More than 60 million American households include at least one dog, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
And it’s no wonder: dogs are loyal family members, they can help reduce our blood pressure, and even extend our lives.
In turn, we find great joy in spending time with them, plying them with treats and toys, and generally treating them like our biological offspring. In 2017, pet owners spent a record $69.4 billion on necessities and goodies for their animal friends.
Still, only 1.83 million American pets—less than one-tenth of one percent of all pets—had health insurance by the end of 2017, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.
Veterinarian care is by far the largest expenditure for dog owners, with an annual price tag of around $731. Researching the best dog insurance companies and insuring your favorite four-legged friend can protect your finances against unexpected vet bills that can put a serious dent in your bank account.
Just as health insurance for humans can prevent illnesses and accidents from breaking the bank, pet insurance can protect your beloved canine while giving you the peace of mind of knowing that, if the unthinkable happens, you’ll have the means to pay for medical care.
The pet insurance market is ever expanding, increasing by 16.8 percent from 2016 to 2017 alone, and wading through the many options can be time-consuming. Dog insurance plans vary widely in terms of cost, coverage options, and customer service.
Choosing the best plan for you and your dog depends on your pet’s needs and your budget. We evaluated more than 30 pet insurance companies to help you find the best dog insurance companies the industry offers. Here are our top 10 picks.
Best Dog Insurance Companies: Get Quotes & Compare Coverage Today
1. AARP Pet Insurance
AARP’s PetPlan pet insurance is available to AARP members and has one of the most comprehensive policies on the market.
In addition to covering standard treatments like prescriptions and surgery, it covers vet exam fees for non-routine visits and offers comprehensive dental coverage for a range of services including tooth extractions and treatment for periodontal disease.
Most plans cover dental only when it’s related to an accident.
AARP is a great option for senior dogs and hard-to-insure breeds since there are no age caps or breed restrictions.
Overall costs are on the affordable side of the industry standard, and it’s known for its stellar 24/7 customer service via telephone or live chat. AARP offers a user-friendly mobile experience and a generous 90-day filing deadline for claims.
Flexible plans allow you to mix and match deductibles, benefit limits, and reimbursement percentages to customize a plan that’s just right for you and your dog.
AARP pet insurance features an annual deductible rather than a per-incident deductible. This means that once you meet the deductible for the year, all claims will be reimbursed at your chosen percentage.
2. Aetna’s Pet Insurance
Aetna’s pet insurance is available in 36 states and the District of Columbia and covers all breeds starting at 7 weeks of age. Once you purchase a policy, it remains viable regardless of your dog’s age.
Aetna offers three levels of coverage and lets you customize your plan to fit your dog’s requirements and your budget.
All three plans cover accidents, illnesses, and hereditary conditions, with two additional tiers of coverage for non-routine exams and alternative therapies like chiropractic and acupuncture.
An accident-only plan is available at a flat rate regardless of age or breed.
Aetna, through Pets Best, offers unlimited access to veterinarians and specialists, including emergency clinics, ophthalmologists, and oncologists.
Flexible plans allow you to exclude certain treatments to lower the premium and better suit your dog’s needs.
You can also customize the deductible amount between $50 and $1,000 and choose a reimbursement percentage of 70, 80, or 90 percent.
Unlike most pet insurance companies, Pets Best on behalf of Aetna pays the vet directly, and it offers some of the fastest claims processing in the industry, typically reimbursing by check or direct deposit within five days of receiving the claim.
3. VPI Pet Insurance
VPI pet insurance offers several plan options, including a Major Medical plan that only covers serious medical conditions and a Pet Wellness plan that only covers routine wellness care.
The Whole Pet plan, available with or without wellness coverage, insures against illnesses and accidents.
Once you purchase a policy, it will remain in effect for the lifetime of your dog. However, new policies aren’t available for dogs over the age of 10.
VPI offers one of the best dog insurance plans in terms of comprehensive coverage although, like all other pet insurance providers, it doesn’t cover preexisting conditions. The premiums are reasonable, too.
A basic insurance plan with the highest possible deductible costs $34.25 for your dog, which is well below the national average monthly pet insurance premium of $44.66.
VPI pet insurance is owned and operated by Nationwide, which administers the policies and pays the claims. Filing claims is easy with VPI since you can submit them via email, fax, or a downloadable mobile app, which most companies don’t offer. VPI guarantees payment of claims within 30 days, but the actual turnaround time is much faster.
4. PetPremium Pet Insurance
PetPremium pet insurance offers comprehensive but straightforward coverage options, and it’s the only company with zero complaints lodged against it with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Plans are highly customizable and allow you to choose the deductible and reimbursement percentage that works best for you.
The Accident-Only coverage includes microchip implantation, imaging tests, surgery, and a variety of therapies. The Total Coverage plan insures against both accidents and illnesses, including hereditary, chronic, and dental conditions. Two tiers of wellness add-ons cover a variety of standard treatments and procedures, including spaying, neutering, and vaccinations.
PetPremium’s minimum monthly premium for dogs is just $12.28, far below the national average. At this level, the deductible is $250, the annual benefits cap is $2,500, and the reimbursement percentage is 80 percent.
Customer service at PetPremium is in line with the industry average. You can reach a representative by phone during the day, and the company’s website is a treasure trove of information about pet health and wellness.
PetPremium’s stated policy is to reimburse within 30 days, but the advertised response time is 15 days. PetPremium is one of a small handful of pet insurance companies that compensates the vet directly.
5. Trupanion Pet Insurance
Trupanion is one of the pricier pet insurance companies, with premiums for dogs starting at $59.21.
