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  2. Pet Insurance

6 Best Cheap Pet Insurance Companies

Best Cheap Pet Insurance Main Takeaways

The most affordable pet insurers include Embrace, Pets Best and Lemonade.

  • Pet insurance can cover accidents as well as chronic conditions.
  • On average, monthly premiums are $53 for dogs and $32 for cats.
  • Premiums are lower for younger pets but will rise as the animal ages.
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  • Get up to 90% back at any vet
  • 5% military discount available
  • Comprehensive illness & accident coverage – no levels
  • Optional wellness plan covers routine vet, grooming, & training costs
  • Customizable annual deductible, annual limit, & reimbursement percentage
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  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee*
  • Up to 90% reimbursement on eligible vet bills, including accident and illness
  • Multi-pet discount & access to 24/7 vet helpline
  • Visit any U.S. licensed veterinarian or specialist
  • *Subject to terms and conditions
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  • Save on exams, vaccines & routine care
  • Go to any licensed vet in the US
  • Fast & simple digital claims process 
  • Get discount for multiple pets
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  • ​​​​Get cash back on eligible vet bills
  • Coverage for accidents, illnesses & behavorial issues
  • Alternative Therapies available
  • Visit any licensed vet in US or Canada
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  • Save up to 90% off eligible vet bills
  • Accidents, illness & routine care
  • Easy online claims submissions
  • Wide range of plans & coverage options for your furry friend

Why Trust Us?

To compile our roster of the best cheap pet insurers, we rigorously investigated premiums and policy provisions across a wide selection of companies. Our criteria included:

  • inclusion of valuable features at rates that were both affordable and competitively priced
  • consideration of short-term savings, such as monthly premiums and long-term factors as well, like lifetime limits
  • average rates, pricing flexibility, annual deductibles, and potential reimbursement limits

This comprehensive assessment ensures a reliable guide for pet owners seeking cost-effective and high-quality insurance coverage for their furry companions. Read the full methodology to learn more.

 

Summary

Our Top Picks for Cheap Pet Insurance Companies

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Best Cheap Pet Insurance Reviews

Annual payout limit: $5K, $10K, $20K, $50K or $100K
Reimbursement rates: 70%, 80% or 90%
Annual deductible:$100, $250 or $500
Waiting periods:2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses
Discounts: 5% multi-pet and annual payment discount

Why we chose Lemonade: Lemonade offers pet owners more control in determining what their policy covers and its final price. In addition to modifying the policy's limits, coinsurance and deductibles, pet owners can opt out of certain benefits to further reduce their premiums.

Pros
  • Speedy claims processing via mobile app
  • Several deductible, annual limit and coinsurance options
  • 2-day waiting period for accidents
Cons
  • No accident-only plan
  • Only available in 38 states

Lemonade offers a single accident and illness plan that's more customizable than most in terms of benefits and reimbursement levels. Policyholders can also purchase a wellness rider, which adds coverage for vaccinations, parasite screening and dental cleanings

Lemonade has some of the lowest premiums because it offers a base policy and lets you opt out of certain benefits upon enrollment. You can add or remove coverage for vet exam fees, dental illnesses, end-of-life services, physical therapy and behavioral modification. You can further modify your plan at check out and select the deductible, annual limit and coinsurance that best suits your budget.

Lemonade could be a good option for pet owners who want fast claims processing. The company's website states that once you submit a claim, its algorithm speeds through the review process and issues a reimbursement in seconds once the claim is approved.

On the other hand, we found the quote process to be cumbersome. The company requests a lot of information that other insurers don't, and you can't talk to a live agent via chat.

Read Lemonade Pet Insurance Review >>

Annual payout limit: $2.5K, $5K, $10K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates:70%, 80% or 90%
Annual deductible:$50, $100, $250, $500 or $1K
Waiting periods:3 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses
Discounts:5% multi-pet

Why we chose Pets Best: Pets Best is one of the few providers that offer direct payment to vets upon request, and the most affordable pet insurer in our survey to do so.

