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Is There Free Pet Insurance for Low Income Families?

If you’re in a lower income bracket, owning a pet can come with a financial Catch-22. On one hand, if the pet gets sick, it will be difficult or even impossible to afford emergency care for the animal. However, getting pet insurance also costs money that you don’t have in your monthly budget. Yet with how many assistance programs there are out there for low income families, you may be wondering if there is free pet insurance for low income families. Technically there is no such thing as free pet insurance. However, you can find lower cost options and even alternatives to pet insurance.      

Lower Cost Pet Insurance: 

While there are is no free pet insurance for low income families, if you do have a little bit of wiggle room in your monthly budget, you may want to look into less expensive forms of pet insurance

Companies with tiered plans allow you to customize the level of care you have covered, usually allowing for care in emergency situations when you would have had to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in vet bills. You can also choose higher deductibles. With these methods, you end up with a lower monthly payment. 

Some major examples of pet insurance companies with tiered programs include:

Figo Pet Insurance: Figo designates between its essential, preferred and ultimate plans. The essential plan covers what the other two plans do, but it has $10,000 in annual benefit, versus the $14,000 for the preferred plan and unlimited for the ultimate plan. For a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever in Texas, currently the essential plan is $31.56 per month, versus the $41.73 for the ultimate plan. So you’re saving about $10 monthly. Read our review of Figo Pet Insurance.

Nationwide Pet Insurance: This company also has a similar situation. Currently, it’s $36.89 per month just for major medical coverage or the whole pet with wellness plan goes up to around $90.95. That’s for a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever in California. Read our review of Nationwide Pet Insurance.

Trupanion Pet Insurance: For the third-tier plan with a $700 deductible, the current quote is $44.04 per month. The $0 deductible plan goes all the way up to $129.03. Trupanion operates under one plan, with deductible amounts being the main difference between plans. That’s for a 1-year-old Lab in Texas.  Read our review of Trupanion Pet Insurance.

Pets Best: This company also offers tiered plans, although prices are more even between them.  For instance, the current difference between the essential and elite programs is $28.54 versus $34.84 per month. The essential plan covers major accidents and illnesses, cancer, hereditary conditions, emergency care, surgeries and medications. That’s for a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever in Texas. Read our review of Pets Best Pet Insurance.

As you can see, choosing different coverage options can drastically affect your monthly price.  

>>MORE: What does Pet Insurance Cover?

Resources for Pet Owners in Need:

Just because there is no such thing as free pet insurance for low income families doesn’t mean you don’t have any resources available to you. States and national organizations can offer assistance to pet owners in need. The Humane Society of the United States offers a very extensive list of these organizations, both nationally and by state.  

Not only that, but there are also organizations that assist with specific breeds and diseases. It can be helpful to source breed organizations, as these are typically familiar with different illnesses each breed may be susceptible to. Examples of these include:

>>MORE: How Much does Pet Insurance Cost?

Breed organizations:

  • CorgiAid. Visit their website here.
  • Goldstock Fund (Golden Retrievers). Visit their website here.
  • Labmed (Labs). Visit their website here.
  • Pit Bull Rescue Central. Visit their website here.

Disease organizations:

One of the best ways to find a financial support organization for pet owners is to do a search that’s worded something like “[breed name] financial aid” or “[animal disease name] financial assistance.” 

Crowdfunding/Fundraising: 

A newer way of raising funds for a pet’s care that many people do not think of is crowdfunding. Many people turn to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to get care for a specific dog’s injury or illnesses. There is even a pet-specific crowdfunding site called Waggle

People post their pet’s story on these sites, usually helped along with a social media campaign. There are many communities online devoted to certain dog breeds, like subreddits and Facebook groups. Then, people post their pet’s story and request for assistance to pages like these.  

You can also go the old school route with more classic fundraising ideas. Some people simply take a coffee jug and paste their pet’s story to the outside. Then they ask their vet or someone else if they can put the jar out on a counter to raise funds for their sick animal. Another option is a community bake sale or yard sale.  

>>MORE: Pet Insurance that Covers Preventative Care

Other Assistance Outside Free Pet Insurance for Low Income Families:

There are also other options that fall under more of a miscellaneous category. Some other ideas include:

  • Check with your local veterinarian schools. They may offer discount services if you take your pet into the school’s clinic.  
  • Ask your local humane society if they know of low-cost vet options. For example, some may be able to refer you to local county services that offer care at a discount, like the local domestic animal control commission may offer spaying and neutering at a discount.
  • There are even grants that can assist with animal care and ownership. Talk to your vet, local humane society or vet school to see if they know of any.  

A common way to fund sudden vet expenses is also CareCredit, which offers no interest within certain promotional periods. However, if you have a tight monthly budget, make sure you can make those payments within the promotional period or the interest fees can pile up.

>>MORE: The Best Pet Insurance that Covers Pre-Existing Conditions

Final Thoughts: 

  • Sadly, there is no free pet insurance for low income families the same way low income households might be able to receive assistance for utility or grocery costs. But you still have options for financial assistance open to you.
  • One way to get pet insurance if you are on a tight budget is to go for lower-cost tiers that typically just cover larger expenses and emergency-type care.  
  • You can also look into state, national, breed-specific and disease-specific organizations that offer financial assistance for pet care.
  • Crowdfunding is a more modern option for covering expensive care emergencies. You can also look into traditional fundraising, like donation jars or bake sales.
  • Finally, check with veterinarian schools and humane societies for low-cost care options.  Grants may also be available in your area. However, credit should be a last option if you have a tight monthly budget.
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