How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost? Step By Step Guide

One of the most asked questions by intending pet insurance policyholders is how much does pet insurance cost? Here we will look at how much pet insurance costs and how to get started. Let’s say pet parenting just got more interesting!

Most pet owners do not insure their pets but this has changed in recent years. The option of pet insurance is becoming quite popular. A good number of pet parents are beginning to buy into pet insurance policies that cover their animal’s vet care.

According to the 2019-2020 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, More than two-thirds of U.S. households own a pet.

With the high cost of getting veterinary care, a lot of pet parents are resorting to pet insurance as a way to provide proper care for their animals without breaking a bank.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Before we discuss how much pet insurance costs, let’s first discuss the concept of Pet insurance.

Pet insurance is a health policy for dogs, cats, and other pets that remits the costs of veterinary care for illness, accidents, and sometimes preventative care such as vaccinations and annual checkups.

Pet insurance helps pay for your pet’s medical care, with many policies covering up to 90 percent of your veterinary bills. 

However, that proportion varies by insurer and by your preferences. In addition, some procedures and care are excluded from coverage, especially preventive care. 

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Just like the case of health insurance for humans, pet health insurance covers medical bills minus a deductible amount the pet owner selects and must pay down before reimbursement will begin.

Veterinary bills are paid back at a rate the pet owner also chooses, and there may be a limit on those reimbursements, over the animal’s lifetime, or by the particular condition treated.

Pre-existing conditions

Whatever health condition an animal is experiencing at the time a policy is taken out is not covered in the policy. There is also a waiting period after the policy begins during which some conditions may not be eligible for treatment if they arise.

Most of the time, pet insurance requires that you pay for treatment immediately after receiving it and then wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company.

Pet insurance operates more like property insurance than health insurance.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The precise premium you’ll pay to insure your pet varies by a host of factors.

Let’s start with the animal’s species, dogs are more expensive to insure than cats. Within species, mixed-breed animals are typically the least expensive to insure while some larger animals with unclear genealogy may be costly to insure since vet bills tend to rise with the size of the pet.

Among purebreds, certain breeds are pricier to insure because of a genetic predisposition to certain conditions. The pet’s age also factors into costs, as premiums steadily rise with age.

Some companies are significantly cheaper than others but as a rule, though, insurance against accidents and illness for a middle-aged pet costs around $35 to $70 a month for a dog, and $20 to $35 or so for a cat.

Beyond dogs and cats, pet insurance is also available for almost any range of other potential household pets, like reptiles, snakes, birds, rodents, and horses.

See also: Nationwide Pet Insurance Reviews

Things To Check Before Choosing A Pet Insurance: Step By Step Guide

  • Decide how much pet insurance plan you need
  • Select the scope of coverage
  • Choose a deductible
  • Weigh the reimbursement rate and limit
  • The best pet insurance company for you
  • Gather premium quotes
  • Check for bundling accounts
  • Consult your veterinary doctor
  • Confirm coverage details
  • Decide payment frequency

Step 1 – Decide how much pet insurance you need

Just with health insurance for humans, pet owners can choose how many health problems they want to be insured, as well as the size of the deductible and proportion of reimbursement that works for their budget. This is a good place to start in your journey to getting your pet insured.

Step 2 – Select the scope of coverage

There are two main types of pet insurance plans, accident-only plans, and comprehensive plans.  The accident-only plan is offered by a few insurance companies and is usually the most affordable. As the name suggests, it only covers accidental injuries, like broken bones, cuts, and toxic ingestions.

Comprehensive plans on the hand cover both accidents and illnesses. Some accommodate major diseases like arthritis and diabetes, congenital conditions like hip dysplasia, surgeries, routine medication, and even prescription food.

Dog therapy and dental care aren’t left out also in the plan although it varies from company to company.

A few companies even offer modest coverage against the loss or theft of your pet, although pet life insurance generally requires a separate policy for this.

Many companies offer a wellness rider that can be added to an accident-only or comprehensive plan.

Wellness coverage pays for preventive care, like routine check-ups, vaccination, spay, and tick medication. Some people forgo this coverage because it increases the premium.

Annual costs for routine visits to the vet averaged $212 in 2019 for dogs and $160 for cats. Still, preventive visits are important to catch early those signs that could develop into major illnesses.

Step 3 – Choose a deductible

A deductible is the veterinary costs a pet parent must pay out of their own pocket before the pet insurance company begins making payments.

There is a lot of variation in deductible offerings between companies. Most insurers offer annual deductibles between $100 and $1,000. With annual deductibles, if you didn’t reach your deductible before the end of the year, the insurance company will not reimburse you at all.

Picking a deductible involves a bit of guesswork: if it’s too high, you may not benefit from the insurance in a particular year, depending on your pet’s health and if it comes too low, your premium could increase exponentially.

Another alternative though not a common one is a lifetime deductible per condition. Each possible medical issue for which the pet is treated has its own deductible. Once you reach that figure for the particular condition, the insurance company will cover up to its refund limit for the rest of your pet’s life.

