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Insurance Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance That Pays the Vet Directly

Pet owners with health insurance typically deal with the reimbursement model, where they pay for services upfront, and the insurer reimburses them later. While this model can save you money, it doesn’t work well for all pet owners. 

Pet insurance that pays the vet directly eliminates the reimbursement step and pays the insurer’s part of the bill immediately. This can benefit pet owners who don’t want to pay for their vet visits upfront. 

Here, we’ll cover the best pet insurance that pays the vet directly, such as Trupanion pet insurance. In addition, this article will review details like each insurer’s benefit limits and reimbursement rates.

The best pet insurance companies that pay the vet directly

Although pet insurance can save you money in the long run, it typically doesn’t work the same as human health insurance. Instead of insurance paying part of the bill for your pet’s medical care, you usually pay the entire cost after the visit. Later, you submit a claim to the insurance company, and the insurer will reimburse you if it covers the services your pet received.

This can create a cost burden for pet owners, who may not have the money to pay for everything upfront. However, some pet insurance plans pay the vet directly. These plans work more like human health insurance, paying for services during the visit.

With these pet insurance plans, you pay a monthly or annual premium. You might also be responsible for a deductible and copay. The insurance company is then responsible for any remaining costs.

This simplifies the process for pet owners, though some make it easier to pay than others. Below, we’ll cover the best pet insurance companies that pay your vet directly.


  • Best for direct vet payments
  • LendEDU rating: 4.4 out of 5
  • Directly pays participating vets

Trupanion is LendEDU’s best pet insurance company for vet direct pay, thanks to the ease of the process and the fact that you can get paid in a matter of seconds. 

If your vet accepts direct payments from Trupanion, it can pay your veterinary bill at the time of checkout. You can check to see if your vet accepts direct payment with a lookup feature on the Trupanion website.

If your vet is listed as accepting direct payment, the process is simple:

  1. Your veterinary hospital submits a claim with Trupanion at checkout
  2. You are responsible for paying your portion of the bill at checkout
  3. Trupanion pays your vet directly, within seconds

This simple system comes with a drawback—if your vet isn’t listed as accepting direct payment from Trupanion, you’ll have to pay for the care yourself and then submit a claim to be reimbursed.

Other benefits of Trupanion include unlimited coverage, no minimum age limits, and no increase in rates as your pet ages.

While Trupanion has several advantages, it also has its downsides. For instance, there is a 30-day waiting period for illnesses, and there is no add-on for preventive care. Trupanion doesn’t offer discounts, either.

  • Monthly premium: Starting around $35
  • Benefit limit: Unlimited
  • Deductible: $0 – $1,000
  • Reimbursement amount: 90%
  • Eligible pets: Cats, dogs

Plans vary based on state. Please review your state’s policy for full coverage details.

Healthy Paws

  • Editorial rating: 3.8 out of 5
  • Direct vet payments possible for pet owners who request it before the appointment
  • Easy online claims process

While Healthy Paws typically asks its customers to pay the vet and then wait to get reimbursed when they file a claim, it does offer an option to pay the vet directly for pet owners who need it.

If you can’t pay for your pet’s care upfront and your vet accepts direct pay, you can arrange for Healthy Paws to pay the vet directly. However, you must request direct payment before the appointment so the Healthy Paws’s claims team can coordinate the payment.

If your vet agrees to receive direct payment and you’ve made arrangements in advance, call (855) 898-8991 and select the option to speak to a claims representative. The claims team is available during normal business hours.

Managing reimbursement is easy as Healthy Paws doesn’t require a claim form—everything can be done online or through the mobile app. 

  • Monthly premium: Starting around $40
  • Benefit limit: Unlimited
  • Deductible: $0 – $1,000
  • Reimbursement amount: 90%
  • Eligible pets: Cats, dogs

Pets Best

  • LendEDU rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Optional direct pay for all plans
  • Vet receives payments within five days

Direct pay is an optional feature available with all Pet’s Best plans. You must download and fill out a release form to set up direct pay for your account.

The process for using Pets Best’s direct pay option is as follows:

  • Your vet needs to agree to be paid directly by Pets Best. If they do, you must fill out Pets Best’s vet direct pay release form and have your vet sign it. You’ll send that form in along with your claim, which you can do online through the mobile app or via fax or email.
  • Your claim will be processed within five days, and your vet should receive payment. You’ll still have to pay the deductible, co-insurance, and any other items not covered directly to your vet.

Pets Best offers three different plan levels from which to choose in addition to an accident-only plan, which doesn’t cover routine medical care or illness.

The company scores well for its customizable, lack of upper age limits for obtaining coverage, reliable claims processing timeline, and 24/7 support.

However, it doesn’t cover dogs or cats with pre-existing conditions; premiums can increase as your pet ages. Some customers complain of large increases in their monthly premiums for older pets.

  • Monthly premium: Starts at $9 for dogs; average premium of $35 to $58 for an accident-only plan
  • Deductible: $50 – $1,000
  • Reimbursement: 70%, 80%, or 90%
  • Benefit limit: $5,000 or unlimited
  • Eligible pets: Dogs, cats

Ideally, choosing pet insurance providers is more about the available network and overall cost and benefits of the policy. If you know that the extra steps involved in getting reimbursed may not get done or cost you time, then the direct pay feature could be a financial benefit.

Pros and cons of pet insurance that pays upfront

Having your pet insurer pay the vet directly is generally good for pet owners, but there are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Smaller bill upfront

    You may still have to pay a deductible and any uncovered costs, but your bill will likely be smaller after your vet visit.

  • Easier claims process

    Instead of having to submit an extra claim, your insurance automatically kicks in for any remaining costs on covered services after you pay your deductible.

  • Easier to get an appointment

    It might be easier to get an appointment if the vet knows they will receive payment.


  • Can limit vet choices

    Some insurers might require you to stay in-network to be covered, limiting your vet choices.

  • Can be complex to set up

    Direct pay systems may require prior authorization or other paperwork, which can be time-consuming and take a lot of work to set up.

  • Additional restrictions

    Direct pay can have certain restrictions, like only processing claims during business hours.

Ask the expert

Kery O’Brien


Maintaining an adequate emergency reserve that covers unexpected large costs, such as pet medical bills, should always be a priority. Just like in other areas, having a financial cushion provides more choice and flexibility for the pet owner and decreases the need to utilize high-interest debt.

Summary of pet insurance that pays the vet directly

TrupanionTo pay directly, the hospital must accept direct payments from Trupanion. You can check hospital eligibility on Trupanion’s website. If eligible, payment can be made directly—eliminating the reimbursement model.Learn more
Healthy PawsAvailable if you can’t pay the bill and your hospital accepts this payment. Only possible during business hours.Learn more
Pets BestDownload the release form and have your vet sign it. Once your claim is processed, Pets Best will send eligible reimbursements directly to the vet’s office.Learn more

How to get started with pet insurance

It’s a great idea to have pet insurance, as costly medications and procedures are not uncommon for pets. Start by comparing quotes from the best insurance companies. It’s important to shop around, as different companies may have better options for your pet.

Pay close attention to what each company offers, including coverage options, exclusions, deductibles, and reimbursement rates. Also check how the company is rated, both by customers and in online reviews. Lastly, you can also consider factors like whether each company has certain features you want, such as offering direct pay.

Remember there can be waiting periods for pet insurance, but these can vary widely depending on the company and what you need to be covered. The typical waiting period for accidents and illnesses is 14 or 15 days, but waiting periods can be anywhere from two days to six months. Be sure to find the right option for your pet before moving forward.