As all pet owners know, the costs of maintaining your animal companion’s health and wellness can add up. Unexpected injuries and health emergencies also bring major expenses. To help pet parents protect their furry friends and their own pocketbooks, providers like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offer pet insurance.
Pet insurance functions much like health insurance for people. Policyholders can opt for varying levels of protection, and ASPCA’s plans are available for dogs, cats, and horses. Best of all, by choosing ASPCA, you’ll be offering your financial support to one of the most trusted and beneficial animal rights nonprofit groups in the country.
Here’s a look at how ASPCA pet insurance works, what you can expect to get for your money, and how the organization compares against competitors.
The ASPCA was founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh with the goal of extending humanitarian protections to animals. It was the first such society in North America, and it is one of the world’s largest nonprofit animal rights groups. The organization is headquartered in New York City with local offices in just about every corner of the United States.
In 2019, the ASPCA posted the following aid statistics:
- It assisted more than 400,000 animals in need of help or protection
- It found new homes for more than 42,000 animals
- It funded more than 93,000 spaying or neutering procedures
- Its Animal Poison Control Center helped more than 200,000 animals
The organization’s central mission is to prevent animal cruelty. ASPCA began offering pet insurance as a means of generating funding for its primary not-for-profit activities.
ASPCA Pet Insurance Plans
As of December 2020, ASPCA offers three main types of protection:
- Accident Only plans, which cover most accidental injuries
- Complete Coverage, which covers accidental injuries as well as illnesses and medical emergencies
- Optional Preventative Care plans, which extend some forms of coverage to routine examinations and checkups
Here’s a breakdown of what each plan covers, starting with Accident Only:
- Examination fees and lab tests
- Treatments and medical procedures
- Continued treatment and follow-up care
- Specialist visits
- Alternative and holistic therapies
- Animal hospital room-and-board fees
- Final expenses in the event of your pet’s accidental death
The Complete Coverage plan includes all the accident-only protections, plus:
- Microchipping costs
- Diagnostics and treatment for genetic conditions
- Coverage for injuries and illnesses caused by behavioral conditions
If you opt for the Preventative Care plan, you will get all the Complete Coverage options as well as:
- Preventative care coverage for routine checkups and vet visits
- Surgery for spaying or neutering your pet
- Dental coverage
The aforementioned plans are for dogs and cats. ASPCA also offers specialized coverage for horses, which is available in two forms:
- Colic + Accidents for gastrointestinal conditions and accidental injuries
- Colic + Accidents + Illnesses for gastrointestinal conditions, accidental injuries, hereditary conditions, and treatments for common and rare equine diseases including cancer
ASPCA’s plans for dogs, cats, and horses also offer optional riders, which are specific add-ons you can attach to a policy. The organization’s pet insurance riders offer you the ability to customize your plan by supplementing its core coverage with hand-picked preventative care extras.
Like most pet insurance providers, ASPCA does not cover preexisting conditions. If your pet has a preexisting condition, it may still qualify for coverage but the condition itself will be excluded.
Reimbursement Levels and Coverage Limits
Pet insurance plans work a little differently than health insurance for humans. With pet insurance, you are required to cover the upfront cost of treatments and veterinary services yourself. You then submit your claim to the insurance provider, which will process it and reimburse you.
Thus, all pet insurance plans specify a reimbursement level. This reflects the percentage of the total costs covered by the insurer. ASPCA offers reimbursements from 70% to 90% of your costs, which is standard. The lower your reimbursement level, the less your plan will cost. You can also tinker with your coverage limits and deductibles to alter your monthly premiums.
Speaking of coverage limits, ASPCA’s start at $3,000 per year and go up to $10,000 per year. These figures represent the maximum amount you can claim in benefits per year. The lower your limit, the lower your monthly costs. However, you also leave yourself exposed to more risk.
Many pet insurance policies come with waiting periods, during which you are not eligible to make claims for treatments and services that would otherwise be covered. Some providers offer plans with no waiting periods, but they are rare and they tend to be very expensive when they are available.
ASPCA’s pet insurance plans come with 14-day waiting periods. This is a little on the longer side, as some providers limit the waiting period to 48-72 hours. However, many companies also impose extended waiting periods for certain conditions, like ligament and joint problems, to durations of six months or longer. ASPCA does not do this. Instead, you become eligible for full benefits after 14 days.
A December 2020 analysis looked at the typical cost of insuring a two-year-old dog on a Complete Coverage plan with 70% reimbursement, a $5,000 annual claims limit, and a $500 deductible. The average monthly cost of such a plan was $27.10. Your plan may cost more or less, depending on the type of animal you want to cover, its age and medical history, and the plan details you select.
ASPCA’s pet insurance pricing compares favorably to the rest of the industry. We also give ASPCA an edge because it is a nonprofit organization, and the money generated from its pet insurance business helps to fund its important animal welfare and protection programs.
Customer Service and Claims Support
ASPCA has earned widespread praise for its friendly customer service and the ease of its claims support system. Customers can submit claims and support requests by email or phone, but telephone service is only available during regular business hours.
As an alternative, you can download and install the My Pet Insurance smartphone app. It contains a direct portal to your ASPCA pet insurance profile, and you can also use it to submit a claim.
Pros and Cons
Compared to competitors, ASPCA’s pet insurance plans have several major benefits:
- Your premiums help fund the important animal welfare work of a large, well-known, trustworthy nonprofit organization
- ASPCA offers excellent transparency and supports a plan comparison tool on its website
- You are always free to choose your own vet, and you can take your pet to any licensed veterinarian in the United States or Canada
- Plans come with 30-day money-back guarantees
- ASPCA offers 10% discounts for each additional pet you add to a plan
- ASPCA is one of only a few providers that offer coverage for horses
However, ASPCA also carries some drawbacks. These include:
- Unlimited annual coverage is not available
- No-deductible plans are not available
- Some customers report longer reimbursement wait times
What Others Are Saying About ASPCA Pet Insurance
The underwriting group that handles ASPCA’s pet insurance program, Crum & Forster, has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2015. It holds an A+ rating from the BBB.
ASPCA pet insurance has a very strong profile on Trustpilot. As of December 2020, it has more than 2,100 reviews and an aggregate score of 4.4 out of 5. This includes 83% perfect ratings, and 92% of reviewers gave their coverage a rating of 4 out of 5 or higher.
The Bottom Line
ASPCA’s pet insurance plans come with narrower limitations than some providers, but its costs are competitive and very affordable. The trustworthy organization does important work, and you can help contribute to its ongoing success by choosing ASPCA as your pet insurance provider.