What is the Best Pet Insurance to Get for Dogs

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Updated: May 2019

Imagine you’re playing fetch with your pooch, and suddenly…

They land with a thud and a yelp!

And now they’re limping.


Imagine out of the blue your best friend starts vomiting and refuses to eat.

And so the panic starts…

What’s wrong?

Should you take them to the vet?

How much is it going to cost?

At such a critical time the only thing you should worry about is the quality of care, not money.

Best Pet Insurance Policies for Dogs

If you’re in a rush, check out my top choice for Pet Insurance for Dogs…
Embrace Pet Insurance.

Or head straight to my Comparison Table

And that’s why getting pet insurance for our dogs is so important.

If you’re considering health insurance for your dog, you’ve got some work to do.

That’s why I’ve brought you the most in-depth reviews of three heavy hitters in the pet insurance world.

But, I love the underdog!  So, I’ve thrown in a review of a company that’s giving pet insurance a run for their money!

So, before you place any bets check out these reviews.  Also, use the handy buyer’s guide and comparison table so you can get to grips with like deductibles, exclusions, co-payments, capped payments, riders and waiting periods.

And you should definitely check out my comparison chart to the plans side-by-side.

Use the links below and be magically transported to any section you’re interested in.

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  1. What is the Best Pet Insurance to Get for Dogs?
  2. The Bottom Line
  3. Buyer’s Guide to Get the Best Pet Insurance for Your Dog
  4. Final Conclusion

Pet Insurance for Dogs 101 [Infographic]

Facts and stats About Pet Insurance for dogs

What Is the Best Pet Insurance to Get for Dogs – Comparison Table

Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats | Petfirst
CoverageStandard Insurance CoverStandard Insurance CoverDiscount PlanStandard Insurance CoverageStandard Insurance
Wellness Cover OptionYes - 2 OptionsYesNoNoYes - 3 Options
Accident Only CoverYesNoNoNoNo
DeductibleRange from $100 to $1000Range from $200 to $1000No DeductibleRange from $100 to $1000Range from $50 to $500
Reimbursement %70% to 90%70% to 90%25% Discount on all Vet Bills70% to 90%70% to 90%
Co-PaymentNo Co-PaymentsNo Co-PaymentsNo Co-PaymentsBased on DeductibleNo Co-Payment
Waiting Period3 Days (Accidents) 14 Days (Illness)48 hrs to 14 Days (Accident)14 Days (Illness) 6 Months (Orthopedic)No Waiting Period24 hrs to 14 Days (Accidents) 14 Days (Illness) 6 Months (Orthopedic)Midnight of Activation Date (Accidents) 14 Days (Illness) 12 Months (Orthopedic
Age LimitsNo14 YearsNoNoNo
Pre-Existing ConditionsStandardStandardOnly Non-Medical CostsStandardNo
Cover for Congenital and Hereditary ConditionsYesYesYesYesYes
Customer ServiceFairOutstandingOutstandingFairOutstanding
My Rating
Read My Full ReviewBest Pets Full ReviewEmbrace Pet Insurance Full ReviewPet Assure Full ReviewPetPlan Full ReviewPetFirst Full Review
Visit Website for a Free QuotePets Best Pet InsuranceEmbrace Pet InsurancePet AssurePetPlanPetFirst


Why Buy Pet Health Insurance for Your Pooch?

Ever heard of the term “economic euthanasia”?

It’s when pooch parents are forced to euthanize pets who are seriously injured or ill. Because they are unable to pay thousands of dollars for treatment.

The truth is…

Vets are expensive, whether your dog is insured or not.

But, pet insurance means you can pay a little at a time as insurance premiums. To avoid paying a lot all at once if something goes sideways.

If you’re like me, you’d do anything to save your dog, then pet insurance is for you.

Like I mentioned…

If your dog’s in trouble you want to be talking about the quality of care. Not about the cost.

What is the Best Pet Insurance to Get for Dogs?

To compare apples with apples when it comes to price and what’s on offer I got quotes for one of my dogs with each company.

Here are the criteria I used…

  • German Shepherd.
  • Male.
  • 4 years old.
  • Neutered
  • NYC zip code.

Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Pets Best was founded in 1995 and is on a mission to end economic euthanasia.

Pets Best offers 2 main products…

A comprehensive accident and illness policy. And an accident only policy.

And there’s a routine wellness plan that you can add to either policy.


Pricing for Pets Best policies depends on five factors.

  1. Your location.
  2. Your dog’s age.
  3. The breed of your dog.
  4. Your deductible.
  5. And the reimbursement level you choose.

For my 4-year-old neutered German Shepherd, I got quotes on three different plans – See the example quotes below.

Example Quote from Pets Best

The Essential Plan had a premium of $61.16 per month.

  • The plan includes $5,000 cover per year.
  • A $100 deductible.
  • 90% reimbursement, which includes prescription drugs.
  • And no co-pays.

With the Essential Plan exam fees, rehabilitation or alternative therapies are not covered.

The Plus Plan gave me a premium of $74.67.

  • This plan includes $5,000 cover per year.
  • A $100 deductible.
  • 90% reimbursement, which includes prescription drugs.
  • And no co-pays.

What bumps the Plus Plan up from the Essential plan is it provides cover for exam fees, rehabilitation, and alternative therapies.

And their Elite Plan would cost me $84.54 per month.

  • This plan has unlimited cover per year.
  • A $100 deductible.
  • 90% reimbursement, which includes prescription drugs.
  • No co-pays.

And covers exam fees, rehab, and alternative therapy.

