Many pets are considered an important part of the family. Naturally, pet owners want to protect and take care of them. Oftentimes, this requires regular visits to the vet and occasionally the emergency room. Vet bills can add up quickly on top of the typical cost of a pet. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners collectively spent around $15 billion on vet care in 2014.
One option to potentially lower the costs associated with veterinarian care is to get pet insurance, but is it worth the cost? Pet insurance could be a cost-effective solution to mitigating expensive vet bills, but there’s also the chance it could be a wasted expense on a healthy dog. After all, monthly pet insurance payments can add up over time, but owners should remember that some emergencies could cost thousands at the vet.
So what do you choose? Rather than avoiding pet insurance altogether, some owners may want to try to find ways to save money on a pet insurance policy. There are ways to make certain insurance policies more affordable under the right circumstances, and pet insurance is no exception.
First, it pays to understand the costs of pet insurance in general and how other owners approach it.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of pet insurance can vary quite a bit, depending on your pet breed, pet age, where you live, your deductible, and more. Premiums for insurance covering only accidents can be as low as $10 a month, while more extensive plans may be up to $35 a month on average. If you have an exotic pet or a unique pet breed, a comprehensive insurance policy can be more than $100 a month.
What are people actually paying?
Lendedu surveyed dog owners with pet insurance and found that more than 22% paid $0 to $100 a year on average. Just over 30% paid anywhere from $101 to $200 annually. Of the surveyed individuals with pet insurance, nearly 83% said it was worth it. At the same time, there are other prohibitive costs associated with pet insurance such as co-pays and deductibles. Premiums can increase over time as well. These additional costs influence many pet owners to forgo insurance.
According to the same survey, more than 52% of pet owners without pet insurance said their primary reason for not having it was the cost. So, how can you reduce the cost if you want a policy while also on a budget?
How to Reduce Pet Insurance Expenses
There are certain strategies to help reduce your pet insurance costs, while retaining some level of protection and coverage.
Reduce Coverage or Take On More Responsibility
If you want to save money, you can increase your risk level by choosing a plan with higher out-of-pocket expenses. With pet insurance, co-pays usually range from 10 to 30%, and deductibles can range from $100 to $500. If you want a low monthly premium, choose a plan with the highest co-pay and deductible that you can reasonably afford to pay out-of-pocket.
Check with Employer Benefits
An increasing number of employers are offering unique perks like pet insurance to creatively attract and retain top talent. If you can enroll with a company benefit, then you can save money on out-of-pocket costs. Pet insurance is available at major companies like Delta, UPS, and Chipotle, among others.
Get a Policy When the Pet Is Young
The older your pet is, the more expensive pet insurance is going to be. Pet insurance providers view older pets as risky, and aside from rising costs, some insurance companies won’t cover pets over a certain age. Getting insurance while your pet is young is a good way to save money and make sure you’re eligible for an insurance policy.
Optimize Your Policy
It’s important to choose the right policy for your needs. Do not pay for what you don’t need. You can compare plans to make sure that you are aware of what is included and not included with each. Shop around before making a decision, and think realistically about what you typically spend in terms of pet care. If you trust your vet and have been working with them for a while, you can also ask their opinion on optimal policies.
Pet insurance can be a great tool when used correctly, but it’s also an added expense. Make sure you do your research when considering a pet insurance plan. Take any possible steps to save money along the way. You may be able to save yourself, your pet, and your wallet some trouble.
Andrew is a Content Associate for Lendedu – a website that helps consumers and pet owners with their finances. When he’s not working, you can find Andrew hiking outside or hanging with his cat Colby. For the record, Andrew is a fan of both dogs and cats and plans on owning both soon.