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Best Pet Insurance for 2016

How much is pet insurance and is it worth it?  We review the top companies

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Pet Insurance Reviews

Foregoing pet insurance is a mistake too many pet owners make. We all know the importance of ensuring our family members in the event of a medical emergency, right? Well, pet insurance operates in a similar way to help cover pets during routine care visits and in emergency situations. The industry is growing; in 2012, there were around 1 million pets insured with annual premiums.

Investing in a quality pet policy can be the difference between life and death for our furry friends so it's crucial to examine the different facets of each policy before purchasing one. Some of the most important elements to consider are deductible amounts, coverage limitations, customer service ratings, and of course price. Here's our list of the top five policies and how they rank in the grander scheme of things.

Best Pet Insurance: What to Consider

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right pet insurance for you and your animals. Everything from standard considerations like pricing to your pet's behaviour and personality can be in important factor in choosing a provider.

1. Pricing and Rates

Rates can depend on a variety of factors including age, type of pet, and breed. Older animals may cost slightly more to insure. The amount of your deductible will also manipulate what the rate is. Deductibles usually range between $100 and $500, but they can be higher depending on the company. Pet insurance is generally not too expensive compared to other types of insurance and if you find yourself needing any type of medical care for your animals, it's nice to have. The main thing you want to focus on is the amount of coverage in relation to your rate. You know what your needs are so you may need to take some time shopping around and comparing offers in order to find the best coverage and rate for your situation.

2. What are Your Financial Capabilities?

It might be better to set aside money in a pet emergency fund rather than paying for insurance. That way, the money is available if your pet doesn't need medical attention. When you compare pet insurance plans and their coverage options, you'll have to consider whether it's something you'd like to actually pay for, or if you'd feel more comfortable just saving up money for any emergencies or medical needs your pet might have. The good thing about pet insurance is that it helps cover the unexpected and fairly expensive medical expenses. If your pet ever needed medical services like surgery or extensive tests, it would be nice to know that those expenses wouldn't wipe out your pet emergency fund or cause you to resort to using credit cards to pay for the expenses (if your emergency savings account isn't fully funded). The best option would be to find an ideal pet insurance plan with a rate that you can afford comfortably and slowly set money aside each month in a pet emergency fund as a back-up or just to cover other non-medical related expenses.

3. Keep Your Stress Level Down

Some may feel the need to get pet insurance for their own peace of mind. Having insurance can help reduce the financial pressure you could have to face if something ever goes wrong. Medical conditions often pop up unexpectedly so just like with people, pet insurance can give you some reassurance that you have some financial support and a go-to plan should your animal every suddenly need medical attention or a routine check-up. It's best to prepare and get insured, even if it just offers peace-of-mind at first. When you need it, you'll be glad that you have coverage.

4. Your Pet's Behavior

The chance of something happening is more common than you might think, especially with mischievous puppies. They can easily swallow dangerous or poisonous objects without your knowledge. Dogs and cats are not quite like children. If and when something is upsetting them, you'll have to take notice from observing their change in behavior. When you have insurance, you can take their symptoms seriously and quickly get them the care they need without having to check to see how much money you have to pay for the care. You'll want to settle with a reliable insurance plan that offers a wide range of coverage options for illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, x-rays and blood tests, surgery, cancer, emergency care, specialty care, prescription medications and more.

Be sure to check out all of the top five companies based on the aforementioned criteria.

The Top Pet Insurance Companies

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Review

  • Pros
  • Deductible as low as $100
  • Coverage of up to 90% of the veterinarian bill
  • Hospital stays, testing and medications included
  • No limit on payout amount
  • Policy in effect within 2 weeks
  • Cons
  • Routine care, pre-existing conditions and vet exams not covered

Healthy Paws is one of the top pet insurance providers offering a plethora of coverage options to pet owners including emergency care, injuries, genetic conditions and illnesses. The company insures both cats and dogs and provides custom quotes for potential customers along with a convenient comparison tool on their website that allows you to compare other plans to theirs. Deductibles are as low as $100 and the policy can take effect within just two weeks. Healthy Paws provides reliable coverage so pet owners can rest assured knowing that if their animals ever needed serious medical attention or even a hospital stay or some testing done, they can undergo the care they need without putting their owners into debt.

Embrace Pet Insurance Review

  • Pros
  • Routine care covered through a wellness plan
  • Chronic conditions, accidents, genetic conditions and illness covered
  • Excellent customer service
  • Drug coverage available
  • Quality coverage
  • Cons
  • Age limitations
  • Limited customer service

Embrace Pet Insurance provides routine care covered through their wellness plan. While there are age limitations, this type of pet insurance helps cover chronic conditions, accidents, genetic conditions and more. Embrace has an exceptional customer service department that is available Monday-Friday and customers like that fact that they have flexible rates and plans that allow you to choose a coverage plan that best suits you and your situation. Embrace Pet Insurance might not be the best dog or cat owners with older pets because they cap off coverage at a certain age depending on the type of animal and whether they are purebred or a mixed breed. Check out our full review on Embrace along with their website so you can decide if it offers the type of coverage you'd be interested in.