Pros
  • Coverage for prosthetic and mobility devices
  • Broad range of coverage options and deductibles
  • Waiting periods may be reduced or waived with a medical exam
Cons
  • Excludes behavioral modification
  • No coverage for parasite treatment

Pets Best's Vet Direct Pay benefit solves a significant drawback to pet insurance: paying for vet bills out of pocket and waiting for reimbursement. For many pet owners, paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars upfront simply isn't possible and they have to recur to some form of credit even if they have pet insurance.

Pets Best offers Vet Direct Pay if your veterinary clinic is willing to participate. The clinic must complete and sign a copy of a veterinarian reimbursement release form (available on Pets Best's website) along with the completed claim form. After your claim is processed and approved, Pets Best will send the payment directly to the vet's office.

One notable downside to this service is that it isn't recurring. You'll have to request it each time there's a veterinary bill you'd rather not pay out of pocket.

Read Pets Best Pet Insurance Review >>

Annual payout limit: $2.5K, $5K, $7.5K,$10K, $15K, 20K, Unlimited
Reimbursement rates:70%, 80%, 90%
Annual deductible:$100, $250, $300, $400, $500, $600, $750, $1K
Waiting periods:2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses
Discounts: 5% multi-pet

Why we chose AKC: AKC's accident and illness plan is the only plan on our list that covers pre-existing conditions, and this unique benefit is available at a competitive price, too.

Pros
  • Offers accident-only coverage
  • Breeding pets are eligible for coverage
  • Unlimited payout option available
  • 24/7 vet helpline
Cons
  • Coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions costs extra
  • Dental insurance only covers injuries
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions isn't available in all states

The American Kennel Club (AKC) covers all pre-existing conditions after a waiting period, a benefit that was previously unheard of in the pet insurance market.

In order to qualify, pets must be actively enrolled for 365 days and any issue that was initially excluded will be covered once you renew the policy the subsequent year.

Before enrolling your pet, we recommend you take note of the other restrictions in this plan to ensure you're getting the coverage you want. Coverage for exam fees, behavioral therapy and hereditary conditions costs extra. Plus, you can only purchase coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions if your pet is under two years of age.

Other than the limitations previously mentioned, AKC offers coverage that's on par with other providers. Your plan will cover diagnostics, treatment, medications, prescription medications and other services necessary to treat any unexpected illness or injury that

Read AKC Pet Insurance Review>>

Annual payout limit: $5K,$10K or unlimited
Reimbursement rates:70%, 80%, 90% or 100%
Annual deductible:$100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K
Waiting periods:14 days for illnesses, 1 day for accidents
Discounts: 5% multi-pet

Why we chose it: Figo is among the cheapest pet insurance companies that offer a 100% reimbursement rate. The company also offers unique add-ons such as boarding, compensation for lost or stolen pets and liability coverage.

Pros
  • Unlimited payouts and 100% reimbursement available
  • Offers liability protection
  • Waiver of waiting period for orthopedic conditions
  • Covers vet telehealth consultations
Cons
  • No accident-only plan
  • Exam fee and physical therapy coverage costs extra
  • Hereditary conditions excluded for pets enrolled after 2nd birthday

Figo Pet Insurance is one of the most affordable pet insurance providers that still offers the option to select 100% reimbursement. This benefit means that, once you meet the deductible, Figo will cover 100% of the remaining vet bills for the year up to the annual limit.

Figo's add-ons set it apart from other providers as well. The pet boarding rider covers boarding expenses if you're hospitalized for more than 48 hours. The liability rider may reimburse up to $10,000 if your pet injures someone or damages their property. Lastly, the travel insurance add-on pays up to $1,000 if your pet gets sick and you have to cancel or cut a trip short.

Lastly, Figo offers a mobile app called Pet Cloud. This feature is included with all plans at no additional cost and provides access to a live veterinarian for checkups and other advice at any time of the day or night.

Read Figo Pet Insurance Review >>

Annual payout limit:$1,000 to $25,000
Reimbursement rates:70%, 80%, 90% or 100%
Annual deductible:$0 to $750
Waiting periods:1 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses
Discounts:10% multi-pet, 5% military, diminishing deductible

Why we chose Metlife: Pet owners with multiple pets can take advantage of Metlife's family plan and enroll up to three pets under a single policy with just one deductible.

