Best cheap pet insurance

Protect your pets while protecting your wallet

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Vet and medical costs are the second-biggest pet expense (after food). About one in four dogs and one in five cats will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society. So, finding a way to afford care for your pets throughout their lives is not only vital but practical.

Pet insurance plans are available for all budgets. To select our top picks for this guide, we compared popular pet insurance companies on ratings and reviews, plan costs, availability and other factors. Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us — this does not affect our evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear. Read the full methodology for all the details on how we make solar company recommendations.

Compare our top 4 cheap pet insurance plans

Best cheap pet insurance companies reviewed

The average annual premium for accident and illness coverage is $640 for dogs and $387 for cats, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). However, prices vary depending on facts like the pet’s age, breed and location. It’s best to compare a few quotes to see who has the best deal for your specific pet.

Our top cheap pet insurance picks

  1. Healthy Paws: Our pick for quick reimbursements
  2. Embrace Pet Insurance: Our pick for coverage options
  3. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance: Our pick for easy claims
  4. Fetch Pet Insurance: Our pick for good mobile app
Our pick for quick reimbursements
Upper age limit
>14 years
$100 - $1,000
Reimbursement rates
50% - 80%
Annual limits
No limit

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance is a top choice for its straightforward, comprehensive coverage. It’s known for quick claims payouts, often processing claims within two days. The positive experiences with claims and supportive staff make Healthy Paws — one of the largest pet insurance providers — a favorite among pet owners.

All plans come with unlimited annual and lifetime benefits without payout caps, which makes them one of our pricier “cheap” picks. The good news is that premiums also cover prescription medications, hospitalization, emergency and specialty care and surgeries.

Reviewers are pleased with Healthy Paws’ quick and easy claims handling. Customers appreciate the swift turnaround for reimbursements and the convenience of submitting claims through the user-friendly mobile app.

  • “I've had several claims for veterinary procedures and surgery for my older labrador. Healthy Paws has provided great service. They've clearly explained what would be covered and what documentation is necessary for a claim. The claims process is easy and fast. Healthy Paws has been fair and transparent. I wholeheartedly recommend them.” — JGB in Washington
  • “We recently had a claim with Healthy Paws. Filing it was incredibly easy, it was processed within 24 hours, and paid within a week. And then they inquired later to see how our pet was doing. I wish my personal health insurance was as user friendly. Great organization. And when you call, a person answers the telephone!!” — Ken in Oregon
  • “Healthy Paws enabled me to afford the life-saving emergency surgery my Poodle needed. They responded quickly and were very helpful in letting me know exactly what information was needed to complete my claim. A $250 deductible and then 80% of the bill is covered! I am so grateful for Healthy Paws!” — Susan in Ohio

Plans cover a wide range of conditions, including accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions and chronic issues. The average monthly premium is around $61 for dogs and $23 for cats. For pets aged six to eight, coverage options are limited to a $500 annual deductible with 70% reimbursement and unlimited payout. For senior pets aged eight and older, the deductible is set at $750 with a reimbursement rate of 60%.

  • Yearly deductibles: $100, $250 or $500; for pets eight and older, the deductible is set at $750
  • Reimbursement rates: 70%, 80% and 90%; for pets eight and older, the reimbursement rate is 60%
  • Annual limits: No annual or lifetime limits on policies; no caps on payouts for covered veterinary expenses

The majority of customers appreciate the quick and efficient reimbursement process, as well as the responsive and friendly customer service. However, there have been a few negative reviews regarding delays in claim processing and difficulties contacting the claims department. You should also be aware that there is a one-year waiting period for hip dysplasia.

Our pick for coverage options
Upper age limit
15 years for full coverage
$200 - $1000
Reimbursement rates
70% - 90%
Annual limits
$5,000 - $30,000

Embrace Pet Insurance is a reliable choice for pet owners who want a flexible plan to suit their budget. Verified customers tell us it has better coverage and lower premiums than other pet insurance companies. It also offers discounts, like a 10% multi-pet discount and a 5% military discount.

The company has more than 17 years of experience and a user-friendly claims process. We particularly like the prescription drug coverage add-on. The Wellness Rewards program has an option for preventive and routine care that adds value for pet owners. It reimburses routine veterinary, training and grooming costs with multiple coverage options.

Embrace premiums cover a wide range of treatments and conditions, including cancer treatment, genetic, congenital and chronic conditions as well as dental trauma. Procedures covered by Embrace include alternative therapies, physical therapy, specialist and ER care, hospitalization and surgery, lab tests and biopsies.