Accident Only Policy

As I mentioned, Pets Best also offer an accident only policy. It’ll cost you $9 per month regardless of the age and breed of your dog, or your location.

The policy includes a $10,000 per year limit, a $250 deductible and a 90% reimbursement for charges.

You also have the option of add-on cover through 2 different wellness plans. But more on that in a second.

Two riders were also offered for pet wellness at an additional $26 or $16 per month, depending on the plan. These two wellness plans will be discussed shortly.


The deductible that you pick has a direct impact on your monthly premium.

A higher the deductible = a lower the premium.

So let’s go with my example of $100 deductible…

I pay the first $100 and Pets Best pay the rest up to the maximum coverage amount.

You’ll be happy to know that the deductible on a Pets Best policy is per year, not per incident.

This is a good thing! It means you only pay the $100 deductible once. After that everything else is covered at the reimbursement level you choose.

EssentialWellness and BestWellness Plans

Remember those addon wellness plans I mentioned?

You have a choice between the EssentialWellness at $16 extra per month.

Or the BestWellness at $26 extra per month.

The cover for these addon health plans is the same except for 2 things.

The BestWellness plan covers spay/neuter surgery and teeth cleaning. Where the EssentialWellness plan does not.

All other procedures are covered by both plans but at different price levels.

Items covered by these additions are:

  • Spay / Neuter
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Flea/tick prevention
  • Heartworm prevention
  • Vaccination / titre
  • Wellness exam
  • Blood, fecal, parasite exam
  • Microchip
  • Urinalysis
  • Deworming

Waiting Period

Pets Best has a waiting period of 3 days for accidents and 14 days for illnesses. Which is standard across the board for pet insurance.

Age Limits

Pets Best will cover any dog, regardless of their age.

What is Covered?

Each of the three levels (Essential, Plus, and Elite) cover different things.

For the sake of comparison with Embrace – which I’ll review next, here is a list of what is covered with the Plus plan.

  • Accident and illness exam fees
  • Rehabilitation therapies
  • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and laser therapies
  • Emergency visits
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • Prescription medications
  • MRI, CAT, and X-ray
  • Specialist care
  • Outpatient care
  • Medication injections
  • Lab tests
  • Cancer treatment
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Items included in the accident only product include:
  • Trauma
  • Poisoning
  • Bites (animal, insect, snake)
  • Hit by car or a moving vehicle
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Bone fracture
  • Laceration, cut, or abrasion
  • Wound
  • Torn nail
  • Medical problems directly linked to accidental injury

What is NOT Covered?

As with any insurance policy, this is the most important thing you should understand.

I’m not a fan of fine print so I’m going to keep this part as interesting as possible. If that’s even possible with legal-speak!

I’ll try and give examples that folks like you and I relate to…

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pets Best looks at your dog’s history for the 18 months before cover to determine any pre-existing conditions.

If your dog showed any signs in the previous 18 months – it’s a pre-existing condition.

Pre-existing conditions include:

Chronic Conditions

Bilateral conditions. Symptoms at any time, even before the 18 month period.

Intervertebral disc conditions (IVCC). Same thing here. Symptoms at any time, even before the 18 month period.


  • Prescription or over-the-counter medications that are not on the Pets Best list of covered meds.
  • Admin charges for the processing of insurance claims. Or sending medical records
  • Injuries due to intentional acts by you or someone who lives with you.
  • Monitoring of pre-existing conditions.
  • Breeding.
  • Boarding and transport expenses.
  • Tests, treatments, therapies, and meds related to conditions not covered by your policy.
  • Anal gland expression. Yuk!!
  • Regular things that your dog needs like beds, treats, toys, etc.
  • Any condition resulting from activities related to training for or participating in racing.
  • If your dog is injured doing something your vet told you not to do.
  • Alternative and holistic treatments.
  • Experimental therapies and medications.
  • Training and treatment of Behavioral Conditions. Except for consultations and prescription drugs.
  • Cremation and burial.
  • Losses from things like nuclear disasters and wars.

Is Pets Best Insurance Worth it?

Pets Best does offer a very comprehensive insurance for pooches.  But, it is a little on the pricey side.  And there are quite a few poor reviews, especially about their customer service and claim payout.

Visit Pets Best Website for a Free Quote.

Here’s a quick video from the founder of Pets Best Dr. Jack Stephens (DVM)

Embrace Pet Insurance

The main product that Embrace offers is a comprehensive accident and illness policy. There is also an optional wellness plan.

If your dog has shown symptoms of or been diagnosed with certain diseases they can only be covered by an accident policy.

The accident policy only policy is not for healthy dogs.

Coverage for your dog is guaranteed for his life, as long as you continue to pay the monthly premiums on time.

Which means Embrace will not drop your pet’s coverage as they age. This is a great feature and gives you peace of mind as your pooch ages.


Pricing depends on many factors. These include:

  1. Your pet’s age
  2. Whether they are purebred
  3. Whether they are spayed/neutered
  4. The amount of your deductible
  5. The limits of your coverage
  6. Whether you choose a prescription plan
  7. Whether you choose a wellness plan (which covers vaccinations and proactive health care)

I priced Embrace for my 4-year-old neutered German Shepherd. And I was offered three options – See examples below.

Example of Embrace PEt Insurance for My Dog

One Bone Package:

  • $23.66 per month.
  • Cover amount: $10 000.
  • Deductible: $750.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.
  • Optional RX Coverage: Yes.
  • Wellness Rewards: No.

Two Bone Package (Recommended):

  • $36.62 per month.
  • Cover amount: $10 000.
  • Deductible: $500.
  • Reimbursement: 80%
  • Optional RX Cover: Yes.
  • Wellness Rewards: No.

