Did you know many of our readers end up choosing Lemonade Pet Insurance for their pet insurance coverage?
From Alaskan Malamutes to Corgis, from Norwegian Forest Cats to Bengals, pets are popular in California. You can’t go to the beach or hike mountain trails without seeing a dog leading the way. You can’t go into the city without seeing a hipster with a cat on their shoulder.
California is also expensive. Any resident will tell you that. Surprise vet bills are the last thing a family in Cali wants to deal with, which makes pet insurance all the more popular across the state. But what does pet insurance cover and how much does it cost? We’re here to help you find the best pet insurance plan for you and your pet.
Best Pet Insurance in California:
- Best Overall: Lemonade Pet
- High-Quality Pet Insurance: Spot Pet Insurance
- Best for Dog and Cat Coverage: Pumpkin Pet Insurance
- Best for Breed-Specific Conditions: Allstate Pet Insurance
- Best for Training and Grooming: Embrace Pet Insurance
- Best for Plan Customization: Progressive
- Best for Senior Pets: PetFirst
Pet Insurance in California: An Overview
From nature hikes and surfing to staying in posh pet hotels, pets often live the high life in California. Many companies also let their employees bring their canine and feline companions to work. California also has a ban on puppy mills, making this state a paradise for pet owners.
Amount spent on pet bills annually. California is 1 of the most expensive places to own a pet, with residents spending an average of $1,521 on vet bills. Luckily, most — if not all — of these bills can be covered by pet insurance depending on the plan you choose.
Average cost of pet insurance annually. Where you live in California affects your pet insurance premium, or the amount you pay for the coverage each year. San Diego is the most expensive city, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento. San Diego residents pay an average $684 per year for a plan with $14,000 annual coverage and 80% reimbursement for a 3-year-old dog. The annual premium is more around $396 in Sacramento.
What Does Pet Insurance Typically Cover?
Pet insurance is typically used for emergency situations and unexpected procedures, not checkups and vaccinations. This means if your cat suddenly falls off the roof and breaks a leg or your dog gets diagnosed with cancer, pet insurance helps keep these surprise costs down in such a stressful situation. X-rays can run you $200 to $500, while chemotherapy can cost nearly $10,000.
Here are the 4 pet insurance plans most companies will typically offer:
Accident only. This plan covers only unexpected injuries, like your dog getting hit by a car or your cat getting a hairball blockage.
Accident and illness. While this plan will cover those accidental injuries and incidents, this plan also covers treatment costs related to illnesses like cancer or infections. Most plans do not cover preexisting conditions.
Embedded wellness. Dental care, flea and tick medication, and other treatments for temporarily sick pets are covered in this plan.
Routine care. Policies such as these pay for exam fees, routine care, immunizations and routine bloodwork. Because every insurance provider is different, you should check their summary of benefits to determine what a plan like this would cover. In most cases, the provider only covers routine care as part of a separate plan. Why? Most pet insurance policies are designed to cover accidents and sudden illnesses.
The Best Pet Insurance in California
Pets in California are living their best lives. There’s endless outdoor activities, like kayaking, hiking and even stroller rides around town. Pet owners focus on safe and healthy pet food brands and many other high-end experiences and products. Of course, this all comes at a price.
But pet insurance can help keep unexpected costs down. Here’s a few to keep in mind on your search. We’re here to help you find the best pet insurance for your companion — and help you get a quote fast.
1. Lemonade Pet Insurance
Using AI technology, Lemonade Pet Insurance offers super fast plan quoting and an easy-to-navigate digital process. And their leverage of insurtech allows them to offer their customers super competitive pricing and industry-best insurance products.
Lemonade is the top-rated pet insurance provider. Pet parents love that they can customize their plans based on their pet's needs, allowing them to only pay for the coverage that they need. And existing Lemonade customers may be eligible for a discount, like if you have a homeowners policy with them.
Lemonade's only real drawback is that they only insure cats and dogs, but their high annual reimbursement caps, easy-to-use model and customizable plans far outweigh this.
2. High-Quality Pet Insurance: SPOT Pet Insurance
SPOT Pet Insurance is the No. 1 pet insurance provider recommended by Cesar Millan, the leading expert in dog behavior. Some insurance highlights:
- Receive between 70% to 90% in reimbursement
- Insure as early as 8 weeks with no age cap
- Save money with plans starting as low as $1 a day
You can customize your coverage and can even add special SPOT-On coverage. Coverage options include accidents, behavioral issues, dental disease, illnesses, preventive services and some hereditary and congenital conditions.
