Jump straight to the answer: You can save money on pet insurance by altering your policy, buying when your pet is younger, paying up front annually, getting accident-only coverage and shopping around.
Need pet insurance for your dog or cat but think you can’t afford it? You can find ways to save on pet insurance, from tweaking your benefits to changing policies altogether. Pet insurance can be essential if you’re a pet owner.
Pet insurance covers everything from accidents and chronic illnesses to routine care. Whether you’re preparing for the worst or want to avoid surprises, a good pet insurance policy can make all the difference for you and for your furry friend.
How to Save Money on Your Pet Insurance
Here a re 5 ways you can save on pet insurance.
1. Tweak Your Policy
You can do that by raising your deductible, lowering your reimbursement rate or reducing your annual limit.
Raise your deductible
Just like with human health insurance, you can save money on your pet insurance policy by adjusting the details. Choosing a higher deductible is one way of saving money on monthly premiums. Most deductibles range anywhere from $100 to $1,000. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the most frequently used deductibles are set at:
By raising your deductible, you take a higher stake in your pet’s insurance policy. You also lower your monthly premiums. This change saves you money over the long term if your pet remains healthy. Deductibles only apply when the policy is used.
Lower your reimbursement rate
Another way you can lower your monthly premiums is to lower your share of reimbursement. Comprehensive pet insurance policies have a reimbursement rate anywhere from 70% to 100%. Studies show that for every 10% reimbursement rate you surrender, you save $50 in annual premiums. While a good way to save extra money, lowering your reimbursement rate doesn’t save you as much as raising your deductible.
Reduce your annual limit
The standard pet insurance policy allows you $5,000 to spend every year. Doubling that to $10,000 alone can raise your annual premiums by $60. While an extra $60 per year doesn’t seem like much, increasing your annual limit to $50,000 could cost you as much as $500 more.
2. Buy Accident-Only Pet Insurance
If a comprehensive pet insurance policy is still out of your reach financially, you might want to consider accident-only coverage. Accident-only pet insurance is more affordable and acts more like a catastrophic policy. If your pet is young and healthy, you may feel you don’t need coverage for medical issues like cancer treatments and pet prescription medication. An accident-only policy saves you money on your monthly premiums.
Compared to a comprehensive policy, accident-only pet insurance is quite affordable. Accident-only policies average just $10 for cats and $16 for dogs. Compare that to an accident/illness policy where the average is $50 for dogs and $30 for cats. An accident-only pet insurance policy with a high deductible and low reimbursement rate can cost as little as $6 per month for cats and $10 per month for dogs.
3. Buy the Policy When Your Pet is Younger, Healthier
All insurance is cheaper when you’re young, whether it is health insurance for humans or pet insurance for your dog or cat. Younger pets are healthier, incurring less chance they’ll need medical services. Some companies offer a healthy pet deductible.
With a healthy pet deductible, your annual deductible goes down a certain amount every year you don’t make a claim. Healthy pet deductibles usually come without extra cost and are typically increments of $50. For example (applying a $200 annual deductible):
- Year 1: You make no claim for medical services = $50 credit.
- Year 2: You still haven’t made a claim = $50 credit ($100 total).
- Year 3: You submit a claim for $1,200. Your $200 deductible is credited $100. You pay $100.
- Year 4: Your standard deductible gets reset, and you start all over again.
You can’t go below zero in credits, but you can eventually raise your deductible. Your credits get paid as soon as you make your first claim. Most healthy pet deductibles apply only to accidents and illness, not wellness plans.
4. Pay Annually
Most pet insurance companies give you a discount if you pay your entire year’s premiums up front. Paying up front allows the insurance company to allot their expenses and pay for potential medical services in advance. Locking in your rate for an entire year lets the insurance company know that you’re in it for the long haul and won’t cancel your coverage tomorrow.
5. Shop Around
If you’re paying $150 or $200 per month for pet insurance, you’re probably paying too much. Pet insurance isn’t typically as expensive as human health insurance unless you’ve got a whole pack of pups. Comprehensive pet insurance (accident and illness) costs anywhere from $10 to $100 per month. For dogs, the average is $50 per month and $30 for cats. Accident-only insurance can cost as little as $16 and $10 respectively.