Pets Best Pet Insurance Review

  • Pros
  • Up to 100% cost reimbursement
  • Choose your vet
  • Annual deductible starts at $100
  • Excellent customer service
  • Easy application process
  • Cons
  • Congenital conditions are not covered
  • Preventable items are out of scope
  • Company doesn't cover parasites

Pets Best coverage plans start from $19/month and allow you to choose your own veterinarian. This company offers wellness coverage for routine care with deductibles starting at $100 and claims are usually processed in just a few days. In addition to offering exceptional coverage for pet injuries, illnesses, prescriptions and surgeries, they also provide covered for other medical needs including cancer treatments, physical rehabilitation and acupuncture and chiropractic needs and more. Pets Best also offers accident only plans and the great thing about their coverage is they don't reduce or limit it due to your pet's age. Ongoing or chronic conditions are no longer viewed as pre-existing when your policy renews and having the freedom to choose between any veterinarians in the world allows owners to have more of a say in the type of care their pets receive.

PetPlan Pet Insurance Review

  • Pros
  • Offers life-long coverage
  • Covers prescription meds
  • • Offers behavioral therapy
  • • Per condition deductible
  • Speedy claims process
  • Cons
  • Doesn't cover routine care
  • Doesn't cover elective procedures

PetPlan offers life-long coverage, prescription medications, behavioral therapy and more. They enroll pets starting at 6 weeks old and offer bronze, silver and gold packages and each come with distinct insurance options to choose from. From exam fees, medications and illnesses and injuries, to diagnostics treatments, hereditary conditions and alternative therapies, PetPlan offers an abundance of coverage options through its' three main plans. The monthly premium depends on plan and generally ranges between $8-60. Customers can choose from a deductible of $50, $100 or $200 with a choice of 100%, 90% or 80%. When you enroll online, PetPlan provides a 5% discount on your animal's health insurance plan.

Trupanion Pet Insurance Review

  • Pros
  • Wide range of coverage
  • Additional care package includes behavioral modification, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and chiropractic
  • Liability coverage if pet damages third-party property
  • Low deductible
  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Cons
  • Routine care not covered
  • Pre-existing conditions out of coverage scope
  • Exclusion also applies to vet exam fees and dental care

Trupanion is the first provider in North America to offer 90% coverage of your actual veterinary bill with no payout limits. They offers affordable coverage, low deductibles and even liability coverage if your pet damages a third-party property. The rates are even better for animals between 2 month and 14-years-old. Aside from traditional coverage, the company offers specialized coverage option including herbal therapy, kidney transplants, homeopathy and stem cell therapy. The one downside is that Trupanion does not offer any routine coverage which could make it difficult for pet owners who are looking for that. Trupanion just has one plan for pets so as not to confuse owners and they allow you to set your own monthly payment by adjusting your deductible.

Advice for Finding the Best Pet Insurance

Are you a new pet owner, new to pet insurance, or just want some more information before you make a decision? You'll find value in our Advice on Pet Insurance section that goes over a wide array of facts and concepts you'll need to know.

A few things you'll learn after viewing our advice column include:

  • There are several common misconceptions when it comes to pet insurance. Some people think pet insurance is expensive and not worth the hassle when it comes to getting reimbursed but usually that is not the case. Pet insurance is rather affordable, even if you have an older animal, and you're often given the freedom to choose your own veterinarian. If you're concerned about the reimbursement and claims process, do extensive research on the potential pet insurance company of your choice and read real reviews from past customers online. There are plenty of companies who pride themselves on operating a quick and efficient claims process and those are the ones you should seek out.
  • If you've ever wondered why you would need pet insurance, you should take some time to understand how it actually works and what the overall process looks like. You can check out our advice column article that explains exactly what pet insurance does and the value it can offer you in terms of keeping your pet healthy.
  • Just like any type of insurance, buying pet insurance can seem like a tedious process. There are some considerable differences between insurance for your pets and insurance for yourself. Let us walk you through the process step-by-step and help make sure you cover all your bases as you get set up with a provider.
  • When you think about insurance, the first thing that may come to mind is how much it will cost. You should also consider how much you will save in the long run. View pet insurance as an investment that will pay off in the event of a medical condition or emergency and check out our advice on ways that pet insurance will save you money and how you can cut corners to still maintain adequate coverage but cut the costs overall.

Pet Insurance Review Recap

When shopping for pet insurance companies, make sure to get quotes from at least two different companies. Most companies will allow you to generate a free quote right on their website.

