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How to get cheaper pet insurance

cheaper pet insurance
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So you're looking to get cheaper pet insurance, aren't you? Well, you've come to the right place. Pet insurance is an important way to ensure your beloved furry friend gets the kind of health care they need, but it's just as important to make sure you aren't bankrupting yourself in the process. 

Petpla's claims data in the United States says a $1,000+ vet bill is issued every six seconds, so if you don't sort out how to get cheaper pet insurance, you could be facing a lofty bill somewhere down the line.

Finding cheaper pet insurance is all about doing your research and figuring out what is the best plan for both you and your pet. Insurance will cost difference for dogs and cats, old pets and young pets, health pets and those with pre-existing conditions. But those aren't the only factors that contribute to pet insurance costs. We'll help you figure out how to get cheaper pet insurance right here in this article. And you can find the best pet insurance with another one of our guides.

Shop around for cheaper pet insurance

The first step is an obvious one: look at your pet insurance options. Even switching to a different insurer may help get you cheaper pet insurance. 

Different insurers focus on different health factors, different pets, breeds, ages or geographical areas. The ABI suggests vets charges in rural areas, for example, are often significantly lower than those in urban areas, and this lower cost will be reflected in premiums. Keep stuff like that in mind when looking into pet insurance.

Cheaper pet insurance

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are plenty of price comparison websites which will help you find a good deal. In the UK check out GoCompare and Money Supermarket, while Pet Insurance Review is a great way to compare policies in the US and Canada. Oftentimes, comparison websites take a little commission, and may offer unique deals you won't find elsewhere.

If you find a good deal on a comparison website, don't stop there. Check directly with the insurer to see if they can offer you an even better rate. Switching insurers may net you a hefty new customer discount – useful if you're moving a lifetime or multi-pet policy. You may also be able to find first year discounts, if you're happy to bounce around year-on-year.

If you've found what seems like a good rate, do be sure to perform your due diligence. Do you really get the same coverage that your current policy offers? Will it leave you liable for a greater excess or expensive vets fees if there's something it doesn't cover?

Assume the risk of cheaper pet insurance

If you're comfortable with a little more risk, you can save a lot if you switch your pet insurance policy to a lower coverage level. Insurers usually offer a wide variety of different pet policy types, so make sure once you've picked a company you check their different options. 

Petplan UK, for example, has three levels of lifetime cover, the highest of which can cover up to £12,000 in yearly costs. These are perfect for getting puppies and kittens established, but they're not the only option; Petplan also offers, for example, a vastly cheaper accident-only policy.

Cheaper pet insurance

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are also slightly more expensive pet insurance policies with a maximum benefit, which offer a pre-set payout limit over the course of the policy; if your vets fees or medicine costs exceed that maximum, you're on your own, but you'll likely find that premiums are fixed for that pet's lifetime.

The middle ground is a time-limited pet insurance policy. You sign up, typically for a period of twelve months, and receive coverage that's typically cheaper than lifetime policies. Generally, though, you'll also see slightly lower limits in terms of vets fees or medicine costs, and you'll be left to renegotiate a new policy after the set period has ended.

These do cover more ground than accident-only policies, so you'll get a lot more peace of mind. But as your pet ages you may find a fixed-term policy to be something of a false economy, certainly if your pet develops a chronic condition and the price rockets up. Lifetime policies typically continue to pay out for poorly pets; if you're looking to save money, think of the long term.

Look for special deals for cheaper pet insurance

If you are struggling with insurance fees on a lifetime policy and have found a better deal elsewhere, don't be afraid to contact your current insurer to see if they might be able to offer a comparable rate. There's wiggle room in everything, and (depending on your pet) your insurer may be more interested in giving you a discount than losing your business entirely.

Look for multi-pet deals, too. If you have multiple individual policies with a single insurer, there is a chance that combining those policies together may offer you a better deal. Direct Line, for instance, offers a 12.5% discount on multi-pet policies purchased online

Even if you don't save money, consolidating pet insurance policies means they're all paid at the same time, and you can typically tack new pets on as they arrive in your home.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adopting a pet from a recognized rescue can mean dealing with pre-existing health conditions, and pushing through some tough times as they get settled. For a little help, look for charitable policies which might get you some coverage for nothing in exchange for your noble act. 

Some companies, notably PetPlan and Agria in the UK, partner with certain charities and large-scale rescues to offer a few weeks' free insurance while you're getting everything lined up.

You may also be able to find heavily discounted policies for rescue pets, if you look carefully. Relatively new UK provider Bought By Many, for example, is able to broker cut-price More Than policies which could save you up to 39.25%.

Be honest

Insurance isn't cheap. But it's cheaper than the alternative, and once you've balanced up your pets' needs and the cost over time, it's not hard to find the best pet insurance deal for you. 

Finally, a serious note: don't be tempted to skirt around difficult questions from your insurer in the hopes of tricking them into giving you a better deal. It's a good way to cost yourself a good chunk of money if you need to make a claim for something you've omitted when setting up the policy. Not to mention the non-monetary price you could have to pay for committing insurance fraud. 

If in doubt, you can consult our guide to the Best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions.

Alex Cox

Alex is a freelance writer, editor and sub editor specialising in entertainment and technology; he is a father of two, and owned by three increasingly grumpy cats. Somehow he has been doing this for 24 years, and it's still fun.