Updated May 9, 2021
Reading time: 7 minutes
We at Insurify know that pet parents would do anything for their furry family members, which includes providing them with the best medical care. But some pet owners can feel apprehensive when it comes to paying a high monthly premium —especially for accidents and illnesses that may not even happen.
The cost of pet insurance usually depends on factors that pet parents can’t control, like their pet’s breed, age, location, and size. However, customizing features like the reimbursement percentage, payout limits, deductibles, and coverage options can also impact the monthly premium. Typically, wellness plans, accident-only coverage, and discount programs can cost significantly less than accident and illness coverage. With so many options, narrowing down the search for the perfect policy can seem impossible.
Searching for the best cheap pet insurance means finding low-cost plans that don’t skimp on coverage. A good, affordable pet insurance company should offer comprehensive accident and illness that doesn’t have exclusions for hereditary, chronic, or congenital conditions. It’s also good to look for insurers that don’t exclude coverage based on breed or age. That being said, here is Insurify’s list of the best affordable pet insurance companies:
Figo is an excellent option for affordable cat and dog insurance. It has three plans that vary in annual payouts, chiropractic and acupuncture coverage, and maximum lifetime payout. Figo lets policyholders adjust the deductible, reimbursement percentage, and maximum payout. Policyholders can also choose to buy plan add-ons like rehabilitation coverage and vet exam fees, but it doesn’t offer any wellness plans. Despite its comprehensive coverage, Figo has some of the lowest quotes for dogs and cats and provides a multi-pet discount.
Another great benefit is access to Figo ’s pet cloud app, which functions as a hub for accessing essential policy documents and a pet-centered social media app. It connects local pet parents and maps out nearby pet-friendly areas. This can be a great tool for dog parents looking to socialize their new puppy or take their longtime furry friend out on the town.
Embrace is another excellent option for younger cats and dogs. Pet owners can choose between complete accident and illness coverage or accident-only coverage. They can also add-on a wellness plan, which would cover preventive and routine care like vaccines and checkups. Embrace stands out because policyholders can add a wellness plan and still pay relatively little compared to competitors. They even offer a multi-pet discount.
Embrace pet insurance also has a number of benefits, including the reinstatement of “cured” pre-existing conditions and a vanishing deductible policy. Both of these benefits let policyholders keep the most coverage but still have a low monthly cost. Unfortunately, Embrace is one of the few companies to have an upper age limit. That means that any pet over the age of 14 can not receive accident and illness coverage. However, Embrace will not deny coverage for pets that are already enrolled. All pets qualify for accident-only coverage regardless of age.
ASPCA is another affordable pet insurance provider that offers relatively good coverage. Pet parents can choose between accident and illness coverage or accident-only coverage. They also have a wellness plan for routine care. Similar to Embrace, ASPCA will reinstate “cured” pre-existing conditions like urinary tract infections. The lack of upper age limit makes this an excellent option for pet parents with older pets.
Unfortunately, ASPCA falls behind because of its reimbursement policy. Unlike most insurance providers, ASPCA does not base its reimbursements on the invoice. All reimbursements are based on the average procedure cost for the region. That means pet parents that go to more expensive vets might end up paying way more out of pocket.
Another option pet parents can consider for affordable coverage is PetFirst. PetFirst has three comprehensive plan options and a build-your-own coverage plan. It also offers five different wellness plan options. PetFirst’s coverage options are pretty expansive, and the company offers several discounts. These include $10 off the first month, 10 percent off for animal care employees like vets or shelter staff, and a multi-pet discount. Unlike other providers, PetFirst’s multi-pet discount can stack. That means pet parents get five percent off for covering two pets and 10 percent off for each additional pet. Similar to Embrace, PetFirst also offers a vanishing deductible program.
Still, PetFirst is one of the few insurance companies that won’t cover diseases associated with parasites. These include treatments for Lyme disease or cat scratch disease. That means it might not be the best option for pet owners in rural areas or owners with outdoor pets.
Healthy Paws rounds out the affordable pet insurance options with its comprehensive accident and illness coverage. The plans available depend solely on age and are significantly better suited for younger dogs and cats. Owners of older pets end up paying more and receiving less coverage with lower reimbursement rates. Healthy Paws also has an upper age limit of 14 and will no longer cover enrolled pets. That could be a real problem for any pet parents with middle-aged or older animals. Still, Healthy Paws rates for younger pets are some of the cheapest options out there. They also don’t have any payout limits on any plans, regardless of age.
