Gibbs Press promo

The 5 Best Cheap Pet Insurance Companies for 2024


Pet insurance can be a literal lifesaver if your furry friend needs emergency surgery or expensive medical treatment, but the premiums can also put a dent in your budget. NerdWallet gathered quotes from 15 popular insurers and crunched the numbers to help you find the best cheap pet insurance.

We shopped on the insurers’ websites for accident and illness plans in five cities around the U.S. Sample pets were a medium-sized, mixed-breed dog and a domestic shorthair (mixed-breed) cat at ages 2 and 8. Each plan had a $250 deductible, $5,000 annual coverage limit and 80% reimbursement rate. Read our full methodology.

Keep in mind that the affordability of your own rates will vary based on where you live, how much coverage you want, and your pet’s breed and age. Companies that offered the cheapest rates in our tests may not be the best fit for you.

The best cheap pet insurance companies

Below are the five companies we recommend for affordable pet insurance. Click on the company name or keep scrolling for more details on each.

  • ASPCA: Best for younger pets.

  • AKC: Best for pets with pre-existing conditions.

Lemonade: Cheapest for dogs

Lemonade

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Seamless online experience and quick claims, but limited policy options.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Average

Ability to customize plan

Average

insurance-product-card-logo

Lemonade

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Seamless online experience and quick claims, but limited policy options.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Average

Ability to customize plan

Average

Why we picked it: Lemonade offered some of the most consistently affordable rates for dog insurance in our tests. On top of low premiums, the company also has discounts for paying your bill annually rather than monthly and for insuring more than one pet. If you have another Lemonade policy (such as homeowners, renters or life insurance), you can save even more.

Lemonade stands out for its unique “Giveback” program, which donates a portion of company profits to charities chosen by policyholders. It also shines when it comes to claim processing. After you file your claim through the app, the company uses artificial intelligence to review and pay some claims right away. (Human adjusters review the rest.)

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs: $49.

Average of sample monthly rates for cats: $28.

Figo: Cheapest for cats

insurance-product-card-logo

Figo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Extensive coverage, a variety of deductibles to choose from and generous reimbursement options.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

insurance-product-card-logo

Figo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

Extensive coverage, a variety of deductibles to choose from and generous reimbursement options.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

Why we picked it: Figo was the most affordable option for many of our sample cats, and its overall average cost was the lowest of all the companies we tested. Figo also offers discounts for insuring multiple pets or serving in the military.

One unique feature from Figo is a 100% reimbursement option. If you choose this level of coverage, the company will reimburse all your vet bills once you’ve met your annual deductible. (Most pet insurers offer reimbursement options from 70% to 90%.) We also like Figo’s Pet Cloud app, which can store your pet’s digital medical records and has a 24/7 vet telehealth line.

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs: $54.

Average of sample monthly rates for cats: $23.

MetLife: Best for older pets

insurance-product-card-logo

MetLife

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Customizable plans for dogs, cats and even other animals in some states.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

insurance-product-card-logo

MetLife

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Customizable plans for dogs, cats and even other animals in some states.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

Why we picked it: With affordable rates for older pets in our tests and no maximum age limit for enrollment, MetLife is a good bet for animals who’ve left the puppy or kitten stage far behind. Depending on where you live, MetLife may offer discounts for active-duty military, veterans, first responders, health care workers or people who work in animal care. You can also save money in the first year of your policy by buying your plan online.

MetLife’s plans cover treatment for arthritis, diabetes, periodontal disease and other ailments that may crop up for older pets. The company offers a wide range of deductible options to help you customize your policy and price.

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs: $49.

Average of sample monthly rates for cats: $29.

ASPCA: Best for younger pets

insurance-product-card-logo

ASPCA

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Generous coverage and multiple plan options, including an accident-only policy.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Average

insurance-product-card-logo

ASPCA

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Generous coverage and multiple plan options, including an accident-only policy.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Excellent

Ability to customize plan

Average

Why we picked it: ASPCA, which had competitive rates for the 2-year-old dogs and cats in our tests, will cover puppies and kittens over 8 weeks old. Insuring multiple pets can get you a 10% discount.

ASPCA offers some of the most comprehensive plans in the industry, with coverage included for dental diseases, behavioral issues, alternative therapies, prescription food and even microchip implantation. If you want your policy to help pay for your furry new friend’s spay or neuter surgery, you can add the Prime preventive care package.

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs: $61.

Average of sample monthly rates for cats: $29.

AKC: Best for pets with pre-existing conditions

insurance-product-card-logo

AKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Lots of ways to customize your coverage, but the basic plan lacks benefits many other companies include.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Good

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

insurance-product-card-logo

AKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Lots of ways to customize your coverage, but the basic plan lacks benefits many other companies include.

Pay vet directly

No

Scope of coverage

Good

Ability to customize plan

Excellent

Why we picked it: AKC wasn’t the cheapest option in our tests, but in many states it offers a perk that’s almost impossible to find at any price: coverage for pre-existing conditions. While many companies will pay to treat curable issues that have been symptom-free for six months or a year, they generally won’t cover chronic, incurable conditions that developed before you bought your pet’s policy. So if you enroll a pup with diabetes or a cat with kidney disease, most companies won’t cover treatment for these issues.

