Having the right pet insurance by your side can take a massive load off of your shoulders when a sudden disaster strikes. While many people avoid paying monthly fees and just put some money aside to pay for those emergency trips to the vet, it’s not always the wisest solution. 
As your dog ages, he or she is more likely to develop age-related chronic illnesses and diseases such as:
- kidney disease
- diabetes 
- gingivitis and periodontitis
- dementia 
Once your dog is diagnosed with a pre-existing condition, most insurances won’t cover it, and you’ll be stuck footing a hefty bill for years to come.
However, if you enrolled your dog in the right plan at a young age, then you’ll make much better use of the funds that you have available. Your premiums will be low, and you can rest easy knowing that when the worst does occur, that your dog is covered.
Despite this, experienced owners know that it’s not quite as easy as loading a webpage and registering for the first plan that you see. Many companies are quite stingy with their funds and won’t cover a wide variety of the most common illnesses, while others might take money out of your account, but fail to help you out when you need them most.
The key is to partner up with a reputable company that knows the ins and outs of your dog and can offer you the most affordable rates for your pet. That’s where we come in.
Be prepared in an emergency with these best dog first aid kits.
Leading pet insurance options examined
We’ve been around for a long time and have had the good fortune of working with some of the best and worst insurance companies around. Now that we know which ones are worthy of your attention—and your hard-earned money—we’re able to bring you our comprehensive list of the ones that are at the top of our recommended pile.
Trupanion Medical Insurance for the Life of Your Pet
Our Canadian readers might be well aware of this company since they’re one of the most popular pet insurance providers in the country, but we’re here to now spread the name of Trupanion to everyone else.
Their coverage is about as good as any other provider by covering everything from accidents to congenital illnesses, and their rates are quite fair. The real selling point, however, is the unparalleled flexibility that they offer to customers who have variable needs.
Unlike most pet insurance companies that have harsh penalties and restrictions on changing your coverage, Trupanion allows their users to adjust their monthly payments on a month-to-month basis. That means people with seasonal or unstable income can continue to stay covered, which is quite appreciated by consumers.
On top of this, rates won’t change as your pet ages. These two factors combined mean that Trupanion is one of the best long-term insurance providers since you never have to worry about being locked into a plan that can suddenly become too expensive.
The process of getting paid has never been more straightforward, either. There’s no paperwork, no filing, and no lengthy phone calls to different customer service representatives who are giving you different answers.
Thanks to the fact that Trupanion is recognized by veterinarians around North America, once you’re covered, you simply have to pay your bill at the checkout counter of your local veterinarian, and they’ll send out your insurance request right then and there.
Approval and processing times are generally quite quick, which means that you don’t have to sit there reminding yourself to send out your form, or keep track of small, easily lost bills. You might not have heard of them, but they’re worth looking into if you’re shopping for a new provider. We anticipate that before long, they’ll get the international respect that they deserve.
- Flexible pricing and rates
- Dogs keep their rates as they age, ensuring long-term affordability
- Exam fees are not covered so those will have to be paid out of pocket.
Overall, the feedback for Trupanion is quite positive. Customers are thrilled that they have some financial breathing room when choosing this provider, and that the company really honors their plans and pricing.
This has been an enormous relief for owners of older dogs who require more routine visits and are more likely to be suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses.  They report that customer service representatives are there for them at every stage of the process and are quick to offer any advice or support when payment processes or the terms of their plans get more complicated.
However, there are a few negative reports, and these tend to be related more to the administrative side of things. There are some reports that the company continues to bill customers even after cancellation, which prompts repeated calls and emails to get the process sorted out—not a headache that anyone wants to deal with.
On top of that, Trupanion has occasionally been known to refuse payments for pre-existing conditions that are not consistent with their website definitions. This has resulted in customers never being sure if they’re actually going to be covered by the company, which is not a good look for an insurance company. Again, these complaints aren’t common, but they’re something to keep in mind before you subscribe.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation
We believe that when you’re shopping for something as personal as insurance, that you want to work with a company that cares about their consumers. That’s why we’re kicking our list off with Healthy Paws, a well-respected company that customers absolutely adore. After all, they did win three straight best pet insurance awards.
Unsurprisingly then, what really stands out with this company is the quality and accessibility of their service. They process all payments extremely quickly which puts less strain on your bank account, and their insurance works with all recognized veterinarians.
Aside from those pesky pre-existing conditions, Healthy Paws claims that they’ll cover any condition – from cancer to alternative treatments – no questions asked. The list is quite extensive, and in our experience, it results in customers being more willing to take their beloved dogs to the vet since they know they’ll be covered, a precaution which in many cases can even save lives.
