wellness care, such as annual visits or vaccinations, because their plans are "designed to give you comprehensive protection against unexpected vet bills for injuries and illnesses". Your pet will also be ineligible for coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.

Despite their solid history at the BBB, customer reviews were mixed overall. We found more than a few people that said Petplan waited months to make a determination on a claim (all while still charging monthly premiums) only to then deny the claim anyway. Others said that they were asked to provide documentation starting from their pet's birth, in order to rule out a pre-existing condition, but their dog was a rescue and didn't have any; their claim was denied.

Given that Petplan's monthly premiums are almost always much higher than competitors with similar coverage, you could be paying a lot of money if you don't pay attention to the particular exclusions.

Petplan is a reputable provider of pet insurance, and we appreciate their strong reputation with the BBB and easy-to-use website. But, it seems that they also put a lot of effort into denying claims and taking a long time to do it. And, if you're looking for any kind of routine/wellness coverage, you won't find it with Petplan.

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PET ASSURE

Since 1995, Pet Assure has been saving pet owners money on every trip to the veterinarian: no waiting periods, no deductibles, and no exclusions for age, pre-existing conditions, or pet breed. As an accredited, "A+" rated company with the Better Business Bureau, you can trust that this service is reputable and responsive with any customer issues that arise.

You should understand that this is not a traditional pet insurance plan. Instead, your fees give you a discount card that can save you 25% on every in-house medical service you need for your pet whether that's an allergy treatment, surgical procedure, or even diabetes management. Because you use the card to save at the time of service, there's no waiting for claims to be processed and reimbursed; in fact, you can combine your discount card with a traditional pet insurance plan from another company to save money right away, while waiting for other coverage to be paid out.

Pet Assure is also one of the only plans on the market that gladly covers all pets, not just cats and dogs. If you've got exotic pets like tarantulas or just big pets like horses, you can still use your Pet Assure discount. Here's what to expect:

  • Single: if you have just one cat or other small animal, you'll pay $79/year or $9.95/month. If your pet is a larger animal like a dog or horse, you'll pay $99/year or $11.95/month.
  • Family: for an annual fee of $149 or a monthly fee of $16.95, your plan will cover 2-4 animals of any size.
  • Unlimited: you can cover every pet in your household for an annual fee of $199 or a monthly fee of $21.95.

Before you decide to purchase a Pet Assure plan, you'll definitely want to check which veterinarians are in their network. In our area, there were more than a dozen in-network vets within a 10-mile radius, but the office we usually used wasn't on the list. This could be a problem if you have a veterinary practice that you love that isn't a participating provider with Pet Assure.

You can try Pet Assure risk-free: they offer a money-back guarantee within 45 days of starting your plan, giving you a full refund with no questions asked once you return your discount card.

Pet Assure is an ideal choice for pet owners who have unusual or hard-to-cover animal companions that might not be eligible for traditional insurance. But, for high-cost procedures, the 25% discount might not be a good deal when compared with what you'd have to pay with a regular pet insurance plan. We recommend that you take a look at the numbers and decide which one is a better fit for your needs, or that you consider using Pet Assure together with traditional pet insurance coverage.

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NATIONWIDE

"Nationwide is on your side" - and that includes your pets. Originally selling pet insurance under the Veterinary Pet Insurance brand in 1982, their very first customer was the famous TV collie, Lassie. Since then, Nationwide has covered thousands of pets throughout the US - including birds and exotic animals.

There are a few things you'll notice right away that are different with Nationwide. First, when getting a quote, you'll only be offered two plans: Major Medical and Whole Pet with Wellness. Unlike most companies that let you customize plans based on annual deductibles, coverage limits, and reimbursement percentages, Nationwide reduces your decision-making to whether you want wellness coverage or not. The Whole Pet program reimburses at 90%, while the Major Medical pays based on standard costs, not actual. With both programs, you can use any veterinarian you like.

For a kitten, you can expect to pay $16.51/month for Major Medical - almost four times as much as the lowest-priced competitor plan - or $46.60/month for Whole Pet with Wellness. But, both plans have an unlimited annual maximum, and with $250 and $100 annual deductibles, respectively, those prices are well worth the investment. Even looking at an older, more expensive pet to cover - our 7-year-old dog - we were pleasantly surprised by the rates: $57.66/month for Major Medical and $102.95 for Whole Pet with Wellness.

You'll be asked for fairly detailed medical history/information on your pet when you apply, so be prepared to document any past conditions, diagnoses, or treatments. You'll also be asked to identify your veterinarian - but it's not a problem if yours isn't in the list. (Ours was, along with dozens of others in our area.)

If you're paying for your plan on a monthly basis, you should expect transaction fees of $2/month. Also, your first payment will automatically be for two months of coverage, and your policy won't go into effect until at least 14 days after you apply and make that payment.

