How To Compare Pet Insurance Quotes – Forbes AdvisorMay 6, 2021
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Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
Compare 10+ Leading Pet Insurers In Minutes
As a pet owner, you want to make sure you can take care of your pet when they need medical attention. A solid way to do that is by purchasing a pet insurance policy. But with all of the plans available, how can you pinpoint the right option for your furry companion? The best way to identify a suitable policy is to compare several pet insurance quotes and plan options.
By comparing pet insurance quotes, you can find the best policy that’s within your budget.
Getting Free Pet Insurance Quotes
All pet insurance quotes are free and can be found these ways:
Online: Many pet insurers make it easy to request a quote online by answering a few questions about the animal. You can gather quotes from individual pet insurance sites or use a price comparison site to review several options.
Phone, email or in-person: Whether you already have insurance through a company that offers pet insurance or would prefer to speak with someone about your options, many insurance companies will connect you to an agent by phone, email or in-person.
Types of Pet Insurance Plans
The type of pet insurance plan you select will significantly affect your pet insurance quotes.
Accident and illness plan. Pet insurance accident and illness plans cover a wide range of health and medical issues as well as hereditary and congenital conditions. This is the most common plan type sold. While coverage will vary among insurers, the plans often include coverage for:
- Digestive issues
- Emergency care
- Ingesting foreign objects
- CT scans or MRI
- Broken bones
- Hip dysplasia
- Urinary tract infections
- Lab tests
- Prescriptions medications
Accident-only plan. Just like it sounds, accident-only plans only cover injuries resulting from an accident. This can include issues like bite lacerations or ingested objects or toxins. Because these plans are designed for emergencies only and exclude illness or other conditions, the premiums are lower than an accident and illness plan.
Wellness plan. Wellness plans are usually not standalone policies. Many insurers let you add wellness or routine care coverage to a pet insurance plan. These plans offer coverage for vaccinations, routine wellness exams, dental cleanings and more. Adding wellness coverage to your policy can help you take preventive measures to keep your pet healthy and detect early signs of illness or disease.
What Factors Affect Pet Insurance Quotes?
Pet insurance quotes will vary depending on the insurance plan you select and specific information about your pet. When pet insurance companies price a policy, they will look at several factors, including:
Age of your pet. You can generally buy coverage for your pet when they reach seven weeks old. The younger your pet is when you begin coverage; the lower your premium will be. Since pets tend to have more health issues as they age, coverage costs rise the older your pet gets.
Type and breed of your pet. Certain pet breeds are more susceptible to specific health issues, which will affect pet insurance quotes, especially for dogs.
Gender. There are generally fewer claims submitted for female pets than male pets. To account for this difference in risk, some insurers charge more for male pets.
Where you live. Because veterinary costs vary by location, your geographic area is taken into account. Folks in urban areas generally get higher pet insurance quotes.
Policy details. The details of your policy also impact your rate, such as:
- Policy type
- Annual coverage maximum
- Reimbursement percentage (co-insurance)
- Deductible amount
How to Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
“Because pet insurance plans aren’t standardized like human health insurance plans, it’s important to understand all of the coverages and exclusions and not simply shop on price alone,” says Heidi Sirota, Chief Pet Officer at Nationwide Insurance.
To compare pet insurance quotes, try to compare apples-to-apples coverage as much as possible. This can get tricky because you may not have the same coverage options to choose for all plans you want to compare. Here are things to watch for:
Deductibles: Watch out for annual deductibles vs. per-incident deductibles:
- With an annual deductible plan, the insurer starts reimbursing veterinarian costs once you’ve paid the annual deductible amount in vet costs.
- With a per incident deductible, you must pay a new deductible for each pet insurance claim, thus putting more of the financial burden on you. That’s why plans with an annual deductible usually cost 4% to 6% more than a per-incident plan, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Common deductibles are $50 to $250 a year, but you can save money by going with a higher amount.
Reimbursement percentage. A reimbursement percentage is the portion of the medical expenses the pet insurance company will pay once the deductible is met.