Three Bone Package:

  • $54.62 per month.
  • Cover amount: $10 000.
  • Deductible: $500.
  • Reimbursement: 80%
  • Optional RX Coverage: Yes.
  • Wellness Rewards: $250.

The nice thing with Embrace Pet Insurance is you can create a custom option for your dog too.

So, I also played around with this option and got the following quotes for my Male GSD who’s 4 years old.

Examples of Embrace Pet Insurance Custom Quote

Custom Option One

  • Premium is: $10.23 per month.
  • Cover amount: $5000.
  • Deductible: $1000.
  • Reimbursement: 70%.
  • Wellness Plan: $0.

Custom Option Two

  • Premium is: $126.33 per month.
  • Cover amount: $15000.
  • Deductible: $200.
  • Reimbursement: 90%.
  • Wellness Plan: $650.

There is no co-pay when you visit the vet. But you do pay for all services rendered upfront.


The deductible is the amount that you will pay for your dog’s health care before Embrace kicks in.

As you can see from my experimentation with custom options, the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be.

Your deductible amount with an Embrace policy is per year, not per incident. This is another important feature. Because having a deductible per incident is going to hit your pocket hard.

Let’s say that you have a $500 deductible. After you’ve paid the first 500 bucks everything else is covered at the reimbursement level you choose.

Wellness Rewards

The Embrace Wellness Rewards is like a savings account in a way. Or like a flex spending account.

You get reimbursed for being proactive about your dog’s care.

It promises 100% reimbursement with no deductible, copay, or waiting period. You can choose a plan with up to a $650 limit.

There’s always going to be vaccinations, possible spaying or neutering, flea tick, and worm prevention to name a few.

So, I think this is a fantastic benefit to save you money on those essential things.

Here’s the list of procedures covered by the wellness plan…

  • Spaying/neutering
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention
  • Vaccinations
  • Wellness exams
  • Routine blood and fecal exams
  • Microchip implantation
  • Prescription diet food
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Dental x-rays, crowns, and fillings
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Behavioral training

Waiting Period

Once you buy a pet health insurance policy for your dog, there is a waiting period.

For illnesses, it’s 14 days. And for accidents anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days, depending on the state you live in. This is standard with all pet health insurance companies.

For orthopedic conditions, the waiting period is 6 months. But it can be reduced to 14 days if your dog has an orthopedic exam.

Age limits

Your dog must be younger than 14 years old to get coverage.

What is covered?

The Embrace accident and illness coverage includes (but is not limited to):

  • Accidents
  • Illnesses
  • Genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia
  • Chronic conditions such as asthma
  • Dental trauma
  • Breed-specific conditions
  • Cancer treatment including chemotherapy
  • Prosthetic limbs and devices including mobility aids
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Procedures covered include:
  • Veterinarian and nurse exam fees
  • Laboratory tests and biopsies
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • MRI and CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasound
  • General, specialist, and emergency care
  • Allergy testing
  • Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and holistic medicine
  • Physical therapy, including hydrotherapy
  • Laparoscopies and laser surgery

What is NOT Covered?

Again, this is one of the most important things to get our heads around when we’re deciding on insurance for our dogs.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions are any conditions that have reared their heads before the end of the 14-day waiting period.

If your dog has a pre-existing condition that’s curable and has shown no symptoms in the first 12 months of cover, it might be covered.  But this is on a case-by-case basis.

Pre-existing conditions include:

  • Bilateral condition
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Any form of cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Undiagnosed masses. If the mass can be diagnosed, and another unrelated mass appears, that will be covered.
  • Dermatological conditions
  • Undiagnosed vomiting and / or diarrhea


  • Ambulance transportation.
  • Disposal of your dog’s remains.
  • The cost of boarding your dog.
  • Dental illness.
  • Orthodonture.
  • Injuries deliberately caused by you or a family member.
  • Injury caused by deliberate endangerment of your dog.
  • Injury or illness caused by neglect.
  • Injury or illness due to racing, law enforcement, guarding, or personal protection.
  • Cosmetic, elective, or aesthetic surgery (such as ear cropping or tail docking)
  • Treatment for any illness for which you refused a vaccine.
  • Veterinary administration fees.
  • Treatment of prosthetic limbs and devices.
  • Organ transplants.
  • Genetic / chromosome testing.
  • Costs resulting from breeding, pregnancy, whelping, or queening.
  • Costs for treatment of avian, swine or any other type of influenza.
  • Intentional slaughter under the order of any government or local authority.
  • Treatment due to epidemics or pandemics as declared by the USDA
  • Treatment for exposure to radiation.
  • Treatment for exposure to chemical or biological agents.
  • Treatment arising from war, invasion, acts of foreign enemies or civil unrest.

Once you have enrolled your pet with Embrace, you can request a medical history review.  Your veterinarian will send your dog’s file to Embrace and they will review your dog’s medical history.

Embrace will send you a report about any pre-existing conditions that they have found.

If you don’t like what they tell you, you can cancel your policy with a full refund, so long as you haven’t filed a claim.


Embrace also gives customers several different discounts:

  • 5% discount for a spayed or neutered dog.
  • 5% multi-pet discount (after the first pet).
  • A discount for paying your full year’s premium in a lump sum.
  • 5% discount if you pay directly from your bank account.
  • 5% discount for active military personnel.

Please note that some discounts are governed by state law. Depending on where you live, you may not be eligible for all these discounts.

For example, I used a zip code in NYC and received a discount just under 5 bucks.

Is Embrace Pet Insurance Worth it?

