Having pet insurance can help you save a ton of money for unexpected expensive vet bills and emergency care. But most pet insurance companies require you to pay your vet directly, and then they reimburse you. What are your options if you don’t have savings or a credit card to pay upfront for what could be hundreds to thousands of dollars? Fortunately, we’ve found your best options for pet insurance with direct payments.
How Does Vet Direct Pay Work?
Vet direct pay can be a lifesaver for you and your pet. It eliminates the burden of having to deplete your savings, max out your credit cards, or not being able to get your pet the treatment she needs because you don’t have the cash on hand.
The pet insurance companies that offer vet direct pay differ in how their program works. Some are easier, more convenient, and faster than others. We’ll highlight how each company handles payments directly to vets in our reviews below.
Do all vets take pet insurance? Some veterinarians may not accept or may not yet be approved for direct payments from all or certain pet insurance companies. So it’s best to check with your vet before purchasing a policy. Or, if direct pay is a feature you require, you may need to switch your veterinarian to one that will work with your insurance company.
Best Pet Insurance That Pays Vets Directly
We’ve ranked the pet insurance companies with direct to vet pay options based on the ease of process, company reputation, customer service, insurance coverage, and more.
1st Place: Trupanion
Trupanion’s vet direct pay feature, Trupanion Express, is a standout in the industry. It’s the only vet direct pay option that allows quick payment at the time of checkout. Trupanion Express is a web-based application that manages claims and reimbursement to participating vets within minutes.
However, your vet must participate in the program. If Trupanion Express isn’t offered at your vet’s office, you can speak with your vet about setting it up. Trupanion’s other standout features include extensive coverage, a set 90% reimbursement, and an unlimited annual payout limit.
2nd Place: Healthy Paws
Healthy Paws doesn’t advertise this feature as much as Trupanion and Pets Best, but they may be able to pay your vet directly on a claim-by-claim basis. If your vet is willing to accept direct payment, all you have to do is contact Healthy Paws by phone, and a claims representative will work with your vet to expedite access to your pet’s medical records and process your claim.
This option is available for any licensed vet in the U.S. However, Healthy Paws’ direct payment is only available during business hours (Monday-Friday from 7 am to 4 pm PST and Saturday from 8 am- 5 pm PST).
Even if your vet won’t accept direct pay, Healthy Paws has a speedy reimbursement turnaround time. They process 99% of claims within two days, and their coverage and customer service are among the best in the industry.
3rd Place: Pets Best
To use the Pets Best Vet Direct Pay feature, you’re required to send them a signed copy of their veterinarian reimbursement release form along with your completed claim. Once Pets Best has processed your claim, they’ll send any eligible reimbursement amount straight to your vet’s office. Again, your veterinarian has to agree to accept direct payment.
Pets Best direct pay process takes a bit more legwork on your part than Trupanion and Healthy Paws, but the company offers some of the best coverage and competitive rates for pet insurance.
One word of caution: if you don’t use their direct pay feature, Pets Best’s claims processing takes longer than the industry average.
What Are My Other Options?
Although the following pet insurance companies didn’t make it into our top three picks, you still may want to consider them for vet direct pay.
With Companion Protect, you have to use one of their in-network veterinarians to benefit from vet direct pay. The vet will submit claims on your behalf and be reimbursed directly. However, Companion Protect may be less compelling if your vet isn’t in their network.
While you can use out-of-network vets with Companion Protect, doing so results in a lower reimbursement rate, a higher deductible and co-pay, and no direct pay. Giving extra incentives or even keeping a list of in-network vets is a highly unusual pet insurance model — other companies allow you to use any U.S. licensed vet for reimbursable pet insurance claims. On the upside, Companion Protect offers competitive premiums that don’t increase as your pet ages and no waiting periods.
Like Healthy Paws, Petplan will work with veterinarians who agree to be paid directly. This is on a case-by-case basis, so you must contact Petplan to approve your claim before they will pay your vet. However, keep in mind that if you don’t use their direct pay feature, Petplan’s claim reimbursements take longer than average, up to 30 days. Still, the company offers extensive coverage for pets.
What If I Need Help With Vet Bills?
If you don’t have pet insurance and you’ve run into financial troubles, some resources may be able to help you with pet financial assistance.
Pet Insurance Comparison
If you want to compare the pet insurance providers in this article to other top companies, look at our pet insurance comparison. It features multiple comparison tables for price quote examples, coverage details, waiting periods, and plan customizations.