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The Best Pet Insurance…

The Best Pet Insurance

The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs — with high enough limits to cushion you in a worst-case scenario. We consulted with vets and pet care experts on what’s essential (and what’s simply a nice-to-have). Then we dug into the policy details, analyzed coverage, and put each provider’s customer service to the test.

Figo stood out as our best overall, offering extra perks on top of its already generous coverage. It’s the only pet insurance provider whose policies cover exam fees and waive copays and deductibles for lifesaving care. It’s also the only provider that will reimburse 100 percent of your vet bill; most others max out at 90 percent. The waiting periods are short — five days for accidents and 14 for illnesses — and it reimburses 30 days earlier than our other top picks.

Figo’s cloud-based storage system, Pet Cloud, stores your claims and pet’s medical records on its mobile app. In the event of an emergency, having your pet’s medical history can help vets make life-saving decisions more easily. If all that wasn’t enough, its customer service is best in class. Each one of our phone, email, and live chat inquiries was quickly answered with the warmth and knowledge that you’d want when it comes to your pet. (Read full review.)

Healthy Paws’ coverage and customer service are also top-notch. There’s no limit to how much its single plan will pay out each year, and it has only a 15-day waiting period for illness and injury coverage — the shortest waiting time of our top picks.

However, there’s one big exception for hip dysplasia — a common genetic disorder that primarily affects large-breed dogs. Healthy Paws has a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia and won’t cover treatment at all if your pet is six years old or older. If you own a breed that’s predisposed to this disorder, you may want to go with one of our other top picks to avoid possibly paying for surgery out-of-pocket. But, if you’re insuring a smaller breed dog or cat, it’s a solid choice. (Read full review.)

Trupanion has been around the longest of any of the insurers we looked at — 17 years. Its single plan offers great standard coverage, which includes hip dysplasia, but its 30-day waiting period for illnesses is twice as long as our other top picks. Its “lifetime” deductible structure could benefit pet owners with puppies, kittens, and purebreds in particular. Policyholders pay a one-time deductible per condition, regardless of how many related vet visits or follow-up care the pet has throughout its lifetime.

If you insure your pet early, before it develops a chronic illness, then you could save more over the long term. But, if your pet has multiple issues in one year, then you’ll be on the hook for multiple deductibles. (Read full review.)

Our Picks for the Best Pet Insurance

Figo Pet Insurance

Top tech and lots of perks come standard at all three coverage tiers.

Figo’s three tiers of coverage all include comprehensive medical protection. The main difference between them comes down to how much they’ll cover in a given year: $10,000, $14,000, or unlimited (though, the more coverage you have, the higher the premiums). Whichever plan you choose, Figo has perks that exceed the typical pet insurance on the market:

  • It pays vet exam fees (generally around $50) when the exam is related to a covered accident or illness. This comes in handy if you need to make multiple visits for something like a broken leg.
  • It reimburses claims within 30 days (as opposed to 60 for Trupanion and Healthy Paws).
  • It waives the copay and deductible if your pet ever needs immediate, lifesaving treatment.
  • It has some of the shortest waiting periods before coverage kicks in (five days for accidents, 14 for illnesses), and no additional exclusions for hip dysplasia (unlike Healthy Paws).

Figo is a new company in the pet insurance market, having sold its first policy in 2015. That inexperience initially made us hesitate, but our concerns vanished when we learned its policies are underwritten by Markel Specialty, an A.M. Best A-rated company with more than 70 years in niche insurance markets.

All of this on its own was enough to earn Figo our top spot: It’s backed by a top-rated insurance underwriter and its policies are especially generous. But, its customer service truly impressed us, outperforming every contender we tested. A cheerful rep took our phone call almost immediately, clearly and patiently answered every question we asked, and never once pushed us to make a purchase.

Some of the companies we looked at required you to submit your phone number — when we wanted to email a simple question. We didn’t like the idea of being on a sales call list.

Figo’s Pet Cloud lets you store medical records, file claims, and set up reminders in one simple tool.