All of that doesn’t mean much if you aren’t saving money, however, and that’s genuinely where Healthy Paws shines most. Their deductibles work annually, which means that you’re not paying out of pocket for each visit for different conditions.
Once that’s paid off, you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year, which is fantastic value for older dogs who make more frequent trips to the vet. Even better, though, is the lack of a payout cap. Unlike many of their competitors who won’t keep paying out after an arbitrary limit has been reached, Healthy Paws will keep funding your visits as long as you need them to.
The result? Happier, healthier pets, and less financially strapped owners. If you are shopping for your first pet insurance then, this is one company that you should definitely keep your eyes on. It doesn’t hurt that the company gives some money back to a bunch of non-profits, either.
- Excellent, extensive coverage for a variety of conditions
- Very generous payouts with limited deductibles
- Great customer service
- Processing can occasionally take longer than their estimate of ten days
More than the exceptional coverage, reviewers adore the personalized customer service that the company offers. Their employees have a vast knowledge of their different plans and can very quickly point you in the direction of a solution that works for you. They’re also very comfortable handling all of your more sensitive questions pertaining to processing times, which makes the money-related question much easier to manage.
Speaking of, Healthy Paws are no slouches when it comes to paying you back, either. Many reviewers note that the process is entirely hassle-free after their pet has been registered. There’s no lengthy paperwork to file; they aren’t required to carefully select—and drive to—specific vets in order to get their claims approved, and they don’t have to wait weeks on end to finally see some of their money back.
Ultimately, these reviewers love that they’re putting money into a company that knows what they’re doing, and always try their hardest to make the lives of their customers—and the dogs—as stress-free as possible. With all of these glowing reviews then, it’s no surprise that the company won so many awards in a row!
Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
The next company we’re taking a look at is Pets Best, a company that prides themselves on the flexibility of their services. This means that while they cover a wide variety of different conditions, a lot of this coverage is spread across different plans.
In our experience, this can be a both a positive and a negative thing depending on the user. On the one hand, segmenting this coverage into general routine care insurance plans and separate accident insurance plans keeps monthly rates low for owners of young dogs who want to get ahead of the game, but aren’t concerned about chronic illnesses making an appearance just yet.
On the other hand, however, this means that any sudden disease or accident won’t be covered under basic plans and will require you to pay for it out of pocket until you switch to the appropriate coverage. For this reason, we would generally recommend sticking with the most expensive plan that you can afford since that mitigates the possibility of costly accidents.
Despite this, Pets Best still has a lot of objectively positive things going for it for customers who choose to enroll their dog in the company’s coverage. Processing times are generally speedy, which means that you’ll get reimbursed faster—great for times that those bills are piling up—and their customer service is top-notch.
For any questions, concerns, or advice, they offer a pet helpline available at all hours of the day, seven days a week. This is excellent added value for those just learning about coverage and diseases and can help you get up to speed quickly to make more informed choices.
Perhaps most importantly, though, to Pets Best, age is just a number. They won’t refuse your dog coverage on the basis of his or her age alone, which means that if you still haven’t covered your senior dog, then it’s not too late! After all, it’s better late than never.
- Very low monthly rates depending on the plan
- Tons of opt-outs and optional coverage fees make plans customizable for those who need it
- Separate plans are great in theory, but in practice, it can cause a lot of problems in the case of sudden accidents or illnesses
Despite some of the problems that we outlined above, customers who are enrolled in Pets Best pet insurance tend to be quite happy with their decision. One of the most cited features that makes customers happy is that all of the information contained on the website and in the plans themselves are extremely easy to understand.
Everything is so clearly outlined and detailed that customers never have to worry about hidden fees, rates, or tricky language that puts them in a bind when they realize that they made the wrong choices. What adds to this comfort is the helpline.
Many owners feel like they don’t need additional assistance, but even the most experienced dog veterans can use a guiding hand a time or two in their lives, and in the case of this company, that’s always available on demand, at no additional charge.
There are a few customers that have noted processing times as being a bit troubling on a few rare occasions, but it’s important to keep in mind that there can often be hundreds, if not thousands of claims submitted every day which could clog up the system. Besides, these reports are extremely rare and, in our experience, Pets Best sticks extremely close to their five day estimates a vast majority of the time.
Petplan Pet Insurance
We know what it’s like to spend countless hours digging around on the internet to search for any hint of information about a mysterious new company that you discovered online. If you’re buying new clothes, it’s not such a big deal. When you’re dealing with companies that can help keep your dog safe though, making informed choices can be a life-changer.
That’s why we’re big fans of Petplan. While their claims of being the #1 pet insurance provider globally may not hold much water (after all, who’s tracking that?), it’s hard to deny the experience that the company—and their employees—provide.
They also have a vast customer base which helps bring their rates down to a low average, which is quite good for frugal consumers. This company even covers things such as periodontal disease, which is quite rare to find on most competing companies.
