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Pet insurance can provide peace of mind for your family

Reviewers say our Best Reviewed pet insurance, Petplan (Est. $20-$60 per month) , is a standout for several reasons. There are no upper age limits for coverage, making it a good choice for older pets, and the plan covers prescriptions and even some alternative therapies. Hereditary, congenital, chronic and even some curable pre-existing conditions are covered after a waiting period. Customer service is good, too, pet owners say.

On the downside, Petplan doesn't offer an option for routine care coverage, and its plans use a per-incident rather than annual deductible, which could get pricey if a pet has several unrelated problems in a short timeframe. Some customers also complain that the claims process is slow and disorganized. There's a 24-hour waiting period for accident coverage and a 14-day waiting period for illness coverage. Pets must be at least 6 weeks old to be covered.

Pets Best ($7-$38 per month) accepts pets as young as 7 weeks and draws praise from several reviewers for its competitive rates. Prescriptions are covered, and there's a routine care add-on policy. While some alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care are covered, the plan limits coverage of hereditary conditions to pets enrolled before age 2. There are no upper age limits, but it lacks congenital coverage. Customers can choose from three annual maximums, five annual deductibles and four reimbursement levels. Most say customer service is solid, but some complain about rate hikes, slow claims processing and denials based on pre-existing conditions rules.

Trupanion (Est. $20-$45 per month) offers one simple plan with no annual or lifetime maximum, which can make it ideal for very sick or unlucky pets. Hereditary and congenital conditions are covered, but alternative therapies are an add-on. Routine care coverage isn't offered. Pet owners can choose a wide range of deductibles up to $1,000, and the reimbursement level is a fixed 90 percent. Customer service receives good scores, and many reviewers say they're pleased with the streamlined but comprehensive plan. However, experts find that it costs more to have pets spayed or neutered, and say the coverage can cost more than competing plans.

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