Figo’s website features easy-to-read coverage checklists, sample policies for both dogs and cats, and a responsive live chat. It’s also the only company we reviewed that offers cloud-based storage for all your pet’s medical and insurance records, which helps keep everyone on the same page during the claims process.

The fact that you can access records from the company’s mobile app also has the potential to make a real difference in an emergency.

“Unfortunately, it’s all too common for pets to arrive at emergency veterinary hospitals with incomplete medical records. This immediately puts my hospital team, the pet, and the pet owner at a disadvantage. I wish pet owners would carry their pet’s medical records with them including their veterinarian’s notes, lab work, and radiograph/ultrasound images, especially if they have complex or chronic conditions.”

Figo’s Pet Cloud can also geolocate your pet if it runs away, remind you when shots are due, and point out relevant landmarks like dog parks and pet stores based on your current location. On top of already great coverage, these extras impressed us even more.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Comprehensive coverage with one major exclusion: hip dysplasia — a common issue for large dogs, especially.

Healthy Paws’ single plan offers comprehensive coverage that makes it an attractive choice. There’s no limit to how much its plan will pay out each year, and it boasts a 15-day waiting period for injury and illness coverage. (Unlike Figo, it doesn’t cover exam fees.)

Its plan is underwritten by Chubb, a strong, global insurer, and its customer service was top notch. Company representatives were prompt and courteous, both on the phone and over email, and the website made it easy to find all the info we needed. While Healthy Paws doesn’t have the high-tech wizardry of Figo’s Pet Cloud, we do appreciate that you can file claims through a mobile app.

What is Hip Dysplasia?It’s a genetic disorder that prevents the ball and socket hip joint from fitting together snugly. It most commonly affects large dog breeds and gets worse with age. Smaller breeds can be affected too, but clinical signs are much rarer.

But while it’s a solid choice, owners of large-breed dogs should be wary of a specific policy rule regarding hip dysplasia. Healthy Paws has a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia coverage regardless of breed, and won’t cover it at all if your pet enrolls after age 6. That means to be covered, your pet must A) be younger than 6 when you buy the policy, and B) make it through an entire year of coverage without any symptoms. Since early onset typically shows signs at four months, and later onset is due to long-term wear and tear, these rules effectively exclude most cases of hip dysplasia.

How big a deal is this? While many cases of hip dysplasia can be treated with simple pain medication, severe cases require surgery priced between $1,000 and $7,000 per hip (depending on the recommended procedure).

Given the risk, it’s wise for owners of large dogs to go with a different insurer like Figo (which covers all hip dysplasia-related treatment after the standard 14-day waiting period) or Trupanion (same coverage, but with a 30-day waiting period).

Trupanion Pet Insurance

Unique “Lifetime” deductible benefits young pets prone to chronic conditions, but can get expensive if your pet faces multiple different illnesses over time.

Similar to Healthy Paws, Trupanion offers only one plan with complete medical coverage (though its covers hip dysplasia) and it has no annual limits on payouts. Trupanion’s unique deductible structure is where it really stands out.

Traditional deductibles require you pay out-of-pocket up to a certain amount each year, after which everything else is covered. With Trupanion’s “lifetime” deductibles, you pay a separate deductible every time your pet is treated for a new condition, regardless of when it occurs.

So, if your pet has a lifetime of skin allergy problems, and you have a $250 deductible, you’ll only pay it once, and then all related skin allergy treatments will be covered for the remainder of your pet’s life. On the other hand, if your pet has a bunch of different, unrelated problems in the same year, you could wind up paying several $250 deductibles in a short span.

We like Trupanion for young animals in particular — if your pet develops a chronic condition, the one deductible payment will cover your pet’s treatment for the rest of its lifetime.

It’s also a good choice for large-breed pups because it has no extra exclusions for hip dysplasia or cruciate injuries (like a torn ACL), two issues that predominantly affect large dogs. For older pets, though, we found that Trupanion typically quoted a much higher monthly premium (like we graphed above) — we recommend owners of younger pets stick with Figo or Healthy Paws.

