How to Save Money on Pet Insurance
Keeping your pet healthy doesn’t come cheap. Especially in an emergency, veterinary care can quickly drain your bank account. A routine exam can cost up to $150, according to data from Emergency Vets USA. And that’s just the start. If your pet is hospitalized for an illness like kidney failure, you could spend up to $3,500, while surgeries cost $5,000. Depending on the pet (and their condition), costs can stretch much higher than that. Pet insurance can offset some of those costs, but you don’t have to overpay for peace of mind.
What Does Pet Insurance Cost?
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, many pet owners spend up to $49 per month to insure their dog and $29 per month to insure their cat. Premium costs largely depend on which pet insurance policy you choose. Pet insurance typically comes in three coverage levels: accident-only, accident and illness and comprehensive wellness plans. Generally, accident-only policies are the least expensive, while comprehensive policies that cover accidents, illnesses and routine care can be more expensive. For example, opting for an accident-only plan for a dog drops the average monthly premium to $20, according to the NAPHIA.
What Impacts Pet Insurance Premiums?
Your premiums depend on several factors:
- Type of policy: Your chosen policy will significantly impact your premium.
- Deductible: The deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
- Age and breed of pet: Older pets and some breeds of dogs and cats are more prone to certain health conditions, which can make their insurance premiums higher.
- Location: The cost of veterinary care can vary depending on where you live, impacting the cost of your pet insurance premium.
- Coverage limits: Some policies may have annual or lifetime limits on the amount they will pay out for certain treatments, which can impact the cost of your premium.
- Pre-existing conditions: If your pet has a pre-existing condition, it may not be covered by your policy, or your premium may be higher to account for the increased risk of needing treatment.
How to Save Money on Pet Insurance
While you can’t change every factor impacting your premium, you can make moves to lower your pet insurance costs.
Sign up early
Younger pets are generally considered lower risk, as they are less likely to have pre-existing conditions or require expensive treatments. As a result, many pet insurance companies offer lower premiums for younger pets. Sometimes, you can lock in the rate when you sign up for a policy. This means that the premium you pay when you sign up will remain the same for the life of the policy, regardless of any changes to your pet's health or age. However, not all pet insurance companies offer this feature, which may only be available for specific policies or under certain conditions.
Raise your deductible
Raising your pet insurance deductible can be a way to save money on your premiums. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. While you would have to pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim, if your pet stays healthy and doesn't require treatment, you could save money over time by opting for a higher deductible. It's essential to consider your pet's health and budget when deciding on a deductible. Make sure you choose a deductible you can afford in an emergency.
Opt for a lower reimbursement
The reimbursement percentage is the amount of the covered expense the insurance company will pay you back after you've paid the deductible. Many pet insurance companies offer policies ranging from 100% to 60% reimbursement, while some may go even lower. Lowering the reimbursement percentage on your pet health insurance reduces the amount the insurance company will have to pay you back for covered expenses. Typically, the lower percentage you choose, the cheaper your monthly premium will be. Curious what your reimbursement options are? Try our Pet Insurance Comparison tool to quickly see coverage options from several pet insurance companies.
Seek out discounts
Much like your home or auto insurance policy, you could also get a discount on pet insurance by bundling. Some pet insurance companies offer multi-pet discounts, which can save you money with multiple pets under the same policy. You may also get a discount if you purchase pet insurance with the same insurance company you use for other needs — like your renter's insurance. However, before you bundle services, make sure you can’t get a cheaper rate through another provider. And don’t forget to ask your insurance company about other available discounts. Many offer deals for military members or pet parents who go for an extended time without filing a claim.
Cosmetic and elective surgeries
Pet insurance typically does not cover cosmetic or elective surgery for your pet. Cosmetic or elective surgery refers to any procedure not deemed medically necessary for your pet's health and well-being. Examples of elective procedures include ear cropping, tail docking or declawing, often performed for aesthetic reasons rather than medical necessity.
Paying for pet insurance annually instead of monthly can save you money in the long run. While monthly payments may seem like a more affordable option upfront, they often come with additional processing fees that can add up over time. On the other hand, paying for your pet insurance annually can result in significant savings, as many insurance companies also offer a discount for upfront payment.
Compare pet insurance rates
Comparing rates between pet insurance companies can help you find the lowest price possible. Our Pet Insurance Comparison tool can help you see several rates at once from reputable providers in just a few clicks.