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Want to offset the medical costs that might come with your pet? Pet insurance can help.
Costs vary greatly for these plans depending on what type of animal you have, the coverages you choose, and your pet’s age, breed, and pre-existing conditions. If you’re looking for cheap pet insurance, accident-only coverage is typically the lowest-cost option.
More comprehensive coverage can also be affordable (and give you more peace of mind), but you’ll need to shop around. This guide can help you compare cheap pet insurance policies.
In this guide:
- Cheapest plans with comprehensive coverage
- Most affordable accident-only plans
- Most affordable plans with wellness coverage
- How the policy you choose affects your costs
- How breed, age, & pre-existing conditions affect the cost
- Common discounts
Cheapest pet insurance plans with comprehensive coverage
The most comprehensive pet insurance policies typically cover things like accidents, illnesses, medication, and even surgery. Some also include regular exams and vaccinations, though exact coverages vary greatly by provider.
To find the cheapest comprehensive coverage options, we requested quotes from 10 different insurance providers, using similar animal profiles (a 2-year-old golden retriever and a 2-year-old male house cat) for each. The below chart shows the cost of each insurer for a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and a $5,000 annual limit plan.
|Rank*||Provider||What’s Included||Dog Cost**||Cat Cost**|
|1||Pets Best||Accidents, illnesses, medications, exams||$28.24||$12.76|
|2||Embrace||Accidents, illnesses, vet visits||$29.89||$17.03|
|3||PetFirst||Accidents, illnesses, surgeries, medications||$42.37||$16.41|
|4||Petplan||Accidents, illnesses, holistic therapies, medications||$42.63||$19.66|
|5||Figo||Accidents, illnesses, lab testing, congenital disorders||$43.20||$15.42|
|6||Nationwide||Accidents, illnesses, some hereditary conditions||$43.24||$21.62|
|7||Spot||Accidents, illnesses, behavioral issues, dental disease||$47.33||$15.35|
|7||ASPCA||Accidents, illnesses, dental disease, behavioral training||$47.33||$15.35|
|7||Hartville||Accidents, illnesses, hereditary and congenital diseases, dental disease||$47.33||$15.35|
|10||Healthy Paws||Accidents, illnesses, vet visits, alternative treatments, and more||$52.72||$13.68|
*Rank is determined by the cost of a policy for a dog.
Most affordable accident-only pet insurance plans
If you’re looking for the absolute lowest-cost option, an accident-only plan can be a good choice. These cover the costs of care should your pet be injured unexpectedly. They do not cover things like surgery, illness, or regular examinations.
To find the cheapest accident-only plans, we requested quotes from the market’s biggest pet insurers, using the same animal profiles noted above. The following chart shows the cost of each insurer for a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement, and a $5,000 annual limit plan.
|Rank||Provider||Dog Cost*||Cat Cost*|
Most affordable pet insurance plans with wellness coverage
Some pet insurance plans offer wellness coverage, often called preventative care. These plans cover things like vaccines, teeth cleanings, annual check-ups, and heartworm and flea medications. Some plans also include spaying and neutering procedures.
Below are the pet insurance providers that offer wellness plans or wellness coverage add-ons.
|Rank*||Provider||Dog Wellness**||Cat Wellness**||Dog Total**||Cat Total**|
*Rank is determined by the cost of a policy for a dog.
How the policy you choose affects your pet insurance costs
If you’re hoping for lower premiums than what you see noted above, changing certain elements of your coverage can help.
Here are a few factors you can adjust to potentially reduce your insurance premiums:
- Deductible: Deductibles, which are your out-of-pocket costs before your insurer will chip in, have a big effect on your premium. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums will be, but you’ll have to spend more money before receiving benefits.
- Reimbursement level: Similarly, your reimbursement level—or the portion of a charge your insurance will cover— also directly impacts your premiums. Choosing a plan that offers lower reimbursement levels will also mean lower premiums, though you may pay more out of pocket if your pet needs significant medical care.
- Annual limit: The annual limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay toward your pet’s medical costs in a single calendar year. Plans with higher limits come with higher premiums. Those with lower limits have lower premiums.
Most insurers also offer different levels of coverage. The more services and conditions that are covered, the more you’ll pay for the plan. If you’re looking to reduce your premium costs, reducing your coverage can help.
How breed, age, & pre-existing conditions affect the cost
Certain factors related to your pet will also influence your costs to insure them. These include things like their species, breed, age, existing medical conditions, and more.
Here’s how you can expect these factors to impact your premiums:
- Species: The type of animal your pet is will play a big role in their insurance costs. Because cats are less active and spend less time outdoors, their insurance is generally much cheaper than that of dogs.
- Breed: Breed will also play a part, especially for dogs. Larger dog breeds typically cost more to insure than smaller ones, as do breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia or other medical conditions.
- Age: Because older animals tend to have higher health needs than younger ones, you can expect their insurance to cost more, too. Some pet insurers actually have age maximums for their policies.
Any pre-existing and chronic conditions that your pet has can also affect the rate you’ll pay to insure them. Many plans won’t cover any condition that was previously known (as shown on vet records). If they do cover it, they’ll likely charge a higher price to do so.
Common discounts offered to make your policy more affordable
If pet insurance is still looking too pricy, you might be able to leverage some valuable discounts to lower your premium.
Here are a few common discounts you’ll see with major pet insurance providers:
- Multi-pet policies: These reward you for covering multiple pets with the same insurer.
- Pay-in-full: Rather than paying your premiums monthly, pay for the full year at once and qualify for a discounted rate.
- Veterans and military owners: If you’re a military member or veteran, you might qualify for a discount on your premiums with proof of I.D.
- Adoption discounts: Did you adopt your pet from a local shelter? Some insurers offer discounts for adopted animals.
- In-network vet use: On some plans, you might also receive discounts for using designated, in-network veterinarians.
Keep in mind that discounts vary by provider, and not all of the above are offered with each insurer. Be sure to ask your preferred insurance company about any discounts you might qualify for before moving forward.
The bottom line
Pet insurance doesn’t always come cheap, but shopping around, adjusting your coverage and deductible, and taking advantage of any available discounts can make insuring your pet more affordable.
Need help finding the best insurance option for your pet? See our guide to the top pet insurance companies.
Author: Aly Yale