AKC Pet Insurance Review

AKC offers lots of flexibility in its plan, but you may end up needing to pay extra for some basic types of coverage.
Andrew Marder
By Andrew Marder 
Edited by Sarah Schlichter

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NerdWallet rating 

Plans offered: Accident and illness, accident-only, wellness.

Breadth of coverage: Good.

Range of plan options: Excellent.

Can pay your vet directly: No.

The bottom line: Lots of customization in coverage is available, but the basic plan lacks benefits many other companies include.

Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines that ensure fairness and accuracy in order to help you choose the financial products that work best for you. In our pet insurance reviews, our editorial team considers both the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Plans offered. Pet insurance companies generally offer the following three types of plans:

  • Accident and illness policies reimburse you for medical treatment if your pet gets sick or injured.

  • Accident-only policies pay expenses if your pet is injured.

  • Wellness plans help you budget for preventive care costs.

Breadth of coverage. We looked for plans that cover a wide range of potential expenses.

Range of plan options. This category looks at how many ways you can customize what you pay for your plan and how you’re reimbursed.

Can pay your vet directly. This indicates whether an insurer can pay your vet directly for medical expenses. With this service, you don’t have to pay the money yourself upfront and then wait for reimbursement.

Dive deeper with our criteria for evaluating pet insurance companies.

Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club has historically been the home for purebred dog owners. Its insurance and wellness products cater to purebred and mixed breed dogs and even cats, though they won't cover birds or other animals.

AKC's insurance plans offer unlimited annual coverage options and a variety of reimbursement rates. Customers who register their animals with AKC can try its insurance for 30 days free of charge.

AKC pet insurance


NerdWallet rating 

AKC earned 4.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, coverage options and financial strength ratings.

Based on this rating, AKC is on NerdWallet's list of the Best Pet Insurance Companies.

AKC pros and cons



Unlimited annual coverage option available.

Doesn't cover most dental procedures.

Gives a discount for insuring multiple animals.

Requires additional coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions.

Covers pre-existing conditions after a 12-month waiting period (in most states).

State availability

AKC pet insurance is available in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

AKC pet insurance plans


AKC CompanionCare is the company's base accident and illness plan, which covers cats and dogs. You can customize it with add-on coverage.

This plan includes options for reimbursements, deductibles and coverage limits. The insurer will reimburse you for a certain percentage of your veterinary bills, minus a deductible of your choosing. (The deductible is the amount you're responsible for.)

Dogs can enroll at week eight, while cats will need to wait until week 10.

After age 9, a newly enrolled pet will be eligible for an accident-only plan, but not for illness coverage. However, pets enrolled prior to age 9 can keep their illness coverage into their golden years, as long as you’ve consistently paid their premium.

Defender or DefenderPlus

With a CompanionCare policy, pet owners can add either a Defender or DefenderPlus wellness plan. These offer a range of benefits, from microchipping to flea and tick prevention. Exact coverage depends on the plan you choose.

What AKC pet insurance covers

The base CompanionCare plan includes:

  • Treatments, surgeries and medications for ailments ranging from allergies to cancer.

  • X-rays, MRI scans and other diagnostic tests.

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions after a 12-month waiting period (in most states).

  • Prescription medications.

  • Hospitalization.

  • Lab tests.

  • Emergency treatment.

  • Alternative treatments and coverage for behavioral issues in some states.

With a CompanionCare policy, you can add on coverage for extra needs not provided for in the base plan, such as:

  • Hereditary and congenital coverage (available for pets under 2) for chronic conditions like hip dysplasia and diabetes.

  • Veterinary exam coverage for conditions covered by your base policy.

  • Breeding coverage for issues related to pregnancy and whelping.

  • Final expenses coverage (available in some states) for burial and memorials.

AKC's accident-only plan for older pets covers unexpected injuries like snake bites, sprains and broken bones. Coverage will pay for medications, scans and surgeries associated with an injury. It won't cover preventive care or treatment for diseases like cancer.

The Defender wellness add-on includes:

  • Microchipping.

  • Deworming.

  • Heartworm, flea and tick prevention.

  • Preventive screenings.

  • Vaccination.

  • Wellness exam fees.

DefenderPlus, the upgraded version of Defender, also covers spaying, neutering and teeth cleaning.

What’s not covered

The CompanionCare policy doesn't cover:

  • Inherited or congenital conditions if your pet is signed up after age 2.

  • Elective procedures like tail docking and ear clipping.

  • Intentional injuries caused by owners or other responsible parties.

  • Pregnancy concerns, unless you add the optional Breeding Coverage.

  • Diets and pet food, unless a prescription diet is used as the sole treatment for a covered illness or injury.

  • Treatment for dental diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease.

AKC coverage options

Deductibles: Annual deductibles range from $100 to $1,000 for the CompanionCare plan. AKC's accident-only plan has a fixed $100 deductible. You must meet your deductible before payments from AKC begin, and the amount will reset every year.