I like Embrace Pet Insurance.  Their packages offer much more than Pets Best do and at a very reasonable price.  I’ve also dealt with their customer service directly and they went above and beyond to help me out.

As far as the best pet insurance for dogs, this is top of my list and you should consider them if you’re serious about getting quality insurance cover.

Visit the Embrace Pet Insurance Website for a Free Quote.

Here’s an in-a-nutshell video by the Co-Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance.

PetPlan Pet Insurance

PetPlan is probably one of the most well-known pet insurance companies on the market.

And they’re one of the companies that have trail blazed many of the policies, covers, and extras you find in the pet insurance world.


Like with the other insurance policies there are a few criteria your premium is based on…

  • The age of your dog.
  • Your dog’s gender.
  • The breed of your dog.
  • And your zip code.

To keep comparing apples with apples when it comes to quotes, I used my 4-year-old GSD male as an example. And stuck to the zip code in NYC.

PetPlan offered me 3 quotes…

Basic Plan

  • Premium $46.41.
  • Cover amount: $5000.
  • Deductible: $1000.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.

Recommended Plan

  • Premium: $94.81
  • Cover amount: $15 000.
  • Deductible: $250.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.

Premier Plan

  • Premium: $177.19
  • Cover amount: Unlimited.
  • Deductible: $100.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.
What is the best pet insurance to get for dogs

They have a custom option too which I played around with.

Custom Plan

  • Premium: $67.94.
  • Cover amount: $15 000.
  • Deductible: $500.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.
Customized quote from PetPlan for my dog

There is a co-payment on all policies depending on the deductible you choose.


As I mentioned before the deductible you choose will have a direct impact on your premium.

And PetPlan gives you options for deductibles ranging from $100 to $1000. So you can safely plan your budget to make sure you can afford the premiums and set money aside for the deductible.

Also, PetPlan’s deductible is an annual one, which is a great feature of the policy. If you had a deductible per incident it wouldn’t be worth your while to take out cover anyway!

Waiting Period

I’m sure you already know that getting information on waiting periods is super important.

And PetPlan has 2 different waiting periods depending on which underwriter issues your policy.

If you’re not sure what an underwriter is, here’s a quick definition…

The underwriter is the company the covers the risk you’re insuring. And they decide on the cover.

So as an example, PetPlan pays part of your premium to the underwriter who then takes the risk upon themselves if you have a claim.

We as the public can’t go directly to the underwriter to be insured. We go through the insurance company.


So PetPlan has 2 different underwriters.

If your policy is issued by ACGS Marine your waiting periods are:

Accident or injury has a 24 hour waiting period after cover for your dog starts.

Illness has a 14 day waiting period.

And there’s a 6 month waiting period for knee injuries like curciates and patellas.

If your policy is issued by XL Specialty Insurance these are your waiting periods:

Accident or injury has a 5 day waiting period.

Illness has a 15 day waiting period.

And there’s a 6 month waiting period for cruciate and patella injuries.

Age Limits

You can insure your dog no matter what their age is. Which is great because our senior dogs need extra special care.

They also offer a Cover for Life dog insurance package. This is the Rolls Royce from PetPlan.

In a nutshell, your dog is covered for any conditions your dog might develop during their lifetime. And the number of times you can claim for the same condition is unlimited.

But here PetPlan has certain age limitations.

The cover must start from 6 weeks of age and before your dog’s 8th birthday. And for some breeds, this will be reduced to their 5th birthday. I suspect my GSD will fall under the 5th birthday category.

I like this option because it means you can give your dog the best care throughout their life.

Think diabetes, EPI, and epilepsy as examples.

What is Covered?

Depending on which package you decide to go for these are the kinds of things PetPlan covers:

  • Accidents, injury, and illness.
  • Non-routine vet exam fees.
  • Diagnostic treatments.
  • Imaging like MRI, ultrasound and CAT scans.
  • Cancer treatments.
  • Prescription meds.
  • Surgery and rehab.
  • Dental.
  • Alternative therapies.
  • Specialist treatment.
  • PetPlan will also cover the following as optional extras:
  • Behavior therapies.
  • Loss due to death or illness.
  • Loss due to theft or straying.
  • Advertising and reward.
  • Boarding kennels and fees if you’re in hospital.
  • Vacation cancellation.

Most other pet insurance adds hereditary and chronic conditions to their exclusion lists.

But PetPlan covers hereditary and chronic conditions.  As long as there were no signs of them before the policy was taken out or during the waiting period.

I see this as a great feature and a benefit. Especially for those of us who love breeds that are known to have these types of conditions.

What is NOT Covered?

Okay, by now you know that having a firm grip on what’s not covered is super important.

So here’s I’ve broken it down for you…

Pre-Existing Conditions

In a nutshell, if your dog has or had a condition before you took out insurance, it a pre-existing condition. And it’s not covered.

Even if it was not diagnosed by a vet.


I’ll mention some of the exclusions here…

  • Behavioral Disorders.
  • Congenital defects.
  • Cruciate or patella injuries in the first 6 months.
  • Dental procedures if they are related to medical conditions where symptoms were visible before the policy was taken out. As an example, gingivitis.
  • Prescription food.
  • Costs for a dog less than 6 weeks old.
  • Any illness outside the United States.
  • Breeding, pregnancy, whelping, nursing and treatment of the offspring.
  • Bathing unless it’s medically necessary and the practice staff bathed your dog.
  • Phone consultations unless it is for an immediate life-saving consultation.
  • Routine preventative care like vaccinations, titer testing, worming, and routine examinations.
  • Boarding your dog. Unless you have opted for the extra cover and you have been admitted to hospital.

