How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Pet insurance is similar to a personal health insurance policy, except that it is for animals.  A pet insurance policy will cover some or all vet bills depending on the coverage and company.  On average, in the United States, most insurance policies will cover up to 90% of the health fees, and most pet owners sign up for a policy to protect themselves from expensive medications and treatments.

The cost of pet insurance will depend on the company issuing the policy, the type of animal, age, gender, breeder, the policy and where you live.

IMG_0410.JPG by scottfeldstein, on Flickr
IMG_0410.JPG” (CC BY 2.0) by scottfeldstein

How much does pet insurance cost?

On average, most insurance policies for both cats and dogs are going to cost anywhere from $15 to $68 per month.  Keep in mind that most policies will not insure older pets older than seven or pets with a pre-existing condition such as cancer, but this will vary from provider to provider. A dog is going to cost more than a cat by at least $5 to $10 per month, and the age and breed will play a big role on the final monthly premium.  Like a health insurance policy for a human being, the more inclusions you want, the more you’re going to pay.

Dogs commonly known to have health problems such as the pug or bulldog can have a higher premium, while a breed such as a beagle can be toward the lower end because of a great health history.

Refer to our table below to see what most of the popular pet insurance companies are charging.

Insurance NameMonthly Rate EstimateDeductibleWhat's Included?
247PetWatch$50$100 to $1,000Illnesses and accidents covered with a 80% co-pay. Boarding kennel fees, lost pet recovery, cremation, trip cancellation, accidental death and additional living expenses included.
AKC$18 to $42$250 to $1,000Accident coverage and benefits up to $10,000 per incident, depending on the plan chosen. 20% coinsurance on all plans.
ASPCA$30 to $55N/ANo limits on incidents that can be reported. Deductibles and coinsurance customized to personal needs.
Banfield$25 to $43N/AThis is more of a wellness plan, not designed for major accidents or illnesses.
Embrace$13 to $50$200 to $50020% coinsurance with up to $10,000 annual maximum, depending on policy. There will be no per incident limits. The policy will cover accidents, illnesses, genetic and chronic conditions. No dental or wellness covered.
Figo$30 to $40$50 to $500Emergency, hospitalization, surgery, hereditary conditions prescriptions and other treatments.
Healthy Paws$19 to $25N/ACan pay up to 9% of the bill for accidents or illnesses. You will be able to customize.
Nationwide$18 to $60$50+No age restrictions and will cover accidents, surgeries, prescriptions, chronic conditions and some hereditary conditions after waiting period.
Pet Assure$10 to $15N/ANot considered an "insurance" plan. It can offer 25% discount at participating hospitals.
Pet Plan$8 to $11$100 to $2,500Covers all accidents, injuries and illnesses. Depending on the policy, the limits can range from $2,500 to no limit.
PetFirst$25 to $50$50Will cover accidents and illnesses, up to $15,000, depending on policy. Some plans also include kennel fees, trip cancellation and loss of pet.
Pethealth$10 to $38$50 to $100Policies pay 70 to 100 percent of approved claim. Also has boarding fees and finder's rewards.
PetPremium$10 to $25$100 to $50070 to 90% reimbursement with up to unlimited annual limit. Two policies are offered: accidents only and total coverage.
Pets Best$5 to $35$75 to $200Reimbursement ranges from 70 to 100%.
Trupanion$16 to $45$200This policy can pay up to 90% of your bill for any accident or illness. Deductibles can be customized.
VPI$13 to $30$50Pays 90% of approved claim according to schedule.

NOTE:  These are ballpark estimates.  Outside of the deductible, each plan can offer different features and premiums. All rates will be heavily dependent upon the breed, pet, age and other conditions.

Factors that affect the cost

Where you live

Pet Insurance Quotes recently did a study and had found that the costs across the United States wildly vary depending on where you live.  In Alabama, for example, a dog could cost an average of $35 per month, while a dog in California could cost $46 per month for the same policy.  The main reason because of the geographical location is due to the local cost of living and animal hospital charges.  As you can imagine, a larger city will always be much more than a smaller town.

The breed

Pet insurance rates will vary among breeders because some breeds are more susceptible to certain health conditions.  For example, a German Sheperd is known to have more problems than a short haired cat.  If your breed is known for hereditary disorders, such as cancer or hip dysplasia, then you can count on your policy being higher.

Age

Like health insurance for us humans, the older your pet is, the more your policy is going to be.  As your pet ages, the chances of illness or injury is going to greatly increase.

Coverage

What kind of inclusions will you want in your pet insurance policy?  All pet insurance companies will offer a variety of coverage options, ranging from a simple comprehensive policy that only covers emergencies to policies that cover everything, including wellness visits.  The most common policies on the market will include major medical policies, which will only cover major medical procedures, accident only policies, which will only cover accidents, and wellness policies, which will cover any wellness-related activity.  The deductible and reimbursement rate can also affect the price.  The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.

Pet insurance overview

The average deductible can range from $50 to $1,000, while the co-pay can range from 15% to 60% of the total cost of the service.  Be sure to read the fine print because many providers have a cap on a number of benefits given out in one year.  With most policies, pre-existing conditions will not be covered.

Most policies will cover illnesses, injuries, hereditary conditions, diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays, supplements and prosthetic devices.  Before coverage kicks in, most insurance companies will have a 30-day waiting period.  Pet insurance policies will cover just about anything besides preventative care (unless purchased separately) and preexisting conditions.

What are the extra costs?

Most common insurance policies will not cover preventative procedures such as vaccinations and checkups, but some policies can add on preventative maintenance premiums.  This can add another $10 to $35 to the monthly bill.

As your pet grows old, plan on watching your premium increase.

Tips to know:

Over the lifetime of a pet, you could potentially shell out as much as $6,000.  Chances of you spending that much on your pet are very slim.  With that being said, be sure to know if the insurance is worth the cost because you may find that it’s best to pay for your pet’s health bills straight out of pocket.

Take a look at the deductible when applying for the insurance policy.  Also, be sure to know what kind of co-pay and deductible you will have to pay if something were to happen.

Just like a human policy, pre-existing conditions may not be covered.  Hip dysplasia, for example, may not be covered at all.  Again, with any insurance policy, always refer to the fine print to know what’s going to be covered in the future.

The older the dog is, the more the premiums are probably going to be.  Check the with the insurance provider and ask them how much age plays a factor.

KNOW what’s covered.  You may find that routine exams aren’t covered.

How can I save money?

Policyholders can pay an entire year up front, resulting in a significant discount.  This discount can save 20% off the entire policy.

Adding more than one animal to the policy can bring down the overall cost.  The more animals that are added to the policy, the more can be saved per animal.

Discounts may be available to senior citizens or active military.

Spayed and neutered pets will often be much cheaper to insure.

Compare at least three different policies as they will all vary.  Pet insurance may not be cost effective, so be sure to explore the options of paying out of pocket before paying a premium.  Consider looking for insurance companies that allow you to test run the policy for free or even $1 for the first month.

If you decide that you don’t want a policy, try a low-cost vet clinic.  These non-profits can perform procedures at a fraction of the cost.


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