Does Nationwide measure up when it comes to pay out on claims? As much as we wanted to love this company for having simple-to-understand pricing with such broad coverage, we were disappointed when we looked at what other people had to say. Their comments were almost entirely negative; in fact, it was hard to find a customer who said that they had no issues at all with their policy. Many people felt they'd gotten a bait-and-switch with conditions and procedures they were told would be covered but in the end were denied. We also found a significant number of complaints saying that unless you provide detailed medical documentation from your veterinarian, Nationwide will deny your claim; some customers never received the request for that paperwork and didn't realize it until their claims were rejected.

Nationwide has a strong reputation for being a quality provider of insurance, across a wide range of policy types. It is largely due to this reputation and to their comprehensive pricing and plans that we give them a three-star rating. However, we advise you to be cautious and thorough with providing your pet's medical history, preferably during the application process - and that you follow up to make sure Nationwide received it before you make a claim, if possible.

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PET FIRST

Based in Indiana, Pet First has helped thousands of families to better afford their pets' veterinary costs since 2004. They partner with numerous animal shelters throughout the country, making it easier for new adoptive pet families to get insurance right away.

As you go through the quote process, you'll see several options for additional discounts. If you purchase your policy online (rather than calling their toll-free number or signing up at an animal shelter), you'll save $10 on your first payment. If you're an active/retired member of the military, you're eligible to save another 5% on your monthly premiums. Finally, if you are a veterinarian or any other kind of animal welfare worker, you're qualified for another discount - but the amount wasn't specified, and the discount didn't show up on our policy summary page. In order to get to the final policy total, we had to enter our credit card information - which we didn't particularly like. We'd like to see Pet First show the premium breakdown throughout the quote process and not make customers wait until after giving their payment information.

You're going to want any discounts you can get. Pet First consistently comes in higher than most of the competition. Kitten plans start at $8.35/month, which is double what the lowest-priced plans charge. Adding to your cost is the deductible: you'll pay that deductible on every claim, not as an annual maximum amount. In other words, if you have 10 claims in a year, you'll pay your $50, $100, or $500 deductible 10 times (if your total bill is over $500).

For our own four-legged friend - a 7-year old mixed breed, medium-sized male - we were given rates ranging from $15.55/month on the low end and $110.95 on the high end. The rate itself is comparable with other pet insurance providers, but when you figure that Pet First plans have a maximum annual limit of $10,000 and those every-time deductibles, their plans are much more spendy for the same monthly premiums.

Aside from cost, how does Pet First stack up against the competition? Every pet insurance company has people who complain about claims being denied - it's the nature of the business, whether you're dealing with pets or people. Pet First does have an A+ record as an accredited BBB company, which is encouraging. But, we found more than a few reviews from people who were encouraged to buy Pet First plans when adopting from an animal shelter; when those newly-adopted critters wound up developing problems not long thereafter, many of the claims were denied as pre-existing conditions.

At the end of the day, Pet First is just average when it comes to pet insurance, and you'll almost certainly spend more out of pocket because of their per-claim deductibles and limited annual reimbursement options. You'll probably get much more for your money with another provider of pet insurance policies.

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24 PET WATCH

When we first considered 24 Pet Watch several years ago, their hard-to-use, incomplete website was an immediate turn-off. Since then, this provider of both pet insurance and microchip plans has improved their site by leaps and bounds, making it easier to see what they have to offer.

But, you'll still have to jump through quite a few hoops to determine what your premiums will be. You can enter your state and download a sample plan if you want an overview before giving them your contact information, but the simplest route is to choose the Get a Quote button. You'll be asked to provide basic details like your pet's breed and gender, birthdate, and if there are any preexisting conditions. Got a microchip? Enter the number during the quote process and get a 5% discount.

What will you pay for an insurance plan? That depends on where you live, so take the following prices just as a ballpark estimate:

  • Essential: for $18.36/month and a $100 deductible, our dog was covered for Hospitalization/Surgeries, Hereditary/Congenital Conditions, Physical/Rehabilitative Therapies, Lab Tests/X-Rays/Ultrasounds, Medications, Accidents and Illnesses, Alternative Treatments, Ambulance/Paramedical Services, Exam & Diagnostic Fees - up to a yearly limit of $1500
  • Extra: for $27.62/month, our dog would be covered for all of the same items in the Essential plan, but with an increased annual coverage limit of $3000.
  • Classic: again, this plan covers the same things, but increases the monthly premium to $38.74/month and the annual limit to $5000.
  • Super: $46.12/month gives you the same coverage, but with an annual limit of $10,000/year
  • Champion: to have a total coverage limit of $20,000 per year, expect to pay somewhere around $63.15/month.

Be aware that none of these plans cover wellness services, like vaccinations or annual checkups. If you want coverage to help pay for dental cleaning, heartworm tests, or fecal screening, you'll need to add either Wellness Care Routine or Wellness Care Advanced to your plan, at a cost of $12 or $26 extra per month, respectively.

