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How Can You Lower Pet Insurance Costs?

Learn how you can reduce the expense of pet insurance without sacrificing coverage.

Why you can trust Insurify: As an independent agent and insurance comparison website, Insurify makes money through commissions from insurance companies. However, our expert insurance writers and editors operate independently of our insurance partners. Learn more.

Many people love the idea of having a pet in their home. What’s not to love about endless snuggles, love bites, and sloppy kisses? 

While bringing a furry family member into your home can be a rewarding experience, owning a pet often comes with unexpected costs, including medical care. Pet insurance is one way to help cover any unexpected medical expenses. But it can be costly.

Here are some things you can do to lower your pet insurance costs.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance isn’t required and unlike human health insurance plans, you won’t need to worry about whether a vet is in or out of network. 

Pet insurance may not seem necessary, but opting for a plan could help you save money and provide additional coverage if something goes wrong. When choosing an insurance plan, you’ll want to ensure you understand exactly what is covered and what isn’t to make sure the plan meets your needs. 

How does pet insurance work?

Most pet insurance plans will reimburse you after you pay your vet up front and submit your charges to the insurance company. The insurance company will send you a check for the covered amount. Sometimes, your veterinarian may work with you on the billing process. 

Pet insurance typically comes with two options: 

  • An accident-only policy covers things like broken bones, injury from a vehicle, poisoning, and swallowing objects. Depending on the provider, your policy may cover tests and surgeries.[1]

  • An accident and illness policy covers unexpected injuries and some diseases like cancer, UTIs, GI issues, and diabetes. Your policy may also cover tests, surgeries, and prescriptions. Some providers offer coverage for alternative treatments as well.[1]

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance plans range in cost depending on the type of coverage you choose, your animal, its age, and where you live. Like other policies, the cap on your coverage can also affect your rate. Pet owners spend between $20 and $50 per month (or $130 and $583 annually) for pet insurance on average.

By comparison, treatment for a broken leg in a dog could set you back between $400 and $3,700, depending on the location and number of breaks.

Learn More: What is Emergency Pet Insurance and What Does it Cover?

How to lower your pet insurance costs

Taking care of your pets is integral to pet ownership. You want to make sure they’re healthy and cared for. Since medical expenses can be expensive, finding an affordable pet insurance plan can be a smart way to save. However, you’ll want to pay attention to a few things to ensure you get the best coverage without paying too much.

Consider which breed to choose

Some dog breeds are known to have unique healthcare needs or are prone to certain types of injuries and illnesses. 

For example, French bulldogs may be more inclined to allergies, cataracts, and breathing problems, while dalmatians are more prone to hearing loss.[2] Some companies may refuse to insure certain breeds or charge you a higher rate to do so. You should also know that home insurance companies may charge a higher premium if you own certain breeds, like pit bulls and rottweilers.

Cats vs. dogs

When considering a new furry family member, cats are often cheaper to insure than dogs. Cats typically visit the vet less frequently and are less likely to suffer from injuries (especially if kept indoors). 

Compare companies and policies

When shopping for insurance policies, one of the most critical steps is comparing rates and policies from multiple providers. Choosing the cheapest policy may not provide the coverage you need, and the most expensive policy may not be the best fit for your needs or your budget. 

Pet coverage will vary between the insurer and policy type. Some things you can look at when choosing a company include:

  • Deductible: A higher deductible means you pay more out of pocket, but you’ll also usually pay a lower premium. 

  • Reimbursement rate: This is the percentage of the total cost you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance company. 

  • Payout limit: This is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out. This limit could be set annually or over the life of your pet.

  • Age of pet: If you enroll when your pet is younger, you can typically secure a less expensive policy.

  • Company reviews: Don’t forget to check reviews by previous customers. Remember that individual experiences may vary, but you may want to reconsider your choice if you see multiple complaints about reimbursement times, denied claims, or coverages. 

Speak to your vet

Your veterinarian may be your best resource for information about pet insurance. Since veterinarians are likely to interact with various insurance companies, they may be able to offer insight into which providers they work well with. 

