You can get low-cost vision insurance for as little as $5 per month, and the average cost of a standard plan across six top companies is approximately $14 per month, according to our research. That can mean savings if you require annual eye exams and regularly need new glasses, but vision insurance isn’t always worth it. Here’s what you need to know about factors impacting the cost of vision insurance and how the top companies compare.
Average Vision Insurance Cost
|Provider||Exam Copay||Frames Allowance||Average Individual Premium|
|Guardian||$15||$120 (FL)/$160 (TX)||$12.84|
We averaged premiums for two highly-populated ZIP codes in Florida and Texas (73301 and 33101) for plans that offer similar benefits. Most, but not all, were the standard plan and therefore the cheapest vision insurance plan available.
Factors Influencing Cost
Because average care costs vary from one state to the next, so do vision insurance premiums. When you get a quote for vision insurance, you’ll typically need to enter your ZIP code.
Type of Benefits
Most vision plans cover annual eye exams, contacts, frames, and lenses. Some comprehensive plans also include savings on vision procedures. The type of coverage you buy, the limits, and the copays for vision care will all impact your premium.
Most companies offer a few different plans at different price points, with plans that have higher benefit limits usually costing more.
Number of Insureds
If you buy a partner or family plan, you’ll pay more for coverage relative to an individual plan. But you may be able to save money per person compared to buying individual plans for everyone in your family.
Some insurance companies in some states may use age as a factor when determining your premiums, but many only consider your location. In our research of average rates, only Humana asked us for our age.
Top Vision Insurance Companies
- VSP: With a plan from VSP, you can save on additional glasses and lens enhancements from in-network doctors. You also get up to $230 toward your frames, and copays are as low as $0 for progressive upgrades and light-to-dark tinting. The company offers up to three vision care plans (depending on your location) and an eyewear-only plan. You can purchase an individual, two-person, or family plan.
- Davis: Davis offers three plans that give full coverage for lenses. Eye exam copays start at $15, and, depending on the plan, you can get up to a $200 frame allowance. Plans also include a one-year breakage warranty. Davis has offered coverage for more than 50 years and has a broad network of eye care professionals.
- EyeMed: EyeMed plans start at $5, the lowest we found in our research. The cheapest plan covers eye exams but only offers discounts on frames and lenses. The company also has two other plans with covered allowances and copays.
- Humana: Humana offers standalone vision insurance and a dental, vision, and hearing package. The company’s vision plan comes with a $10 copay that can be waived when using certain providers, and a frames allowance of up to $200 (or $250 when using certain providers). Plans also provide discounts on Lasik.
- Guardian: Guardian offers three plans offered by VSP. Copays for eye exams are $15, and a frames allowance of up to $225 per year is available. Plans also offer savings on hearing aids and laser vision correction.
- UnitedHealthcare (UHC): UnitedHealthcare has standalone vision insurance along with vision and dental packages, and you can visit an out-of-network professional and still receive some benefits. UHC offers cheaper premiums than most other providers for similar coverage, and copays are only $10. You can choose a plan with coverage for contacts or glasses, or get coverage for both.
How to Save Money on Vision Insurance
- Compare quotes in your area: Some providers charge more than others for similar coverage. Be sure to collect a handful of quotes in your state and compare the benefits and savings offered with each plan.
- Buy an insurance package: Some companies offer vision and dental insurance as a package, and this may save you money when compared to buying two standalone policies.
- Buy a family plan: Most companies offer cheaper pricing per person on partner or family plans.
- Opt for lower coverage limits: Lower benefit caps mean lower premiums. For example, plans that have lower frame allowances are generally cheaper, so consider getting a basic plan and choosing lower-cost frames.
- Check the network: Make sure you can see your preferred eye care professional through the plan you choose, so you don’t end up going out-of-network (and paying more).
Pay attention to how flexible the benefits are. For example, you could save money on your overall vision care if your plan allows you to buy your frames and lenses online.
How to Choose the Best Vision Insurance
- Compare coverage: Look at several plans and determine which ones cover the services you need. For example, if you wear contact lenses, narrow your options to vision insurance companies that provide coverage for your exam and lenses.
- Compare networks: Make sure the eye care professional you want to see is part of the insurance company’s network, and that there are other options in your area as a backup. Evaluate whether you can go out-of-network and still get coverage.
- Check customer service reviews: Look at third-party websites like ConsumerAffairs, Trustpilot, and the BBB for patterns of complaints. While most companies will have some negative reviews, some are rated better than others.
- Calculate your savings: Calculate how much you typically spend on vision care each year and determine how much you’ll save with the plan based on your quoted premium. Choose the plan that provides the best value.
- Evaluate the claims experience: Most companies offer an easy online claims experience, and some may even offer mobile apps. Make sure the claims process will be convenient for you before signing up for a plan.
What Vision Insurance Does Walmart Vision Take?
Walmart Vision Centers are not in-network providers for any vision insurance company, but you may receive some coverage if you have a plan from one of the following companies that pay for out-of-network care:
- Cole Managed Vision
- Davis Vision
How Much Is a Vision Exam Without Insurance?
If you don’t have vision insurance, an out-of-pocket eye exam ranges in cost from $50 to $250, with an average cost of about $95. You’ll likely get a cheaper exam if you go to a retailer like Target Optical or Sam’s Club than if you visit an independent eye doctor.
Is Vision Insurance Worth It?
If you and your family members have poor vision and need new glasses or contacts every year, you could save money on your vision care through vision insurance, especially if you want to choose your doctor and frames. However, vision coverage won’t necessarily save you money when compared to shopping around for vision care. For example, America’s Best often features offers that reduce the cost of an exam and glasses to less than a year’s worth of premiums for most standard vision plans.
Does Vision Insurance Cover Lasik?
Since Lasik procedures are elective, most insurance plans won’t cover them. However, some plans provide discounts on Lasik. For example, some UnitedHealthcare plans offer up to 35% off Lasik.
What Does Vision Insurance Cover?
Vision insurance generally provides at least partial coverage for eye exams, glasses (including frames and lenses), and contact lenses. Coverages vary depending on the plan you choose. Some vision insurance plans are sold as part of a vision/dental bundle as well.
Do I Need Vision Insurance?
If you have perfect vision and don’t need glasses, you probably don’t need vision insurance. The American Optometric Association only recommends an exam for asymptomatic patients under 65 at least once every two years. The cost of vision insurance would likely exceed the cost of a biennial exam. However, if you buy new glasses every year, vision insurance can help you save money.
Vision Center. “How Much Is an Eye Exam Without Insurance?.”
UnitedHealthcare. “5 Tips to Consider Before Laser Eye Surgery.“
American Optometric Association. “Comprehensive Eye Exams.”