It's increasingly common for pet insurance plans to offer vet telehealth or telemedicine services. But what are they and which is the best?
Being a pet parent is wonderful. It’s also a world of worry and questions that play on your mind, from the seemingly trivial (Why does my cat hate my boyfriend? Why does my dog only cock his right leg to pee?) to the genuinely troubling (Why won’t my cat eat? Why is my dog limping?).
The biggest worries are always around health. These can be major – and fairly obvious – issues, which require a visit to the vet. But there are other signs and behaviors which are less clearly a medical problem. Is my dog not sleeping enough or licking his butt too much? How many furballs are too many for my cat to cough up?
These leave pet parents with a dilemma. Vet visits can be stressful for animals. They also mean exam fees at the very least and, even if these are covered by your pet insurance, therefore dollars out of your pocket and a bite out of your deductible.
This is why it’s increasingly popular for insurers to offer vet telehealth or telemedicine services as part of their plans. These video consultations, sometimes available 24/7, don’t incur any extra costs and help concerned pet parents decide whether or not their pet needs a physical vet exam – without paying a cent or causing the animal undue anxiety.
We’ve listed all the insurers on Petted.com and a description of their telehealth service – if they have one.
Embrace has its own version of vet telehealth included as standard with all of its plans. Called PawSupport, you can use it 24/7 to discuss any pet issue by phone, live chat or video conference. The vet can suggest whether you need to make a physical vet appointment but they’re unable to diagnose a condition or prescribe medications or treatment.
AKC Pet Insurance
AKC has a 24/7 telehealth line that gives its customers access to licensed vets by phone. They will give advice on whether or not you should seek further medical attention, and answer questions on your pet’s general health, behaviour changes, training and nutrition.
Nationwide has a 24/7 telehealth advice service called Vethelpline for all its customers. You can access vets (whose qualifications are listed on the site) by chat or phone to discuss any worries you might have about your pet.
Figo Pet Insurance customers get access to the Live Vet chat service, where they can talk to a veterinary professional via the Figo Pet Cloud mobile app. These vets can prescribe for some conditions and are available 24/7.
As Pawp only covers vet visits for life-threatening emergencies, its day-to-day value is in its 24/7 virtual vet service. Customers get unlimited access to the service, which is provided by vets and veterinary nurses.
Wagmo doesn’t have its own telehealth service but says that its plans give you “the freedom to go to the licensed vet or service provider of your choice anywhere in the U.S. via telemedicine, in-home or in-office”.
All Spot pet insurance customers get access to its VetAccess 24/7 pet telehealth helpline. It has a telehealth app where you can put questions about pet health, behaviour and wellness to veterinary experts, or you can talk via chat, phone, messenger and video call.
MetLife says that it offers a 24/7 telehealth concierge service, but offers few details about how this works and what it covers.
Fetch by The Dodo
DodoVet is a standalone 24/7 pet telehealth service that pet parents can subscribe to for $19.99/month or $99.99/six months. If you sign up to Fetch insurance plans, it covers up to $1,000 per policy year in virtual vet visits via text, email, call or video, using the service of your choice.
Pets Best has a 24/7 Pet Helpline included in its policies. You can contact veterinary experts at any time via phone, live chat, and email, to discuss any medical or behavioral concerns you have. There is no usage limit.
Progressive’s pet insurance plan gives you access to Pets Best's 24/7 Pet Helpline.
Prudent pet insurance's accident and illness plans will cover you for some vet telemedicine services.
Healthy Paws doesn’t offer a telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.
ASPCA doesn’t offer a telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.
Pumpkin doesn’t offer a telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.
ManyPets doesn’t offer a telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.
Lemonade doesn’t offer a telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.
Trupanion doesn’t offer telehealth or cover for telemedicine costs but told us it was something it hoped to ‘bring to its members in the future.’
State Farm offers pet insurance through Trupanion, so therefore doesn’t have a pet telehealth service or cover for telemedicine costs.