Pet Insurance in California

California is a dog and pony show…minus the pony.

Farmer’s markets are veritable runways for the latest doggy fashion fads.

And it’s not uncommon to see parents pushing baby strollers…without the babies.

Dogs are so popular in the Golden State that we renamed the city of Santa Monica after them.

California has gone to the dogs…

While the love affair seems cute to some, others dismiss the over-the-top pampering as perplexing—even obsessive.

But California folks have always marched to the beat of their own drum and there’s no law against projecting human traits, emotions, and intentions onto our furry friends.

But There’s Trouble in Paradise

Should CA Residents Purchase Pet Insurance

Cali residents are famous for pampering our pets but according to veterinarians:

98% of CA Pets Aren’t Covered Against Accidents & Illnesses.

With veterinary bills skyrocketing and surgery costs easily exceeding $10,000, thousands of dogs and cats in California are being abandoned or euthanized because their owners can’t afford treatment costs.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 2,070,760 pets live in California.

But only 2% of those cats and dogs are protected by a health insurance policy.

picture of the golden gate bridge on a bright blue sky day

Fortunately, California is one of just a few states to implement consumer-friendly pet insurance regulations that make pet health insurance plans in CA some of the best in the country.

There are currently 10 pet insurance companies doing business in California.

With the state government behind California consumers, you can be confident in the coverage you’re buying.

State regulations require CA pet insurers to be forthright with their clients by…

  • bringing uniformity to policy language
  • improving transparency and disclosures, especially concerning limitations and exclusions

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost in CA?

This chart from Embrace pet insurance estimates premium costs for California residents in four major cities:

  • San Francisco
  • Modesto
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles

Depending on your location you should find the best pet insurance for your needs. So what is the best pet insurance for cats and dogs in CA?

We compared a half-dozen pet health insurers to find the best overall value in CA.

The Best Pet Insurance Plans in California

#1 Pet Insurance in CA: Healthy Paws

healthy paws pet insurance logo

Healthy Paws is the most recommended pet insurance provider in America and the highest-rated company doing business in California.

Healthy Paws has earned a 9.8/10 lifetime satisfaction record by providing the highest payouts, fastest claim processing and best-in-class customer service.

Customers love Healthy Paws for their unlimited coverage, with no lifetime limits, which customers love.

Dog and cat owners also like that Healthy Paws covers genetic health problems that many other providers prohibit or severely reduce reimbursements for.

Customers Really like Healthy Paws

  • Healthy Paws earned an A+ rating with the BBB
  • Healthy Paws maintains a 5-star Yelp rating
  • Consumer Affairs ranks Healthy Paws 5 out of 5 stars
  • Trust Pilot reviews have Healthy Paws at 5 out of 5 stars
  • Facebook business reviews are 4.7 out of 5 stars

Healthy Paws Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in San Diego, CA (zip code: 92121)

Healthy Paws will pay 80% of your vet bills with an annual deductible of $250. For this coverage, you’d pay $39.12/mo.

Promo Code for CA residents: If you use this link to enroll you’ll save 10% on monthly premiums for life!


#2 Pet Insurance in CA: Embrace

embrace pet insurance
Embrace Sample Quote:
1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in Bell, CA (zip code: 90201)

Embrace covers 80% of your vet bills but your annual deductible will cost $750 vs. $250 for Healthy Paws.

Also, your monthly premium will be $52.89, which comes to $13.77 more per month than Healthy Paws.

That’s $165.24 more than you’ll pay annually for the same coverage if you choose Embrace instead of Healthy Paws.

Embrace also limits claim payouts to $15,000 per year.

A single vet emergency can exceed Embrace’s $15,000 limit, forcing you to pay the balance out-of-pocket.


#3 Pet Insurance in CA: Petplan

petplan pet insurance logoPetplan Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in Sacramento, CA (zip code: 95822)

Petplan reimburses 80% of your vet bills with an annual deductible of $250 — identical coverage to Embrace.

However, Petplan is considerably more expensive than the two plans previously mentioned on this list.

Expect to pay $27.11/mo. extra if you choose Petplan over Healthy Paws.

And you’ll pay $13.34/mo. more if you select Petplan over Embrace.

Also, Petplan limits your annual benefits to $15,000 in coverage.


#4 Pet Insurance in CA: Pets Best

Petsbest pet insurance logoPets Best Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in Santa Barbara, CA (zip code: 93101)

Pets Best pays 80% of your medical bills with a $200 annual deductible.

Pets Best will cost you $78.69/mo. and you’ll get 80% of approved vet bills paid but with a restrictive annual payout limit of just $10,000.

In other words, with Pets Best you’ll pay more for less.


#4 Pet Insurance in CA: Trupanion

trupanion pet insurance logoTrupanion Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in San Jose, CA (zip code: 94089)

Unlike other companies, Trupanion doesn’t offer flexible coverage.

All Trupanion plans reimburse 90% of approved medical bills.

Unfortunately, Trupanion’s Deductibles are per-condition vs. annual.

For example, with the plan pictured below, you’d pay a $200 deductible for every condition your pet was treated for.

And those deductibles renew annually so you have to pay them every year, that can get very expensive.

Trupanion‘s membership dues are expensive too — $95.12 for 90% coverage with a $200 per-condition deductible.

The Worst Pet Insurance Plans in California

#1 ASPCA Pet Insurance

aspca pet insuranceASPCA Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in Los Angeles, CA (zip code: 90011)

Beware of: $5,000 annual limit.

Also watch out for: Implied trust because of the ASPCA name.

This insurance provider pays a licensing fee to use ASPCA‘s famous trademark but isn’t actually associated with American the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

With a $5,000 annual limit, ASPCA should put the word “insurance” in quotes.

California vets charge thousands of dollars for basic procedures, rendering ASPCA’s coverage basically useless.

#2 Nationwide Pet Insurance aka VPI

nationwide pet insurance waiting periodNationwide Sample Quote: 1-Year Old Female Golden Retriever in Los Angeles, CA (zip code: 90011)

Beware of: Negative reviews and customer complaints.

Nationwide, formerly VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance) is one of the lowest rated pet insurance companies in California.

Nationwide Pet Insurance is criticized for being a scam, refusing to cover reasonable costs, poor customer service and for denying claims that should be covered.

Also, watch out for: Poor customer service, denied claims, long processing delays.

In all fairness, Every company should receive its fair shake. But… With hundreds of negative reviews, it’s obvious that Nationwide‘s customers are very dissatisfied.

CA Pet Insurance Q & A

Quick, simple answers to the most common questions asked by California residents.

What is the best pet insurance for cats in California?

Although dogs account for 80% of the pet insurance market in CA, cat owners are quickly discovering the high costs of medical care.

Pet health care costs in California have increased by 70% in the past 5 years. Because of rising vet care costs, CA residents need to look out for truly comprehensive coverage that will pay for pricey accidents and illnesses.

The best-rated pet health insurance company in California is Healthy Paws (A+ BBB, 9.8 out of 10 customer rating, 5 out of 5 stars on Trust Pilot, 4+ stars on Yelp).

Unlike other providers, Healthy Paws has no lifetime or annual coverage limits.

Healthy Paws also pays for the most expensive types of health problems, congenital and hereditary health issues — which can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to treat.

Healthy Paws pays up to 90% of your vet bills for genetic health problems and other costly health conditions that your cat or kitten may face.

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