Reviewers are impressed with Embrace’s quick claims handling, friendly staff and excellent customer service. The vast majority of reviewers expressed satisfaction with the responsiveness and support provided, making Embrace one of the highest-rated pet insurance companies with our reviewers. Many appreciate the flexibility to visit any vet without network restrictions and a fast turnaround process for claims.

  • “... Great service and affordable pricing. Was with Trupanion insurance but they raised my prices over $300 in one month. I highly recommend Embrace insurance for anyone that wants to have peace of mind for their pets in their family. Give them a call today or check them out on their web.” — Jay in Florida
  • “I recently submitted a claim for one of my cats. The communication during the review process was excellent, and I promptly received a partial reimbursement of my expenses. The ease and speed with which my claim was processed was surprising and very much appreciated. With so many choices available for pet insurance, I'm so glad I went with Embrace.” — Stacey in Pennsylvania
  • “Embrace has made sending claims and pet care very easy! The response time if help is needed is quick and efficient. It is affordable and the direct deposit makes everything easy and seamless when waiting for a refund. I love that they offer extra care for vaccines! As soon as I need something I call and things get solved within a few minutes tops. I appreciate that they take your time into consideration and are all very sweet when answering your calls.” — Cornelia in New York

In May 2024, we found a range of monthly premiums for varying dog breeds and ages — $37 to $171. For cats, the range averaged from $9 to $57.

Prescription drug coverage for medications to help manage covered conditions, like chemotherapy and insulin, is available as an add-on. Based on recent quotes, the prescription drug add-on is an extra $5 to $22 per month for dogs ($2 to $10 per month for cats).

  • Yearly deductibles: $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1000
  • Reimbursement rates: 70%, 80% or 90%
  • Annual limits: $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 or unlimited

We’ve heard a few complaints about Embrace raising premiums significantly. For instance, Joe in Washington said his premium doubled after the first year. He suspects it has something to do with a pre-existing condition.

Another customer, Andrea in Washington, said her plan went from around $30 per month in the first year to $120 per month three years later. She also mentioned it’s “quite difficult” to get a representative on the phone. Luckily, the app streamlines the claims process.

Our pick for easy claims
Upper age limit
$100 - $500
Reimbursement rates
70% - 90%
Annual limits
$3,000 - $10,000

ASPCA Pet Insurance offers two customizable plans to suit a wide variety of budgets and pet needs. We appreciate the flexibility to use any vet without network restrictions, which is especially convenient for those who travel or relocate. Plus, the My Pet Insurance app simplifies claims submission for ASPCA plan holders.

Dental coverage is another standout feature, encompassing treatments for dental diseases, extractions and gum disease. Behavior challenges, like anxiety and compulsive behaviors such as excessive licking and fur-pulling, are also covered. ASPCA plans allow you to visit any vet or provider in the U.S. and Canada. Waiting periods for use are about 14 days, which is less than other companies.

Customers appreciate the quick reimbursement process and ease of filing claims with ASPCA. They also mention that ASPCA offers affordable coverage and has good customer service. Reviewers also praise the quick online claims process.

  • “Having had a number of other pet insurances, I can say that ASPCA has by far been better than any other pet insurance I have had in the past. The company is fair, it doesn’t raise its rates every time my pets go to the vet, and is prompt in getting me reimbursed…” — Marie in California
  • “I liked ASPCA Pet Health Insurance's rates and coverage. I just chose the one that is for emergencies. Because moneywise, it makes more sense for the emergencies instead of paying the extra, which I would put towards the regular maintenance fees, like shots. The dog that I initially got the insurance for is a French Bulldog. Most insurance companies charge higher rates for them. And they've covered me every time I've needed them without issues…” —  Leah in Connecticut
  • “I was looking at tons of different pet insurances and ASPCA was the cheapest and the best option. The enrollment was pretty easy and when I file a claim, it works very smoothly. It works well for me.” — Alexis in Indiana

ASPCA offers a variety of options to fit different budgets. The least expensive comprehensive coverage options are about $16 per month for dogs and $9 per month for cats.

For dogs, Complete Coverage premiums average about $72 per month, with costs ranging from $16 to $192 based on May 2024 quotes. For cats, Complete Coverage averages around $27 per month, with premiums ranging from $9 to $58.

Accident-only coverage options for dogs and cats provide lower premiums by covering only injuries and emergencies. For dogs, accident-only premiums average about $19 per month, ranging from $11 to $50. For cats, accident-only coverage averages about $19 per month, with costs ranging from $7 to $36, depending on age, breed, and coverage options.

