Best Pet Insurance for Emergencies (2023) Review)
Nothing is scarier as a pet parent than your beloved companion sustaining a life-threatening illness or injury. Emergency vet visits can be expensive, but with emergency pet insurance, you may not have to face the difficult choice of turning down life-saving pet care due to unreachable out-of-pocket costs.
Our pets are like family members, and they deserve to get the health care they need. We at the Guides Home Team have vetted and analyzed the best pet insurance companies for emergency care coverage. This article breaks down each provider’s pros and cons, coverage options, plan customization choices and more so you can find the right fit for your pet.
Emergency vet care can get expensive quickly, which makes Lemonade’s options for a 90% reimbursement rate and $100,000 annual coverage limit valuable when disaster strikes. Plus, this comprehensive coverage comes at an affordable premium with lower pet insurance rates than many competitors and a 10% discount for bundling with Lemonade property insurance.
Lemonade offers a typical accident and illness pet insurance plan that covers your animal for accidents such as injuries, broken bones and sprains, plus illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, skin conditions and more. Lemonade will cover a variety of diagnostics, treatments and prescription medications related to your pet’s care. It also covers hospitalization, IV fluids, medications and additional testing recommended by a licensed vet, in case your fur baby’s emergency requires in-patient care.
You can also increase your coverage with up to five policy add-ons, including a vet fees endorsement that covers the costs of follow-up exams.
Get a quote: Fill out Lemonade’s online form
To learn more: Lemonade pet insurance review
Spot offers the most options for policy customization so you can tweak your coverage to your liking. If you choose to purchase Spot’s unlimited coverage — with a 90% reimbursement rate and $100 deductible — the company will almost entirely cover your pet’s costly emergency bills. Spot also includes helpful information about emergency preparation and pet handling on its website.
Spot offers a variety of coverage options, including an accident-only plan, accident and illness coverage, and two preventative plans. Its accident-only plan is a more affordable option to cover a variety of treatments for accidental emergencies, including surgery, hospitalization, IV fluids, poison control consultation and more. Its standard pet insurance plan covers accidents as well as general illness, behavioral issues, heart disease, diabetes and more.
Spot’s preventive care options, the Gold and Platinum plans, can keep small problems from becoming big ones. For a flat fee, both plans provide an annual allowance for dental cleaning, wellness check-ups, vaccinations and fecal tests — potentially staving off an emergency before it strikes.
Get a quote: Fill out Spot’s online form
To learn more: Spot Pet Insurance review
Embrace boasts a 96% claim acceptance rate, offering peace of mind that you’ll be less likely to get stuck with the bill in the event of a pet emergency. It also offers various discounts, including 5% off policy premiums for military members, 10% off if you enroll multiple pets and 10% off if you work for a company that offers Embrace. To save even more, Embrace reduces your deductible by $50 each consecutive year you remain claims-free.
Embrace offers one accident and illness plan that covers cancer, chronic conditions, breed-specific congenital and genetic conditions, and even preventable and orthopedic conditions. This plan is a good option for pet parents who fear the worst since coverage extends to emergency vet clinics, including after-hours care. It also covers scheduled or emergency surgery and overnight hospital stays.
With your unexpected veterinary bills taken care of, Embrace’s wellness plan offers proactive pet parents three tiers of coverage for routine care. It features a long list of reimbursable items from vaccinations to grooming and alternative therapies like Reiki and acupuncture.
Get a quote: Fill out Embrace’s online form
To learn more: Embrace Pet Insurance review
Healthy Paws offers unlimited coverage at a more affordable monthly premium than some other companies on our list. For example, we received a quote for $41.35 for a policy with mid-range customizations and unlimited coverage for a 4-year-old dog in North Carolina. We were quoted $131.02 for a similar policy through Spot.
Whether your pet swallows a foreign object or comes into contact with something poisonous, emergency vet bills can be expensive. That’s why the more pet insurance coverage you have, the more prepared you can be for worst-case scenarios.
Healthy Paws offers one accident and illness plan with no annual or lifetime caps on how much it will reimburse you for covered injuries, illnesses or conditions. So even if your pet receives expensive hospital care, advanced surgery or specialty care (all of which are covered), you won’t have to worry about using up your entire annual benefit. Plus, the company doesn’t require a referral to see critical care, orthopedic, neurology, radiology, cardiology or other specialists.
Healthy Paws reimburses most policyholders within two business days, which can help reduce the stress of paying for your furry friend’s emergency care. You can also quickly file a claim on the Healthy Paws mobile app without filling out a form.
Get a quote: Fill out Healthy Paws’ online form
To learn more: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance review
Figo pet insurance doesn’t cap how much it will reimburse you per incident or claim, so you’ll be covered no matter how expensive a covered emergency is. The company also offers more reimbursement rate options than most competitors, including a 100% rate that covers all costs once you meet your deductible.