Pros
  • Covers exotic pets in some states
  • Next-day coverage for accidents
  • Very broad range of deductible options
Cons
  • No accident-only option
  • Terms vary by underwriter

Metlife pet insurance caters to households with more than one pet, making it easy to insure up to three pets under the same plan. Each eligible vet visit (no matter which pet you take) counts towards the same deductible, so you can potentially qualify for reimbursements faster. Other providers allow you to enroll as many pets as you like, but you have to pay a separate deductible for each one.

Metlife pet insurance has a short accident waiting period and offers 24/7 telehealth services. The insurer also provides up to $500 to cover pet boarding if you are hospitalized, or for advertising and/or rewards to help find a lost or stolen pet. Exam fees, physical therapy, take-home prescriptions and alternative therapy services like acupuncture and chiropractic care are also covered at no extra cost.

Another notable benefit is Metlife's diminishing deductible discount. The insurer will reduce your deductible by $25 or $50 for each year that you don't receive a claims reimbursement.

Pet owners should note that these benefits may vary depending on which underwriter issues Metlife pet insurance policies in your state.

Read Metlife Pet Insurance Review >>

Annual payout limit:$5K, $8K, $10K, $15K or $30K
Reimbursement rates:70%, 80% or 90%
Annual deductible:$100, $250, $500, $750 or $1K
Waiting periods:2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses
Discounts:10% multi-pet, 5% military, 5% to 10% healthy pet

Why we chose Embrace: Embrace pet insurance offers comprehensive policies at an affordable price point compared to its competitors, plus the company offers various discounts that may lower your monthly premium even further.

Pros
  • Six months of international coverage if you travel with your pet
  • 24/7 Pet Health Line
  • Two waiting periods for accidents and injuries
Cons
  • Monthly payments are charged a recurring $1 transaction fee
  • $25 enrollment fee
  • Caps dental illness coverage at $1,000 per year

Embrace offers one accident-only plan and two accident and illness policies. These plans will reimburse you for diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalizations, ambulance services and more if your pet becomes seriously ill or injured. Coverage for exam fees and physical therapy is also available but at an extra cost.

In addition to military and multi-pet discounts, Embrace allows policyholders to lower their premiums if their pets remain relatively healthy. The Healthy Pet Discount program guarantees a 5% reduction in your monthly premium if you keep claims reimbursements under $300 the previous plan year. And if you do the same for the next year, the discount increases to 10%.

Another standout benefit of Embrace is its international coverage. Globetrotting pets are covered for up to six months if they need veterinary care abroad. This benefit is only available to U.S. residents traveling abroad and you must take your pet to a licensed veterinarian in order to file a claim.

Read Embrace Pet Insurance Review >>

Other companies we considered

To pick the best cheap pet insurance, we gathered quotes from the best pet insurance companies and highlighted the ones that offered the most affordable rates.

Nonetheless, we encourage you to read our reviews and get sample quotes from every company we considered. Pet insurance rates vary significantly by zip code and pet profile. You may find that some of the providers below offer pet insurance plans that suit your budget.

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Compare pet insurance plans

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Company
Exam fee coverage
Accident-only plan
Wellness coverage add-on
Multiple deductibles
Unlimited payout option
100% reimbursement option
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Healthy Paws
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Trupanion
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Pumpkin
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Many Pets
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Nationwide
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= included in the base policy
= not covered in the base policy or costs extra to add
Based on publicly available sample policies. Actual terms may vary.

Cheap Pet Insurance Guide

Identifying the best pet insurance company offering the cheapest pet insurance coverage is easy thanks to insurers' user-friendly platforms and transparent online quote tools and comparison marketplaces like Petinsurer.com and Pawlicy Advisor.

Keep reading for tips on how to find affordable pet insurance and insights into the cost of pet insurance.

What is the cheapest pet insurance?

The cheapest pet insurance varies a lot by location and the pet's profile. A company that is expensive in one zip code might be surprisingly affordable in another.

In our price survey for cats, we found that Metlife and Embrace offered the most affordable policies in California. The same cat, however, had several more affordable insurers to choose from in North Dakota. The majority of insurers in North Dakota offered policies that were close to or lower than the average monthly cost of pet insurance.

Cheap dog insurance was harder to come by. In California, Metlife, Embrace and AKC offered the most affordable plans for a mixed breed dog. A Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, was significantly more expensive to insure. Metlife was the most affordable, yet the monthly price was a whopping $65 for a one-year-old lab.