ASPCA also offers two tiers of preventive care at $9.95 and $24.95 per month, covering routine health expenses like vaccines, wellness exams, and dental cleanings, with no deductibles or waiting periods.

  • Yearly deductibles: $100, $250 or $500
  • Reimbursement rates: 70%, 80% or 90%
  • Annual limits: $2,500, $4,000, $7,000 or $10,000

There are some complaints about ASPCA not covering certain tests and treatments. You need the Complete Coverage plan for accidents and illnesses like diabetes, hyperthyroidism and digestive problems, as well as congenital and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia and kidney disease. Also, “the app sucks compared to the website,” according to Emma in California.

Our pick for mobile app
Upper age limit
$5,000, $10,000, Unlimited
Reimbursement rates
70%, 80%, 90%
Annual limits
$250, $300, $400

Fetch Pet Insurance offers extensive coverage that includes accidents, illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions as well as behavioral issues. Dental illness coverage and alternative therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic care are nice options. The wellness plan offerings allow pet owners to tailor their coverage to specific needs and budgets. Some reviewers have also noted the user-friendly claims process and responsible customer service.

Fetch receives positive feedback for its comprehensive coverage options, including dental illness and alternative therapy coverage.

  • “It’s great having peace of mind when it comes to my sweet rat terrier, Ollie Hopnoodle. He’s been having stomach issues the past year, and I don’t have to worry about taking him to see the vet when he needs to. Once I get the receipt and doc notes from the vet, the claim takes all of about 60 seconds to file on the app. Fetch let’s me know the status of my claims and handles them promptly. I’ll always have coverage with Fetch for my fur baby!” — Ashley in Texas
  • “Fetch makes it easy to submit claims on line. Once the claims are approved the dollar amount goes right into my checking account. Very easy and convenient. Also, claims are paid pretty fast. I am happy with Fetch…” — Marianne in Florida
  • “It is easy to file a claim and quickly get reimbursed for your covered expenses. The app makes it easy to access everything you need to know about your policy. You never know when you will need it and having a policy with Fetch provides peace of mind.” — Carmen in Iowa

Fetch offers a wide range of premium options at a relatively lower rate for dogs and cats. For dogs, premiums range from $22 to $150 a month on average, depending on coverage level, deductible and reimbursement rate.

The average monthly premium for standard coverage is about $43, with the more expensive plans averaging between $32 to $77. A five-year-old French bulldog’s premium, for example, costs $80.81 for standard coverage with a $500 deductible and $10,000 annual payout.

For cats, premiums range from $22 to $57 per month. The average monthly premium was about $32 when we got quotes in May 2024, with more expensive plans averaging $36 and the less expensive options around $18.

Fetch offers three wellness plans: the Essentials at $11.29 per month, covering annual exams and vaccines; an Advantage plan at $20.46 per month, adding microchipping and anal gland expression; and a Prime plan at $32.14 a month, which includes everything plus dental cleaning and more testing options, providing up to $735 in annual benefits.

  • Yearly deductibles for dogs: $300, $500 or $700
  • Yearly deductibles for cats: $250, $300 or $400
  • Reimbursement rates: 70%, 80% or 90%
  • Annual limits: $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000

Some customers seem concerned about limited coverage for certain treatments. This is a common theme across the pet insurance industry. Overall, Fetch gets positive reviews for its helpful customer service, easy claim process and quick reimbursement.

How to get cheap pet insurance

Pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular among pet owners as a way to manage the financial burden of unexpected and even routine veterinary care. While premiums can vary significantly, affordable options exist to suit different budgets and pet needs.

Key insights

Pet insurance works like health coverage for your dog or cat. You pay a little each month, and then you’re covered if something really bad happens.

Jump to insight

On average, premiums cost around $360 to $640 per year. Prices vary depending on facts like the pet’s age, breed and location. Many pet insurance companies offer flexible plans to accommodate almost any budget.

Jump to insight

Consider accident-only plans for the most budget-friendly option for otherwise healthy pets. Insuring your pet early also secures lower rates and broader coverage (and can help address health issues from a younger age).

Jump to insight

What is pet insurance and why do I need it?

Pet insurance is health coverage for your pet that helps manage veterinary costs. Plans typically cover expenses related to accidents, illnesses and sometimes preventive care, depending on your chosen options.