The lower your reimbursement percentage, the higher portion of medical expenses you’re responsible for. Typical choices are 70%, 80% or 90% reimbursement. Figo offers a 100% reimbursement choice. See Forbes Advisor’s ratings of the best pet insurance plans.
“The reimbursement percentage you select will depend on the amount of out-of-pocket care expenses you’re able to afford. If you have more money set aside to cover care costs, you may want to lower your percentage from 90% to a 70% or 50% reimbursement, which will reduce your monthly premium,” says Sirota.
“Let’s say your labrador retriever gets bitten by a rattlesnake in the desert, which could end up costing upwards of $2,000 or $3,000. Suppose your policy covers 90% of your medical expenses. In that case, you could be on the hook for $300 plus your deductible,” says Dr. Randy Aronson, vet advisor at betterpet.
“That’s why it’s essential to understand the major medical coverages included in your policy and expenses you’re financially responsible for so you can get your pet the level of care they require,” says Aronson.
Premiums: To maintain coverage you’ll make an annual or monthly payment known as the premium. While a lower pet insurance quote is tempting, it usually means your policy won’t cover as much or that you have chosen a high deductible and/or lower reimbursement percentage (co-insurance).
The average accident and illness pet insurance plan for a dog costs $48.78, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.
You may be able save money if you pay in full for the year and avoid monthly installment fees.
Coverage. Some insurers have annual coverage caps (such as $5,000) while others provide unlimited annual coverage. Most plans offer a choice. For example, Embrace Pet Insurance offers annual maximum choices of $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $30,000.
Waiting periods. All pet insurance policies come with waiting periods before coverage becomes effective. Check the differences among plans, especially if there are longer waiting periods for certain conditions such as cruciate ligament problems.
Claims filing process. When faced with a catastrophe, the last thing you want to deal with is a time-consuming claims process. For example, Nationwide gives its pet owners the option to instantly file a claim on their mobile devices by snapping a photo of the receipt and answering a few questions. Then, typically, within seven days, your claim is reimbursed electronically.
Access to vet helplines. Pet insurance companies like Pets Best offer 24/7 veterinary assistance helplines. Having the guidance of a veterinarian any time of day can help relieve the stress of late-night pet illnesses.
Routine wellness plan add-ons. Insurers such as Prudent Pet, TrustedPals and others offer routine care coverage as an optional add-on when you get pet insurance quotes. Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness includes routine care coverage.
Wellness coverage will help with routine care expenses that can keep your pet healthier during the year.
Exam fees. Look for companies that cover exam fees for illness and injury visits. Some pet insurance companies cover treatment costs but not the vet office visit fee. Embrace, Spot and TrustedPals are among the insurers that cover the vet exam fee.
Discounts. If you’re insuring more than one pet, look for companies that offer a multipet discount in their pet insurance quotes, such as ASPCA, Prudent Pet and Spot.
Selecting the Best Pet Insurance Policy
Ultimately, the best pet insurance policy for you will depend on the coverage you want and your monthly budget. Also:
- Consult with your vet to find out the common hereditary conditions that your pet’s breed is prone to
- Take a look at the lifestyle of your pet: If they love to spend days outside, there is a greater chance of getting injured or getting Lyme disease from ticks
“It’s wise to consult with your veterinarian before purchasing a policy so they can help you understand what’s covered and what you’re financially responsible for,” says Aronson. “Even if a pet owner must spend money for an office call, it will be money well-spent to understand your coverage truly.”
Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
Compare 10+ Leading Pet Insurers In Minutes
Pet Insurance Quotes FAQ
What is the average cost of pet insurance per month?
The average pet insurance cost is $48.78 a month for a dog and $29.16 a month for a cat, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. That’s for an accident and illness plan, which is the most common pet insurance sold.
Which is the best pet insurance?
Pets Best provides the best pet insurance, according to Forbes Advisor’s analysis. Pets Best can pay your vet directly, offers a routine wellness add-on, provides a multipet discount and more.
Who has the cheapest pet insurance?
Lemonade had the cheapest pet insurance among the plans that Forbes Advisor has evaluated. But there are coverage trade-offs. See our full analysis of the best pet insurance plans.