7 Best Pet Insurance Companies in California of 2023
Pet insurance is insurance that reimburses pet owners for most of the expenses related to a pet’s injuries sustained in an accident or related to an illness.
California is a populous state, and close to half of the households in the Golden State have at least one pet, with many having several pets.
Pet owners in major cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and small towns like Los Olivos or Mission Viejo purchase pet insurance to give their animal companions the best possible medical attention when they need it.
Whether you’re a new pet owner or someone who’s always had a dog or cat, you may not be aware of the variety of options and coverages that are available to you, and you may also need information about which events are covered and which are not.
The average monthly cost of pet insurance in the United States is about $50 for dogs and $28 for cats.
We have done the research for you, choosing the 6 best pet insurance companies for California pet owners, including options for people with exotic pets and horses, plus the usual cats and dogs.
Best Pet Insurance Companies in California
- Lemonade: Best Coverage for Puppies and Kittens
- Spot: Best for Multiple Pets
- Nationwide: Best for Exotic Pets
- ASPCA: Best for Behavioral Coverage
- Healthy Paws: Best for Unlimited Coverage
- Figo: Best for Its Pet Owners Community
- Embrace: Best for Total Coverage
Lemonade: Best Coverage for Puppies and Kittens
- Get a 10% discount when you bundle with Homeowners Insurance.
- Available in 37 states & Washington, D.C.
- Quote access: Online only
Lemonade is known for its use of technology and AI in order to facilitate the quoting and claims process. Because of their tech-friendly approach, it makes it very easy for customers to adjust their policies as well as file claims right online.
There is no difference with Lemonade's pet insurance coverage. As a matter of fact, claims payout take minutes on average.
Lemonade offers basic coverage (accident and illness coverage) as well as add-on coverage which includes preventative care.
One of the things that Lemonade pet insurance does best offers great preventative coverage for you brand new puppy or kitten. They cover essentials like vaccines, boosters, wellness visits, deworming, heartworm medication, and fecal and parasite tests.
What's more is that they even cover extras like microchipping and spay/neuter surgery, not covered by many other insurance companies, making Lemonade's preventative care one of the best for kittens and puppies.
If you have a puppy or kitten it's important to get them pet insurance as this grandfathers them into your insurance carrier. The reason this matters is that should your pet develops a condition they can get treatment, as most pet insurance policies don't cover pre-existing conditions.
|Reimbursement Levels||70%, 80%, 90%|
|Deductible Options||$100, $250, $500|
|Maximum Coverage Limits||$5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $100,000|
Lemonade Pet Insurance Discounts
Lemonade offers a few valuable discounts that can over help you save a lot.
- Bundling Discount: You can get up to 10% off when you bundle your pet insurance with any of Lemonade's other policies like renters, homeowners, or car insurance.
- Multi-pet Discount: Save 5% when you sign up for two or more pets under Lemonade's policy.
- Annual Discount: Save another 5% when you pay for your pet's premium in one annual payment rather than monthly.
Pros and Cons of Lemonade Pet Insurance
- Fast quote and claims process.
- Offers good discounts.
- Overall good coverage packages.
- Extra coverage for puppies and kittens.
- Very short waiting period.
- Spaying and neutering coverage is not available for older pets.
- Doesn't offer coverage for elderly pets over 14.
- Doesn't cover pets beyond dogs and cats.
|NAIC Complaint Index||2.90|
Spot: Best for Multiple Pets
Spot prides itself on combining affordable health insurance with a robust website to educate pet owners about the best way to care for their pets.
We selected Spot for our list because they offer the most generous multi-pet discount available to make pet insurance affordable for people with two or more furry companions.
We also like their informative website, and we appreciate that their coverage includes options to get reimbursed for holistic treatments for your pet.
A basic accident & illness policy with Spot costs about $30 per month, and preventive care can be added starting at $10 per month.
|Reimbursement Levels||70%, 80%, 90%|
|Deductible Options||$100, $250, $500, $750, $1,000|
|Maximum Coverage Limits||$2,500, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, to unlimited|
Pet Insurance Discounts with Spot
Spot offers only one discount on pet insurance, but it’s a generous one that’s designed to help multiple pet owners.
- Multi-pet discount. Get a 10% discount for each additional pet you insure.
Pros and Cons of Spot Pet Insurance
- Spot has 24/7 telehealth for policyholders.
- Their website has an informative blog that strives to educate pet owners on how to care for their pets.
- Spot’s policies include coverage for holistic treatments, including behavioral training, vitamins, and supplements.