Figo’s accident and illness pet insurance is a good option for emergency care coverage. It includes accidents, emergencies, illnesses, hereditary and congenital disorders, chronic conditions and cancer. If you aren’t sure whether your pet’s symptoms are an actual emergency, Figo’s 24/7 vet hotline can answer questions and offer advice.
With Figo, keep in mind that selecting certain customization options will exclude you from others. For example, you can’t pair annual unlimited coverage with a 100% reimbursement rate, and selecting 100% reimbursement excludes you from the two lowest deductible options. But you can purchase add-ons, which Figo calls powerups, to increase the effectiveness of your plan. These include options to cover vet exam fees, routine care and expenses associated with the death or loss of your pet.
Get a quote: Fill out Figo’s online form
To learn more: Figo Pet Insurance review
Do You Need Emergency Pet Insurance?
As a pet owner, you do your best to keep your furry companion out of harm’s way. But no matter how proactive you are, the unexpected can still occur. If you own a pet and are concerned about the financial ramifications of emergency vet care, you should consider getting emergency pet insurance.
In purchasing an accident and illness pet insurance policy, a traumatic event doesn’t have to be an expensive one, too. Accident-only and accident and illness pet insurance plans are designed to cover unexpected vet bills, like emergency care or surgery.
How Much Does Emergency Pet Insurance Cost?
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Report, accident-and-illness coverage costs a monthly average of $48.66 for dogs and $28.57 for cats.
Because accident and illness pet insurance includes coverage for emergencies and associated treatments, there’s no difference in cost for emergency versus non-emergency coverage. The price you pay for full accident-and-illness coverage depends on a few factors.
- Age: As your pet ages, it is more likely to experience health problems and require vet care. This presents a greater risk for pet health insurance companies, and your premium may increase accordingly.
- Breed: Your dog or cat may be more or less expensive to insure based on its breed. For example, French bulldogs are predisposed to respiratory problems, making them one of the pricier breeds to cover.
- Location: State regulations and the local average cost of vet care also play into your pet insurance premium. If the cost of living is high in your area, expect to pay more than average for pet insurance.
Common Pet Emergencies
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are 13 situations in which your pet warrants immediate emergency care, including:
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum
- Coughing up blood
- Choking, gagging or coughing non-stop
- Eye injury
- Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move the legs
- Inability to urinate or pass stool
- Obvious pain or extreme anxiety
- Refusal to drink for more than 24 hours
- Seizing or staggering
- Severe bleeding or bleeding for longer than five minutes
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea
- Stress from heat or heatstroke
- Toxic ingestion
The Bottom Line: Which Is the Best Pet Insurance Company for You?
An emergency involving your beloved pet can be a frightful and frantic experience. The last thing you want to worry about is whether you can afford potentially life-saving care. But having the right pet insurance policy can make all the difference if your pet ever suffers from an emergency.
When shopping for pet insurance, look for important features like if a provider covers hospital stays, pet ambulance rides, specialist or urgent care and offers a 24/7 vet hotline. A high reimbursement rate and coverage limit can also help absorb the substantial cost of emergency vet care. We recommend getting quotes from at least three providers on this list before choosing the pet insurer that best fits your needs.
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, simulating the quote and purchasing process, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage. We have scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements.
Here are more details about each factor and how they’re weighted:
- Monthly pricing (25 points): How much each company charges for its pet insurance plans is an important part of a customer’s decision. The best pet insurance companies combine comprehensive coverage and plan options with affordable rates.
- Plans (15 points): The top pet insurance companies offer accident and illness plans, accident-only plans and wellness or preventive care add-ons to give customers the option to choose a plan that’s best for their pet.
- Covered treatments (15 points): With this factor, we scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Companies with a breadth of included treatments and unique coverages received more points than providers with more standard or general policies.
- Customization options (10 points): Customizing your policy is a valuable way to ensure you only pay for what your pet needs. Providers with more annual-limit, deductible and reimbursement-rate options earned the highest scores.
- Customer care (10 points): We scored companies on their website accessibility and overall usability, customer service availability, mobile apps (if any), money-back guarantees and veterinarian telehealth options, awarding points to the insurers with more customer experience offerings.
- Industry reputation (10 points): To determine each company’s industry reputation, we reviewed up-to-date ratings and accreditation information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored companies on their years of experience in the industry and their state availability.
- Waiting periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident, illness and orthopedic waiting periods between the sign-up and coverage start date scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
- Eligible age (5 points): Some companies don’t offer policies for pets that are over a certain age. We deducted points from providers that have age limits for covered pets.
We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. Additionally, we keep our research up to date and revisit our reviews on a regular basis.
Mike Miller is a writer with a decade of experience producing product and service content to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. Mike has a bachelor’s degree in creative advertising. In his spare time, Mike enjoys riding and fixing motorcycles, reading a good book and spending time with his wife and two cats.
Sabrina Lopez is an editor with over six years of experience writing and editing digital content with a particular focus on home services, home products and personal finance. When she is not working on articles to help consumers make informed decisions, Sabrina enjoys creative writing and spending time with her family and their two parrots.