Pet insurance could cost as little as $20 each month. However, many pet owners can find options to match their budget, like accident-only coverage or a vet discount plan instead. Consider the medical care you already pay for along with your pet’s future health risks to see if you can save money with a pet policy.
How much does pet insurance cost for dogs?
You could expect to shell out $48 a month or $585 a year to protect your dog with an accident and illness policy, according to the latest data from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). An accident-only policy could whittle down your premium to $16 a month.
However, premiums depend a lot on your dog’s size, age, breed and the type of coverage you choose. And insuring older or larger dogs typically costs more.
How much does pet insurance cost for cats?
You’ll likely pay around an average of $29 a month or $350 per year for an accident and illness policy, or $10 a month for an accident only policy, according to the same NAPHIA report. Your cat’s age and type of policy may affect your cost the most, as well as your cat’s breed.
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How much is the average pet insurance claim?
Chances are you’ve dealt with expensive vet bills at some stage in your pet’s life. The unexpected expense can strain your bank account for minor services or common illnesses like these. Expect pet insurance to pay for 80-90% of your pet’s vet bills after your deductible.
|Vet exam fee||$45 to $55|
|Vaccines||Typically $15 to $30 per shot, but up to $90|
|Dental cleaning||$70 to $400|
|Fecal exam||$25 to $45|
|Geriatric screening||$85 to $100|
|Heartworm test||$45 to $60|
|Allergy testing||$200 to $300|
|Urinary tract infection||$600|
|Swallowing a foreign object||$1,700|
|Heartworm treatment||$400 to $1,000|
|Cancer treatment, such as surgery or chemotherapy||$2,000 to $10,000, depending on type and length of treatment|
|Cancer bone marrow transplant||up to $15,000|
Case study: Swallowing a foreign object
Sadie shredded a new dog toy with harmful pieces she couldn’t digest. Sadie needed surgery costing her owner Tiffany $1,700. Since pet insurance covered 90% of the vet bill, Tiffany only paid a $250 deductible and another $145 for her share of the bill. Even with factoring in the premium for an accident-only policy, Tiffany saved $1,065 that year.
What affects pet insurance costs?The type of pet and the policy you have both have a huge influence on your pet insurance premium. The more health risks your pet faces and the more comprehensive your policy, the higher your insurance costs. Some factors to keep in mind:
- Breed. Certain breeds face an increased likelihood of genetic illnesses and will cost more to insure, especially purebreds.
- Age. Your pet might not be allowed coverage at less than six or eight weeks old or if they’re older than 14 or 15 years. Also, you’ll pay the most for medical protection on older pets.
- Gender. Male and female animals have different health risks, even if they’re the same breed.
- Size. Larger animals cost more to care for, and vets may need specialty knowledge for treatment. Larger pets can also face higher risks, such as hip dysplasia in larger dogs.
- Medical history. Pets with updated routine care and who have already been spayed or neutered might get a lower premium. But recent claims and signs of future medical problems can raise costs.
- Location. Where you live can affect the amount you pay for pet insurance, for example, pet insurance tends to cost more for people who live in California.
How do I compare the cost of pet insurance?
Different pet policies can offer the protection you need while still fitting into your budget. Consider these factors to get the most bank for your buck:
- Consider your priorities. You can choose between an all-risk, accident-only or wellness policy based on your budget and health concerns for your pet. For example, if you don’t need coverage for routine care but worry what might happen if your pet gets sick, you could opt for an all-risk policy to cover accidents and illnesses, like catastrophic disease insurance.
- Know your pet’s risks. Think about your pet’s chances for getting certain illnesses like genetic conditions, eating a dangerous object or even running into traffic. Start with a policy that accounts for the most likely risks your pet is facing.
- You could pay a little more for a lower deductible. A typical deductible is $250. However, you might see what the difference is for your premium if you lowered that—you could end up saving more on vet visits this way.
- Run the numbers for wellness policies. Weigh the typical costs you pay for your pet’s routine care out of pocket against what you’ll pay with a wellness policy. It’s possible that you’ll pay less on your own, if your pet’s regular bills are lower than wellness premiums.
- Consider your home and car insurance policies. Some home insurance policies cover liability expenses for damage or injuries your pet causes. Also, your car insurance may have pet injury coverage, saving you from needing a pet policy if you’re most concerned about traffic accidents.
- Go for guaranteed renewable policies. Check to see if an insurer guarantees renewing your policy no matter your dog’s future health or age. This may help you get cheaper insurance as your pet ages and keep them insured past the normal accepted age, typically anywhere from age seven to nine.
- Find additional discounts and benefits. Some policies include helpful benefits like coverage for exam fees or alternative therapies, keeping you from paying out of pocket. Also consider policies that offer discounts for pets in good health or insuring multiple pets.
What money pits should I watch out for?
Pet insurance has its limitations, so you could lose money if you don’t weigh your premium against out-of-pocket costs. Common pitfall areas:
- Some policies have annual limits. Some insurers have an annual benefit limit of $5,000 or $10,000, while others don’t cap the amount you can receive. That could leave you on your own for steep expenses from serious illnesses or accidents.
- Small percentage changes for reimbursement matter. When claims get expensive, you’ll find a significant difference between 80% and 90% reimbursement.
- Accident-only policies don’t cover common illnesses. Your accident-only policy probably covers your dog eating a toy. But medical care for prevention, ear infections or heartworm will come from your own bank account.
- You might not get coverage for certain conditions. Read the fine print for any restrictions that apply, like limited coverage for pre-existing hip dysplasia, or waiting periods on knee surgery.
- You won’t always save money over time. Remember, the cost of insurance is based on the odds of making a claim. You might not save money every year, but you could save on steep costs when common illnesses or accidents do arise.
Pet insurance could benefit your budget considering what you might pay to treat serious accidents or illnesses. However, you might not save money every year if your pet stays healthy or if you don’t use all the pet insurance coverage under your wellness policy. You have to consider all the reasonable risks alongside your budget to find what works best for you.