Reimbursement amounts: You can choose to be reimbursed for 70%, 80% or 90% of your vet care costs. Your monthly premium will go up if you choose a higher reimbursement limit.

Coverage limits: Annual coverage limits range from $2,500 to $20,000, with an unlimited option available. The higher your coverage limit, the more your policy will cost.

The Defender and DefenderPlus wellness plans have set annual limits for each type of preventive care, so check with the AKC to see what your state limits are before you sign up.

Restrictions and waiting periods

Age restrictions: Before they can be covered, dogs need to be eight weeks old and cats need to be 10 weeks old. Pets added after age 2 can't get coverage for inherited or congenital conditions. If you enroll a pet after age 9, they won't be eligible for accident and illness coverage, just the accident-only plan.

Waiting periods: A waiting period is the time between when you buy your policy and when your coverage takes effect. AKC has a 12-month waiting period for pre-existing conditions and a 180-day waiting period for cruciate ligament claims. All injuries have a two-day waiting period. Most illnesses have a 14-day waiting period, except for intervertebral disc disease, which carries a 180-day waiting period.

Add-ons for hereditary and congenital conditions and for breeding both have a 30-day waiting period.


AKC offers the following discounts:

  • A 5% multi-pet discount.

  • A discount for dogs from Breeders of Merit or Bred with HEART breeders.

  • A discount for dogs who have earned their AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification, which tests things like a dog's reaction to strangers and ability to interact with other dogs.

Consumer experience

Website: The AKC website is easy to navigate and makes it straightforward to sign up for coverage. There's a user portal for making claims and payments, updating billing information and accessing policy details.

App: There isn't a dedicated AKC app, but the company has partnered with TailTrax to allow policyholders to make claims and locate service providers.

Claims: Claim forms can be submitted online through the AKC user portal or sent via email, mail or fax. Simple claims are typically paid within three days, according to AKC. More complex claims can take five to 30 days to be paid.

Customer service: Customer support is provided by email or through the company's toll-free phone number. Customers can call 866-725-2747 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (all times Eastern). There's also a 24/7 dedicated line for support from a veterinarian.

AKC vs. competitors

Here’s how AKC stacks up against three other popular pet insurance companies.

AKC vs. Lemonade

While AKC and Lemonade both have the same reimbursement choices, AKC offers a wider range of deductibles and an unlimited annual payout option. That said, AKC has no annual limits between $20,000 and unlimited, while Lemonade has options at $50,000 and $100,000, which may appeal to some shoppers.

Lemonade coverage is available in only 35 states and Washington, D.C. (Florida is the most populous missing state.) AKC pet insurance is sold nationwide.

Lemonade says it pays many claims "almost instantly," which is faster than the three to five days AKC says it usually takes to pay claims. Read our full Lemonade pet insurance review.

Coverage options




$100 to $1,000 per year.

$100 to $500 per year.


70%, 80% or 90%.

70%, 80% or 90%.

Annual limit

$2,500 to unlimited.

$5,000 to $100,000 per year.

AKC vs. Nationwide pet insurance

Nationwide is widely known for its car and homeowners insurance, but it also offers coverage for pets. Compared to AKC, Nationwide has fewer options to choose from for deductibles (when buying online) and reimbursement amounts. Nationwide also has a much lower maximum payout limit.

Unlike AKC, Nationwide offers coverage for all sorts of animals besides dogs and cats, from birds to goats.

Nationwide offers a 5% discount to current customers, which may lower your overall cost.

Coverage options




$100 to $1,000 per year.

$250 per year. (Other options available by phone.)


70%, 80% or 90%.

50% or 70%.

Annual limit

$2,500 to unlimited.

$10,000 per year.

AKC vs. Embrace

Insurance plans from Embrace have coverage options that are similar to AKC’s, with slight differences. Embrace covers dental illness up to $1,000 per year, while AKC includes coverage only for extractions related to accidental injury.

AKC doesn't cover hereditary or congenital conditions unless you buy optional coverage. Even then, you'll need to enroll your pet before age 2 to be eligible. Embrace covers these conditions as part of its standard plan.

Coverage options




$100 to $1,000 per year.

$100 to $1,000 per year.


70%, 80% or 90%.

70%, 80% or 90%.

Annual limit

$2,500 to unlimited.

$5,000 to unlimited.

Frequently asked questions

AKC’s standard plan covers shots required to treat a pet’s injury or illness. It won't cover preventive shots such as vaccinations. For those, you would need one of AKC's wellness add-ons, Defender or DefenderPlus.

The accident and illness coverage from AKC doesn't cover spaying or neutering. You can get that coverage by adding the company’s DefenderPlus wellness coverage, which covers spaying, neutering, dental cleaning and other preventive care.

Newly registered AKC pets are eligible for 30 days of free insurance coverage. The coverage works just like normal CompanionCare coverage and generally comes with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement rate. The offer isn't available in all states.


NerdWallet’s pet insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, coverage, plan options, discounts and more. Our “consumer experience” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale. See our full pet insurance methodology.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

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