Best Pet Insurance in California

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 30, 2023

From Alaskan malamutes and corgis to Norwegian forest cats and Bengal cats, 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 California 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? Benzinga is here to help you find the best pet insurance plan for you and your pet.

Quick Look: Best Pet Insurance in California

  • Best Overall: Lemonade Pet
  • Best for Emergencies: Wagmo
  • 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

The Best Pet Insurance in California

Pets in California are living their best lives. There are endless outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking and 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 are a few to keep in mind in your search. Benzinga is here to help you find the best pet insurance for your companion — and help you get a quote fast.

1. Lemonade Pet Insurance

  • securely through Lemonade Pet Insurance's website
    securely through Lemonade Pet Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Top-rated pet insurance
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Lemonade is currently available in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin,

Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Lemonade Pet Insurance offers super-fast plan quoting and an easy-to-navigate digital process. And its leverage of insurtech allows it to offer its customers 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 they need. 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 it only insures cats and dogs, but its high annual reimbursement caps, easy-to-use model and customizable plans outweigh this.

Pros

  • Uses AI technology for fast plan quoting and navigation
  • Competitive pricing because of insurtech leverage
  • High customer satisfaction, with customizable plans
  • Discounts for existing Lemonade customers
  • High annual reimbursement caps

Cons

  • Limited to cats and dogs

2. Wagmo

  • securely through Wagmo's website
    securely through Wagmo's website
    Best For:
    Emergencies
    Rating:

Wagmo is a pet insurance plan that works for both dogs and cats, and while it offers a range of customizable features, its best attributes include:

  • Short, 15-day waiting period
  • Can cover up to 100% of emergency care
  • Robust wellness programs
  • All-online service and support
  • A range of emergency coverages
  • A powerful mobile app
  • Mobile claims and reimbursement services

When you use Wagmo, you can go on the website right away and enter all the information for your pet, get a quote, customize that quote to suit your monthly budget and reach out to the customer service team for more information. You also can make adjustments to your coverage at any time, add more pets and enjoy a streamlined process that allows you to tend to your furry family members instead of juggling paperwork.

Pros

  • Short 15-day waiting period
  • Covers up to 100% of emergency care
  • Extensive wellness programs
  • Fully online service and support
  • Comprehensive emergency coverage
  • Effective mobile app and mobile claims services

Cons

  • Information on potential limitations not provided

3. 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% and 90% in reimbursement
  • Insure as early as 8 weeks old with no age cap
  • Save money with plans starting as low as $1 per day

You can customize your coverage and 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.

Pros

  • Endorsed by Cesar Millan
  • 70% to 90% reimbursement rates
  • Coverage starts as low as $1 per day
  • Covers a wide range of conditions, including preventive services.
  • Easy claims process

Cons

  • Specific limitations or exclusions not mentioned

4. Pumpkin Pet Insurance: Best for Dog and Cat Coverage

  • securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's website
    securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Families with multiple pets
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Limitations apply. For terms and conditions, visit pumpkin.care. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (NPN#19084749) (“Pumpkin”) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Preventive Essentials is not an insurance policy, and is not available in all states.

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 are ready to learn more about policy coverage and exclusions, start with a sample quote for all the details laid out in bullets. 

Pumpkin’s customer service team is ready to answer your questions. It can be reached by:

  • Calling 1-866-ARF-MEOW from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Monday to Friday
  • Emailing help@pumpkin.care

Pumpkin's new online chat feature is coming soon.

Pros

  • Comprehensive coverage for dogs and cats
  • 90% reimbursement rate
  • Transparent policy details through sample quotes
  • Accessible customer service with multiple contact options

Cons

  • Specific drawbacks not mentioned

5. Best for Breed-Specific Conditions: Allstate Pet Insurance

Allstate Pet Insurance is best for breed-specific conditions because those are covered as long as the pet doesn’t show any signs of developing the condition before being insured. If your pet’s breed is prone to developing specific conditions later in life, Allstate is something you should look into. 

To be eligible for a new health insurance policy for your pet, they’ll have to be younger than 14. If your pet is older than that or is diagnosed with the following, they may only be eligible for an accident-only plan:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Addison’s 
  • FeLV/FIV (feline lukemia)

Accident-only plans cover:

  • Broken bones
  • Car accidents
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Dental trauma
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Poisoning
  • Animal bites and stings

Get your free quote at Allstate.

Pros

  • Specializes in breed-specific conditions
  • Coverage for various common conditions
  • Accident-only plans for older pets or those with specific diagnoses

Cons

  • Age limit for new policies ( younger than 14)
  • Certain conditions may limit eligibility

6. 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.

Pros

  • Customizable coverage options
  • Covers a range of services including preventive care
  • Covers curable chronic illnesses after a symptom-free period
  • Diminishing Deductible feature for claim-free years
  • Multiple claim filing options.

Cons

  • Preexisting conditions not generally covered

7. 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.

Pros

  • Focus on wellness coverage, including routine care
  • Options for 70%, 80% or 90% reimbursement
  • Covers a variety of routine procedures for dogs and cats

Cons

  • Mainly focused on routine care, which might not suit all pet owners' needs

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. 

Number of households with pets: There are 286,405 pet dogs and 57,659 pet cats in California. The Golden State is also home to many rabbit owners and other exotic pets. 

Amount spent on pet bills annually: California is one 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 annual cost of pet insurance: Where you live in California affects your pet insurance premium, 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 of $684 per year for a plan with $14,000 annual coverage and 80% reimbursement for a 3-year-old dog. The annual premium is around $396 in Sacramento. 

What Does Pet Insurance Typically Cover?

Pet insurance is typically used for emergencies 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 a stressful situation. X-rays can run you $200 to $500, while chemotherapy can cost nearly $10,000. 

Here are the four pet insurance plans most companies 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. 

Accidents and illness: While this plan will cover 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.

California, Where Pets Come First

California is where pets thrive. There are endless enriching outdoor activities and even fancy spas and resorts just for pets. And you can 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 because most clinics know there’s no limit to how much Californians will spend on their beloved pets. 

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.

Related content: BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN CALIFORNIA

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is pet insurance worth it?

A

Yes, pet insurance helps cover medical expenses for your pets, reimbursing you for many expenses that are often unexpected.

Q

How do you file a pet insurance claim?

A

When you pay the veterinarian’s office, collect your receipt and use it to submit a claim to the pet insurance carrier. The carrier will review your claim and send you a check for reimbursement.

Q

How much does pet insurance cost in California?

A

The cost of pet insurance in California varies based on several factors, including the type of pet (dog or cat), breed, age, health status and the coverage level chosen. On average, pet insurance for dogs can range from $30 to $70 per month, while for cats, it may range from $15 to $40 per month. These are approximate figures and can vary significantly depending on the specifics of the insurance plan and the pet’s circumstances.

Q

What are the disadvantages of pet insurance?

A

The disadvantages of pet insurance include potential exclusions for preexisting conditions, breed-specific issues and certain treatments, along with the financial burden of monthly premiums, deductibles and copays. Understanding complex policy terms can be challenging, and most plans operate on a reimbursement basis, requiring upfront payment for treatments.

About Melinda Sineriz

Melinda specializes in writing about mortgages. student loans, personal loans, insurance, managing credit and debt, and credit cards.