There are more ways to find cheap pet insurance than simply shopping for the lowest premiums. Here, we offer tips and tricks for minimizing your monthly bill without minimizing the peace of mind that your furry friend has access to affordable vet care.
Consult a Veterinarian on Which Plan Your Pet Needs
Your veterinarian can help you determine which pet insurance plan best fits your pet’s needs without exceeding your budget. For example, a vet can help you pinpoint common conditions your pet’s breed faces and ensure they are covered in the plan you buy.
Insure Your Pet Early
No pet insurer will cover preexisting conditions, which are injuries or illnesses a vet notices before your coverage starts. Insuring your animal at an early age is the best way to maximize your coverage and avoid denied claims. Our 2022 pet insurance survey showed that 77% of pet owners insured their pets before age two, but we recommend insuring your pet even earlier if possible. For example, Fetch offers an advantage by allowing coverage to start when your pet is just six weeks old — typically before many health issues present themselves.
Consider an Accident-Only Plan
According to NAPHIA’s 2022 State of the Industry Report, you can expect to pay $28.57 for dogs and $10.85 for cats monthly. That amounts to savings of about $20 for dogs and $9 for cats over accident-and-illness coverage.
Although accident-only plans have limited coverage, they’re perfect for some pet owners’ needs and budgets. For example, if you have a vaccinated indoor cat, you may not be as worried about the probability of illness. An accident-only plan would still cover accidental injuries from chewing cords, falling from heights, eating poisonous houseplants and more at a lower cost.
Adjust the Coverage Levels
Most pet insurers allow you to customize components of their policies, enabling you to adjust the amount of coverage you receive and the policy cost. Here are the key levers of pet insurance policies and how they affect your bottom line:
- Deductible: This is the amount you are responsible for before your coverage kicks in.
- Annual coverage limit: This is the maximum amount the pet insurer will reimburse you annually for unexpected vet fees. Selecting a higher coverage limit will increase your premium, too.
- Reimbursement rate: This is the percentage of each covered claim the insurer will pay after your deductible has been met. It typically ranges from 70% to 90%.
Just ensure you don’t make changes that will drastically limit your coverage’s effectiveness. “Keep in mind that a lower coverage level means a lower premium, but it also means less protection for your pet and more out-of-pocket costs if your pet becomes ill or injured,” said Becky Simmonds, professional dog trainer and behaviorist at Breed Advisor.
Review Available Discounts
Whether you have multiple furry friends or a history of military service, you can save money on pet insurance by selecting a provider with discounts that match your qualifications. The following are common pet insurance discounts:
- Annual payment discount: Some providers, like Pets Best, will reduce the cost of your plan if you pay for an entire year rather than quarterly or monthly.
- Bundle discount: If an insurance company offers multiple lines of insurance, it might offer a discount for purchasing more than one. For example, Lemonade provides a 10% discount when you bundle its pet insurance with one of its renters or homeowners insurance policies.
- Employee discount: You might get a discount if you work at a company that offers pet insurance through your chosen provider. For example, Embrace Pet Insurance offers a 10% reduction to employees of companies that offer its policies as a voluntary benefit.
- Military discount: Some pet insurance companies offer discounts for military members.
- Multipet discount: One of the most common discounts, this reduces your overall plan cost for enrolling multiple pets.
- Spay/neuter discount: Spaying or neutering your cat or dog can trigger a discount with some providers.
Compare Quotes for Similar Plans
Every pet insurance plan will have different costs, coverage options and features, so it’s important to take your time and research which provider is the best fit for you. We recommend you get a quote from at least three pet insurance providers on this list.
In addition to price, consider other features that may be important to you, like a mobile app, a 24/7 emergency vet line, or a robust wellness plan. Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, veterinary director with Senior Tail Waggers, emphasized the importance of learning about each policy’s finer details.
“Understanding what is and is not covered, claim procedures and turnaround times, and reimbursement policies are especially important,” Whittenburg said.