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Insurance Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance That Covers Prescription Food

Dogs and cats are just as much a part of the family as anyone else living under your roof, so, of course, you want to provide the best for them. But when the vet suddenly tells you they need to be on a specialty diet—whether temporarily or long-term—it can understandably be a source of dread.

Prescription dog food costs can be anywhere from two to five times as high as regular dog food, and prescription cat food can cost as much as $500 a year. Luckily, you can find pet insurance that covers prescription food.

Below, we’ll explore the best pet insurance providers that cover prescription food, as well as how to choose the best plan and how to file a claim.

What is classified as prescription pet food?

Your vet may recommend prescription pet food, also called therapeutic pet food or a veterinary diet, for a range of health conditions, including:

  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Bladder issues or kidney stones
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cancer or tumors
  • Food allergies or GI problems
  • Diabetes

Treating these conditions is important but expensive. Not all pet insurance companies include coverage for therapeutic diets, and often it’s an add-on that increases your premium. But if you’re worried about the high cost of prescription pet food, it could be worth looking into.

Does pet insurance cover prescription food?

Some pet insurance covers prescription food—but some does not. It’s important to read the fine print when signing up for a policy to see what is and isn’t covered.

Some of our favorite pet insurance companies, like Fetch and Lemonade, do not provide coverage for prescription food. Others may require you to purchase an add-on to get food covered. But a few pet insurance companies cover prescription foods for covered conditions no matter what.

A caveat: Unless you find pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions (rare in the industry), you should only expect therapeutic diet coverage to apply for any conditions developed after your policy’s start date.

Pet insurance providers that cover prescription food

ProviderPrescription food covered?Prescription foods covered by insuranceCoverage detailsExclusions and limitations
ASPCA Pet InsuranceAll therapeutic foods for covered conditionsPart of the Complete Coverage planExcludes foods for general maintenance or weight management 
PumpkinAll therapeutic foods for covered conditionsPart of the core planExcludes foods for general maintenance or weight management
SpotAll therapeutic foods for covered conditionsPart of accident-only and accident and illness plansExcludes treats, general health maintenance diets, whole food and fresh food diets, lightly cooked diets, custom diets, weight loss diets, puppy or kitten diets, homemade diets, or raw food diets,  even if prescribed, dispensed or recommended by a veterinarian
EmbraceAll therapeutic foods for covered conditionsPart of the Wellness Rewards add-onFood must be purchased through your vet
TrupanionAll therapeutic foods for covered conditions50% of foods covered as part of core planCoverage only lasts for two months of regular feeding

ASPCA Pet Insurance: Best for reliability

4.3 stars

  • Reimbursement for prescription food for covered conditions
  • Prescription meds also covered
  • One of the oldest pet insurance companies around

ASPCA (that’s the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has been protecting animals in the United States for more than a century and a half, so it was a no-brainer for the organization to enter the pet insurance market. Since 1997, ASPCA Pet Insurance has covered more than 600,000 furry friends.

Beyond the company’s reliability and commitment to animals, ASPCA Pet Insurance is one of a few pet insurance companies that covers prescription food. You won’t get it with the basic accident-only plan, but ASPCA’s Complete Coverage includes not only prescription food but also prescription meds.

Just note that therapeutic food reimbursement is for covered conditions only; food prescribed for weight control or general maintenance is not covered.

ASPCA’s largest annual coverage limit is also smaller than many of its competitors ($10,000); while you likely won’t spend that much money on food alone, it’s possible that surgeries and emergency care might quickly max out your annual coverage.

  • Annual coverage: $2,500, $5,000, $7,000, or $10,000
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Deductible: $100, $250, or $500
  • Waiting period: 14 days for illness and accident; no waiting period for preventative care
  • Pet age restrictions: Pets must be at least eight weeks old; there is no upper age limit
  • Add-ons required for prescription food: Complete Coverage plan

Learn more in our full ASPCA pet insurance review.

Pumpkin: Best for preventative care

4.4 stars

  • Reimbursement for prescription food for covered conditions
  • Leading preventative care add-ons
  • Great customer service (including welcome box for pet)

Pumpkin is known for its comprehensive accident and illness pet insurance plan, but its add-on preventative care plan is also great, with 100% refunds for wellness exams, vaccines, and screening tests. We also love Pumpkin because of its high customer ratings on Trustpilot and the adorable welcome box (with a toy!) you get when signing up.

Also noteworthy: Prescription pet food is covered under the core accident and illness plan. In fact, Pumpkin’s all-in-one plan includes a lot of coverages that are generally add-ons with other insurers. Just note that this puts Pumpkin on the pricier side of things.