- There is no age limit for older animals.
- Microchipping is included in their standard policy.
- There is a 14-day waiting period for accident coverage.
- Customer service chat is not available 24 hours a day.
- There is no coverage for exotic animals.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||A|
Nationwide: Best for Exotic Pets
- Plans start at $35/month.
- Use any vet.
- More than a million pets protected.
Nationwide is one of the largest and best-known insurance companies in the United States and one of the only major insurers to offer pet insurance alongside other types of coverage.
We chose Nationwide for our list because we know many Californians have pets other than cats and dogs, and Nationwide provides coverage for exotic pets.
We like that Nationwide offers comprehensive coverage that includes accident & illness protection and routine healthcare for pets.
We also appreciate Nationwide’s Pet Rx Express plan, which provides policyholders with deep discounts on medication if they fill their prescriptions at Walmart or Sam’s Club.
The average monthly cost of Nationwide’s pet insurance is $50 for dogs and $30 for cats, putting it in line with the national average.
Here are some pros and cons of Nationwide pet insurance to consider.
|Reimbursement Levels||50% or 70% for Whole Pet plan, 100% for Major Medical after deductible|
|Deductible Options||$250 for all plans|
|Maximum Coverage Limits||$10,000 for Whole Pet Plan, $500 for Wellness, No limit for Major Medical|
Pet Insurance Discounts with Nationwide
Nationwide offers two potential ways for pet owners to save money on pet insurance.
- Multi-pet discount. If you insure more than one pet with Nationwide, you’ll get a 5% discount.
- Nationwide customer discount. If you’re already a Nationwide customer, you can get an additional 5% discount.
Pros and Cons of Nationwide Pet Insurance
- Wellness and routine pet exams are included.
- Nationwide customers get low prices on prescriptions for their pets.
- There’s a 24/7 pet telehealth hotline.
- There are two discounts available to reduce costs.
- Nationwide provides coverage for exotic pets, including reptiles and birds.
- There is a 12-month waiting period for cruciate ligament and meniscus (knee) issues.
- There is only one deductible/policy limit option.
- Nationwide’s coverage does not pay for end-of-life expenses.
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A+|
ASPCA: Best for Behavioral Coverage
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) aims to prevent cruelty to animals and offers pet insurance through its partnership with Crum & Forster.
We chose them for our list because they offer the best coverage for animals with behavioral issues, including options to reimburse pet owners for anxiety medication, behavioral therapy, and behavior modification.
We also like that they have no waiting period for cruciate ligament issues, something that affects many dogs, or for other specific conditions.
ASPCA offers a Complete Coverage plan that provides comprehensive coverage for everything, including congenital and hereditary issues, prescription drugs, and more.
The average monthly cost of pet insurance with ASPCA is $35 for dogs and $20 for cats, both below the national average.
Here are the pros and cons of ASPCA pet insurance as we see them.
Pet Insurance Discounts with ASPCA
ASPCA offers only one pet insurance discount but it’s an important one that anybody with multiple pets can claim.
- Multiple pets. Save 10% for each additional pet you insure with ASPCA.
Pros and Cons of ASPCA Pet Insurance
- Provides coverage for dogs, cats, and horses.
- Offers a 24/7 telehealth line for pet owners.
- There is no waiting period for cruciate ligament issues.
- You can save up to 10% if you have multiple pets.
- ASPCA covers the cost of pet microchipping.
- There is an optional wellness plan.
- There’s a 14-day waiting period for accident coverage.
- The maximum coverage amount available is only $10,000.
- There is only one discount available.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||A+|
Healthy Paws: Best for Unlimited Coverage
Healthy Paws has been providing affordable pet insurance since 2009 and has a company mission of helping homeless pets get adopted.
We selected them for our list of the best pet insurance in California because they offer affordable policies with an unlimited coverage option to provide the best possible protection for your pet.
We appreciate their fast claim payment process, which is helped by their intuitive customer portal and mobile app.
We also love that they have funded a non-profit organization to rescue and rehabilitate homeless pets with their Every Quote Gives Hope medical grant program.
The average monthly cost of Healthy Paws pet insurance is $50 for dogs and $25 for cats.
Here are some of the most important pros and cons of Healthy Paws pet insurance.
Pet Insurance Discounts with Healthy Paws
Healthy Paws has limited information about discounts on its website, but they do state that the maximum discount they are allowed to provide under their state licensing agreement is 5%.
We can tell you that there is no discount for multiple pets, so if you have more than one animal to insure you should go to another company.