AKC is the exception. Once your pet has had a plan for 365 consecutive days, the company may cover its pre-existing conditions. (This coverage isn’t available in all states.) Other bonuses include a multipet discount and a 24/7 vet helpline.

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs: $60.

Average of sample monthly rates for cats: $38.

Other cheap pet insurance companies

Not sure if the companies above are right for you? See sample rates for more cheap pet insurance companies below.

Average of sample monthly rates for dogs

Average of sample monthly rates for cats

What determines your pet insurance cost?

Each company has its own formula for setting prices, but the following are some of the main factors that will likely influence how much you pay for pet insurance.

Where you live. If you’re in an area with a high cost of living, vet care may be expensive, too — and your premium will go up accordingly.

Your pet’s age. Just like humans, pets tend to develop more health issues as they age. Because older pets are more likely to need veterinary care, their pet insurance will generally cost more than it would for a puppy or kitten.

Your pet’s species and breed. Dogs tend to be more expensive to insure than cats, and certain breeds cost more than others. That’s because some breeds are more susceptible to health conditions such as trouble breathing, joint problems or heart issues.

The coverage you choose. Expect higher prices for more comprehensive plans offering things like unlimited annual payouts and 90% reimbursement for vet expenses. Adding wellness coverage to pay for annual checkups and vaccinations can also run up your costs. Some insurers charge extra to cover certain expenses such as exam fees or physical therapy.

How to find cheap pet insurance

The following tips can help you get the best possible rate for your pet insurance plan.

Shop around. We recommend getting quotes from at least three companies. Keep in mind that the lowest price may not offer the best value if it comes with a higher deductible or less coverage. (A deductible is the amount you need to pay before your insurer starts reimbursing you.)

Customize your coverage. Many insurers let you tweak your price by changing your deductible, adding or reducing coverage, or opting for a different reimbursement rate. For example, you can typically lower your premium if you choose to be reimbursed for only 70% of your vet expenses rather than 80% or 90%. You could also buy an accident-only policy, which will cover injuries like broken bones or snake bites but not illnesses like cancer.

Just be sure you’re comfortable with the tradeoffs you’re making to get a lower premium. The plan may be cheaper, but you’ll be on the hook for more of your pet’s vet bills.

Ask about discounts. Some companies offer savings if you insure more than one animal, serve in the military or buy multiple insurance policies (such as pet and homeowners insurance). You may also be able to save a few bucks by paying your premium in full once a year instead of in monthly installments.

Look for employer benefits. Some companies offer pet insurance at a discounted rate to their employees. Before you choose this option, however, check with the insurer to make sure you can maintain your pet’s coverage even if you leave your current job.

How to compare pet insurance plans

Aside from price, pet insurance plans vary in what they cover and how generously they’ll reimburse your vet bills. Here are a few key things to check before you commit to a pet insurance plan.

What’s covered — and what’s not

Most accident and illness plans cover things like cancer treatments or surgery if your pet gets hurt. But there are types of coverage you can’t always count on.

Say your pet develops periodontal disease and needs to have a few teeth pulled. Some plans will cover this expense; others won’t. Still others might cover it only if you’ve bought optional dental illness coverage. Learn more about pet dental insurance.

Plans may also vary in their coverage of prescription food and supplements, treatment for behavioral issues and rehabilitative therapies.

Finally, check whether your plan will cover vet exam fees. If you bring your pet in for a sick visit, some pet insurers will pay for medication and other treatment but won’t reimburse you for the exam fee.

Reimbursement

One of the most important things to know about a plan is how it will reimburse you for your vet expenses. A handful of companies can pay your vet directly, but in most cases you’ll need to settle the bill yourself and then file a claim for reimbursement.

Check how long it generally takes the companies you’re considering to process claims. Some do so in a matter of days, while others may take up to a month.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re comfortable with your plan’s coverage limit, deductible and reimbursement rate. These factors all work together to determine how much your plan will pay toward your vet expenses.

Say you have a $500 yearly deductible and $5,000 annual coverage limit with a reimbursement rate of 80%. If your dog needs a $2,000 surgery and you haven’t paid anything toward your deductible yet, your plan would cover $1,200. Here’s the math:

  • $2,000 – $500 deductible = $1,500.

  • 80% reimbursement on the remaining $1,500 bill = $1,200.

You’d still have $3,800 left of your annual limit ($5,000 – $1,200) to spend on any other treatment your pet might need that year.

Waiting periods

There’s generally a waiting period between when you buy your policy and when your coverage begins. For instance, your pet’s illnesses might not be covered for the first 14 days. Some companies have extended waiting periods for certain issues such as knee injuries or hip dysplasia. Learn more about pet insurance waiting periods.

Reviews

NerdWallet has evaluated more than a dozen major pet insurance companies to help you compare your options. Read our pet insurance reviews to see our star ratings and get details about each insurer’s plans.



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top