Keep in mind there is a waiting period (14 days) before prescription food coverage would kick in. It’s also not covered if it’s for general maintenance or weight loss.

  • Annual coverage: $10,000, $20,000, or unlimited for dogs; $7,000, $15,000, or unlimited for cats
  • Reimbursement: 90%
  • Deductible: $100, $250, $500, or $1,000
  • Waiting period: 14 days for accidents and illness
  • Pet age restrictions: Pets must be at least eight weeks old; there is no upper age limit
  • Add-ons required for prescription food: N/A

Learn more in our full Pumpkin pet insurance review.

Spot: Best variety of terms

4.5 stars

  • Comprehensive coverage plan that includes prescription food
  • Multiple discounts available
  • Large combination of deductibles, reimbursements, and limits

Spot makes it easy to tailor coverage for your needs. With 105 different combinations of deductibles, reimbursements, and limits, Spot’s policies are among the most customizable. Notably, there’s an option for a $100 deductible and unlimited annual limit—helpful, but expensive.

And whether you opt for the accident-only or accident and illness plan, you’ll get coverage for prescription foods. Just make sure you read the fine print, as Spot has lots of exclusions, such as general health maintenance diets, treats, puppy and kitten diets, whole food diets, fresh food diets, and raw food diets, even when they’re prescribed by a vet.

Prescription meds are also covered under the core plan, and you can tack on a preventive care package recommended for your pet’s breed and age.

Like many other pet insurance companies, Spot offers a 10% multi-pet discount. AAA members can take another 10% off their Spot premium.

  • Annual coverage: $2,500, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, or unlimited
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Deductible: $100, $250, $500, $750, or $1,000
  • Waiting period: 14 days for accidents and illnesses
  • Pet age restrictions: Pets must be at least six weeks old; there is no upper age limit
  • Add-ons required for prescription food: N/A

Learn more in our full Spot pet insurance review.

Embrace: Best for quick coverage

4.7 stars

  • Some prescription food covered under Wellness Rewards
  • Coverage for some pre-existing conditions
  • Two-day waiting period for accidents

We like Embrace for its quick accident-only coverage, which kicks in after just 48 hours. Another hallmark of Embrace is its option for coverage of some pre-existing conditions. There’s a lot of fine print—the condition must be curable and you’ll have to wait 12 months without issue recurrence for coverage to kick in—but it’s at least better than what you’ll get elsewhere.

Embrace has another standout feature: Some prescription diets are covered. You’ll need to have enrolled in the Wellness Rewards plan, which is only available as an add-on to an accident-only or accident and illness policy.

Even then, the policy only covers veterinary-prescribed therapeutic pet food purchased at that vet. The Wellness Rewards program lets you choose from three policy allowances (coverage limits) per year: $250, $350, or $650. These are separate from the annual limits on your core policy.

  • Annual coverage: $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000, or unlimited
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Deductible: $100, $250, $500, $750, or $1,000
  • Waiting period: Two days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, and six months for orthopedic conditions (14 days with waiver)
  • Pet age restrictions: Pets who are 15 or older can only qualify for accident-only plans; pets must be six weeks to enroll
  • Add-ons required for prescription food: Wellness Rewards

Learn more in our full Embrace pet insurance review.

Trupanion: Best for direct vet payments

4.4 stars

  • Some coverage for prescription pet foods
  • Direct vet payment
  • Condition-specific deductibles

Trupanion is a standout in the pet insurance market because it offers direct vet payment (no waiting to get reimbursed!) and the policies are structured a little differently. There’s a standard 90% reimbursement, and there’s no annual or lifetime limit on coverage, but each specific condition has its own deductible (which you can set as low as $0, if you’d like).

This can wind up saving you a lot of money if your pet develops one expensive chronic condition—but it could cost you a lot of money if your pet develops a new issue every year of its life. Plus, Trupanion is one of the most expensive pet insurance companies, so you’ll need to budget for a higher monthly premium.

Notably, Trupanion does cover prescription pet food as part of its core policy, but again, it works differently. Eligible, vet-prescribed foods are covered at 50% of the cost, minus your deductible. But coverage only lasts two months on that prescribed diet.

  • Annual coverage: Unlimited
  • Reimbursement: 90%
  • Deductible: $0 to $1,000
  • Waiting period: 5 days for injuries, 30 days for illnesses
  • Pet age restrictions: Pets who are 15+ are not eligible
  • Add-ons required for prescription food: N/A

Learn more in our full Trupanion pet insurance review.

How to choose the best pet insurance plan for prescription food coverage

When choosing pet insurance that covers prescription food, make sure you broaden your focus—coverage for therapeutic diets is nice, but there are other things you should also consider:

  • Cost: How much can you afford to spend on a monthly premium?
  • Annual limits: What is the max amount of coverage you can get? Do you want a plan that offers unlimited coverage for those “just in case” moments, like expensive cancer treatments and emergency surgeries?
  • Deductibles: How much money do you have in emergency savings that you can use to pay the vet before coverage kicks in. Remember, the higher the deductible, the lower the monthly cost of pet insurance.
  • Reviews: Which insurers that you’re considering have positive reviews? Consider what customers are saying about reimbursement speed and the claims process, and don’t forget to check mobile app ratings.
  • Coverages: There’s a lot more to think about than just prescription food. What is covered by pet insurance varies from company to company. Think about your pet’s age and breed and what conditions they’re more likely to suffer from. Make sure those conditions are covered as part of the plan you’re purchasing.

If prescription pet food truly is one of the most important components to your decision, always read the fine print. 

Some insurers only offer pet food reimbursement for specific conditions; others might only offer the coverage with a plan add-on; and still others may only cover the food if you buy it from your prescribing vet or may only cover part of the cost.

Is paying for prescription food coverage worth it?

It’s hard to predict whether your pet will need prescription food down the line for a condition he or she hasn’t yet developed. For that reason, it may not be worth it to prioritize prescription food when selecting a pet insurance plan—especially since the cost of prescription food is nothing compared to the cost of emergency surgery, X-rays and CT scans, and cancer treatment.

That said, if one of the plans you’re considering includes prescription pet food as part of the core coverages, consider that a strong reason to prioritize that plan over other plans you’re considering that don’t cover food.

Similarly, if prescription pet food is only available via a wellness plan add-on that has other perks you like, it might be worth the upgrade.

Overall, pet insurance is worth the cost. You just need to find a plan that meets all your needs, beyond prescription pet food.

Is pet insurance worth it? A former colleague of mine owned a 9-year-old golden retriever that required ACL repair.  Thanks to having pet insurance, he only owed the $500 deductible on a $4,200 surgery bill.

Andrew Steger


How to file a claim for prescription food coverage with your pet insurance provider

If your pet insurance policy includes prescription food coverage as part of the core coverage or a wellness add-on, you should be able to file a claim like you would any other covered treatment. Though the process may vary from insurer to insurer, here are the general steps:

  1. Make sure your pet’s records are up to date. Often, pet insurance providers need to see up-to-date veterinary records to understand the reason for the treatment and determine if something should be covered. Your vet may be able to provide these digitally to the company via fax or email.
  2. Read the fine print. Before purchasing pet food, read your policy to make sure there aren’t specific exclusions to be aware of. For instance, does your insurance require that you purchase the food through your vet?
  3. Submit your claim. Using your provider’s platform or app, submit your claim, including a receipt for the therapeutic pet food.
  4. Wait for reimbursement. If your pet insurance provider needs more information, they’ll reach out. Otherwise, you can expect reimbursement according to your plan’s timeline and reimbursement rate. If you haven’t yet met your deductible, the cost of the pet food would instead be applied toward that.

Note that some pet insurance companies cover prescription food through a wellness plan. In that case, the cost of the pet food may not apply to your deductible. Instead, your wellness plan may have its own (smaller) annual limit for covered expenses to be mindful of.


Does pet insurance cover prescription foods for pre-existing conditions?

Most pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions at all. Those that do have lots of fine print about what’s covered—for instance, Embrace only covers curable pre-existing conditions that haven’t led to any issues for at least 12 months.

That makes it very unlikely that a pet insurance policy will cover prescription foods for pre-existing conditions. 

First, you’d have to find a policy that covers prescription foods and pre-existing conditions. Then you’d have to wait a set amount of time (for example, 12 months) to ensure the condition doesn’t lead to issues before food might be covered.

What pet insurers don’t cover prescription food?

Many pet insurers do not cover prescription foods, including Lemonade, Fetch, Healthy Paws, and Pets Best. We’ve found five pet insurance companies that cover prescription food that we especially like: ASPCA Pet Insurance, Pumpkin, Spot, Embrace, and Trupanion.

Is prescription food covered under a basic pet insurance plan?

Coverage for prescription pet food varies by pet insurance provider. Most pet insurance companies do not cover prescription pet food at all, some cover it through an add-on (that is, a premium plan at a higher cost), and a select few offer it as part of their core insurance policy.

How do I find out whether a policy covers prescription food?

To find out whether a pet insurance policy covers prescription pet food, read the fine print on the website and look for policy exclusions. 

Pet insurance companies that do include therapeutic diets may only offer it through select add-ons to their core policy, and even then, they may have strict guidelines about what is and isn’t covered.

It’s always wise to read a sample policy or connect with a customer service agent to fully understand what’s covered before purchasing a policy.