However, it offers one of the most comprehensive basic plans available, covering the cost of prescription medications and prescription food; chronic and hereditary conditions; diagnostic testing, surgery, and hospitalization; mobility aides, and more.
Trupanion also exceeds industry standards in terms of benefit limits, offering a 90-percent reimbursement rate with no deductibles or coverage caps.
Trupanion’s advertised response time of seven days is faster than the industry standard, although the policy states that claims are typically fulfilled within 60 days. It’s also another pet insurance company that offers direct payment to the vet.
Trupanion insures dogs as young as eight weeks old, with an upper age limit of 14 years. The typical upper age limit on most policies is 10 years.
The five-day accident waiting period through Trupanion is shorter than the industry average of around 14 days, although the illness waiting time is 30 days, which is on the longer side.
6. GEICO Pet Insurance
The main benefit of GEICO pet insurance is that it is one of the few providers that offers mobility assistance and prosthetics as well as coverage for breed-specific conditions like cancer, dysplasia, and allergies. It also covers behavioral therapy for destructive behaviors and anxiety.
Another thing that sets GEICO apart from its competitors is its Wellness Rewards program, a policy add-on that offers monetary incentives for routine vet care.
GEICO’s rates are competitive, with a minimum monthly premium of $13.04 for dogs. Unlike some providers, GEICO’s policies are highly customizable. You can choose an annual deductible between $100 and $1,000; a reimbursement limit of $5,000 to $15,000; and a reimbursement percentage of 65 to 90 percent.
Discounts are available, including a spay/neuter discount, a discount for paying the annual deductible up front, and a multi-pet discount for additional pets in the household.
GEICO’s customer service operates during regular business hours, but policyholders have around-the-clock access to VetLIVE, a 24/7 helpline that connects you to veterinary experts for health advice for your dog. You can file a claim any time by mail, email, fax, or the online portal.
7. Banfield Pet Hospital Pet Insurance
Banfield Pet Hospital pet insurance covers illnesses only, and its policies restrict pet owners to using Banfield’s vast network of pet hospitals and clinics, including clinics located inside of PetSmart stores.
Aside from these limitations, Banfield Pet Hospital insurance offers competitive policies at monthly rates that fall below the national average.
Choose from five different coverage levels, including an Early Care plan for puppies under six months old. Medical conditions covered include hereditary, congenital, breed-specific, and chronic conditions as well as dental illnesses.
Plans cover diagnostic testing, surgery, prescriptions, behavioral therapy, prosthetics, and mobility aides, among other treatments and procedures.
Unlike many competitors, Banfield Pet Hospital pet insurance doesn’t have an upper age limit for coverage. Its minimum age is eight weeks old. Banfield also has no waiting period for office visits or other covered services.
Most insurance companies have a waiting period of 14 to 30 days. Rather than reimbursing you for services, Banfield offers 100-percent coverage of all the routine and preventive care associated with your plan level.
8. AAA Pet Insurance
For members of the American Automobile Association (AAA), discounted rates make pet health insurance through AAA more affordable. AAA offers a single pet insurance policy for accidents and illnesses.
The plan covers a range of services not covered by other major pet insurance companies, including hip dysplasia, as long as it’s not a pre-existing condition. This makes AAA pet insurance ideal for susceptible breeds.
Most other pet insurance policies with unlimited coverage have higher premiums than AAA, but even AAA’s most basic plans have no per-incident, annual, or lifetime caps on coverage. Plans are customizable, letting you choose your deductible ($100, $250, or $500) and reimbursement percentage (70, 80, or 90 percent.)
AAA is one of the best dog insurance companies in terms of claims processing time, which is two days for most claims. Customer support is available seven days a week, and you can quickly submit a claim online or with a mobile app.
9. Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace is known in the pet insurance industry for its comprehensive coverage and customizable policy for dogs beginning at six weeks old. The age cap on purchasing coverage for dogs is 14 years, but dogs that are already insured before they turn 14 will continue to be covered for life.
Embrace offers one of the best dog insurance plans in the industry, thanks to low rates, direct billing to vets, and a wide range of covered expenses, including prosthetics, behavioral therapy, and alternative care.
Embrace’s single customizable plan starts at $13.04, well below the industry average. Annual deductibles range from $100 to $1,000, and you can choose a reimbursement percentage between 65 and 90 percent.
Unique to Embrace is its diminishing deductible plan, which discounts the annual deductible by $50 for every claim-free year.
Embrace claims are filed via mail, email, fax, or through the secure online portal, and they’re paid out quickly via direct vet billing or direct deposit. For every policy sold, Embrace donates $2.00 to a pet-related charity.
10. Figo Pet Insurance
Figo is another highly rated pet insurance company that provides generous coverage for the price, compared to other carriers. Its standard plan covers things that most other plans only offer as an expensive add-on.
Figo’s least costly plan covers accidents and illness like most other plans do, but it also covers prescriptions, hip dysplasia, exam fees, prosthetics and mobility devices, alternative treatments, and behavioral therapies.
Flexible plans allow you to choose the coverage cap, from $10,000 to unlimited. You can also select the reimbursement amount, from 70 to 100 percent, making it the only company that offers 100 percent reimbursement.
Deductibles are also flexible and range from $50 to $500. If your pet is receiving life-saving care, the company will waive the deductible, unlike most other pet insurance companies.
Figo’s premiums are in line with other pet insurance companies, if not slightly higher. For $52 a month, you can insure your dog with a plan offering a $50 deductible, a $10,000 benefit cap, and a 70 percent reimbursement of the actual cost of services. Figo also offers discounts for veterans and active military personnel, veterinary clinic staff, and students.
Thanks to the top-rated companies listed above, you should be able to find a reliable pet insurance policy that protects your assets and helps keep your dog healthy and happy.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.