If you’re looking to lower the cost of your pet insurance, one of the first things you should do is shop around. Price-comparison websites are a good place to start, but be mindful that they usually only represent a few chosen companies. Search the web yourself to find the best deals. You’ll find different companies specialize in different types of pets; you can find just the right fit for yours.
Another alternative is not choosing actual pet insurance at all. Pet coverage with a company like Banfield Pet Hospital can be a more affordable option to standard pet insurance. The Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan covers everything from office visits to 24/7 advice. While Banfield does specialize in wellness plans, it offers comprehensive exams, x-rays, radiology and laboratory diagnosis as well.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
Just like with other insurance plans, the cost of pet insurance depends on several factors, including type of pet and its age, breed and weight. Lowering or raising your deductible has a direct influence on the cost of your monthly premiums, as does your rate of reimbursement or annual maximum benefits. While monthly premiums can range anywhere from $10 to $100 per month, and averages for dogs and cats run $50 and $30 respectively, there’s nothing like seeing the real thing. Here are the results from a test run on a popular pet insurance website.
|Type of Pet||Dog|
|$5K Annual Benefit||$23.44/month|
|$10K Annual Benefit||$25.64/month|
*Results are for comprehensive coverage (accident and illness). Veterinary exam fees for accident and wellness visits are $5.23 per month; wellness coverage adds $9.50 per month.
- Accident and illness
- Diagnostic testing (related to accident/illness)
- Prescription medications
- Emergency services
- Advanced treatments
- Hip dysplasia (after 6-month waiting period)
For this example, no per-incident cap on claims was applied, just the annual maximum. All dogs and cats are eligible at 8 weeks and older. Senior wellness testing required for dogs 8 years or older and cats 10 years or older. The policy has no in-network limitations, allowing you to visit any vet you choose.
What Benefits Does Pet Insurance Offer?
If you don’t have pet insurance, you’re actually in the majority. About 74% of all pet owners don’t have pet insurance, and many of those probably don’t even know it exists. Keep in mind, however, that emergency visits can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,500 and cancer treatments as much as $10,000. Do you have $10,000 to spend on your pet? Think of pet insurance as a down payment on peace of mind.
- All pets over 8 weeks eligible
- Offers comprehensive coverage
- Wellness riders available
- No in-network limits, allowing you to choose your vet
- Some plans offer unlimited annual maximum benefits
While pet insurance is a good idea, it’s not all wine and roses. It costs money, comes with waiting periods and doesn’t cover everything. On top of that, you have to pay the vet yourself before you’re reimbursed by the insurance company.
- Six-month waiting periods for orthopedic illness
- Pre-existing conditions not covered
- Upfront costs paid by insured
Compare Pet Insurance Policies
Armed with knowledge on pet insurance, next you’ll need to find just the right coverage for you. Let Benzinga show you not only how to save money when purchasing a pet insurance policy but which coverage is right for you.
- securely through Chewy Care Plus's websiteBest For:Annual Check UpsRating:
- securely through Wagmo's websiteBest For:EmergenciesRating:
- securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's websiteBest For:Families with multiple pets
Limitations apply. For terms and conditions, visit pumpkin.care. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (NPN#19084749) (“Pumpkin”) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Preventive Essentials is not an insurance policy, and is not available in all states.
Buying Pet Insurance — Stretching Your Dollar
When it comes to purchasing the right pet insurance for you, getting the most for your dollar is key. Fine-tuning deductibles, reimbursement schedules and annual maximums can make all the difference when it comes to how much you pay for premiums. That’s where the Benzinga comes in. Benzinga has put together a long list of articles and educational tools designed specifically to help you choose just the right pet insurance policy for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average price for pet insurance?
While comprehensive coverage (accident and illness) averages anywhere from $30 per month for cats to $50 per month for dogs, accident-only coverage is cheaper, averaging just $10 and $16 respectively.
Is pet insurance worth it?
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), dog owners spend $458 per year on surgical visits and $242 on cats. If the average premium for pet insurance is $50 per month for a dog, $30 for a cat, that means just with surgeries alone, insurance almost comes out even. When you add prescription medications and other chronic illnesses, pet insurance really does pay off.