Step 4 – Weigh the reimbursement rate and limit

Reimbursement is the amount of money the insurance company will pay back after you file a claim. There are two reimbursement-related decisions you’ll have to make: first, you must decide the percentage.

Most companies offer various reimbursement options between 50% and 90%, with a few companies offering 100% reimbursement. Here is the hack, the higher the percentage, the more money you’ll get in return, but the higher your premium.

Second, you’ll select a reimbursement limit. This is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay per year, regardless of cause. They can be as low as $2,000 or as high as $10,000. The lower the limit, the less expensive your premium will be.

A few companies have unlimited reimbursement, meaning that, as long as the cause is covered by the policy, the insurance company will pay its percentage.

Step 5 – The best pet insurance company for you

Once you’ve figured out which coverages you absolutely need and which you can go without, you can start to look for the insurance companies that offer those coverages, and decide the best pet insurance company for you, based on price and other considerations.

Step 6 – Gather premium quotes

Most pet insurance companies have websites with tools that allow you to enter your pet’s information and select coverages to get a monthly premium quote.

Step 7 – Check for bundling discounts

If you have a car or home insurance, check if the insurance company you insure also sells pet insurance. They may offer a discount for enrolling your pet with them. Also, pet insurance is increasingly offered as an employee perk, so you might want to confirm if a subsidized plan might be available through your work.

Step 8 – Consult Your Veterinary Doctor

Your vet may be able to advise you on which coverages to pick. They know your pet’s health best and can tell you what to expect further down the road in terms of congenital conditions or preventive illnesses. Hopefully, they give you useful information. 

Step 9 – Confirm coverage details

Once you have a shortlist of providers that appear to offer competitive pricing, it’s time to check some details of how policies cover certain conditions.

Comparative reviews of insurers offer a useful starting point to finding the best pet insurance. However, since policies can change from time to time, go to the insurers’ websites to review sample policies that detail coverage. 

Step 10 – Decide on payment frequency

If you can’t get the information you need, call or chat online with the company. Most insurers offer one or both services, at least during office hours. As with other forms of insurance, you will likely be able to choose whether to pay your pet’s premium monthly or annually. After you must have gone through this guide, you should be ready to get your pet insured.

What Are The Advantages Of Pet Insurance?

I know you see your pet as a part of the family while insurance sees it as a property. Little wonder pet insurance functions more like property insurance than health insurance.

You may want to argue that our pet isn’t a piece of property but before then, understand that this designation is in your favor. When you read and comprehend the policy, you will realize it is of more benefit to you than the one for human health insurance.

Some of these advantages are:

Choice of Vet

As long as the vet is licensed, pet insurers won’t tell you whom you can and can’t see. There are no out-of-network doctors like the ones your own health insurance policy probably dictates.

Simple Policies

Most companies have only three tiers from which to choose which makes it easy and quicker to decide which one to opt for. There are three main policies; accident-only, comprehensive snd wellness coverage.

Cheap Premiums

It is true that Insurance costs vary with coverage and policy but, in general, wellness coverage costs $20 to $25 per month, accident-only coverage runs $11 (for cats) and $16 (for dogs) per month, and accident and illness coverage average $29 (for cats) and $49 (for dogs) per month.

Of course, a number of factors contribute to the cost of the insurance policy such as breed and age of the animal, where you live, and the options you choose as part of your policy.

When Should You Begin A Pet Insurance Procedure?

Pet insurers and veterinary doctors often urge pet parents to get on pet insurance as early as possible. That’s because premiums are lowest when the pet is young, and steadily rise with age. By old age, the premium would be about 10 times the price of a puppy(for dogs).

The earlier you begin a policy, the lower the likelihood of the animal developing a serious pre-existing condition. Such medical issues from diabetes to cruciate ligament injuries to kidney problems will disqualify you from being reimbursed for those conditions for the pet’s lifetime. 

Even the appearance of symptoms that indicate a looming pre-existing condition may lead to a denial of treatment.

So in simple words, it is advised that you resume an insurance plan for your pet while they are still young. It makes the process easy and more beneficial to you.

Who Issues A Pet Insurance policy?

Quite a number of insurance companies known for multiple forms of insurance sell pet policies. There are also some that sell only pet insurance policies. Some stop at insurance policies while others extend to wellness policies.

Here is a list of some of the companies that sell only pet insurance policies.

FAQs About Pet Insurance

Not exactly. Pet insurance functions more like property insurance.

With pet insurance, the pet parent pays the vet bill directly then gets reimbursement from the insurer afterward.

Pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. That is why pet parents are advised to get an insurance plan for their pets while they are still young.


Pet insurance functions more like property insurance than health insurance and requires that the policyholder must pay for their pet’s health care directly, then be reimbursed by the insurance provider.

Pet insurance never covers preexisting conditions nor do they cover preventive care.

It is usually rewarding in event of a serious incident that causes a high vet bill. When something really happens, then you will realize insurance is worth all the years of premiums you paid. We don’t ask for bad things to happen but they do and insurance is a good way to manage this evil day when it comes.



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