Best Pet Insurance of 2021

It’s no secret that owning a pet can get expensive, but many pet owners forget about one important purchase, pet insurance. Pet insurance can be pricey, but picking the pet insurance that is right for your budget and coverage needs will be worth it in the long run.

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Table of Contents

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance helps to cover the costs of veterinary expenses for your pet. Different types of insurance cover different veterinary procedures, so the plan you’ll want to purchase can vary based on your personal needs. Overall, purchasing pet insurance is a great way to prepare for the unexpected and not have to worry about veterinary costs if your pet is to get sick or injured.

Pet insurance works just like human health insurance: you pay a monthly fee for your pet to be covered by the insurer. You are then eligible to be reimbursed for a percentage of the cost of your pet’s medical treatment by the insurer. The specific amount you are covered for each condition or treatment varies between insurances. Still, your insurance provider will provide a description of how exactly much coverage you are given for your pet’s vet expenses.

There are many different types of pet insurance plans to pick from that will vary in price, coverage level, and even what types of procedures you are eligible to be reimbursed for. That is why it is critical to do your research about insurance plans and specifics about your pet (your pet’s size, age, and breed can all affect their overall health), as well as come up with a budget for your insurance plan before purchasing.

When Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

The earlier you purchase your pet insurance, the better. Since specific pet insurances cover routine checkups and vaccines, paying for pet insurance as soon as possible ensures a healthy pet from early in life, reducing the need for large out-of-pocket expenses later in life. Even if you are several years into owning your pet, it’s never too late to purchase insurance before the unexpected happens.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Before purchasing your pet insurance, insurance companies typically have pet owners take their pets in for a check-up to ensure that the pet is healthy before purchasing insurance, rather than when the pet is already sick or injured. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to purchase the pet insurance and pay your monthly fee. After you make the purchase, you will need to wait a few days for the insurance to kick in.

Insurance works just like human health insurance: the insurance company reimburses pet owners for veterinary procedures after paying out of pocket. This is done by filing a claim to your insurer. Once the claim is approved, the insurer will reimburse you the percentage promised of the procedure’s total cost. Typically, the waiting period between your pet’s veterinary procedure and your reimbursement is only 5 to 7 days.

Luckily, all pet insurance works at any veterinary office anywhere in the United States. There is no need to worry about co-pays or bills being sent later, since you will be paying for your pet’s veterinary procedure upfront and being reimbursed. This actually makes pet insurance much more straightforward to use than human insurance.

Finally, it is imperative to keep all paperwork given to you at the procedure. Insurance providers may need the paperwork as proof to process your claim and reimburse your expenses. Save everything you are given at least until after you have already been reimbursed. Once the money is sent to you as a check or directly into your bank, you’re good to go until the next visit!

What Does Pet Insurance Cover and How Should You Choose?

Several different types of pet insurances cover different types of veterinary procedures. When choosing which pet insurance to buy, it is important to consider what you anticipate your needs will be for your pet based on health level, prior pet experience, and other factors that may affect your dog’s proneness to injury or illness.

Wellness Plans

A wellness plan is a pet insurance plan which covers routine checkups, preventative care and vaccines. It does not cover the cost of emergencies such as accidents, illnesses or any kind of sudden treatments, but is a good type of insurance to consider as a preventative measure for unexpected ailments.

Accident-Only Plans

Accident-only plans only cover veterinary procedures for injuries caused by accidents. This type of plan does not cover routine wellness checkups or emergency illnesses, and is the least broad coverage plan.

Accident-Illness Plans

Accident-illness plans provide coverage for accidents as well as illnesses. This means that the most expensive out-of-pocket procedures will be covered by insurance, making it a great and complete insurance plan. It is also the most common pet insurance plan. Unfortunately, accident-illness plans do not cover wellness services such as checkups or vaccines.

Wellness Add-Ons

If you’re seeking the most full-coverage plan and have a larger budget to spend, you can purchase an accident-illness plan with a wellness add-on. The plan covers accidents and illnesses and the wellness add-on will also cover routine wellness procedures.

How Should You Choose?

When choosing a pet insurance you’ll want to bear in mind your pet’s age, proneness towards injury or illness (or even the likelihood of illness based on species or breed), and of course, the cost of the plan. It is important to evaluate what you can afford to spend each month and what you’d rather those costs go towards, whether it be insurance for wellness procedures or emergency incidents.

What Are The Costs of Pet Insurance?

The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on many factors. Not only do the costs vary between the types of plans you can choose from, but even factors like age, size and breed of your pet can affect the total cost of your pet’s health insurance.

Common factors that can affect the cost of insurance are your pet’s height and weight (larger pets are more prone to illness and injuries), age (older pets are more prone to illness), breed (certain breeds and mixed-breed dogs are more likely to have illnesses as they age), location, and risks in the home or outside the home which affect the likelihood of injury. Additionally, the length of the insurance policy and the insurance company itself will affect the overall cost.

There are four main elements to the cost of an insurance plan: the deductible, the reimbursement level, the annual max, and the premium.


The deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in. Some plans require that you pay this cost yearly, while others require that you pay per incident.

Reimbursement Level

The reimbursement level is the percentage of the veterinary bill that your insurance company will reimburse you. This usually ranges anywhere from 50% to 100% of the bill. You can save on monthly costs by choosing a plan with a lower reimbursement level, but that means you will have to pay more for your pet’s veterinary procedures.

Annual Max

The annual max is the maximum amount that your insurance company will reimburse you in veterinary charges per year. Your insurance company will always tell you what your annual max is, and if you go above the maximum amount covered, you will have to pay the rest. Depending on how high coverage your insurance plan is, you may not even hit the maximum amount.


The premium is the monthly fee you pay each month to keep your insurance policy. Typically, a higher premium will also have higher coverage in terms of reimbursement level and the annual max, but it is important to consider how much you can afford to pay each month and how likely your pet is to have an accident or illness.

How Can I Keep Insurance Costs Down?

There are several ways you can cut down the potential cost of your pet insurance. You can always select a plan with a lower reimbursement level, which will certainly cut the costs of the premium cost, but there are other ways you can reduce the cost of insurance as well.

Purchasing a plan with a higher deductible will also keep your premium costs low, but you’ll be paying the deductible every time you need your insurance plan to kick in. You’ll want to make sure that you have this money at the ready in case you need it.

Another way to cut insurance costs is to purchase insurance when your pet is young. The younger (and most likely, healthier) your pet is when you purchase their insurance, the less expensive your premium will be.

Finally, you may be able to save money on pet insurance by signing up more than one pet for the same insurance plan for a slight discount, or by paying for your premiums annually instead of monthly. However, every insurance provider does not guarantee these types of deals, so it is best to consult with several different insurance providers before purchasing to pick the best coverage for your budget.

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