In North Dakota, the cheapest pet insurance plans for both a mixed breed dog and a Labrador Retriever were from AKC, Lemonade and Figo.

What is the average cost of pet insurance?

The average monthly cost of pet insurance is $53 for dogs and $32 for cats, according to the most recent State of the Industry Report by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).

How much you end up paying in premiums depends on a variety of factors, including your pet’s breed, age, gender and where you reside.

Average cost of dog insurance

NAPHIA reports that the average cost of dog insurance was $53 in 2022. Dog owners paid much less for an accident-only plan — $16 a month on average.

These rates have been steadily increasing since 2019. Dog owners spent an average of $594 a year on pet insurance in 2019 and this number has since grown to $640 for an accident and illness plan.

Average cost of cat insurance

That same survey calculates that cat insurance costs an average of $32 a month ($387 a year). Surprisingly, cat insurance rates haven't increased at the same pace as dog insurance. In 2019, the yearly premium averaged $365 — $22 less than the average premium reported in 2022.

Factors that affect the cost of pet insurance

We can divide the factors that affect the cost of pet insurance into two categories: those you can control and those you can't.

Factors you can't control:

  • The type of pet: Cats are much more affordable to insure than dogs.
  • Your pet's breed: Purebreds cost more to insure, especially those prone to congenital issues.
  • Your pet's age: While many insurers don't have upper age limits, older pets are often too expensive to insure, and benefits are limited.
  • Your zip code: Insurance rates are significantly more expensive in certain states and zip codes.

Factors that are in your control:

  • The type of plan: Accident-only plans are the most affordable, though these offer the most limited coverage.
  • Optional add-ons: Adding extras like a preventative care plan to your policy can substantially increase your premium.
  • Your deductible: Choosing a higher deductible translates to lower premiums.
  • Your payout limit: Annual coverage limits can be as low as $2,000 or unlimited (the most expensive option)
  • Your coinsurance: Selecting low (0% to 10%) coinsurance will increase the cost of your policy.

How to find affordable pet insurance

Get quotes from multiple providers

This is arguably the most important step to finding affordable pet insurance coverage. Gather quotes from as many providers as possible and compare their plan details. You'll be surprised to find premiums can vary considerably by company, even for similar plans.

Pet insurance comparison marketplaces are a great tool, as well. However, we recommend that you carefully review the terms of the policies you're interested in to determine which one is truly the most affordable. The advertised price might look like a great deal, but you may find that coverage is low and benefits are limited upon closer inspection.

Insure your pet early

Pet insurance is most affordable when your pet is one year old or younger. As your pet ages, insurance rates get more expensive. In our surveys, we found that premiums increase at a predictable pace between your pet's first year of age and their fifth year. After that, premiums reach inordinate prices that are hard to justify.

Furthermore, enrolling your pet early is crucial to avoid pre-existing condition clauses.

Adjust your deductible and coverage levels

When you're getting a pet insurance quote, play around with the policy's terms to find the combination that suits your budget.

Selecting a high deductible will considerably reduce your monthly costs. The only drawback to this approach is that if your pet has an accident or needs an emergency procedure, you will have to meet the deductible, however high it is.

To lower your monthly rate, consider choosing a low reimbursement percentage and a low annual payout cap. Pet insurers often advertise very high annual payout limits, but most pet owners should be just fine with a limit of $10,000 or less.

Pay annually

Pet insurance providers allow policyholders to purchase coverage through a single, annual payment. And many offer a discount if you opt to pay this way as opposed to every month or every six months.

This offers the benefit of paying less while guaranteeing your pet will be covered throughout the year, with no risk of coverage lapsing if you forget to make your monthly premium payment.

Should you get pet insurance?

Pet insurance is not for everyone. The decision to purchase a policy depends on your risk tolerance, budget and whether you see value in the policy.

For many, pet insurance isn't a good financial proposition. Monthly premiums are expensive and increase significantly as your pet ages. Plus, the out-of-pocket expenses can really add up.

Pet insurance can really pay off if your pet experiences a catastrophic injury or illness. But you risk losing a lot of money paying insurance over your pets' lifetime if they never require a major operation or something like cancer treatment.

Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance doesn't cover the cost of routine vet visits either. This exclusion can be a turn-off for those seeking coverage for common routine services like vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, microchipping and parasite screenings.

On the other hand, pet insurance can provide a financial safety net if your pet ever requires an expensive emergency vet visit or develops a chronic condition early on in their life.

Many pet owners report immense relief at having pet insurance. Without it, they would have had to make a difficult choice between their pet's health and their financial stability.

Pet insurance may be worth it if:

  • Your pet is healthy and young
  • You own a breed that's prone to congenital or hereditary issues (like hip dysplasia)
  • You can afford monthly premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses
  • You don't have the means to pay for sudden, expensive vet bills

Pet insurance may not be worth it if:

  • Your pet is older or has pre-existing health issues
  • You have sufficient savings and income to cover expensive vet bills
  • You can't afford monthly premium payments

Cheap Pet Insurance FAQs

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions

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For the most part, no. Any condition that your cat or dog had before you bought a pet insurance policy is excluded from coverage. This exclusion extends to any newly diagnosed illnesses or injuries that veterinarians can trace back to symptoms you may have overlooked before getting coverage.

AKC pet insurance is the only provider we've found that covers any pre-existing condition after a one-year waiting period. This benefit kicks in after you renew the policy for the subsequent year.

Other pet insurers may cover certain pre-existing conditions, but only if your pet remains symptom- and treatment-free anywhere from six months to two years. This exception is called a "curable pre-existing conditions" clause and typically applies to one-time issues such as UTIs, digestive problems and eye or respiratory infections.

Is pet insurance tax-deductible?

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In most cases, pet insurance is not tax-deductible. Nor can you claim your pet's vet bills as medical expenses on your tax return.

Guide dogs or service animals that help people with disabilities are the exception. You may be able to claim purchasing, training and maintenance expenses for a service animal. But pets deemed emotional support animals cannot be claimed on your tax forms.

Does pet insurance cover routine care?

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Neither accident and illness nor accident-only plans cover routine care.

This includes services like vaccinations, microchipping, deworming, parasite screening and heartworm prevention.

However, pet parents can add a wellness plan rider to their pet insurance plan. This add-on increases the premium and doesn't always cover the full cost of a routine visit, so do the math before purchasing it.

Is there pet insurance that covers spaying?

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Spaying and neutering is considered routine care, and pet insurance won't cover it unless you add a wellness rider to the policy. Wellness plans that include a spay/neuter benefit typically pay out $150 to $200 for this service. Depending on where you live, that may not cover the full cost of the procedure.

How We Chose the Best Cheap Pet Insurance

To put together our list of the best cheap pet insurance providers, we first identified the companies that offered the best coverage.

There isn't significant variation between pet insurance providers when it comes to the services, illnesses and injuries they cover. All companies cover diagnostics, surgery, hospitalization, medication and long-term treatment for accidents and illnesses that aren't pre-existing. However, some companies are slightly more restrictive than others.

Here are some of the factors we took into account:

  • Customizability: The best pet insurance providers offer multiple deductible, annual limit and reimbursement options so you can tailor the policy to your budget.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Pet insurance doesn't cover pre-existing conditions, but some companies enforce stricter restrictions than others. We excluded providers that didn't cover curable pre-existing issues such as allergies, ear infections or UTIs.
  • Exam fee coverage: We selected insurers that cover office visits and exam fees in the base policy or as a rider.

To illustrate the cost differences of pet insurance across states, we analyzed quotes for various pets in both California, a known high-cost state, and North Dakota, a state with generally lower rates. These are the pet profiles we used:

  • A one-year-old domestic shorthaired cat
  • A one-year-old Labrador Retriever
  • A one-year-old medium mixed breed dog

Some pet insurance plans seem cheap at first glance but that affordability comes at the expense of some benefits: exam fees, dental issues and physical therapy.

We selected equal coverage benefits across all providers — even if it meant adding riders — to ensure we were comparing pricing fairly and for the same amount of coverage:

  • 90% reimbursement
  • $250 deductible or the closet number available
  • $10K payout limit or the closest number available
  • Exam fees
  • Behavioral modification
  • Dental injury and illness
  • Physical therapy

Summary of Money's Best Cheap Pet Insurance