While pet insurance is already one of the least expensive insurance products available, that doesn’t mean it’s always affordable – especially if you choose one of the more generous policies or have an older cat or dog. Luckily, there a number of ways you can reduce the price of pet insurance.
1. Choose a higher deductible
There are two major ways you can control your monthly premiums, and choosing a higher deductible is one of them. The higher your deductible, the cheaper your monthly premium will be. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be responsible for more money upfront when you do need to make a claim. This isn’t inherently bad – if you only make one or two claims a year, it’s easy to put money aside for the deductibles. However, if your pet develops a chronic condition and you need to make multiple claims, a high deductible can destroy your bank account.
Unfortunately, you can’t predict how many times you’ll need to visit the vet (not being able to see the future is one of the best reasons to buy insurance, after all). Choosing a higher deductible is riskier, but if you need to choose between a high deductible plan or no pet insurance at all, choose the high deductible plan.
2. Choose a lower reimbursement plan
The other major way you can control your monthly premium is choosing a lower reimbursement rate. Because your pet insurance company reimburses you instead of directly paying the veterinarian, you can choose what percentage of the bill your insurer will reimburse you (after the deductible, of course). Typically, you can choose between 70% and 90%. You’ll pay more of the bill out of pocket when you choose a lower reimbursement rate, but you’ll also save money every month on your premiums.
Like choosing a higher deductible, choosing a lower reimbursement rate can be risky if you get multiple vet bills in a year or even just one big vet bill. Make sure you take a look at your finances and make sure that you can afford to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of a worst case scenario.
3. Comparison shop
Pet insurance rates are decided on a number of factors, but each pet insurance company weighs those factors differently. So while you may get a rate of $30 per month from one company, another may offer you a policy with the same features and conditions for $15 per month. You could potentially save a huge amount of money every year just by comparison shopping!
4. Choose an annual payment
Insurance companies usually allow you to pay annually instead of monthly, and they typically give you a discount for doing so. If you can afford the annual payment upfront, you could save a big chunk of change on pet insurance premiums.
5. Buy young
The younger your pet is, the cheaper your pet insurance will be. You lock that rate in for life, too, so as long as you keep the same policy, you’ll be paying the same low rates for the entirety of your pet’s life.
Of course, if you have an old pet, this doesn’t really matter. You don’t have a time machine and you can’t go back in time. You can, however, keep this in mind if you get another pet in the future. While it’s hard to get accurate statistics on pet owners, it’s estimated that anywhere between 40% and 60% of pet owners have multiple pets, so we think there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be looking at pet insurance in the future.
Image: Ralf Κλενγελ