Pawp offers an alternative to pet insurance with coverage on one emergency visit per year for one of up to six pets in your household. It also provides an efficient 24/7 digital health platform with unlimited video calls and messages at a flat subscription cost. Pawp is different from traditional pet insurance in that it only covers the cost of one visit versus multiple over a year.
We at the Marketwatch Home Team found that Pawp compares well against the top pet insurance companies.
Pros and Cons of Pawp
After thorough research, we rated Pawp 81 out of 100 for pet insurance. Here are a few of the reasons for that rating:
Pawp’s Plans and Coverage
Digital Vet Clinic: Each Pawp membership comes with unlimited video calls and texts to the virtual vet clinic with questions about your pet’s health, behavior, nutrition and overall care. This can help avoid unnecessary vet visits, saving you money on vet bills and exam fees.
Here’s how the digital clinic works: When you need to speak with someone, sign in to your Pawp account to access the text or video chat feature. You’ll be placed in a virtual waiting room, typically for only a minute or two, and then you can join a chat and begin speaking to your assigned vet.
Emergency Fund: Pawp also offers supplemental pet insurance coverage with a $3,000 emergency fund that comes with your membership. This fund can be activated yearly during one life-threatening emergency, such as toxic ingestion, choking, a severe blockage or internal or external injury. However, the emergency must be determined by a licensed Pawp vet before you can activate the fund.
Here’s how the emergency coverage works: If your pet has an emergency, video calls a Pawp vet, allowing them to confirm the urgency of your pet’s emergency and activate the emergency fund. Then, you’ll have four hours to get to any vet near you for treatment. Once the treatment is finished, the vet office will call the Pawp hotline and Pawp will pay the vet directly before you leave the office.
Although the digital vet clinic is available for any health-related questions about your furry friend, Pawp’s emergency fund doesn’t cover any non-life-threatening health issues with your pet. Exclusions include vaccinations, check-ups, non-emergency surgeries, dental cleanings, follow-up appointments, deworming and emergencies associated with pregnancy or breeding.
One of the benefits of choosing Pawp over a typical pet insurance provider is that it doesn’t offer varying pricing based on different species, breeds and ages of animals. Instead, it provides all memberships at a flat subscription of $24 per month, making it a cheap pet insurance alternative.
If you have an older or high-risk dog or cat breed, Pawp could be the least expensive option for coverage of your pet’s unexpected emergencies.
Pawp Customer Reviews
Pawp has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau(BBB), although it doesn’t currently have an accreditation.* It has more than 200 reviews on Trustpilot with a high percentage of satisfied customers.
Most customers are happy with the helpful digital clinic and the process of accessing the emergency fund, but some unsatisfied customers reference poor experiences with the long wait times to speak to a Pawp vet.
We reached out to Pawp for a comment on the negative reviews and received the following comment in response:
“Pawp is exceptionally proud of the work we do for pet parents, offering on-demand and unlimited telehealth via video and text plus a $3,000 safety net for emergency vet bills. We are customer-obsessed and continue to build out our first-of-its-kind platform for our members. The few negative reviews that Pawp has received have been immediately resolved, and we continue to strive to bring the best quality service to our new and existing customers.”
Here are some examples of Pawp reviews from existing customers on Trustpilot:
“I texted in with a vet when my pup was having diarrhea. She was super knowledgeable and offered some at-home solutions that didn’t require medication which I appreciated. I monitored, changed his diet and it worked! Saved me a trip to the vet and an unnecessary bill.” — Jon
“I went on the Pawp emergency line to get [my pet’s emergency] approved. The emergency line was much slower to respond. The estimated wait time was one minute the whole time, but it actually took, I believe, a half hour before they answered. They approved the fund almost immediately and did a brief vid call — the vet was friendly and gave good advice, but honestly, I just wanted her to approve and hang up so I could jump in the car and rush to the vet.” — Shannon T.
*Information accurate as of April 19, 2022
Is Pawp the Best Pet Insurance Provider for You?
Since Pawp offers a unique alternative to pet insurance that can cover up to six pets and provides 24-hour access to a digital clinic of licensed vets at a flat rate, we recommend it to pet owners with large pet families or those with older or high-risk animals. If you’re looking for a more traditional pet insurance policy, Lemonade and Healthy Paws both offer top-notch plans for coverage on your pet’s accidents and illnesses.
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, scoping quotes and purchasing processes by secret shopping, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience, and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage.
We scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements. We then divided this final score by 20 to calculate an overall star rating out of 5.0 stars.
Here are more details about each factor and how it’s weighted:
Monthly pricing (25%): The best pet insurance companies combine comprehensive coverage and plan options with affordable rates.
Plans (15%): The top pet insurance companies offer accident-and-illness plans, accident-only plans and wellness or preventive care add-ons to give customers the option to choose a plan that’s best for their pet.
Covered treatments (15%): We scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Companies with a breadth of included treatments and unique coverages received more points than providers with more standard or general policies.
Customization options (10%): Providers with more annual-limit, deductible and reimbursement-rate options earned the highest scores.
Customer care (10%): We scored companies on their website accessibility and overall usability, customer service availability, mobile apps (if any), money-back guarantees and veterinarian telehealth options, awarding points to the insurers with more customer experience offerings.
Industry reputation (10%): We reviewed up-to-date ratings and accreditation information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored companies on their years of experience in the industry and their state availability.
Waiting periods (10%): Companies with shorter accident, illness and orthopedic waiting periods between the sign-up and coverage start date scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
Eligible age (5%): Some companies don’t offer policies for pets that are over a certain age. We deducted points from providers that have age limits for covered pets.
We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. To learn more, read our full pet insurance methodology for reviewing and scoring providers.
Bradford Cuthrell is a meticulous researcher and writer specializing in pet and home finance topics. He’s surveyed thousands of pet owners and homeowners, listened to hundreds of customer service calls from various home service companies and spoken with dozens of industry experts to understand homeowners’ common pain points and needs. When he’s not helping his readers make informed decisions, he’s reading a book a week, planning a camping trip or working on his novel draft.
Mark Carroll is a content director with more than a decade of writing and editing experience. He has researched and covered topics related to home finances, home improvement, and home products for MarketWatch, helping answer key consumer questions and connecting readers with the brands that meet their needs. Prior to his time in the home space, Mark worked in sports media as a news reporter and managing editor.