Standard comprehensive plans often cover accident- and illness-related care, including emergency treatments, surgeries, diagnostic tests and prescription medications. They generally exclude pre-existing conditions, wellness checks and elective procedures, like spaying and neutering, unless additional wellness plans are purchased.

About 6.25 million pets were insured in North America in 2023

Pet insurance is particularly beneficial for avoiding the financial burden of unexpected veterinary bills. It allows you to provide necessary care without the stress of high treatment costs. This is crucial for breeds prone to specific health issues or for pets that are highly active and more likely to encounter accidents.

For many in the U.S., pet health insurance has become an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. Campaigns like Petco’s “Together Strong” highlight the importance of coverage for chronic diseases such as cancer. The number of insured pets surged, more than doubling during the pandemic, with a growth rate exceeding 125% in four years.

The American Veterinary Association (AVMA) advises that pet health insurance can significantly reduce financial stress during emergencies, enabling pets to get the timely treatments they need. However, pet owners with significant savings for emergency veterinary expenses or those with low-risk pets might find pet insurance less necessary.

» STILL NOT SURE? Pros and cons of pet insurance

How much does pet insurance cost?

The average annual premium for accident and illness coverage is $640 for dogs and $387 for cats, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). However, pet insurance costs vary depending on facts like the pet’s age, breed and location. It’s best to compare a few quotes to see who has the best deal for your specific pet.

We got quotes for a sample of pets with various names, ages, genders and breeds to compare costs across our top four picks. Yearly cost estimates from Embrace, Healthy Paws, ASPCA and Fetch were collected between May 18, 2024, and May 22, 2024. Price ranges represent each company’s most and least expensive plans, not including any optional add-ons.

Compare yearly pet insurance premiums for dogs

Embrace is the only option with a prescription add-on, which costs $5.51 to $22.32 extra per month.

  • Frank: Five-year-old French Bulldog male
  • Sabrina: Four-year-old Goldendoodle female
  • Max: Three-year-old mixed breed (30 to 70 pounds) male
  • Ophelia: Four-year-old retriever-mix female

Compare yearly pet insurance premiums for cats

Embrace charges $2.64 to $10.31 more per month for the optional prescription add-on.

  • Mathilda: Four-year-old domestic shorthair female
  • Bud: Three-year-old domestic shorthair male
  • Melanie: Six-year-old Siamese female
  • Bruh: Six-year-old Calico male

How can I pay less for pet insurance?

Pet insurance can provide financial security for unexpected veterinary costs, but finding the right plan for your budget is key.

“Free quotes are available from most pet insurance providers online or over the phone, which makes it easy for interested pet parents to ask questions and understand the options available for their pet’s unique needs,” explained Dr. Hunter Finn, an integrative veterinary expert who owns Pet Method Animal Hospital in McKinney, Texas.

“Pets are like family, so we always want to keep them happy and healthy,” Dr. Finn said. “But unfortunately, accidents can happen, regardless of age.”

Insure your pet early

One of the most effective ways to save on pet insurance is to insure your pet while they are young. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, insuring your pet early can lock in lower rates and provide comprehensive coverage throughout their life.

Younger pets typically have fewer health issues, leading to lower premiums and fewer exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Identifying health issues early on can prevent a more severe condition — and higher costs — down the line.

» EXPLORE: Best pet insurance for older dogs

Get an accident-only plan

Opting for an accident-only plan can significantly reduce your premiums. These plans cover injuries resulting from accidents, such as broken bones or ingested foreign objects, but do not cover illnesses.

If your pet is generally healthy and you want to cut costs, an accident-only plan can be a viable option. For example, ASPCA's accident-only plans start as low as $10.50 per month for dogs and $7.25 per month for cats​, according to 2024 premium quotes we collected.

Increase your deductible

Raising your deductible is another way to lower your monthly premium. By choosing a higher deductible, you agree to pay more out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in, which can reduce your premium.

This strategy is useful if you can afford to pay more upfront in the event of a claim. For example, when increasing the deductible with Embrace Pet Insurance from $250 to $500, the premium for a three-year-old mixed breed dog dropped by $15 per month.

Check on discounts

Many providers offer various discounts that can help reduce your premiums. These may include multi-pet discounts, paying annually instead of monthly, or discounts for spaying/neutering your pet.

Embrace, for example, offers a 10% multi-pet discount, and ASPCA has similar savings opportunities.