What stood out to us with this company is both the convenience and the savings. Not only do they have an app that is available on your smartphones to make filing claims quick and easy, but they also have customer service reps available for phone calls, text chats, and more.
While you may only have a few questions a year, it’s nice that it’s available when one does come up. Petplan also pays for a considerable amount of your medicals bills. It’s worth it to play around on their website’s online calculator for precise numbers based on your dog’s needs, but in our experience, they could pay upwards of 80 or even 90% depending on the plan and treatment provided.
That means there’s more money in your pockets for treats, food, and toys—all things that we’re sure that your dog would rather be having.
- The company has a ton of experience in the field, so you know they’re not going anywhere anytime soon
- Very generous coverage
- Their customer service support is extremely accessible
- Unlike Pets Best, they don’t have a plan for routine care and maintenance, leaving customers to foot the bill
The company boasts that they have more than a million satisfied customers, so they must be doing something right! Most customers are quite pleased with their coverage, and it all comes down to the fact that the company offers some nice quality of life features offered to subscribers.
New customers can try the insurance for thirty days, and then cancel with their money back if they’re not satisfied with the coverage which can help eliminate buyer’s remorse. The company also offers discounts to new users who choose to make their purchases online, which increases the savings—something that’s hard to beat.
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Due to changing their underwriter in recent years, the premiums for existing users skyrocketed, leaving many of them frustrated that they were now paying far more than they would with other competing companies.
While this is understandably annoying—and we sympathize—this can happen with any company, and new users can still benefit from some competitive rates with the assurance that this shouldn’t happen again for many years to come.
With the quality of the coverage offered, we think the rates are reasonable anyway, but as always that decision will still be based on your own personal budget.
Embrace Pet Insurance
Many owners are familiar with the classic sales tactics. They’ll see a company’s website that proudly states stats and metrics to show why they’re the best. Well, if you’re tired of all of those theatrics, then you’ll appreciate Embrace who lets their insurance do the talking.
They offer some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market by protecting against illnesses, behavioral therapy, and prosthetics, but they also cover examination fees and offer wellness rewards to help you pay for routine checkups.
The list is truly exceptional, and for that alone Embrace is a tough company to beat. On top of this, they’re not quite as picky as other companies when it comes to the medical history of your dog.
While any red flags will drive up the price of your coverage for competitors, Embrace only asks for the past year of your dog’s records. That means that accident that accident that occurred when little Fido was just a puppy won’t be a problem when you enroll.
- Fantastic coverage that’s among the best in the field
- Wellness rewards are an excellent alternative to covering the visits outright and provides an incentive for regular checkups
- Some vague terminology on the website. For example, they won’t cover injuries as a result of “fighting,” so any altercation with any dog, planned or not, could give them a reason to deny your claims
Like most of the companies that we looked at today, customers are extremely pleased with the service that they received from Embrace in times of need. They report that filing was easy, the paperwork was processed quickly, and the checks were extremely quick to arrive.
The standout feature for customers seems to be the simplicity. After they enroll, they know exactly what to expect regarding coverage, which leads them to take more trips to the vet, resulting in healthier dogs overall.
There are no glaring negative reviews either, so if you think that the company can offer you the coverage you want at an acceptable price, there shouldn’t be much to worry about once you start making payments.
Final say on choosing pet insurance
Making the right pet insurance choice can be a life-altering decision. Your dog can live more comfortable for longer periods of time, or you can be stuck paying monthly into a plan that is ultimately worthless. That’s why it’s so important to make informed choices, and to research companies before you commit your hard-earned money to the first website that pops up in Google.
This article is an excellent resource for owners who are new to the insurance scene, but while any of these companies will serve you well for most general respects, we feel that it’s essential to dig more deeply into the details of each specific company.
We want only the best for your furry little friend, so check out each of these websites and subscribe to the one that you feel is right for you. After all, you don’t want to leave the future up to chance, do you?
Another must read: Owners Guide to Hydroxyzine for Dogs
- “Pet insurance–essential option?” Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 41,8 (2000): 639-44.
- “Management of canine diabetes.” L.M. Fleeman. J.S. Rand. September 2001.
- “Dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction as a Spontaneous Model for Early Alzheimer’s Disease: A Translational Study of Neuropathological and Inflammatory Markers.” T. Schütt. L. Helboe. L. Pedersen. G. Waldemar. M. Berendt. J.T. Pedersen. March 2016
- Cozzi, Bruno et al. “Aging and Veterinary Care of Cats, Dogs, and Horses through the Records of Three University Veterinary Hospitals” Frontiers in veterinary science vol. 4 14. 14 Feb. 2017, doi:10.3389/fvets.2017.00014