Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 14, 2021

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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. It’s no stretch of the imagination California pet owners will do just about anything for their furry family.

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.

It makes sense that these very same pet parents would find the best pet insurance coverage, answering the question, “Is it worth it?” with a resounding YES!

Need Pet Insurance?

FACT: Pet insurance pays up to 90% of vet bills when your pet is sick or injured!

The Best Pet Insurance in California

Here are the top 5 providers of pet insurance in California:

Healthy Paws

healthy paws pet insurance logo

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

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

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

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

Dog and cat owners also like that Healthy Paws covers genetic health problems that many other providers prohibit or severely reduce reimbursements for. They do have a standard 15 day waiting period and 12 months on hip dysplasia. They will also cover:

  • x-rays
  • emergency care
  • chronic conditions
  • accidents
  • illnesses
  • cancer treatments

Healthy Paws does not offer a wellness plan that covers spay/neuter, dental cleanings, vaccines, and exam visits.

As a disclaimer, no pet insurance policy will cover pre-existing conditions.

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 and unlimited payout. For this coverage, you’d pay $50.68/mo.

Enroll with Healthy Paws


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 $35.06, which comes to $15.62 less per month than Healthy Paws.

Embrace limits claim payouts to $30,000 per year online, but unlimited payouts via phone enrollments.

Keep in mind, however, that Embrace is more comprehensive than Healthy Paws.

Healthy Paws does not cover exam fees, they do not cover hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia after age 6, they charge the co-pay and then apply the deductible (which results in a smaller reimbursement back to the client), they don’t cover behavioral conditions and don’t offer free medical history reviews.

Therefore, Embrace’s value shines through in this example.

Enroll with Embrace


petplan pet insurance logo

Petplan 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.

Alternative care is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in senior pets and Petplan is one company that will cover alternative therapies in all their plans without an extra charge.

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.

Enroll with PetPlan

Pets Best

Petsbest pet insurance logo

Pets 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.

Enroll with Pets Best


trupanion pet insurance logo

Trupanion 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.

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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. Pet insurance plans are also offered to exotic pets and birds, rabbits, and all manner of other animals.

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.

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 you’ve answered the question, “Is pet insurance worth it?”

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

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

The Worst Pet Insurance in California

ASPCA Pet Insurance

ASPCA 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.

Fetch a Quote from ASPCA

Nationwide Pet Insurance aka VPI

Nationwide 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.

Fetch a Quote from Nationwide

Shopping For Pet Insurance in California

Pet health care costs in California have increased by 70% in the past 5 years. Whether you’re in San Francisco or Los Angeles, CA residents need to look out for truly comprehensive coverage that will pay for pricey vet care costs like 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 conditions, 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.