Best pet insurance | Consumer Reports


Trips to the vet with your furry friend can get expensive, which may have you thinking about pet insurance.

We’ll explain what you need to know.

When asked if he’s a dog or a cat person, Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Brian Vines answers “both.”

He’s the proud papa of a dog named Logo and a cat named Phoebe, who recently had an injury.

“We opened the door and Phoebe came in and she was very timid and stayed low to the ground and she had a little spot on her hind leg, and we were like, ‘What has happened?’” Vines said.

Brian does not have pet insurance, so treating Phoebe would be entirely out-of-pocket.

“Pet insurance was always one of those things in the back of our minds, like, oh, we ought to do that,” Vines said.

But is pet insurance something you should consider?

For the first time, Consumer Reports evaluated and rated eight pet insurance providers based on a survey of its members with insured pets - looking at things such as premiums, what’s covered, the claims process, and whether people had a choice in which vets to see.

“We found that most people just aren’t that satisfied with their pet insurance,” Vines said.

Six of the insurance providers earned just a midrange overall satisfaction score and two bottomed out with unfavorable ratings.

CR says if you’re considering pet insurance there are some things you should know:

  • Pre-existing conditions are typically not covered.
  • There are usually annual caps. If you hit that limit, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
  • You may be responsible for paying the provider directly and then file for reimbursement with the insurance company.

So, is pet insurance worth it?

“If you’re looking for a return on investment, maybe not so much, but if you value peace of mind, pet insurance may be something that you want to pursue,” Vines said.

Another option is telehealth, which is what Brian used.

“Got instruction on how to clean the wound and a prescription for antibiotics that was delivered right to our door,” Vines said.

About the Authors:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.