Keep in mind that PetPlan does view some pre-existing conditions as curable. And on a case-by-case basis, this may be covered.

Is PetPlan Worth it?

PetPlan offers what most other insurance companies do, so nothing special there.  What I like about them is they’ve been in the game for a long time so they know what they’re doing.

And if you get the Rolls Royce cover, your dog will be covered for a bunch of therapies other policies don’t offer. Things like hydrotherapy and laser treatment.  I have first-hand experience with how expensive these treatments are. My oldest GSD has hydro once a week after hip surgery and it costs a fortune!

My gripes are that they are on the pricey side and I’ve seen a lot of customer complaints about their service.

But if you want to go with a company that’s been around since the beginning then PetPlan might be a good choice for you.  although, my recommendation is Embrace as the best insurance company to get cover for your dog.

Visit PetPlan’s Website for a Free Quote

Pet Assure

Pet Assure was founded in 1995 in reaction to a pet insurer denying a major claim.

Technically it’s not a health insurance policy like the others I’ve reviewed here.

But it is worthwhile considering if you are looking for a more affordable option. And you still want to make sure your dog gets the best treatment if something goes sideways.

So, Pet Assure gives you affordable, high-quality pet care with immediate discounts.

And the paperwork involved is minimal. There are also no deductibles, claims forms, denial of coverage or copays.

Every pet is covered, with no exceptions. And every medical service is covered with no exclusions.

And there are no annual limits.

Here’s how it works…

You register your dog on the company website. And you get an id card which you use to get 25% off all your vet bills.

The one limitation is you must visit an in-network vet. But more on this later.

Unlike regular pet insurance where you pay and get your reimbursement later, with Pet Assure you get your 25% right there and then.

I think this is one of the best features of the plan. Think about the huge difference this will make to your pocket.

Also, there’s nothing stopping you from using Pet Assure along with a regular pet insurance policy.

For example…

If you have a pet insurance policy that reimburses you 70% of your costs. And you use Pet Assure to cover 25% of the remaining bill.

You end up paying only 5% of the total costs of the vet visit.

As a Pet Assure member, you’re also eligible for 5%-35% discount on pet supplies and services.

Now that’s big!

Think about that for a second…

How expensive are the extra supplies you need to raise a stimulated, well-balanced dog?

Yip, I know you know what I mean!

Pet Assure also includes a 24/7 lost pet recovery service.

And 15% off every order made from petcarerx.com, which is another boost for your pocket. You can buy anything from collars and leads to dental care and food from Pet Carer X.

Here’s a quick look at what Pet Assure offers in a nutshell…

pet assure features


This is a one price fits all plan. The only difference in cost is how many pets you have. And you get discounts for covering multiple pets.

There are no questions are asked about your dog, other than how many you want to cover and which zip code you live in.

I did a quote on my 4-year-old GSD will cost $8.25 monthly which is billed annually at $99. for the year.

If I want to be billed monthly, the cost will be $11.95 per month. So paying annually saves you a whopping $44.4. Which I think is totally worth it.

If I want to cover 3 dogs it’s $149 per year or $16.95 per month. So paying annually will save me $54.4, still a good bargain if you ask me.

Below you can see the pricing for a Single Dog Plan, Family Plan (2 – 4 dogs) and the Unlimited Plan for more than 4 dogs.

Example of PEt Assure Pricing


Pet Assure has no deductible. You present your card at your in-network vet and they will deduct 25% from your bill.

Like I mentioned, you do not have to file a claim or wait for reimbursement.

The cover is limitless.  There are no caps on how many times you can use your Pet Assure discount and no limit on how much you can spend.

Waiting Period

There’s also no waiting period.

You simply sign up and you’ll get your ID card in the mail in 7 to 10 days.

While you wait, just print a temporary card, but check with your vet before you use it.

Some provider vets prefer that you have your permanent card before they will apply your discount. Which can be annoying but it’s not a long term annoyance because as soon as you get your ID card, you’re good to go.

Age Limits

You can use this program with any pet. Any age, any breed.

If you have an older dog or a dog with an illness not covered by other pet health insurers, this is a good way to reduce your veterinary costs.

What is Covered?

In-network vet discounts apply ALL medical services. These services include :

  • Office visits
  • Exams
  • Shots
  • Dental exams, cleaning, and extractions
  • Spay and neuter services
  • X-rays
  • Allergy treatments
  • Diabetes Management
  • Elective and emergency surgeries
  • Geriatric Care
  • Hospitalization
  • Wellness visits
  • Tumor removal
  • Ultrasound
  • Vaccines and titers
  • Parasite screening

What is NOT covered?


They don’t exist with Pet Assure.

Except for non-medical costs like the ones below.

  • Products that you take home with you, such as food and prescription medicines.
  • Outsourced services such as blood work or biopsies.
  • Mobile vet mileage fees.
  • Non-medical services such as grooming and boarding.

Pre-Existing Conditions

There’s no such thing as exclusions of pre-existing conditions thing here!

Pet Assure has no medical exclusions.

You can cover a dog of any age, breed, or health condition!

Yup, you read that right! Any age, breed or health condition!

Dogs with pre-existing and hereditary conditions can be covered. Even things like:

  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Kennel cough.
  • And patellar luxation.

In-Network Veterinarians

The main reason why Pet Assure can offer the cover and discounts they do is because of their in-network group of vets.

Some people might see this as a drawback. But it’s not.

The vets who are part of this group are thoroughly vetted (no pun intended there!).

