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Best Pet Insurance For Dogs

Caring for your dog goes beyond regular walks, tug-of-war with rope toys and top-quality dog food. Your pup also needs to visit the vet on an annual basis — maybe more than once a year, depending on his health needs.

The annual cost of vet bills for a healthy dog is between $400-$500 on average for shots, teeth cleaning, blood work and more. Expect to pay more per year as your dog gets older. A surprise illness can put a dent in a pet owner’s budget — that’s what pet insurance is for.

Multiple companies now offer the best pet insurance for dogs. Don’t miss out on a savings opportunity that will benefit your most loyal friend.

Quick Look: Pet Pet Insurance for Dogs

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance helps cover expenses if your pet becomes ill or is injured and can offset high vet bills. It’s similar to how health insurance works for humans.

You’ll pay a monthly premium for pet insurance, and in some cases, you can pay for a full year of pet insurance in advance and receive a discount. You’ll have to meet a deductible and possibly pay a copay when you take your dog to the vet. You pay the bill while there and then submit the bill for reimbursement.

There are three types of pet insurance plans:

  • Comprehensive: This type of plan covers accidents like a bite from another dog, but also illnesses such as cancer or diabetes.
  • Wellness coverage: Wellness coverage takes care of the costs of annual exams, vaccines, flea and heartworm prevention.
  • Accidents only: As the name implies, it only covers accidents, such as a broken leg or a swallowed bone.

Who Needs Pet Insurance for Dogs?

Any dog owner should consider purchasing pet insurance. It’s easier to set aside money for the predictable costs of dog ownership, such as a yearly vet visit, but an unexpected illness could cost thousands of dollars. Pet insurance for your dog ensures that your pup will receive the care he needs and you don’t have to worry about unpredictable medical costs.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance covers a variety of conditions and treatment options for your dog. Each policy provider has slightly different coverage options, so it’s a matter of weighing what’s most important to you. For example, Pet Plan pays vet exam fees, but Healthy Paws does not. The broader the coverage options, the more you’ll pay in premiums.

Your pet insurance won’t cover annual vet visits and blood work unless you select a plan with wellness coverage. Pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions, either, and sometimes excludes hip dysplasia or other common ailments for your dog breed.

The purpose of pet insurance isn’t to cover the normal costs of owning an animal. Responsible pet owners can plan and budget for those expenses. Its purpose is to help out when your pet falls unexpectedly ill or is injured in an accident so you can avoid expensive vet bills.

Pet insurance also has coverage limits, or caps, on how much the insurer will payout. Learn what each of these limits means and if they’ll apply to your dog before you choose a policy.

  • Unlimited lifetime coverage: There’s no cap or limit on coverage after you’ve met your deductible. For example, at no point will the insurance company stop paying to cover claims. 
  • Annual maximum: Your pet insurance covers costs up to the annual maximum, which resets each year. Maximums can range from $2,500 to $25,000, which you select. Picking a higher maximum will lead to a higher premium.  
  • Annual per incident: The annual per incident caps the cost per incident, such as an illness, condition or procedure. The insurance company will stop paying out anything once you’ve hit the limit. 
  • Lifetime maximum: The lifetime maximum refers to the amount you pay either per condition or over your dog’s lifetime, after which the insurance company will no longer pay for any care.

Pet Insurance Rates for Dogs

The amount you’ll pay for pet insurance for your dog depends on the amount of coverage you select. For example, you’ll lower your premiums if you’re willing to pay a higher deductible. Your dog’s breed and age also play a factor in overall cost.

Here’s a list of the top 5 best dog insurance companies, their included coverage and sample prices.

