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How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
It's not an easy questions to answer.
Your quote could be higher than you hope or a lot cheaper than you imagine depending on a number of pricing factors.
These factors include your pet's breed, age and where you live are impossible to change. Other factors, however, like your pet's health and level of coverage you choose are easier to adjust.
The average American will pay $31 per month on a pet insurance plan in 2016.
And according to Doctors Foster and Smith, pet insurance is actually cheaper than the annual cost of grooming, food and veterinary care.
Now that we've said what we need to say, here are five factors that determine how much you will pay for pet insurance.
- Type of Pet You Have
- Where You Live
- Your Pet's Age
- Company You Choose
- Coverage You Select
Cost Factor #1 - Type of Pet You Have
Dogs are more expensive than cats because the risk of illness and injury is higher for dogs.
And purebred dogs are slightly more expensive to insure than their mixed breed counterparts because purebreds are more susceptible to hereditary conditions.
In fact, hereditary disorders like hip dysplasia, heart disease and cancer are some of the most common and expensive health issues to treat.
Here is a sample of dog insurance costs for the top 10 most popular dog breeds in America.
|Dog Breeds||Cost *|
|Mixed Breed Dog||$28/mo.|
|Average for All Dogs||$32/mo.|
* Accident & illness coverage for a 3 year-old
And if you're more of a cat person here is a sample of cat insurance costs for the top 10 most popular cat breeds in America.
|Cat Breeds||Cost *|
|Mixed Breed Cat||$22/mo.|
|Average for All Cats||$22/mo.|
* Accident & illness coverage for a 3 year-old
Cost Factor #2 - Where You Live
Pet Insurance cost is directly correlated to the cost of living index.
For your benefit we researched and crunched numbers to get the average cost of pet insurance by state.
Veterinary surgery in New York City costs twice as much as veterinary surgery in Topeka, Kansas and because pet insurance companies pay claims based on your actual vet bills they charge more for policies in expensive zip codes like New York and Los Angeles.
The average cost of pet insurance throughout the United States is $366 per year. Take a look at our table below to get an idea of how much accident + illness plans costs in your state.
|Location||Dogs *||Cats *|
* Full accident & illness coverage for 3 year-old mixed breed dogs and cats
If you have a four year-old German shepherd and live in Santa Monica, California, a pet insurance policy will cost you about $42 per month.
If you have a three year-old Domestic Shorthair and live in Topeka, Kansas, you will only pay $16 per month.
The reason a German shepherd in NYC is 3.4x more expensive than a Domestic Shorthair in Kansas is because they have completely different risk profiles.
German Shepherds are much more likely to need treatment for accidents and illnesses than a Domestic Shorthair cats.
Cost Factor #3 - Your Pet's Age
The average price increase for a policy is less than 10% per year.
Just like humans, older dogs and cats are more expensive to insure because they are more susceptible to illness and injury.
You can get a pet insurance policy for a pet of any age, but the longer you wait the more expensive it will be.
This is one of the reasons we strongly encourage pet owners to enroll their pets while they are younger.
As your pet gets older each year the cost of your insurance will go up because the risk of illness and injury is higher for older pets.
Cost Factor #4 - Company You Choose
Not all pet insurance companies are created equal.
As you shop around you'll notice that some companies have broad coverage, high customer satisfaction and fair pricing.
Other companies have hidden exclusions, limits on claims payouts and horrible customer ratings.
When you compare pet insurance companies, plans and costs keep in mind that the cheapest plan is not always the best option for your pet.
Here is a list of all 12 companies currently offering plan in the U.S.
Want to Dig Deeper?
Cost Factor #5 - The Coverage You Select
There is a wide range of coverage options from accident only policies to comprehensive plans that include all emergencies.
Obviously the more coverage you purchase the more expensive your policy will be.
Some pet insurance companies allow you to add routine care coverage for an additional monthly charge.