Pros and Cons of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
- There are no claim forms to submit; simply take a photo of your vet bill and send it to initiate the claims process.
- There are no maximum limits for payouts, not even lifetime maximums.
- There is a user-friendly customer portal to manage your coverage and track claims.
- Healthy Paws has received excellent ratings for customer service.
- The company is dedicated to rescuing homeless pets and providing them with necessary medical care.
- Discount options are limited.
- There is no wellness coverage available.
- There is a bilateral exclusion for cruciate ligament injuries: if one leg is affected before coverage begins or during the 15-day waiting period, the other leg will be excluded.
- There is a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||A|
Figo: Best for Pet Socialization Options
Figo is a pet insurance company that was founded by animal lovers and has a mission of providing transparent, affordable pet insurance.
We chose them for our list because they are the only company that offers an online forum where dog owners can connect, schedule play dates, and help their dogs become sociable animals who interact well with people and other dogs.
We also like that they have only a one-day waiting period for accident coverage and add-ons available for wellness coverage and special circumstances such as delayed vacations due to pet care issues.
The average monthly cost of Figo’s pet insurance for dogs is $30, while the monthly cost for cats is $18.
Let’s review some pros and cons of Figo pet insurance.
Pet Insurance Discounts with Figo
Figo offers one discount plus a related option that can decrease your expenses.
- Multi-pet discount. Save 5% if you insure more than one pet with Figo.
- Diminishing deductible. Your deductible will automatically decrease by $50 for each year you don’t file a claim.
Pros and Cons of Figo Pet Insurance
- There is a 24/7 pet telehealth line for pet owners.
- The Figo Pet Cloud helps pet owners find pet-friendly businesses and connect with other dog owners for play dates.
- There is only a one-day waiting period for accident coverage.
- Figo provides a free Transparency Report after reviewing your pet’s veterinary records.
- 100% reimbursement plans are available.
- There is a special coverage add-on to provide protection for vacation cancellation, lost pets, and more.
- There is a six-month waiting period for knee injuries.
- Figo doesn’t provide any coverage for pet dental treatments or emergencies.
- Older pets (8+ years for dogs, 10+ years for cats) may be limited to higher deductible options.
- Prescription food coverage is limited.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||B+|
Embrace: Best for Total Coverage
Embrace got its start as an award-winning business concept at Wharton College in 2003 and has been providing affordable, comprehensive pet care since 2006.
We chose Embrace for our list because they offer truly comprehensive coverage that protects your pet against accidents, illnesses, and even covers regular pet visits and dental care.
Embrace offers coverage for non-fatal pre-existing conditions if your pet has been symptom-free for 12 months, something that most pet insurance companies don’t cover at all.
We also like Embrace’s useful portal, MyEmbrace, and their diminishing deductible option, which reduces your deductible by $50 for each year you don’t file a claim; it’s possible to eliminate your deductible with this option completely.
The average cost of pet insurance with Embrace is $55 per month for dogs and $30 per month for cats.
We always like to check out the pros and cons of any insurance company we review, so here are the pros and cons of Embrace as we see them.
Embrace Pet Insurance Discounts
Embrace offers three discounts to help you reduce the costs associated with having one or more pets in your home, as follows..
- Multi-pet discount. If you have more than one pet and insure both with Embrace, you’ll get a discount of 10%.
- Military discount. If you are an active duty or retired military service member, you can claim a discount of 5%.
- Diminishing deductible. While not technically a discount, you’ll get a $50 reduction in your deductible each year you don’t file an accident or illness claim; your deductible can be reduced all the way to $0 but will reset to its original amount if you file a claim.
- Embrace offers a 24/7 telehealth pet hotline.
- The diminishing deductible option and other discounts allow pet owners to save.
- Wellness coverage is available to pay for routine vet appointments.
- Get covered if your pet has a non-fatal pre-existing condition.
- The waiting period is only two days for accident coverage.
- There are no networks, so you can keep your existing vet.
- There is a six month waiting period for coverage of orthopedic conditions.
- Dental coverage is limited to $1,000 per year.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||A+|
|A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating||A+|
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance is a relatively simple product and there are just three steps to make it work for you.
Choose Your Policy & Reimbursement Rate
The first step is to select your policy and reimbursement rate; many pet insurance carriers offer an array of choices and some offer no deductible options or 100% reimbursement, but 80% or 90% reimbursement is standard.
We should note here that pet insurance is a reimbursement product, meaning that you will pay your pet’s expenses and submit a claim to get reimbursed by the insurance company.
