How Much Is Pet Insurance?

·6 min read
Dog and cat playing together outdoor.Lying on the back together. - Credit: vvvita/Adobe Stock
Dog and cat playing together outdoor.Lying on the back together. - Credit: vvvita/Adobe Stock

We may receive payment from affiliate links included within this content. Our affiliate partners do not influence our editorial opinions or analysis. To learn more, see our Advertiser Disclosure.

Trips to the vet are expensive—especially if it’s an emergency visit. While vet costs vary depending on where you live, hospitalizations and surgeries can cost thousands of dollars.

More from Rolling Stone

To ease the financial stress of this expense, many pet owners purchase pet insurance. While some pet parents assume it’s a waste of money, selecting a policy that fits within your budget can pay off when you face a large and unexpected vet bill.

Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes

Examples of Monthly Pet Insurance Prices

When you compare pet insurance quotes you’ll find that prices vary widely for similar coverage amounts. Here are examples of monthly pet insurance costs for a medium-sized mixed breed dog for annual coverage of $5,000. Embrace, Pets Best and TrustedPals were all found to have excellent pricing in Forbes Advisor’s analysis of the best pet insurance companies.

Embrace

  • 3 months old: $45.50

  • 4 years old: $50.06

  • 8 years old: $63.75

Pets Best

  • 3 months old: $30.80

  • 4 years old: $33.07

  • 8 years old: $68.23

TrustedPals

  • 3 months old: $39.33

  • 4 years old: $35.67

  • 8 years old: $54.67

Rates are based on ZIP codes in California, Florida and Texas for $5,000 worth of annual coverage with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement level.

Factors in Pet Insurance Prices

To determine if pet insurance is right for you, assess whether the cost is worth the value of having a financial safety net for vet bills. Here are the factors that typically impact the cost of a pet insurance plan.

The Type of Pet Insurance

A primary factor that determines your pet insurance cost is the type of policy you select. There are generally three types of pet medical insurance:

  • Accident and illness policies are the most common and cover vet bills for various illnesses like viral infections and injuries from accidents such as broken bones. This type of policy generally covers hospitalization, surgery and diagnostic tests.

  • Accident-only policies provide coverage solely for unexpected accidents such as ingesting toxins or injuries from getting stuck by a car.

  • Wellness plans are usually add-ons to a pet medical insurance policy. They’ll cover some routine and preventative care expenses such as an annual wellness visit, vaccinations and flea and tick prevention.

Annual Coverage Limit

A pet insurance plan will define the annual maximum that it will pay in claims. You’ll often have a range of choices for an annual cap, from a low annual limit of $2,500 (such as Toto) to unlimited annual reimbursement (such as Pets Best).

Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes

The higher the yearly maximum the more your monthly premium will be.

Deductible Amount

A pet insurance deductible is the amount you must pay in veterinary bills before your coverage begins to reimburse you. Some policies have an annual deductible, while others have a per-condition deductible.

Common deductibles are $100, $250 and $500, but you can find policies that offer both higher and lower deductibles. Higher deductibles will lower your monthly pet insurance payment.

Note that expenses that are not covered by the policy do not count toward your deductible. For example, if you pay for behavioral therapy for your dog that’s not covered by the plan, the expense doesn’t count toward your deductible.

Reimbursement Level

You’ll typically have to pay the veterinarian bill at the time of service and then file a pet insurance claim. After you’ve paid the deductible amount in vet bills, the pet insurer will reimburse you up to a certain percentage, known as the reimbursement level. Typical reimbursement levels are 70%, 80% or 90%.

Selecting a higher reimbursement will increase your premium costs but decrease the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket for claims.

Suppose your policy has a $300 deductible with a 70% reimbursement level. During the policy term, you’re financially responsible for paying the $300 deductible and then 30% of all expenses that are covered by the policy.

It’s important to point out that reimbursement only applies to illnesses or accidents covered by your policy. So, for example, if you’re visiting the vet for a routine check-up, the policy won’t reimburse you for the expense unless you also purchased a wellness plan.

Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes

The Pet’s Breed

Because some breeds are more susceptible to certain genetic conditions and specific injuries than others, your pet’s breed and size are significant factors when insurers calculate your insurance cost. For example, dogs with large size and weight tend to cost more for pet insurance.

A study by Forbes Advisor of the most expensive dog breeds for pet insurance found that Dalmatians, Mastiffs, pit bulls and Dobermans are among the most expensive to insure.

The Pet’s Age and Gender

As your pet ages, they are more likely to get sick or injured. For this reason, expect the cost of pet insurance to increase as the pet ages.

Some pet insurers also use gender in pricing, with female pets costing less to insure.

Your Location

Just like the cost of living varies by location, so do veterinarian costs. For example, veterinary care is typically more expensive in urban areas, which affects pet insurance pricing.

Quick Tips for Cutting Pet Insurance Costs

There are a few things you can do to lower your cost.

  • Compare pet insurance plans. When you compare pet insurance quotes, don’t overlook the variations in underlying benefits. What pet insurance covers will often vary by plan. Not all plans, for instance, cover the vet exam fee when you make a visit for an accident or illness, even though the treatment costs may be covered. And not all plans include good pet dental insurance.

  • Lower the reimbursement level. Choosing a lower reimbursement level means you’ll pay less for premiums. If your pet must see the vet, you’ll be financially responsible for a more significant portion of the vet bill.

  • Purchase a pet insurance policy ASAP. Buying a policy when your pet is young and healthy minimizes the chances that your pet will develop conditions that won’t be covered if you buy a plan later.

  • Speak with your vet about pet insurance options. Your vet may have a good idea of the best type of coverage for your specific pet. In addition, since they understand the genetic conditions of various breeds, they can point you to smart coverage selections.

  • Find insurers with pet insurance discounts. Some pet insurance companies offer price breaks such as multi-pet discounts, military discounts and annual-pay discounts.

Related: Compare Pet Insurance Quotes

Best of Rolling Stone