Explore insurance alternatives

Consider alternative options, such as setting up a pet savings account or joining a pet care cost-sharing network. These can provide financial support for unexpected vet bills without the cost of traditional pet insurance. While they may not offer the same level of protection, they can be a cost-effective solution.

“There are so many ways pet insurance can holistically support you and your pet throughout their entire lives,” Dr. Finn said, “and I encourage all pet parents to do their research and consider investing in a policy.”

Some veterinarians offer payment plans that allow you to pay for expensive treatments over time rather than all at once. There are also credit cards with special financing options for medical expenses, including veterinary care.

Quick and easy. Get matched with a Pet Insurance partner.


    What affects pet insurance costs?

    Pet insurance costs are influenced by several factors, including the type of coverage you choose, such as accident-only or comprehensive plans, as well as pricing options like deductibles, reimbursement rates and annual payout limits.

    Your pet’s age, breed and gender, as well as your location, all affect premium rates. Discounts and add-ons likewellness coverage and similar policy options can impact the cost of pet insurance, too.

    Is cheap pet insurance worth it?

    If you can comfortably fit a pet insurance premium into your budget, it can save you money in emergencies and even routine care. The average annual premium for accident and illness coverage is $640 for dogs and $387 for cats, according to 2024 premium quotes. The peace of mind from inexpensive plans can be a valuable benefit. Pet insurance helps manage unexpected expenses.

    » EXPLORE: Best exotic pet insurance

    At what age are pets cheapest to insure?

    When they are younger, they are less expensive to insure. Premiums, deductibles and even reimbursement rates go up as the pet ages. Pets under five years old have the best pricing options, according to our cost analysis in May 2024.

    Are wellness care add-ons worth it?

    If you’re a dedicated pet owner who is committed to vaccinating and taking your pet to annual wellness exams, as well as keeping up on grooming and other preventive care activities, wellness plans can go a long way toward subsidizing your pet’s best life.

    Bottom line

    You read this article because you care about your pet. A ConsumerAffairs survey found most pet owners would consider taking on “pet debt” in an emergency. With the right pet insurance plan, that’s not a decision you have to make. By comparing quotes, exploring discounts and understanding your pet’s unique needs, you can find a plan that offers peace of mind without breaking the bank.

    » MORE: Pet insurance statistics


    The ConsumerAffairs Research Team objectively evaluates pet insurance providers to highlight those best equipped to meet most homeowners' budgets. We compared the 18 popular pet insurance companies on our site to choose our top cheap providers for this guide.

    To ensure we gave a complete picture of the diverse experiences people have with pet insurance, we eliminated any company with less than 50 reviews over the past three years.

    We analyzed pet insurance reviews by verified customers to gauge real-world satisfaction. Companies with the most positive recent ratings left by reviewers on our site were given preference.

    We then analyzed recent reviews from verified customers to make recommendations. For example, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is our pick for easy claims because of the relatively high density of certain recurring phrases (e.g., “easy file claims,” “claims very helpful”) in verified 5-star reviews on our site over the last year.

    To recap, our top picks for the best cheap pet insurance companies in 2024 are:

    1. Our pick for quick reimbursements: Healthy Paws
    2. Our pick for coverage options: Embrace Pet Insurance
    3. Our pick for easy claims: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
    4. Our pick for good mobile app: Fetch Pet Insurance

    Article sources

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

    1. NAPHIA, “State of the Industry Report 2022.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    2. North American Pet Health Insurance Association, “Average Premiums - NAPHIA State of the Industry Report.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    3. Global Market Insights, “Pet Insurance Market Size, Share & Forecast Report, 2024-2032.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    4. North American Pet Health Insurance Association, “Total Pets Insured - NAPHIA State of the Industry Report.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    5. Petco, “Petco says: B*rk Cancer! The Health + Wellness Company Introduces Groundbreaking Liquid Biopsy Test for Pets, Launches 'Together Strong' Social Awareness Campaign.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    6. Veterinary Cancer Society, “Pet Owner Resources.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    7. American Veterinary Medical Association, “Pet Health Insurance.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    8. The Insured Pet, “Affordable Pet Insurance | Healthy Paws | Manhattan, NY.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    9. Health Paws Pet Insurance, “Healthy Paws.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    10. Embrace Pet Insurance, “Embrace Pet Insurance.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    11. ASPCA Pet Insurance, “ASPCA Pet Insurance Reviews.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    12. Fetch Pet Insurance, “Select a Policy.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
    13. American Veterinary Medical Association, “Do you need pet insurance? | American Veterinary Medical Association.” Accessed May 23, 2024.
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