Take advantage of our detailed reviews and your ability to search online for past or current customers' feedback. You can also give the insurance company a call to test out their customer service department and get a better idea of the plans they offer.

Keep in mind coverage limitations, BBB ratings, deductible amounts, and veterinarian options. Other important elements include the company's processing times for reimbursement and claims along with the quality of their customer service department.

Investigating different pet insurance options and carefully planning out what you want in need in terms of coverage can be a little time consuming at first, but in the long run, it can save your pet's life and it's well worth it to choose a company that you will be happy with long-term.

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Questions & Answers About Best Pet Insurance

Should I bother getting pet insurance?

Simply put, yes. Vet bills can be extremely high and can be prevented through purchasing a pet insurance policy. Pet insurance covers regular check-ups and vet visits when an emergency arises. Why is this important? When an emergency happens, you want to make sure your pet can affordably be cared for.

What qualifies as a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is any illness or condition which was present prior to purchasing the pet insurance coverage. As an example, if you knew your cat had diabetes before signing up that would be a pre-existing condition. Recurring injuries also could count as pre-existing conditions. Trupanion states in their policy "no coverage shall apply for illness related to prostate problems, hormonal skin conditions, testicular tumors, perianal tumors, mammary tumors, uterine and ovarian conditions, birthing, or injury due to fighting, collision with a motor vehicle or aggressive behavior." Despite this rule, Trupanion allows a 'review' if no signs have been present in your pet within the past 18 months.

Is my rate higher if my pet is not spayed/neutered?

If your pet has not been spayed or neutered by the time it is one year old or within 60 days of adoption, your pet insurance coverage may be severely limited. The reason for this is because cats and dogs which aren't sterilized run a greater risk of contracting a fatal illness and a number of cancers including prostate cancer, ovarian, uterine and mammary cancers. The greater risk for decease makes the insurer take greater precautions with your pet. Overall you're better off having your pet spayed or neutered in the long run because of the wide ranging health and behavioral aspects.

What is not covered?

Typically, pet insurance policies cover unexpected veterinary emergencies. That means that routine and expected expenses are exempt from coverage. These may include exam fees, preventative care for parasites or vaccines, spaying and neutering. Pre-existing conditions and routine dental work are also not covered with many policies. A pre-existing condition is any condition which was present in the animal prior to the effective coverage date. In some cases of pre-existing coverage you'll be able to sidestep this exception if you're able to prove with medical records that your pet has not had the condition (or been) cured for at least six months. To be sure, check with the company's customer service department before purchasing any pet insurance policy.

What should I look out for when purchasing pet insurance?

When choosing pet insurance, you must take into consideration several factors. Pet insurance varies in cost between breeds and the animal's behavior. Some of these include the deductible amounts, customer rating, restrictions of the coverage and total cost of the insurance.

How much does pet insurance typically cost?

There is no single price for pet insurance; there are several dictating factors. Age, breed and type of pet are taken into consideration when coming up with an insurance rate. You will have to pay a deductible which can be anywhere from $100 to $500. With a more expensive insurance policy comes more coverage so it is really up to you in how much you want to pay. It's always good to compare several insurance policies first before deciding on one.

How much should I allocate for pet insurance?

Although purchasing pet insurance is undoubtedly safer than paying upfront vet bills, they aren't always necessary. If your pet is in good health and young, the chances of them getting ill are slim and therefore insurance may not be necessary. With life comes accidents and it's always a good decision to have pet insurance ready and available in the chance that your pet has an unexpected accident.

Who are some top providers of pet insurance?

There are many providers of pet insurance to consider. Some include Healthy Paws, Embrace Pet Insurance, Pets Best, Trupanion, and PetPlan. All these companies offer a variety of coverage options that range in price. Be sure to compare and contrast plans before choosing a policy for your pet.

What other advice can you give me on pet insurance?

Having a pet is a big responsibility and an even bigger commitment. Be aware that with pets come vet bills and extra costs. Pet insurance requires a small, upfront cost for something that may cost you ten times as much later down the road (without coverage). The majority of companies makes the coverage process and claim procedure seamless.

My puppy isn't neutered, will he still get covered?

It is important to ensure that your pet is spayed and/or neutered prior to purchasing pet insurance. Your coverage is extensively cut down if your pet is not spayed or neutered.

Should I go with the first company that offers me insurance?

Be sure to compare at least two companies and their policies before you decide on a plan to purchase. Almost all pet insurance companies will let you create a quote online, free of charge. Read reviews on the company that customers have written and how they've handled cases where their insurance had to be implemented.

How can I be sure pet insurance is what I need for my pet?

Obtaining even a minimal coverage plan will grant you peace of mind knowing that your pet is covered in case of an emergency. If something were to happen and your pet had to be taken in for a medical emergency, you want to be sure that the procedure is paid for through pet insurance.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.