Being a responsible pet owner requires more than just feeding, hydrating, and playing with your pets. It means doing everything in your power to ensure that your pet stays healthy. This looks like taking your animals to their veterinarian’s office often for check-ups and getting them the care they need when they’re ill.
The sad truth is that many pet owners don’t have the means to keep up with the rising costs of veterinary care. According to Humane Canada, 2% of dogs and 7% of cats in humane societies across the country were euthanized despite being healthy in 2018.1
The good news is that investing in insurance can help pet owners offset some of the costs of animal ownership. Keep reading to find our guide to the right pet insurance options for Canadians.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners for 2023
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|Sonnet Pet Insurance||
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The 7 Best Pet Insurance Providers in Canada
1. Fetch Pet – Best Overall
Fetch Pet is one of the leaders in pet insurance in Canada and is our Best Overall pick. Their standard plan will provide coverage for any new illnesses or accidents and doesn’t have any restrictions for congenital or hereditary conditions. Some insurance companies will not provide coverage for breed-specific health conditions but Fetch will. They also provide coverage for veterinary exams, emergency vet visits, diagnostic testing, holistic care (e.g., chiropractic care, acupuncture), cancer treatments, and even offer comprehensive dental care. Fetch will provide coverage for imaging (e.g., x-rays, MRIs) and prescription medications, provided they’ve been prescribed by your vet as a treatment for illness or accident. You can even access TeleVet services, and Fetch will pay up to $1,000.
You do not need to use an approved vet to be eligible for Fetch’s insurance, unlike other insurance companies that require you to use a veterinarian that has been vetted by them first. This allows you to stay with your current vet and saves you the hassle of moving all your pet records over.
Submitting a claim is as easy as photographing your vet documents and answering a handful of questions about your pet’s treatment. And once your claim has been approved, you’ll receive up to 90% reimbursement straight into your bank account in as little as two days.
Fetch does not cover pre-existing conditions, routine care, wellness care, or cosmetic or elective procedures. They also do not provide discounts if you’re insuring multiple pets.
2. Peppermint – Best Value
Peppermint is a Canadian-based pet insurance company that has no breed or age restrictions. For example, coverage for a one-year-old retriever costs the same as for a 10-year-old retriever. Requesting a quote is easily and quickly done through their website. After you’ve answered several questions about your pet’s breed and age, you’ll receive four policy options with differing deductibles and levels of coverage.
Their Lite plan has a $100 deductible and only provides coverage for accidents. The coverage level is 80% and the benefit limit is $1,500. Their Base, Plus, and Prime plans all provide coverage for both accidents and illnesses, with the amount they’ll cover per year increasing as your monthly premiums increase. Each of these three plans provides 80% coverage with a $100 annual deductible.
One great benefit that sets Peppermint apart from other pet insurance available in Canada is that all plans cover prescription food that’s been prescribed by your vet to specifically treat an illness or accident. Of course, they’ll only pay up to $75 per year, but it’s better than other plans that don’t offer this benefit at all.
Pet owners opting for the Base, Plus, or Prime plans will also have coverage for behavioral therapy, though this does not apply to obedience training, treatment of eating disorders, or treatment of an illness or injury relating to foreign body ingestion (as this will be considered an Accident).
Policy owners with three or more pets will also receive a 10% discount if all pets are being insured.
As with all insurance policies, there are some exclusions to what Peppermint will cover. They do not pay for flea control, certain medications, or any treatment not related to an insurable accident or illness.
3. Sonnet Pet Insurance
Sonnet provides customizable home, auto, and pet insurance for Canadians. They offer competitive pricing and flexible payment options. Their claims process is simple and can be done online. They have 24/7 claims support so there’s always a claims professional ready and able to answer your questions or concerns.
Sonnet will cover up to 80% of your vet bill and offers comprehensive coverage for many conditions. They will cover up to $2,500 per accident and $2,500 per illness condition per year. Unlike many other pet insurance companies, Sonnet also offers dental coverage of up to $300 per year if your pet needs dental work done due to illness or trauma. They’ll also provide some coverage for annual cleanings and teeth and gum issues. They offer up to $350 per year for mental health issues your pet may be experiencing so long as your vet has sent in a referral to a certified animal behavioral therapist. Sonnet also offers some coverage for alternative therapies if your pet receives a referral from its vet and will even pay for some medical devices.
The deductible you’ll pay will depend on if you’re covering a dog or cat as well as your pet’s age. For example, a dog that’s between five to 10 will have a $300 or $500 deductible. A cat that’s between five and 10 will have a $200 or $300 deductible.
Sonnet has waiting periods for some coverage. For example, you cannot input a claim for any cruciate ligament injuries until after six months have passed. You also must wait six months before dental coverage kicks in.
They do not cover pre-existing conditions, any treatment that isn’t directly related to an insurable accident or illness, flea control, or claims arising from a natural disaster.
Trupanion offers pet owners comprehensive coverage with a 90% reimbursement level. They set themselves apart from other insurance companies in Canada because you can pay your claims directly at your vet’s office at the time of check-out if your vet is part of their Vet Direct program. This benefit removes the need for filling out time-consuming paperwork and allows you to access your reimbursement automatically. They have an unlimited payout on claims and don’t increase rates if you’re filing a lot of claims. Trupanion also won’t increase your rates as your pet ages which gives you lifelong coverage.
