Review the pet insurance plan with your veterinarian
Use your veterinarian as a resource for pinpointing the best coverage. Discuss your pet breed’s potential health issues before you purchase a policy.
“It’s important to point out that some pet breeds are more susceptible to certain hereditary conditions than others. Because of this, your veterinarian can identify some health concerns worth covering before your pet becomes affected,” says Dr. Randy Aronson, a vet advisor at betterpet, a site with advice on pets’ well-being.
Compare pet insurance plans
The price you pay for pet insurance can vary drastically from one insurance company to the next. That’s why it’s smart to compare pet insurance quotes from several different insurers.
Try to compare plans with similar policy details, such as coverage limits, reimbursement levels and deductibles. Keep in mind that coverage features can still vary. For example, not all plans include access to a 24/7 vet helpline, which can prove valuable for late-night pet illnesses.
And while your goal may be to find cheap pet insurance, don’t focus on price alone. You’ll also want to take into account other factors like waiting periods, access to 24/7 vet lines and the ability to pay your vet directly.
“Although price is an important factor when considering coverage options, there is no point in paying for coverage that isn’t going to work. You want to strike a balance between having a plan that will cover all of the things that your pet is going to be susceptible to going forward at a price that you can afford,” says Alex Stone, founder of pet insurance comparison site PetInsurer.com.
Buy an accident-only policy
Accident and illness pet insurance policies are typically the most expensive because they cover a wide variety of problems, like broken bones, torn ligaments, hereditary conditions, cancer, emergency room visits, hospitalization and prescription medication.
But if you’re comfortable taking on more financial risk, you could save money by opting for a pet insurance policy that provides less coverage.
For example, some pet insurance companies will also offer accident-only policies that exclusively cover accident-related expenses such as broken bones or situations where your pet swallows something it shouldn’t. Since accident-only plans are not as comprehensive, they cost less than an accident and illness plan, reducing your coverage cost.
Just keep in mind, if you buy an accident-only policy, you won’t be covered for illness-related medical bills.
Adjust your deductible, reimbursement and coverage levels
The details and terms of your policy impact the cost you pay for coverage. When you purchase a policy, you can typically select:
Deductible. The sum you must pay each year before your coverage pays for any of your pet’s vet bills, such as $200 or $500.
Reimbursement level. Your insurance company will reimburse you for a portion of your vet bills after your deductible is paid. For example, you might choose a plan that reimburses 90% of your vet bills.
Coverage caps. Many pet insurance companies give you the option to select your annual coverage limit. This means they will only reimburse your vet bills up to a certain amount each year, like $5,000. Some pet insurance companies, like Spot and Pets Best, offer unlimited annual coverage.
Here are some ways to lower your pet insurance costs:
- Select a lower reimbursement percentage such as 70%.
- Choose a higher deductible such as $500.
- Reduce your annual coverage cap like choosing $10,000 instead of unlimited coverage.
While lowering your deductible, reimbursement and coverage levels can save you money on your pet insurance costs, you will have to pay more out-of-pocket for veterinary expenses.
Ask for pet insurance discounts
Pet insurance discounts are a good way to save on your premiums. Here are some to look for:
- Multipet discount. You can typically get savings if you insure more than one pet.
- Spay/neuter discount. If your pet is spayed or neutered, you could qualify for savings.
- Annual pay discount. Some insurers offer discounts to customers who pay their annual premium in one lump sum.
- Employee discount. Some employers offer pet insurance as a benefit, which could range between a 5% to 10% discount.
- Military discount. If you are a military member or veteran, you may qualify for a discount.
Don’t wait to buy coverage
The sooner you buy pet insurance, the better, says Aronson.
For example, if your pet develops a condition such as heart disease or arthritis before you buy pet insurance, it will be considered a pre-existing condition and excluded from coverage. Meaning you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for any expenses related to this condition.
Related: Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions