How to Find the Best Pet Insurance for Emergency Vet Costs


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 19, 2024

How to Find the Best Pet Insurance for Emergency Vet Costs

When it comes to your pet, they're not just a pet, but a beloved member of your family. And as a loving pet parent, you're willing to go above and beyond for them, including taking them to the vet for regular checkups or when they're dealing with an illness or injury. Unfortunately, these vet visits can sometimes come with a hefty price tag. On average, emergency vet visits can cost between $800 and $1500. That's why it's important to have a plan in place for unexpected emergencies.

In the following sections, we'll guide you on how to find the best insurance coverage for your furry or feathery baby, as well as provide alternatives and options for those who don't have pet insurance. It's always better to be prepared and have a plan in case an emergency strikes.

Pet Insurance Pros & Cons

If you're looking for a way to manage costly vet expenses, pet insurance can be a valuable solution. With pet insurance, you can typically receive reimbursement for around 60-90% of the expenses incurred during emergency vet care. However, whether pet insurance is worth it or not depends on your specific circumstances:


  • Some pet insurance companies offer coverage for pet owners on a budget
  • Many pet insurance companies offer accident-only coverage that covers issues like broken limbs, accidental swallowing, and more
  • Pet insurance can cover the high cost of treating lifelong illnesses so you don't have to worry about costs other than your monthly premiums


  • Buying a policy when your pet is elderly will usually be more costly, so you'll need to carefully weigh whether future bills will be covered.
  • Pet insurance may not be able to cover every type of illness or need. Still, we believe that pet insurance is usually worth the cost in the long run, especially to protect your furry/feathery/hairless friend.
  • Pet insurance doesn't cover pre-existing conditions, so it's extremely important that you get coverage for your pet as soon as possible. It's also unlikely that you will be able to switch policies in the future with multiple pre-existing conditions. However, if your pet has a number of health issues, you may want to build savings for their future visits.

How To Choose Pet Insurance


When it comes to choosing the perfect pet insurance plan, it's crucial to consider your pet's specific needs and your budgetary constraints. With so many options available, taking the time to compare coverage, flexibility, and benefits is essential before making a decision.

Before finalizing your choice, reach out to multiple pet insurance companies to request personalized quotes. This way, you can assess the different options available and find the plan that suits you and your pet best.

Once you've selected a plan, it's vital to carefully read through the policy to ensure that your pet will receive the necessary coverage and that you'll be properly reimbursed for any emergency vet bills. Understanding the terms and conditions will help you navigate the insurance process with confidence.

Pet insurance coverage should cover the necessities of pet care. Some coverage factors to look for in your plan include:

  • Wellness coverage that covers dental cleaning or vaccinations (some individuals opt to pay this out of pocket since the cost is generally lower than other services)
  • Accident coverage, such as broken bones or swallowing an object
  • Illnesses
  • Chronic conditions
  • Congenital conditions
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Treatments for life-threatening illnesses such as cancer treatment
  • Coverage for additional expenses like lab tests, blood work, prescription medication, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and more
  • Coverage for animal hospitals and vet offices, since hospitals are usually more expensive (and you're more likely to visit during an emergency)

A good pet insurance plan has deductible options between $0 and $1,000, and high-deductible plans have lower monthly payments so if you can occasionally afford a high one-time emergency payment, then a higher deductible with low monthly payments is for you.

Pet insurance companies will usually let you choose the best reimbursement option -- the amount insurance pays after you've met your deductible -- for your needs. (The remaining percentage, or coinsurance, will still have to paid by you.) A good pet insurance company will offer 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100% reimbursement -- and in general, the higher the reimbursement, the more costly the plan.

You also need to consider the type of pet you are insuring, since quotes between dogs and cats are wildly different since insurance for dogs is typically more expensive. (The average monthly premium for dogs is around $45 while the average monthly premium for cats is around $28.) Exotic pets (small mammals, birds, etc) will usually have much higher quotes and currently, only Nationwide offers exotic pet insurance plans.

Finally, look online for reviews on reputable sites like Trustpilot to read real customer reviews. Take both good and bad reviews into account before making a decision.

We like Pumpkin and Embrace Pet Insurance, due to their coverage, benefits, and good customer reviews.

Can't Get Insurance? Here Are Your Options.

When it comes to emergency vet costs, not having insurance can result in hefty bills. But don't worry, there are ways to manage the expenses and ensure your furry friend receives the necessary care.

Start by checking with emergency animal clinics. Some clinics may offer payment plans or even be willing to reduce a portion of the bill. It's always worth asking, even though the overall bill might not be significantly lower.

Another option is to inquire whether your regular vet offers in-house payment plans. These plans allow you to pay off the bill in convenient installments, making it easier to handle the financial burden while prioritizing your pet's well-being.

Check local animal shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies like the SPCA for low-cost emergency services and regular wellness checks. The Animal Humane Society has an extensive list of resources for vet assistance, amongst other important services. Best Friends Animal Society has a list of state-specific programs and resources for individuals with assistance dogs.

Many veterinary schools have clinics for emergency services. You may be able to find one nearby at The American Veterinary Medical Assocition or VeterinarySchool.com.

You can apply for veterinary grants and funds, which can be used to help cover part or all of the costs of vet bills. Check the Banfield Foundation or Waggle for an extensive list.

CareCredit is a type of card used for healthcare and medical financing that can be used for veterinary services. Check with your vet provider to find if they accept this. 

Not sure where to start? Look at our top providers here.

Can I get pet insurance if my pet is already sick?

Absolutely. The expenses that come with treating that issue may not be covered immediately by the new plan, but you'll receive coverage in the future.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers the unexpected illnesses and accidents that your cat, dog, or exotic pet may face.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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