Its waiting period for illness coverage (as opposed to injuries) is twice as long as our other top picks — 30 days, compared to 14 for Figo and 15 for Healthy Paws. Fifteen extra days may not sound like much, but if your pet were to get sick during that time, it wouldn’t be covered with Trupanion.

Trupanion’s customer service also left a tiny bit to be desired; it didn’t respond to our email and the website’s layout isn’t as user-friendly as Figo’s. There’s also no mobile app. But on the plus side, Trupanion is currently the only one of our top picks that can pay some vets directly if the coverage is pre-approved, saving you from having to wait for reimbursement (though Figo claims this feature is coming soon).

For Pets That Aren’t Cats or Dogs


From chinchillas to chameleons, nearly every kind of pet is eligible for coverage.

Nationwide is currently the only pet insurance provider that insures almost any kind of pet. Its Avian and Exotic Pet Plan covers major medical expenses for most birds and a broad range of other domestic critters. But we didn’t like that reimbursement is on a benefit schedule (which is riskier than actual bill reimbursement because the predetermined benefit could be less than your actual vet bill), and its policy language includes broad exclusions for any pre-existing conditions. Though, if you want to insure a pet that isn’t a dog or a cat, then this is the only choice on the market.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Pet Insurance

Insure as early as possible.

It goes without saying, but your pet is never as healthy as when it’s young. The ideal time to buy pet insurance is when your pet is less than a year old, before most hereditary conditions have manifested to the point where they’d be called pre-existing. But if you’ve adopted a middle-aged or older animal, the rule of “insure as soon as possible” still applies.

Work with your vet before you compare quotes.

Knowing the health risks associated with your pet’s breed will help you avoid spending money on a policy that doesn’t come through when it counts. Even if your pet is a mix, knowing that he or she is part Labrador can help you evaluate insurers, since some companies exclude conditions common to that breed.

Pet Health and Safety Coach Arden Moore gave us a few examples of common dog and cat breeds that are prone to developing expensive health issues, for example:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies: hip and elbow dysplasia, cancers, and allergies
  • French Bulldogs: cherry eye and brachycephalic respiratory distress
  • Siamese cats: asthma and hip dysplasia
  • Himalayan cats: polycystic kidney disease and progressive retinal atrophy
  • Ragdoll cats: bladder stones and HCM

Ask your vet to help you calculate the price tag for a potential worst-case scenario. The cost for vet services varies according to geographic location, so make sure you’re buying a plan that will cover you for as much as you need if your pet ever needs extensive care. Your vet can help explain the costs of specific treatments and give you an idea of how high the total could climb, allowing you to be better prepared in a crisis.

Have realistic expectations: Pet insurance is best in an emergency.

There are plenty of cost-benefit analyses out there, including one from Consumer Reports that suggests setting money aside for your pet rather than buying insurance. But while it’s true you may never recoup the premiums you pay to the insurance company (which is a good thing since it means your pet stayed healthy), there are problems with this approach.

First, it relies on time passing to allow the savings to build up. If your cat gets sick two months into your $40/month savings plan, you have $80 to put toward its care rather than a potential $10,000 or more if you’d paid that $80 as premiums. There’s also a peace-of-mind benefit from knowing your pet is covered: You’ll probably worry less and allow them more freedom.

“Thanks to pet insurance, I’ve been able to provide intensive, emergency care to pets whose owners wouldn’t have been able to otherwise afford the care their pet needed to make a full recovery.”

Read your policy’s “pre-existing conditions” section carefully.

This might sound familiar from your experience with human health plans: Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered. Knowing your pet has a certain medical issue makes him or her way riskier to insure, which is why all pet insurers exclude pre-existing conditions. But the way they define them in their policies varies. For this reason, it’s crucial to read the actual policy (which is sure to be referenced in any dispute) for vague or misleading definitions that could come back to bite you.

How Trupanion defines a pre-existing condition in its sample policy.

Our Pet Insurance Review: Summed Up

More Pet Insurance Reviews

We’ve been researching the top pet insurance providers for quite some time, and we’ve compiled a list of previous reviews covering several different categories and use cases below.

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