Consider a multi-pet discount

You may be able to save on your pet insurance costs if you cover multiple pets under the same policy. Some companies allow customers to bundle policies for a lower rate than paying separate coverages for each animal. 

See More: Puppy Insurance 

Save money with preventive care

The easiest way to save money on pet health is through preventive care. Annual visits to the vet for updated vaccines and a physical can help you stay on top of potential health issues. 

In addition to regular vet visits, you can ensure your pet stays as healthy as possible with at-home care, such as:

  • Give them flea, tick, and heartworm preventive medication

  • Brush your pet’s teeth

  • Feed your pet a healthy diet

  • Provide a safe environment free of potential toxins (certain plants, chocolate, etc.) 

  • Keep cats indoors

  • Ensure your dogs can’t escape your yard

  • Give your pets regular exercise

  • Keep your dog on a leash in public

  • Use pet-safe pesticides and yard treatments

  • Play with your pets every day

  • Train and socialize your pet

Focus on finances

Once you find a company and a policy that meets your needs, you can save a little more on your policy by following these strategies:

  • Choose a higher deductible. You’ll need to pay more out of pocket, but your policy will be cheaper. A higher deductible can be particularly helpful if you have a younger, healthy pet.

  • Pay for your policy annually. Ask the insurer if it provides a discount for paying for the annual cost of your pet insurance up front versus paying monthly.

  • Opt for a lower reimbursement. The reimbursement percentage is the amount the insurance company will pay you back for covered treatments. You can save money on your policy by opting for a lower reimbursement rate. 

Is pet insurance worth it?

Whether pet insurance is worth it will depend on your unique situation. Pet insurance isn’t required and veterinarians don’t require that their pet patients have insurance. Unlike human health insurance plans, you won’t need to worry about whether a vet is in or out of network. 

Pet insurance may not seem necessary, but opting for a plan could help you save money and provide additional coverage if something goes wrong. When choosing an insurance plan, you’ll want to ensure you understand exactly what is covered and what isn’t to make sure the plan meets your needs. 

Pet insurance FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about pet insurance.

  • The best deductible for your pet insurance is one you can afford. While a higher deductible will offer a lower monthly payment, you could feel financial pressure in an emergency situation if you can’t afford to cover the larger deductible. Pet policies may offer deductibles as low as $100. However, if you could afford to pay more out of pocket, you could lower the cost of your policy.

  • The average pet owner in the United States spends $20 per month for accident-only insurance on dogs and $11 per month for accident-only insurance on cats, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.[3] Pet owners who opt for accident and illness coverage spend an average of $48.66 for dogs and $28.57 per month for cats. 

  • The purpose of pet insurance is to cover unexpected costs from accidents and illnesses. Pet insurance usually doesn’t cover regular checkups and pet care. In addition, pet insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, so securing coverage when your pet is young could save you money.[4]

  • Pet insurance operates a little differently than human health insurance. Unlike health plans for people, you can choose any veterinarian to treat your pet. Since pet insurance policies are reimbursement policies, your veterinarian doesn’t have to “take” insurance. Once you’ve completed your pet’s visit, you can send your pet insurance provider a copy of the bill for reimbursement.

  • You’re unlikely to secure pet insurance on an animal with a pre-existing condition. You may qualify for an accident-only policy, but pet insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions. You can ensure your pet is covered by enrolling in pet insurance before any issues arise.

Sources

  1. American Veterinary Medical Association. "Do you need pet insurance?." Accessed March 1, 2023
  2. American Kennel Club. "French Bulldog." Accessed March 1, 2023
  3. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Section #3: Average Premiums." Accessed March 1, 2023
  4. AAHA. "Pet Insurance Resources." Accessed March 1, 2023
Angela Brown
Angela Brown

Angela Brown is a freelance writer with 17 years of professional writing and editing experience.
She specializes in finance, real estate, and insurance content. Angela uses her experience to
create easy-to-understand content that helps consumers understand tough topics better. When
she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and planning vacations.