Pet Assure chooses only the best vets. And will turn down a vet if they feel their practice is not up to scratch. So you’re guaranteed of the best service and medical care for your pooch.

Your own vet can also apply to be accepted into Pet Assure’s in-network group.

And if you’re concerned about not finding a vet near you, don’t be.

There are a bunch of vets in every state across The United States.

And if you are traveling with your dog and need a vet, you are covered, as long as the veterinarian is in-network.

Pet Assure Locator Services (PALS)

When you join Pet Assure, each of your enrolled pets receives an ID tag which includes a toll-free number and an identification number.

If your dog does a Houdini act on you and goes galavanting, anyone who finds them can call the toll-free number on the tag.

PALS operates 24 / 7 and will immediately contact you or a designated emergency contact to reunite you with your dog.  All you have to do is make sure your contact information in the My Account section of the Pet Assure website is up to date.

Is Pet Assure Worth it?

Most definitely.  This is especially true if you have an older dog with health issues that won’t be covered by regular insurance.

From my research pooch owners who belong to Pet Assure sing their praises when it comes to service.  Not just from Pet Assure themselves but also from the in-network vets.

And if you think about getting 25% off your vet bill right then and there it’s enough to make anyone smile.

Visit the Pet Assure Website for a Free Quote.

Check out this Pet Assure video explaining exactly how their discount plan works.

So, What is the Best Pet Insurance to Get for Dogs?

To make things easier, I’ve summarized Pets Best and Embrace here. They are all licensed insurance agents and members of the National Association of Pet Health Insurance of America.

Breakdown of Pricing

Pets Best offered me their most popular plan for my 4-year-old GSD at a monthly premium of $74.67. With an annual limit of $5000, a deductible of $100 and 90% of my costs would be reimbursed.

This plan also covers my dog for cover for exam fees, rehabilitation, and alternative therapies.

But if I want extra coverage, for things like spaying or neutering, teeth cleaning and preventative care. Or specialist tests, I’d need to take out extra cover for that.

This doesn’t sound like a bad option until you see the setup Embrace Pet Insurance offers…

Embrace Pet Insurance offered me their most popular cover at a premium of $36.62. Their annual limit for my dog is $10 000 with a $500 deductible. And 80% of my costs would be reimbursed.

That’s a great deal financially!

Think about it…

An extra $5000 on my annual limit, only 400 bucks extra in deductible and I’m still getting a huge reimbursement of 80%!

Like Pets Best Insurance if I want routine care like spaying, worming, vaccinations etc covered, I need to pay extra for this.


Pets Best, Embrace and PetPlan all give you the freedom to pick a deductible that suits your pocket.

And they all consider the deductible per year, not per incident. Which means you only pay once and the rest is covered based on the percentage of reimbursement you opted for.

It’s worth mentioning again to steer clear of ANY pet insurance plan that has a per-incident deductible. It means bad news for you.

Wellness Rewards

Routine care is offered as an optional extra with PetPlan, Pets Best and Embrace Pet Insurance.

But, it’s worth mentioning that according to a study done by the APPA, in 2015 the costs for routine canine care was only about $235 per year. Except if something like teeth scaling is necessary.

So to be honest, I’m not convinced that paying extra for routine care is necessary. You’ll probably find that the monthly extra will work out more than just carrying the cost of routine care yourself.

Waiting period

As standard with all medical insurance both PetPlan, Pets Best and Embrace have waiting periods, so nothing unusual there.

Embrace has a 48 hour to 14 days waiting period for accidents – depending on what state you live in.  Pets Best has a 3 day waiting period for accidents.

Age Limits

Embrace will not cover your dog if they are more than 14 years old.

But Pets Best will cover any dog, regardless of their age.  If you have an older dog, the monthly premiums will most likely be higher.

Here’s a short video from Dr Jack Stephens (DVM) on why pet insurance is a must.

If so, you might be better off buying a discount plan like Pet Assure. You will save money when you go to the veterinarians, without paying huge insurance premiums.

What is Covered?

All the companies cover congenital and hereditary conditions. And they also cover things like Cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Pre-Existing Conditions and Exclusions

The list of items not covered by all three companies is very similar. The main difference between Pets Best and Embrace here is, Embrace views some pre-existing conditions as curable.

Which means, they will cover them if your dog has been symptom-free for a full 12 months. And depending on your dog’s overall current condition. Essentially, it’s on a case-by-case basis.

Customer Service

Being with a company that gives you exceptional customer service is always a plus. But even more so when you’re dealing with the health of your best friend.

No company is perfect, but you can tell a lot about a company when you listen to their current clients.

From my research Pets Best came up worst on the customer service side. Clients complained that they are disorganized and slow to pay claims. One client complained about it taking him ages just to get a supervisor on the line when he had an issue.

Embrace did well with customer service. Many clients commented on how fast their payout is. And the nice touch of getting a handwritten card after their pooch crossed over the rainbow bridge.

There were a few complaints about long waiting times when calling them though. And they’re a little slow to answer emails.

PetPlan’s reviews are mixed, to say the least.  Yelp is where I go to read reviews about the products I review.  And Petplan has a poor score.

I’m sure there are customers who love them and I think they offer a great product.  I’m just concerned about the complaints from pet owners.  Especially about slow customer service and settling of claims.

Although Pet Assure is not an insurance company, their clients love them. Almost all noted how great it is to get their 25% discount no matter what. There was no nail-biting waiting to find out if a claim was rejected or not.

A Summary of Pet Assure

I’ve summarized Pet Assure separately because it’s not medical insurance. But it’s definitely worth considering.

With Pet Assure you are guaranteed of 25% off all your vet bills. There are no claim forms to complete. And there are almost no exclusions.