Finding an affordable pet insurance plan with all the bells and whistles can be expensive, but depending on your needs and your pet’s age, you can find a pet insurance plan that provides you and your pet with the essentials of pet insurance coverage.
If your pet insurance quotes are turning out to be too expensive, you should consider buying an accident-only plan instead of an accident and illness plan. This will cover vet fees for when your pet gets injured or needs medical care in the event of an accident, but doesn’t cover illnesses such as chronic conditions or anything that would require long-term medical care. This is probably best for young pets that usually remain in good health.
If you have a young, healthy pet that doesn’t have health issues and doesn’t get into accidents, you could also consider buying a pet wellness plan. Pet wellness coverage doesn’t cover accidents and illnesses, but it does cover routine visits to the vet, vaccinations, routine tests and blood panels, and even spay and neuter surgeries. While wellness plans are typically provided as an add-on to an accident and illness plan, some pet insurance companies like Wagmo and Banfield will offer wellness care as a stand-alone plan.
To get an idea of how much you’re going to be paying per month for pet insurance, here are the top five most affordable pet insurance companies for dogs:
And here are the top five most affordable pet insurance companies for cats:
Keep in mind, these are average prices based on 80-90 percent reimbursement rates and $250-$300 deductibles. Further, your monthly premium is largely affected by the age, breed, and location of your dog. To get a more accurate idea of how much you’d be paying, you should compare pet insurance quotes from multiple companies.
Check out some of our other pet insurance reviews to aid your search for affordable pet insurance!
Many pet health insurance providers let policyholders customize aspects of their plan, which can drastically change the monthly premium i.e. the policy pricing.
Most providers allow you to adjust the annual deductible, the reimbursement percentage, and the payout limit. Typically, any changes that offer more insurance coverage will raise the monthly premium. By making significant adjustments to the policy coverage, pet parents may find themselves with monthly payments they can’t afford.
The annual deductible refers to the amount of money that policyholders have to spend out of pocket before being covered by insurance. This amount can range from $100 to $1,000, which can dramatically raise your pet insurance quote. Usually, the higher the deductible, the less you would pay each month.
Still, it’s crucial to pick a manageable deductible. If you aren’t able to meet a $1,000 deductible on qualifying veterinary care within a billing cycle, you won’t receive any reimbursements. Often, procedures will only count if your insurance plan covers them. That would mean preventative and routine care, vet visit fees, and dental cleanings might not count toward the deductible.
The reimbursement percentage is the amount of a qualifying vet bill that is covered by insurance. This amount usually ranges between 70 percent and 90 percent, but some pet insurance providers even offer 100 percent reimbursement. That means the insurance provider will pay all of the qualifying invoices. Most of the time, the higher the reimbursement percentage, the higher the monthly premium.
It’s essential to look at the phrasing of the pet insurance policy when choosing a company. Companies like ASPCA base all reimbursements on the average cost in the region, rather than the invoice. That means if you were to file a claim for an $8,000 chiropractic operation, but the average cost in your area for the same procedure was $4,000, ASPCA would only reimburse you based on the average price. If a company bases its reimbursements on the local average, rather than the actual invoice, it might not be cost-effective to choose a low reimbursement rate.
Payout limits are the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay toward your pet’s care. Most companies have annual limits, but some have lifetime limits or limits per diagnosis. Payout limits are one of the most important aspects of a coverage plan, and they can range anywhere from $2,000 to $150,000. Many companies also offer an unlimited payout limit.
Typically, the lower the payout limit, the lower the monthly premium. Still, choosing a low payout limit can impact access to the best veterinary care. If you were to choose a $2,000 payout limit, but your cat needed emergency care that cost $10,000, you would have to pay $8,000 out of pocket.
While deciding what pet insurance plan to buy, make sure you take into any waiting periods, policies regarding pre-existing conditions and hereditary conditions, and customer service reviews.
Before you buy a pet insurance policy, make sure you check out all your options on Insurify. Insurify lets you compare pet insurance policies and prices from up to five different pet insurance companies all in the same place! That way you can make sure you’re getting the best deal on your pet insurance policy.
Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.Learn More