Pet insurance is a good option for many pet parents to help minimize what they pay in vet bills and instead pay a standard premium each month. Using cost data gathered from ten top pet insurers, we found pet insurance costs $23.06 to $48.46 for an adult dog, and cat insurance costs anywhere from $14.58 to $24.41.
So What Is The Cost of Pet Insurance?
Unfortunately there is no one size fits all average cost for pet insurance. The exact cost of your pet insurance premium will depend on a variety of factors including your type of pet, it’s age, breed and location. The cost of the plan you pick will also be impacted by the provider and type of coverage you choose. Like health insurance for humans, there is no right or wrong coverage option, just a right pet insurance plan that works for you.
While we can’t tell you what YOU will pay, we can let you know more about industry averages and what we’ve seen from pet insurance providers, real customers, and our secret shoppers.
You will also find that the provider you choose impacts the price you pay, even when your pet and coverage details remain constant. Compare costs between the best pet insurance providers:
Pet Insurance Cost for Dogs and Cats
How Much Is Pet Insurance for Dogs?
According to our comparison of the top 10 best pet insurance providers, pet insurance for dogs costs $56 per month for adult dogs and $53 per month for puppies.
Pet Insurance Cost by Dog Breed
You can compare the average monthly costs of insuring popular dog breeds with the chart below.
As you can see in the table, the price of coverage for your pet increases as they get older. You may see only a modest increase each year until your dog turns about six, when the coverage cost may escalate more quickly.
Pet Insurance Cost for dogs by Provider
ManyPets and Pets Best are, on average, the cheapest pet insurance plans for dogs. Compare the monthly rates of top providers below:
How Much Is Pet Insurance for Cats?
Cat owners can expect to pay around $30 per month for adult cats and $27 per month for kittens for cat insurance. The exact cost of cat insurance will depend on the cat’s breed and age and where you live.
Cat Insurance Cost by Cat Breed
As you can see in the chart below, the cost of accident and illness coverage for cats can vary dramatically depending on your pet’s breed and age.
Cat Insurance Cost by Provider
On average, ManyPets and Pets Best are the cheapest pet insurance plans for cats. Compare the average monthly rates of top providers below:
6 Factors That Impact Pet Insurance Prices
Your pet’s age, breed and location, and the chosen coverage options and discounts will all impact the overall cost of insuring your pet.
1. Coverage Options
Most pet insurance providers allow you to customize your annual limit, deductible and reimbursement rate. You will generally pay the lowest monthly premium if you choose a low annual limit, low reimbursement percentage and high deductible. However, you will pay more out of pocket when your pet goes to the vet.
Breeds with a higher risk of certain health conditions will cost more to insure each month. Purebred pets can be predisposed to illnesses that can make veterinary care more expensive, driving up the price of a pet insurance policy.
The cost of covering older pets will always be more expensive than a younger ones, but each provider has different policies about when and how it raises premiums.
Most pet insurance companies allow you to enroll your pet at 6 weeks old. Some companies have a maximum age limit for enrollment, often ranging from 10 to 14 years. Therefore, if you have an older dog or cat, you’ll need to find a company for senior pets that does not have upper age limits.
So, when should you enroll your pet in a plan? Patrik Holmboe, Head Veterinarian at Cooper Pet Care, suggested, “Overall, the best time to enroll your pet in pet insurance is when they are young and healthy. Basically, the sooner, the better!” Most pet insurance companies do not cover preexisting conditions, and their chance of developing them increases as they age. Holmboe added, “Most policies are cheaper for younger pets. If you start early, most insurance policies allow you to either lock in this lower price or gain some form of discount as the animal ages.”
The average cost of veterinary care where you live can impact the cost of your pet insurance policy. For example, consider these three quotes from Healthy Paws. All three quotes are for the same plan for a 1-year-old, mixed-breed dog, but the monthly premium varies depending on where the pet lives:
- New York City, N.Y.: $52.11
- Raleigh, N.C.: $41.82
- Houston, Texas: $35.44
To get the most accurate understanding of how much the best pet insurance costs where you live, get a quote from your preferred pet insurance provider. We recommend getting quotes from at least three providers to find the best price and coverage for your furry companion.
The provider itself impacts the premium you pay. Each company assesses risk a little bit differently, weighing some factors more than others. That can lead to varying costs for identical policies based on the provider you choose. Based on our analysis, Lemonade offers great value by combining affordable prices with comprehensive coverage.
Many providers offer discounts when you enroll multiple pets or pay for your annual coverage upfront. Additionally, some providers offer discounts for policyholders who are military members or animal care workers. Compare top companies’ discounts below.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Once you enroll in pet insurance, your coverage will begin after the waiting period. Depending on your provider, the waiting period is typically between two days and two weeks. Remember, the treatment will not be eligible for coverage if your pet is injured or ill during the waiting period.
After the waiting period ends, you can take your pet to any licensed veterinarian for treatment. You’ll pay the vet, submit a claim and later get reimbursed from your provider.
How much your pet insurance provider will reimburse you depends on your chosen reimbursement rate. In general, the higher your reimbursement level, the higher your monthly premium will be.
Do All Veterinarians Accept Pet Insurance?
Yes, you can go to any veterinarian when you have pet insurance. Typically, you will pay your full vet bill upfront and file a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. Once your pet insurance provider approves your claim, you will be reimbursed for your vet visit. The percentage of total expenses your provider will cover depends on your plan options.
If you want to avoid filing a claim and waiting for reimbursement, some providers like Trupanion and Pets Best partner with vets to automatically process your reimbursement, so you don’t have to pay the whole bill upfront. This sometimes limits which vets you can go to, as it requires that the clinic be partnered with the insurance provider.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Every pet insurance provider offers slightly different plans. However, the most common accident and illness policies cover the following:
- Accidents and injuries (broken bones, toxic ingestions, bite wounds, etc.)
- Diagnostic testing (MRIs, X-rays, CAT scans, bloodwork, etc.)
- Major and minor illnesses (cancer, epilepsy, allergies, ear infections, etc.)
- Prescription medication
- Surgical procedures
Most pet insurance providers also offer an optional wellness add-on covering preventative care costs like checkups, behavioral therapy, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, exam fees, microchipping and more.
What Is Not Covered by Pet Insurance?
What is not covered by pet insurance also varies slightly by provider. However, most providers have the following exclusions:
- Preexisting conditions, including any illness or health issue your pet had before enrollment in coverage
- Illnesses or injuries that came about during your plan’s waiting period
- Preventative care (unless explicitly covered or you enroll in a wellness add-on plan)
- Cosmetic procedures
- Elective procedures
Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, will cover a curable preexisting condition after a specific waiting period as long as the symptoms are not recurring.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Many pet parents feel that pet insurance is worth it, but it may not be the right choice for everyone. Becky Simmonds, professional dog trainer and behaviorist at Breed Advisor, suggested that pet insurance may be a good option if:
- You’re uncertain you’d be able to pay for an unexpected vet costs
- Having insurance would give you peace of mind
- You have a dog or cat breed prone to certain genetic health problems like hip dysplasia or cancer
Everyone’s circumstances are different, so weigh the costs and benefits of enrolling in a pet insurance plan for yourself. If you own a high-risk dog breed or live in an area where veterinarian health care is expensive, pet insurance may be a great option.