Pet insurance is worth the money if you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, we found many complaints about 24 Pet Watch's ability to deliver service on the plans they sell. More than one customer said that their premiums almost doubled unexpectedly, or that a plan they'd been paying on for years was cancelled out of the blue. Even worse, some people were told that their coverage had been terminated only when they called to make a claim - but they had been paying their premiums on time and had no reason to think they were no longer covered.

24 Pet Watch also has no rating with the BBB.

With so many companies offering reliable, affordable pet insurance, 24 Pet Watch just doesn't measure up. We think you'll find greater peace of mind with one of the higher-ranked pet insurance providers in our review.

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Best Pet Insurance

Who has the Best Pet Insurance? Medical care is rarely cheap - and the same goes for our four-legged friends. While pet owners are grateful for advances in technology and medicine that make it possible to keep their "fur kids" healthy, these procedures and prescriptions often come with a hefty price tag.

Without pet insurance, a simple blood test can cost well over $200. Even a standard yearly checkup can set you back by hundreds of dollars. How's your wallet feeling now? Chances are, you would do almost anything to take care of your beloved pet - but you might find yourself having to make difficult choices, especially if your dog or cat experiences a traumatic injury or life-threatening illness.

Just like their owners, pets can be protected with pet insurance plans that help ease the financial strain of medical care. Pet insurance has become very popular in the last few years, with dozens of companies offering to help you keep your pet healthy for a long time. But, every pet insurance plan is different with respect to deductibles and fees, covered services, and claims processing.

As you decide which pet insurance company is the best fit for you and your pet, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Cost. What will you pay for your coverage? Is there a deductible, and is it annual or per incident? Will you pay any enrollment fees?
  • Coverage. What services and procedures are covered in the plan you have selected? Does it cover preventative measures like annual checkups? Are there any noteworthy exclusions? Does the company offer a variety of plans to meet your needs?
  • Reputation. Is the pet insurance provider rated by the Better Business Bureau? What do other customers say about their experience? Are claims paid quickly, or do you have to jump through a lot of hoops to file paperwork? Do many claims get denied? Are the company's customer service representatives knowledgeable and friendly?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Pet Insurance companies available today. We hope this information helps you find the best pet insurance plan for you and your animal companion!



How Pet Insurance Can Save You Money

If you asked every pet lover you encountered in a day how they feel about their pets, they'd likely tell you they view them as family members, not pets. As such, most pet owners want their furry family members to live long and healthy lives.

One of the best ways to make sure that happens is by investing in a pet insurance policy.

Like their human counterparts, animals can get sick or be involved in accidents which can cause severe injury. They also need routine preventative healthcare in order to stay healthy - all of which can cost a pretty penny. Pet insurance plans are designed to help shoulder the burden of these costs, helping pet owners to have the choice in caring for their pet, versus euthanasia due to insufficient funding to pay for necessary medical procedures.

Currently, only one percent of the U.S. pet population - just under 3 million animals - is insured. However, industry trends indicate that pet health insurance policies are growing in popularity in the U.S., with an anticipated increase of up to 10 percent within the next five years.

The first official pet healthcare policy was sold in Britain in 1947. Britain trails only Sweden in the number of pet owners who provide insurance for their pets. Dogs are the most-insured pet, followed by cats and small exotic animals. While it is sold under the name "healthcare insurance," pet health insurance is actually under the insurance umbrella for property. According to insurance laws, pets are seen as property, so the insurance policy which covers them is similar to that for any other property owned by an individual.

Most pet owners understand that cost for care, as well as the likelihood that the pet will suffer from certain diseases and conditions, significantly increases as the pet ages. However, not many pet owners have stopped to ask themselves what they would do if their pet suffered a serious or unexpected injury. Average cost for mending a broken leg, for instance, can run between $2,000 and $5,000 without insurance coverage. Dogs, which are known for eating and swallowing items which can be harmful, may need emergency surgery to remove the item and repair any internal damage that may have been caused. That kind of procedure can cost up to $3,000. Many pet owners cannot afford such high up-front costs and most veterinarians require payment in full at the time of the procedure. That leaves many pet owners struggling with what to do for their pet when they can't afford the procedure that could help them.

Other conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, are on the rise in the pet population. One out of every 400 dogs and cats will be diagnosed with diabetes at some point in their lives. With the advent of medical procedures and interventions not previously available to our pets, many are living longer, which increases their chances of developing age-related conditions and injuries. Take for instance, a pet which develops diabetes. That animal would require insulin injections, much as its human counterpart diagnosed with the same condition would need. Monthly costs between insulin and the syringes needed to administer it can cost a couple hundred dollars. Then there is the glucose monitoring system required to keep track of your pet's insulin levels. Animal-specific monitors such as AlphaTrak can cost $200 by the time you purchase the monitor, the lancets and the testing strips.

Most pet policies cover these issues and many more, making them a good investment for pet owners. With a variety of plans from which to choose, pet owners can find one that is not only affordable to them, but which also covers their pet's annual medical needs.

 



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