Pets are great companions and even family members. But they can also be expensive, especially when it comes to visiting the vet.
While some visits are affordable, others can go up into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. This can be a shocking expense for many pet owners.
One way around this is to purchase pet insurance. But pet insurance can also be expensive. Pawp aims to solve this problem by taking a page from the telemedicine movement. It provides access to virtual vets, which cut down on unnecessary vet visits and solve many issues without leaving home.
In this article, we'll go over what Pawp provides and who might want to use them. And if you're just learning about pet insurance, our ultimate pet insurance guide can help you make informed decisions as you compare options.
- $19 per month month flat rate for a $3,000 pet emergency fund
- No deductibles or co-pays
- Can only be used for an emergency visit (once per year)
Pawp Pet Emergency Funds
Annual Coverage Limits
Who Is Pawp?
Pawp provides "pet emergency funds" of up to $3,000 per year. While these emergency funds are similar to pet insurance in that they can help cover vet bills, Pawp is not a traditional insurer (as will be explained more fully below).
The company started in 2019 and is based in New York City. Its founders are Andrew Malek, Cody Simons, Marc Atiyeh, and Scott Sonneborn.
In addition to its emergency funds, Pawp provides 24/7 digital access to vets to help pet owners determine if a condition is an emergency or not. Pawp said in a press release that its "ultimate goal is to stop pet euthanasia for economic reasons (which sadly accounts for about 66% of all cases)."
What Do They Offer?
Pawp membership covers emergency incidents only. But it supplements its emergency funds with a 24/7 virtual vet service. Pawp is offered in all 50 states.
Virtual vets are available within two minutes via an unlimited number of video chats through the Pawp mobile app. You can ask questions and get suggestions for treatment. Using a virtual vet also saves you money on physical vet visits. If the vet determines that your pet needs emergency care, you’ll have access to your emergency fund.
Pawp Emergency Fund
Pawp isn't traditional pet insurance. Many pet insurance companies will reimburse owners on a variety of conditions after a deductible has been met. There may also be a co-pay with traditional insurance.
With Pawp, you are accessing a fund that will pay up to $3,000 for approved emergency treatment once per year. Related expenses for emergency visits are also covered. These might include:
- Cardiac pressure tracing
If you compare the annual price for Pawp, which is $218 (12 x $19), or even across two years for $436, it can be a good deal for those unexpected incidences. Emergency vet visits can easily cost several hundred or thousands of dollars. Pawp can help to offset some of that expense.
The coverage requirements aren't necessarily strict but do require that vet visits be for emergency care. Pawp says that all emergency visits are covered, even if those visits are related to a pre-existing condition. But if the treatment is scheduled or for an appointment, it isn’t an emergency.
It should also be noted that the treatment must be deemed an approved emergency by one of Pawp's virtual vets. This essentially places pet owners at the mercy of Pawp's in-house vets.
If the vet you speak to doesn't consider your pet's condition as an "emergency," then it will not qualify for coverage. Also, if you are approved, know that your emergency fund will only be available for four hours.
What Customers Are Saying About Pawp
It isn’t easy to find a reliable source for reviews on Pawp. There’s a Consumer Voice review page, which has extremely glowing reviews and doesn’t list a single con in its pros/cons list. Then there is Pawp’s Facebook page which is a completely different story.
The Facebook page doesn't currently have any ratings or recommendations. And many people posting on the page are very dissatisfied with the service, some going so far as to call the company a scam.
Most complaints have been related to denial of treatment. As previously mentioned, if the virtual vet doesn't say the issue with your pet is an emergency, you can't have access to the $3,000. And several customers have said that Pawp's definition of "emergency" is so strict that it has very few real use cases.
In a response to one angry customer, Pawp did confirm that her pet's condition had been deemed as urgent by one of their vets and needed to be treated within 48 hours...but the condition still didn't qualify as an emergency because it wasn't life-threatening. This would certainly be a concern when considering a pet insurance company.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes — the cost is $19 per month and is billed each month on the date you signed up.
Unlike traditional pet insurance, the price is the same for everyone as there are no coverage variations to choose from. The one fixed price covers up to 6 pets and there are no co-pays or deductibles on payouts.
How Do I Open An Account?
You can visit the Pawp website to get started. After your account is opened, you'll be able to log in at any time to add pets. Your account must be active at least 5 days before your emergency fund will become available.
Is My Money Safe?
Yes — Pawp’s website uses encryption and no money is on deposit with them.
Is It Worth It?
This depends on your pet and the activities it's involved in. If your pet is old or requires several vet visits for health issues, traditional pet insurance with a company like Embrace, Pumpkin, or Lemonade may be a better route. If your pet is involved in high-risk activities or you want piece of mind for the "just-in-case," Pawp may be ideal.
Assuming it makes financial sense, there is nothing wrong with supplementing traditional pet insurance with Pawp. However, keep in mind that the company's customer reviews (and its own comments) on Facebook indicate that you'll only be able to access your pet emergency fund in life-threatening situations.
Annual Coverage Limits
$3,000 (for one emergency visit per year)
Number Of Pets Covered
Up to 6
Preventative Care Coverage
Upper Age Limits
Covered if the condition causes an emergency medical event
Immediate (made to the vet clinic during the time of your visit)
Support Options For Non-Customers
Online chat only
Support Options For Customers
Vet video chat (can be initiated from computers, phones, or tablets)
Virtual Vet Service Hours
Customer Service Email
Mobile App Availability
- Annual Limits
- Coverage Benefits
Pawp is an alternative to traditional pet insurance that offers 24/7 virtual vet support and emergency protection plans of $3,000 per year.
- Affordable premiums
- No deductibles, co-pays, or credit checks
- 24/7 virtual vet support
- Only covers emergencies (life-threatening medical events)
- Can only be used once per year
- Virtual vet must be consulted before visiting a local clinic
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
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