Check Your Payout Limit
Payout limits vary from policy to policy, with some companies placing caps on reimbursement for a single incident or diagnosis and others placing lifetime caps on reimbursement.
We have made sure to include one company that offers an unlimited payout option, but you should expect to pay more for unlimited payouts.
Submit Your Claim
After you pay for your pet’s medical expenses, you’ll need to submit a claim for payment and wait to get reimbursed.
In most cases, you will need to complete a claim form but all of the companies on our list have the option of doing so online or via a mobile app.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
There are three types of coverage you can buy, two of which are covered on the policy level and one that’s typically purchased as an add-on.
- Accident only. Accident-only coverage is the most basic form of coverage. It provides protection if your pet is injured unexpectedly; examples include your dog getting hit by a car or your cat eating something it shouldn’t have.
- Accident and illness. Accident and illness coverage is the most popular choice for pet owners because it combines accident coverage with protection that kicks in if your pet gets sick. Most accident and illness plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions, but they will cover typical pet illnesses, surgeries, and prescriptions.
- Pet wellness. Pet wellness is not usually included in pet insurance policies but may be purchased as an add-on. It supplements accident and illness insurance by providing coverage for routine annual exams, vaccinations, dental care, and other treatments that help keep your pet healthy.
If you want the maximum protection available, consider an accident and illness policy with a pet wellness rider.
What Is Not Covered by Pet Insurance?
Most pet insurance policies have a standard list of exclusions, and here are some of the most common.
- Pre-existing conditions.
- Pet liability
- Preventable diseases
- Breed exclusions
- Age exclusions
- Elective procedures
If your pet has a pre-existing condition, you may be able to find a company that will still provide some coverage, so make sure to ask.
What Things Impact the Cost of Pet Insurance?
There are several factors that can impact the cost of pet insurance, as follows.
- The age of your pet
- The breed of your pet
- The number of pets you have
- Your pet’s overall health
- The deductible you choose
- The reimbursement level you choose
- The overall policy reimbursement limit
- Where you live
Choosing a plan with a high deductible or limiting coverage to accidents and illnesses can help you save some money.
However, we should note that paying a little extra for wellness coverage can help to prevent higher expenses for illnesses, so it may be worth a few extra dollars a month to add preventive care to your policy.
Why Should You Buy Pet Insurance?
You may be wondering whether you really need pet insurance, but here are three major reasons that we believe it’s a necessary expense.
Any animal can get sick and it’s important to have coverage when that happens, whether it involves your dog eating something it shouldn’t or your cat experiencing a urinary blockage.
Health issues may also include injuries sustained in an accident such as a fight with another animal or an animal being hit by a vehicle.
Behavioral issues can loom large for any pet owner and pet insurance can help to defray some of the expenses related to behavioral training and therapy.
It is important to note that many pet insurance companies do not provide coverage for behavioral training, so be sure to check before you choose a company.
Routine and Predictable Procedures
All pets require routine care and procedures, including regular wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more.
While preventive care is usually only available as an add-on, it provides protection and can save you hundreds of dollars a year in veterinary expenses.
Whether you’re a pet owner in San Francisco, Tiburon, Chico, or Sacramento, buying pet insurance is the best way to protect your furry companions and provide them with the best care possible.
We suggest thinking about the coverage options that are most important to you and choosing the company with the policy that gives you most of what you need.
Keep in mind that you can potentially save some money with discounts and that the deductible and reimbursement percentage you choose will impact your costs.
We recommend obtaining a minimum of three quotes, so that you can compare costs and coverages and make the best decision for you and your pets.
How We Selected the Best Pet Insurance Companies for California
We used four key criteria to choose the best pet insurance companies in California, as follows.
Cost is a concern for most pet owners, so we made it a point to choose companies with low costs compared to the California state average for pet insurance.
Reimbursement rates also play a role in keeping costs low, so we focused on companies with 80% or 90% reimbursement rates.
Types of Coverage
No two pets are alike and we recognize that pet owners want and need to find coverage that’s perfect for their pet and situation.
For that reason, we chose companies that offer multiple options to customize coverage with endorsements and riders.
Some people have traditional pets like cats and dogs while others choose to go the exotic route and opt for pets that are out of the ordinary.
We focused mostly on insurance for cats and dogs but made sure to include options for exotic pet owners, too.
Customer service is always important and especially so when filing a claim, which can be stressful under the best circumstances.
We prioritized companies with excellent customer service including informative websites, useful mobile apps, 24/7 telehealth, and multiple channels to get help.