There are also other discounted services, like buying your supplies from petcarx.com. And you also have access to a 24 / 7 pet finder service.

The premium is based on the number of pets you cover. But if you think about paying 99 bucks to cover one dog for 12 months, that’s a great deal!

The only drawback for some folks is you are required to visit an in-network vet. But I don’t see this as a drawback at all.

Here’s why…

Pet Assure does a great job of vetting the practices before they are accepted. So you can be sure only the best practices are accepted. Also, Your vet can apply to become part of the Pet Assure network too.

Pet Assure is definitely an option you should consider If you don’t have or want pet health insurance. But you still want outstanding care and savings on costs.

PetFirst Pet Insurance

PetFirst has been a player in the world of pet insurance since 2004. This makes them a reasonably new company compared to some of the older and more long-standing ones.

But that should not stop you from considering them as a real contender for the best pet insurance for dogs. Because they are the fastest-growing pet insurance company in North America.


To make comparisons simple and easy, I did a free quote for my 4-year-old male GSD.

Of course, pricing depends on several factors. And these are the ones PetFirst takes into account:

  1. Type of pet (dog or cat)
  2. Male or Female
  3. Age
  4. Pure or Mixed Breed
  5. Breed Type
  6. Zip code
FirstPet Quote Best Pet Insurance for Dogs

They also ask for information like color, which in my opinion, has no bearing on the pricing. But unlike some of the other insurance companies, they don’t seem phased as to whether a pet is already spayed or neutered.

After providing the initial information they require, I was provided with three options, as seen below…

PetFirst Pet Insurance for Dogs Quote

Option One:

  • $33.95 per month.
  • Cover amount: $2000.
  • Deductible: $250.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.

Option Two (This is their recommended option for me):

  • $47.95 per month.
  • Cover amount: $5000.
  • Deductible: $250.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.

Option Three:

  • $84.95 per month.
  • Cover amount: $10 000.
  • Deductible: $250.
  • Reimbursement: 80%.

I was happy to see that there are also options to customize a plan that suits my pocket and the needs of my dog in a more focused way.

Here you can play around with things like:

  • Annual Benefit
  • Deductible
  • Reimbursement (%)

And you can also add their Routine Care Benefit with pre-set amounts which is not included in their standard offers. Of course, this will up the price.

From the screenshot below you can see that I increased the Annual Benefit and gave myself a higher deductible and also added a rider for the highest option for Routine Care Benefit.

PetFirst Pet Insurance Quote-Customize Options

Accident Only Policy

Petfirst doesn’t offer an accident Only Policy as some other pet policies do. Their standard plans include cover for accidents as well as a host of other incidents that you can read more about in a moment.


The deductible for your insurance is the amount you are responsible for paying before the cover takes effect.

PetFirst’s deductible is on a per incident basis. And they recommend that you file a claim even if the amount is less than your deductible. This will reduce the amount of the deductible you are responsible for any further treatment for the particular treatment.

As an example, should your dog become injured and visit the vet, you pay the first $250, and after that, your dog is covered up to the reimbursement level of your policy for treatment related to the specific injury.

Wellness Plans (Routine Care Coverage)

PetFirst does not cover wellness, routine or preventative care unless you include a Routine Care Coverage rider at an extra premium. There are three cover options to pick from: $125, $250 or $400.

Below are the Routine Care procedures covered up to the maximum amount you picked beforehand…

  • Routine examinations like annual vet exam, regular tests or screens
  • Vaccines
  • Teeth cleaning or polishing
  • Microchipping
  • Preventive treatment for parasites, such as fleas & heartworms
  • Spaying and neutering
  • Behavior training

Waiting Periods

All pet insurance companies have waiting periods. And PetFirst is no different.

For accident cover their waiting period ends at midnight after activation (EST). And for illness, their waiting period is 14 days.

For orthopedic issues like cruciate treatments, PetFirst has a waiting period of 12 months. So if a cruciate problem arises and it was not pre-existing, your dog is covered.

Here’s a full screenshot of what’s covered after a 12-month waiting period…

Age Limits

PetFirst does not have any age limits and will cover a dog of any age, even your most senior pooch. And pups as young as 8 weeks old are eligible for cover.

And PetFirst does not require your dog to have a vet exam before qualifying for cover.

What’s Covered?

Below is a list of what’s covered by the standard plans offered by Petfirst (this list is not exhaustive)…

  • Accidents
  • Illness (incl. hereditary, congenital, & chronic conditions)
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Exam Fees
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Medications
  • Holistic Care and alternative therapies
  • Emergency Care

And after a 12-month waiting period, the following conditions are also covered, as long as they were not pre-existing conditions.

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligaments
  • Medical Cruciate
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligaments
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligaments

Below is a screenshot of the main scenarios and conditions PetFirst covers. More information and details can be found in your policy document. I also recommend calling them to discuss any questions you have beforehand.

PetFirst Pet Insurance Quote Summary of Plan Cover

What’s NOT Covered?

Knowing what is not covered by a policy is super important because the last thing you want is to be caught by an unexpected bill.

Pre-Existing Conditions

These are conditions that are present before the cover is taken out. Or conditions that develop during a waiting period.

PetFirst is happy to work with your vet to determine if something is in fact a pre-existing condition.