Deductible & Reimbursement
One of the best things about pet insurance plans is that you can choose a deductible and reimbursement rate to create a policy that fits your budget.
- Deductible - If you choose a higher deductible you will pay less for insurance. Deductibles range from $100 to $1,000 (we recommend $200 or $500 to maximize value).
- Reimbursement Rate - If you choose a lower reimbursement rate you will pay less each month for a policy. Reimbursement rates range from 60-100% (we recommend 80% or 90% reimbursement rates to maximize value).
None of us wants to deal with a sick or injured pet. But unfortunately health issues happen.
Consider these facts:
- A pet needs emergency care every 2.5 seconds
- Every 6 seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill over $3,000
- 2 of 3 pets will experience a serious health issue during their lifetime
Bonus Coverage - Other Cost Factors
Every pet insurance company offers discounts that you can take advantage of.
One of the most popular is multi-pet discounts for pet owners with two or more pets.
You can also find discounts for military personnel, veterinary professionals and micro-chipped pets.
The simple answer is the average pet insurance policy is $32 per month for a dog and $22 per month for a cat.
However, averages are not a good indication of how much pet insurance really costs because rates vary depending on your pet's breed, age and where you live.
We've generated over 1 million pet insurance quotes so we know a thing or two about prices.
Below is data we've collected over the years. We've broken down the information by dog breeds, cat breeds and location.
Sample Pet Insurance Claim
Let's take Rex. Rex is a 3 year-old mixed breed dog living in Columbus, Ohio.
Rex is healthy and his parents, Nick and Melissa, want to make sure they're covered in case he gets sick or injured.
So they purchased a standard accident and illness policy to insure Rex in case of unexpected health issues.
Like most pet owners, Nick and Melissa are on a budget, so they select a $500 deductible and 80% reimbursement rate. This lowered their costs even further.
- Company: Healthy Paws
- Coverage: Standard Accident & Illness
- Deductible: $500
- Reimbursement Rate: 80%
- Monthly Cost: $28.00
The good news is that Nick and Melissa are actually paying less than the national average for their plan for Rex.
And the best news is that Rex will be covered and get the treatment he needs if he ever needs expensive veterinary treatment.
"Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make his tail wag."
- Kinky Friedman
Real Life Stories
Anna pays $42/month for Buster's plan, but has saved thousands
"They're rated the best and I can tell you they are the best!"
"The trip to the ER and IV's cost about $400 and the plan reimbursed us about $150. Then in May 2015 Buster's active lifestyle caught up to him and he tore a ligament in his front left leg. I couldn't pinpoint when the injury occurred but it became clear after a couple days of limping and whining that something was wrong..." Read More
- Anna & Buster, Insured by Healthy Paws
"Get Petplan as Soon as You Get Your Dog"
"We eventually purchased a policy from Petplan but not after Charley had about $1,500 in veterinary bills after swallowing the corner of a pillow when he was a puppy. Lucky for us there was no long-term damage so when we enrolled Charley with Petplan he did not have any pre-existing conditions..." Read More
- Claire & Charlie, Insured by Petplan
"Friendly on the Phone"
"I dread calling some companies but not Pets Best. Anytime I have a coverage question the staff there is very helpful and happy. They actually seem happy to be answering my questions and helping. It's such a refreshing experience..." Read More
- June & Sparky, Insured by Pets Best
Comparison Shop to Lower Your Cost
It's important to mention the one thing you can do to save money on pet insurance... shop around.
Our quote generator will help you shop around quickly without the hassle of calling individual pet insurers and repeating the same information.
Each company is unique in the way they calculate rates based on breed, age and location.
That is why we always encourage pet owners to use our quote system to compare plans and prices from all the top companies.
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We’ve generated over 1 million quotes and sold thousands of plans.
“We submitted over $4k in claims to Healthy Paws and in less than 2 weeks we were reimbursed. So amazing!!!” - Brandon
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Pet insurance pays up to 90% for veterinary treatment when your dog or cat gets sick or injured.