SPOT's claims service is easy. Just visit your vet (don’t forget to give your pet a treat on the way out!), send Spot the bill and get reimbursed.
Getting a quote only takes 30 seconds, so get yours today.
*Rates vary based on plan type, species, breed, age and location
3. Pumpkin Pet Insurance: Best for Dog and Cat Coverage
Check out Pumpkin for comprehensive dog and cat coverage. Pumpkin offers a range of traditional pet insurance, as well as optional preventive care coverage. Its pet insurance policies all come with a 90% reimbursement rate.
When you ready to learn more about policy coverage and exclusions, start with a sample quote for all the details clearly laid out in bullets.
Pumpkin’s customer service team is ready to answer your questions. They can be reached by:
- Calling 1-866-ARF-MEOW, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
- Emailing email@example.com
And Pumpkin's new online chat feature is coming soon!
4. Best for Breed-Specific Conditions: Allstate Pet Insurance
We dubbed Allstate Pet Insurance best for breed-specific conditions because those are covered as long as the pet doesn’t show any signs of developing the condition prior to being insured. If the breed of your pet is prone to developing specific conditions later in life, Allstate is something you should look into.
In order to be eligible for a new health insurance policy for your pet, they’ll have to be under the age of 14. If your pet is older than that or has a diagnosis of the following, they only may only be eligible for an accident-only plan:
- Cushing’s disease
- FeLV/FIV (feline lukemia)
Accident-only plans cover:
- Broken bones
- Car accident
- Cuts and lacerations
- Dental trauma
- Foreign body ingestion
- Animal bites and stings
5. Best for Grooming Expenses: Embrace
Consider a plan from Embrace Pet Insurance if you want to save a bundle on coverage. You can adjust the deductible, annual maximum and reimbursement percentage to reach a monthly premium that fits your budget.
Embrace Pet Insurance covers accidents, illnesses, exam fees and preventive veterinary care. While pet insurance generally does not cover preexisting conditions, Embrace will cover treatment for curable chronic illnesses after your pet has been symptom free for 12 months or more.
You could save even more on out-of-pocket costs as time goes on with Embrace’s Diminishing Deductible feature. With each year that passes where you don’t file a claim, your deductible will drop by $50.
Claims can be filed by email, fax or electronically. Most policyholders receive 90% back on their claims.
6. Pets Best: Best for Wellness Coverage
Most pet insurance plans are focused on the unexpected, like surgery and treatments for sudden illnesses.
But Pets Best offers routine care coverage through its wellness plans, helping you pay for regularly scheduled veterinary visits at a slightly additional cost to your premium.
With Pets Best, select a plan reimbursing 70%, 80% or 90% of eligible costs.
For dogs, this can include dental cleanings and blood work, as well as microchipping and spaying or neutering. For cats, this can be yearly vaccinations, FELV screenings and deworming.
7. PetFirst: Best for Senior Pets
PetFirst boasts a comprehensive plan for senior pets, including coverage for the most common ailments older pets face:
- Hip dysplasia
- Hearing loss
- Periodontal disease
These are common issues that many older pets face that many pet insurance companies won’t cover. Some pet insurance companies won’t cover senior pets at all, meaning if your pet is past a certain age they won’t be able to sign up for a new policy.
This can often be distressing since older animals are the most at risk for injuries and disease. PetFirst states that senior pets can simply go to the vet of their choice, send them the bill and process the claim within 2 weeks.
California, Where Pets Come First
California is where pets thrive. There's endless enriching outdoor activities. Even fancy spas and resorts just for pets. And you can even take your companion to work. It’s hard for pets to be unhappy in California. But it’s a different story for owners who see their vet bills since most clinics know there’s no limit to how much Californians will spend on their beloved pets.
Luckily, pet insurance can always help with those unexpected costs, making it easy and accessible to get your pet the proper treatment it needs, even in the most surprising situations. And it’s even easier with Benzinga — it only takes a few moments to get a quote with us and find the perfect pet insurance provider. You’ll be surfing with your dog again in no time.
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