Company Price Included Coverage
Pet Plan $20/month and up Accidents
Injuries and illnesses
Diagnostic treatments 
Vet exam fees
Prescription medications 
MRI, CAT scans and ultrasounds 
Cancer treatments 
Non-routine dental work 
Surgery and rehabilitation 
Holistic therapies
Referral and specialist treatments
Healthy Paws $15/month and up Illnesses and accidents 
Hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions
Diagnostic treatments including bloodwork
X-rays and ultrasounds 
Surgery and hospitalizations 
Emergency care, specialty care and alternative treatments
Trupanion $12/month and up Illnesses and injuries 
Hereditary and congenital conditions 
Diagnostic tests 
Hospital stays 
Veterinary supplements 
Prosthetic devices and carts
Embrace $13/month and up Accidents and illnesses 
Dental illnesses up to $1,000/year 
Hereditary and genetic conditions 
Chronic conditions 
Exam fees 
Alternative therapies 
Behavioral therapy 
Emergency vet care 
Specialist care 
Diagnostic testing 
Hospitalization and surgery 
Prosthetics and mobility devices
AKC Pet Insurance $10/month and up Accidents and injuries 
Cherry eye 
Laboratory tests 
X-Rays, ultrasound, MRI and CAT scans 
Surgery and hospitalizations 
Prescribed medications 
Chemotherapy and radiation 
Extractions of permanent teeth
PetFirst $15/month and up Vet exam fees
Dental care
Accidents and illness
Hereditary, genetic and breed specific conditions
Chronic conditions
Diagnostic testing
ER visits

The Best Pet Insurance for Dogs

The best pet insurance combines affordable coverage with an easy reimbursement process and excellent customer service. The last thing you want to worry about is filling out paperwork or navigating an unclear process. Here are some of your best options for a pet insurance company for your pooch.

1. PetFirst: Best Overall

PetFirst’s comprehensive and inexpensive premiums and coverage for your dog makes this company our top pick. Its policies cover genetic and hereditary conditions, exam fees and chronic conditions.

PetFirst also has a diminishing deductible feature, which you’ll love if you have a healthy pet. Your deductible goes down by $50 every year that you go without a claim. This is included with every policy and policies are sold in all 50 states.  

Filing a claim is easy. Fax, email or directly upload it into a client portal. PetFisrt has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2006 and has an A+ rating. Its customer service ratings receive 4 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs.

2. AKC Pet Insurance: Most Affordable

The American Kennel Club (AKC)’s pet insurance is fully customizable. You can select different coverages and limits to get your monthly payment to an affordable rate. Choose a deductible amount, coinsurance and limits to buy a policy for as low as $10 per month.

You can add upgrades to your plan: Exam Plus means the company will cover annual exams for a $5 per month, wellness coverage for $29 per month and preventative care for $17 per month. You’ll receive a 5% discount if you insure multiple pets. Select both a deductible and coinsurance to lower your premiums even more. 

3. Trupanion: Best Coverage and Easy Claims

Trupanion is our top pick for the most comprehensive insurance on the market. It covers what many other companies exclude, such as hip dysplasia and hereditary and congenital conditions. Trupanion even offers additional riders for breeding dogs.

Rates don’t increase as your pet ages with a Trupanion plan, either. Trupanion sets no caps or limits on coverage and covers 90% of unexpected vet costs after you’ve met your deductible. Trupanion will waive its 5- or 30-day waiting period if your veterinarian provides Trupanion with a certificate that attests to your pet’s good health. 

Trupanion doesn’t operate on a reimbursement model — a major bonus if you’re on a budget. Instead, Trupanion pays directly to vets.

4. Healthy Paws: Best For Reimbursement

Can’t afford to wait long for reimbursement? Consider choosing Healthy Paws as your pet insurance company. Healthy Paws couldn’t make it easier to get reimbursed after a vet visit. Healthy Paws’ website states that over 99% of claims are processed within 2 days. You just have to take a picture of your vet bill and upload it online or to the Healthy Paws app. The app or website updates the status of your claim. 

The Value of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance protects you from a worst-case scenario. Do your research so you choose a  company with good customer service and easy claims reimbursement.

Consider this scenario: Let’s say Fido breaks his leg. You could pay $2,700 to have the fracture repaired. If you’d purchased a pet insurance policy for $30/month that had a $150 deductible, your net savings would be over $2,100.

Talk to your vet about the health problems your animal might have later in life and the cost of treating them. Once you gather information on pet insurance policies and get a realistic idea of your dog’s future health costs, the decision to buy a pet insurance policy could be quite simple.