With all these benefits come higher premiums, however, but for some pet parents, all of these conveniences are more than worth the higher monthly payment. That said, Trupanion does offer customizable plan options where you can easily change your deductible amount to find a monthly payment that suits your budget. The higher you make your deductible, the lower your monthly payment will be.
Trupanion provides two ways to further enhance your coverage by adding on Recovery and Complementary Care or Pet Owner Assistance. Recovery and Complementary Care provides coverage for treatments like acupuncture, hydrotherapy, naturopathy, and physical therapy, while the Pet Owner Assistance add-on provides coverage for cremation for deaths that occur as the result of an accident, holiday vacation cancellation costs, and liability coverage for third-party property damage.
Trupanion will not cover any illnesses that occur during the 30 days after your policy comes into effect or any accidents that occur within five days of that date. They also do not cover pre-existing conditions or preventative care.
Spot Pet Insurance provides customizable and flexible policy plans that allow pet owners to choose between plans with varying annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates. Spot has no exclusions for breeds or age limits in place that exclude older pets. That said, older dogs and cats can only be enrolled in an Accident policy.
They have a policy plan that provides unlimited annual coverage options, while their other lower coverage plans offer between $5,000 and $20,000 options. Spot also covers microchip implants as well as exam fees without any additional charges and they offer microchipped pets a 5% discount, too.
You can add on Routine or Advanced Wellness Plans as well. These plans will provide additional coverage for things like dental cleanings, fecal screenings, flea prevention, vaccines, and wellness exams.
The claims process is easy and paperless. You do not need a signature from your vet to submit a claim and you will be paid via direct deposit. Some of their policies have a waiting period for accidents of 14 days which is longer than its competitors.
PetSecure Canada has been around for over 30 years, so they have plenty of experience in the world of pet insurance. They are Canadian-owned and operated and have four different levels of coverage that range from $1,000 per accident and illness to unlimited coverage. All four of their policies provide up to 80% reimbursement and all include some level of dental coverage. They also cover alternative treatments like acupuncture, cremation costs, behavioral therapy, emergency care, medical devices, and more. Their most expensive plan also includes wellness coverage that you can use for routine pet care such as vaccines and check-ups.
PetSecure provides a 10% multi-pet discount for pet owners who are insuring three or more pets.
This company also provides extra benefits such as boarding kennel fees, lost pet advertising, holiday cancellations due to a pet accident or illness, or burial expenses if your pet passes away due to an accident or illness.
This company does not do direct billing, but you can submit your claims via email, fax, or regular letter mail. You can set up direct deposit so your reimbursement can be automatically deposited into your account or receive your cheque via snail mail.
As with other insurance plans, PetSecure does not cover pre-existing or foreseeable conditions.
7. Pets Plus Us
Pets Plus Us is a newcomer in the world of Canadian pet insurance. They have flexible coverage options that allow you to choose how much coverage you’d like per year, what the reimbursement rate is you’d like, and how much you pay.
They offer a 4Life Guarantee which means that once you have enrolled your pet for coverage, their benefits will continue renewing every year for the rest of their life.
Pets Plus Us doesn’t have any breed exclusions and claims to cover health conditions that are associated with particular breeds (unless they’re pre-existing before your coverage starts).
They cover illness, injuries, accidents, surgeries, hereditary conditions, medical devices, diagnostics, and both alternative and behavioral therapies. They also offer $1,000 in benefits for pet boarding if you become hospitalized, holiday trip cancellation if your pet becomes sick, and lost pet advertising and reward.
Pets Plus Us offers a 24/7 emergency service phone line and a compassionate care line if your pet is dealing with a serious illness or injury. Their 24/7 animal poison control service is there for you if your pet gets into something they shouldn’t.
This company does not cover dental care or wellness and preventative care unless you add on their Flex Care plan. They don’t cover pre-existing conditions and have a 14-day waiting period for illnesses.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Provider in Canada
We looked at several parameters before choosing the best Canadian pet insurance companies to include in our article. The following section will review these parameters so you can better understand our selection process.
Policy coverage is the most important factor one must consider when buying pet insurance. There is no point in paying fees every month for a policy that doesn’t provide adequate coverage. The above companies all offer varying levels of coverage depending on your needs and budget.
All the above policies will have some type of Accident and Illness insurance in place. Some will provide options for accidents only. Each policy has a different level of coverage with varying reimbursement models.
Some policies include additional benefits like liability coverage if your pet were to bite someone, pet care if you become hospitalized, or holiday cancellation coverage if you have to cancel a vacation because your pet is ill. Other policies have the option of adding these benefits at an additional cost.
Customer Service & Reputation
Customer service plays a huge role in pet insurance. You do not want to deal with an insurance provider that is not easily accessible to you when you have questions or concerns. When your pet is sick or ill, the last thing you should have to worry about is fighting with your insurance company for information. We included insurance providers on our list who are available when you need them, be it via online chat or by phone. Many of the companies above are even open 24/7/365, so you never need to worry about being left in the dark when it comes to your pet’s health.