  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • Elective Procedures.
  • Expression or removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis.
  • Breeding or conditions related to breeding.
  • Pet food, special diet, vitamins, mineral supplements.
  • Grooming costs and bathing, including medicated baths.
  • Parasite prevention, parasite treatment, and illnesses transmitted by parasites.
  • Orthodontics, endodontics, and removal of deciduous teeth.
  • Diagnostic tests, treatments, and complications of conditions excluded or limited by the policy.
  • Time and travel expenses to the veterinarian’s premises or hospital.
  • Illness or injury which arises out of racing, coursing, commercial guarding or organized fighting of your pet.
  • Behavioral training (unless an extra rider is included at an additional premium).
  • Routine Wellness and Preventative Care (unless an extra rider is included at an additional premium).
  • Any treatment not performed by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Organ transplants.


PetFirst does offer some discounts for multi-pet homes. And claim that you can save on average 30% compared to having separate policies for each pet.

They also offer a $10 discount for your first month’s premium if you sign up online.

Is PetFirst Insurance Worth it?

Overall I think Petfirst is an excellent choice for high-quality pet insurance for dogs. I like the option for routine cover that can be added as an extra rider for a few bucks more.

And they have the shortest waiting period for accidents, compared to some of the other companies I’ve reviewed here.

They are happy to cover a dog of any age, so even if you have a senior pooch, you can get them insured.

And they cover a range of orthopedic issues that some other companies do not insure. Although keep in mind that there is a 12-month waiting period on these and they can not be pre-existing.

Visit PetFirst and Save up to 90% on your pet’s vet bills with PetFirst

The Bottom Line

If you weigh up price versus cover, my first choice will be Embrace Pet Insurance. I think they give the best cover in relation to price. And they have some of the best customer service in the industry according to Google Reviews.

I dealt with their customer service directly because I was having a problem accessing their website to gather information.  They went out of their way to assist me.  So I’ll vouch for their customer service too.

PetFirst comes in second. I think their premiums are reasonable for the cover they offer. And they have almost no waiting period for accidents. I also like the fact that they subtract your deductible before reimbursing you, so you get more money back.

Pets Best comes in third.  From all the research I did on customer service, Pets Best ended up at the bottom of the pack.  And they’re tricky when it comes to rules on payouts.

And I highly recommend Pet Assure if you’re not that into pet insurance but still want to guarantee some savings when you visit the vet. Especially if you have a senior dog like Charley my 9-year-old GSD.

They have virtually no exclusions and even cover pre-existing and hereditary conditions like Cancer, Diabetes and Hip Dysplasia to name a few.

From what their customers have to say it sounds great to know that no matter what, you’ll get the 25% discount!

Buyer’s Guide to Get the Best Pet Insurance for Your Dog

Pet Insurance to Cover Emergencies and Vet Visits

Use this Buyer’s Guide to Find Out What What Makes a Good Pet Insurance Company

Okay, so you’re going to take the leap and get pet insurance for your pooch.

Here are the most important questions to ask yourself before you go ahead and cover your dog.

  • Is there a waiting period?
  • Does your dog need a physical to get coverage?
  • What percentage of the bill does the insurer pay after the deductible?
  • Is the deductible on a per-incident basis, or annual?
  • Does the insurer pay a percentage of the vet’s fee? Or do they use a “usual and customary”?
  • Are payments capped?
  • Are there co-payments?
  • Does the plan cover pre-existing or chronic conditions?
  • Does the policy consider anything diagnosed in the previous year of coverage as a pre-existing condition?
  • Can you choose any veterinarian or animal hospital?
  • Does the plan cover medications?
  • Are you covered if you are traveling with your dog?
  • Does the plan pay if your dog is treated and dies?

What Kinds of Health Insurance Coverage is Out There?

There are four different insurance products available if you’re looking for the best insurance for your dog. They include:

Accident only – This covers anything that your dog eats, but shouldn’t have. Motor vehicle accidents and ligament tears. Poisoning and attacks from other dogs. As examples.

Accident & Illness – This includes the accident benefits plus illnesses such as cancer, infections, digestive issues, arthritis, etc…

Insurance with Embedded Wellness – These plans often include vaccinations, screenings, nutrition consultations, and dental care.

Endorsements – These riders can include cancer, wellness, breed specific issues, chronic or pre-existing conditions.

Pet Insurance for Dogs

When the Health of Your Pet is at Stake You want to Talk about Quality Care Not Money

Important Tips to Keep in Mind

Like medical insurance, pet insurance comes with different deductibles, co-pays, and premiums.

With pet health insurance, you usually have to pay the vet bills at the time of consultation and wait for reimbursement from the insurance company.

Insurance premiums are higher for purebreds because they are more prone to hereditary illnesses.

Older dogs, and the deductible amount that you choose also contribute to higher premiums.

Most plans exclude pre-existing conditions or breed-specific conditions. Some companies will cover these with a rider, which of course will raise your premium.

Some plans cover office visits. Some don’t. Some will pay a percentage of what you pay your vet.

Other plans use a “usual and customary costs” scale based on your geographical area. You should avoid these plans like the plague. Because they decide what a procedure should cost, not your vet, which will leave you to pay the difference.

Discounts vary by state. But most insurers offer discounts if you are a member of AAA, AARP, or are active or retired military.

Discounts are usually given for spayed/neutered dogs. And you could score more discounts if you pay your premiums annually. Or if you pay directly from your bank account.

Final Conclusion

Phew!  There is a lot to consider when you’re shopping for medical insurance for your best friend.  It’s daunting and not something to be taken lightly, so I hope this has helped to make things a little easier going!

Now that you know what’s out there on the market. And all the in’s and out’s of pet insurance, you can shop with confidence.

If you were asking the question “What is the best pet insurance to get for dogs?” I think it’s safe to say you are more equipped now than ever to make a decision that will serve you and your dog well for a long time to come.

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