The claim repayment process looks different from company to company.
Some allow for direct billing, where your vet will send in the bill when you’re in the office, and you’ll only be responsible for the portion that your insurance does not cover. More often than not, however, you’ll need to submit your claim either electronically or via mail.
You can expect your claim to take several days to get approved and a few more days on top of that before you receive payment. Your payment will either be directly deposited into your bank account or sent via cheque.
Price of Policy
The price of the insurance policy will probably play a big part in which you choose. We can’t give you exact estimates on policy price as each insurance company has its own formula for determining monthly costs. Luckily, you can go online and submit information regarding your pet’s breed and age, and every insurance site above will provide you with an instant quote.
Some companies even offer discounts if you’re insuring three or more pets. The discounts range between 5 and 10%.
Some of the insurance companies above allow you to customize your plan by adding on additional coverage for an extra fee. Many have options that allow you to choose your reimbursement level and the deductible amount, which will then, in turn, change the cost of your monthly payments.
What factors can cause variances in pet insurance plan costs?
Five factors can cause variances in your pet insurance costs. These factors include:
The price of insurance is generally higher in urban areas as the high cost of rent and higher salaries can increase the cost of care in bigger city centers, resulting in higher insurance premiums.
Your pet’s breed is a huge driving factor in the cost of pet insurance.
Certain breeds may be prone to developing costly health conditions. For example, estimates suggest that between 5% and 12% of Rottweilers will develop osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer.
Insurance may be costlier for pedigree dogs as they can be more susceptible to certain genetic illnesses.
Larger dog breeds are often more expensive to insure, too, due to them having a higher chance of developing genetic conditions and the higher veterinary costs required to treat them.
Generally speaking, the older your pet is, the higher your insurance premium will be. Some insurance companies may even have limits on what or how much coverage they’ll provide if your pet is passed a certain age.
Your insurance deductible will be the biggest deciding factor for your insurance premiums. The deductible is the amount you’ll need to pay before your pet insurance will kick in. Deductibles can vary greatly from company to company and even plan to plan. You can expect to pay anywhere between $200 to $1,000, though. The higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly insurance rate will be.
Finally, the scope of coverage you choose will affect your cost of pet insurance. There are two main areas of pet insurance—accidents and illnesses. You can buy accident coverage on its own, but many policies will cover both accidents and illnesses.
Some companies offer add-ons that include things such as preventative care and pet “wellness.” Most plans won’t cover routine care like check-ups, vaccines, or flea treatments. It should come as no surprise that the more comprehensive your plan is and the more add-ons you invest in, the higher your premium will be.
Why don’t any companies cover pre-existing conditions?
It is a sad truth that no pet insurance company will provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. Think of it this way, though.
You wouldn’t get home insurance coverage if you tried to buy a policy the day after your house burned down. The same rule applies to your pets. You can’t protect yourself from something that’s already happened or is in the midst of happening.
The best advice we have is to enroll your pet in an insurance policy while they’re young, healthy, and free of health conditions.
Do I need pet insurance?
There are a lot of expenses that go into pet ownership, and the average budget Canadians have for their pets is on a steady incline. So, is it necessary to tack on extra money to the already rising price of pet ownership?
We say yes.
The average cost of having a pet in Canada was estimated to be $2,430 in 2021. This price doesn’t factor in the cost of illness or injury, which can add up very fast.
What the Users Say
There is no way to anticipate what might happen to your pet in the future. Pet insurance is a way to protect yourself against any unexpected veterinary bills that may occur due to illness or injury. It can not only cut down on expensive vet bills, but it can also help with making decisions about your beloved pet’s health a little easier knowing that you’ll have help.
If you can pay out of pocket for your pet’s vet bills, you might not find value in insurance. If you’re on a strict budget, expensive veterinary bills can wreak havoc on your life. Investing in pet insurance provides peace of mind knowing that insurance is there to help cut back on the exorbitant costs of veterinary care.
Most policies will pay up to a certain percentage of reimbursement for any covered illnesses or accidents your pet may incur. What this means for you is that you’re only responsible for a portion of your vet bills instead of the entire amount.
Some policies even provide coverage for routine pet care, but this isn’t something that you should expect to be automatically included. Most insurance companies will offer this as an add-on for an additional charge.
Which Pet Insurance Provider Is Best for You?
Choosing a pet insurance provider is not a decision you should make overnight. We recommend starting by narrowing down your list to a few prospective providers, requesting a custom quote based on your pet’s age and breed, and then making a chart that details their reimbursement rate, premium, and coverage levels so you can see each company’s offerings.
You will need to decide what type of care is most important to you and choose the perfect insurance company with that in mind.
Pet insurance isn’t a necessity, but it is a luxury that most pet owners don’t regret investing in. The few dollars you’ll pay every month to have insurance will prove to be more than worthwhile if the unexpected happens and your beloved pet falls ill or gets an injury.
The above seven pet insurance companies are the best in Canada at the time of writing. They all have their pros and cons, but we think they’re all worth considering.
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Featured Image Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj, Shutterstock