How Much Is Pet Insurance? The Costs Explained

C&S Insurance

 

Women-Holding-Pet-In-Front-Of-Cavallo-SignorelloWith pet care costs skyrocketing due to stubborn inflationary pressures combined with the fact that pet ownership recently hit an all-time high, most Americans can’t afford to shoulder the cost of an unexpected emergency vet bill — and a third can’t afford access to any form of veterinary care whatsoever.

Vet visits aren’t cheap and bills can add up over the life of your dog or cat. According to ValuePenguin, a single veterinary bill to treat canine diarrhea (approx. $300) can cost as much as what pet parents of certain dog breeds can expect to pay (approx. $300) for a half year of veterinary coverage.

So, if you want to be in the know about pet insurance, continue reading for a deep dive into what different kinds of pet insurance policies look like, what they cover, and what to expect to see when you’re shopping around.

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Pet Insurance
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
How Much Is Dog Insurance?
How Much Is Pet Insurance for a Cat?
Pet Insurance FAQs


3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Pet Insurance

Broadly speaking, most accident and illness pet insurance policies provide coverage for inpatient, outpatient, and specialty care, as well as coverage for breed-specific, hereditary, or congenital disorders. These “total coverage” plans offer assistance paying for (or will fully cover) ancillary diagnostic costs that may or may not require hospitalization afterwards, including lab work, blood tests, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Surgery, stitches, and prescription medications are also usually covered by these types of plans.

Accident-only plans cover catastrophic events such as car strikes or if your pet ingests a toxic substance such as rat poison. Additional services such as dog dental insurance can be added as riders to both types of policies and are affected by the same extenuating conditions above.

Aside from providing peace of mind about covering these expenses, here are three of the major reasons why pet parents should consider buying pet insurance:

    1. Purebreds are veterinarians’ blue-ribbon clients: If you own a purebred (this includes both dog and cat breeds), you’re probably familiar with the common ailments that affect your pet. Insurance companies know about these common ailments too, which is why purebred dogs and cats are (on the whole) more expensive to insure than mixed breeds.For instance, French Bulldogs, the most popular breed in the United States in 2022 according to the American Kennel Club, commonly experiences a condition called cherry-eye that can only be fixed surgically and can cost up to $1,000 to treat.Golden retrievers have the highest cancer rates of any dog breed. And with normal cancer treatment costs for dogs hovering around the $13k mark, it makes sense to pay the $41 monthly premium cited by ValuePenguin as the average amount pet parents of the breed pay for peace of mind — even if your premium goes up as your dog ages.
    2. Even scrappy mutts can get into scrapes: If you adopted a hearty mixed breed from the shelter then you might scoff at the idea of having to make a visit to the vet for an upset stomach or skin irritation — both top reasons for vet visits. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect the unexpected: Rat poison tastes sweet for a reason, some people text while driving, and there’s no predicting a wild animal encounter.It’s for those reasons that accident-only plans offer coverage for worst-case scenarios. These policies don’t go into the minutiae of breed-specific/hereditary illness coverage and typically charge by size: small dogs cost less to insure than medium and large dogs.
    3. Vet costs have spiked with inflation: According to the Associated Press, “Prices for vet services have jumped 10% in the past year, government data shows — the biggest such spike on records dating back two decades.” With rising health care costs, it now makes more economic sense to buy pet insurance than it does to pay for individual health incidents.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Like all insurance policies, there’s no “one-size fits all” solution that covers cats or dogs specifically. As mentioned above, each policy is tailored to extenuating factors which often include species, breed, age, and pre-existing conditions. These factors ultimately determine how much your pet insurance deductible will be.

Secondly, it’s wise to be aware of how the payer/provider structure works with certain policies. With a monthly deductible-based policy, coverage is achieved on a rolling month-to-month contractual basis — pay your deductible and you’re good to go.

Less expensive “per-incident” policies put the burden of paying for treatment on the pet owner, which means filing out a claim after each vet visit. This might be a jarring experience for some people, especially after a particularly traumatic vet visit, which is one of the reasons why deductible-based policies tend to cost a bit more.

Overall, Massachusetts tends to pay higher pet insurance costs than other states overall. But that’s based on the fact that Massachusetts has the highest GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in the U.S. Californians, Texans, and New Yorkers all pay more for pet insurance on a case-by-case basis.

How Much Is Dog Insurance?

Dogs cost more money to insure than cats because of their generally larger size and need for more medication and sedation. When it comes to figuring out how much dog insurance costs, certain breeds tend to cost more to insure than others. Across the board, Mastiff-type dogs (including Shar Peis, Boerboels, and Cane Corsos), Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and nearly any breed with “bull” tend to cost more to insure on a month-to-month basis.

According to Forbes Advisor analysis of data from PetInsurer.com, here’s what you can expect for average monthly dog insurance costs for different breeds.

Breed  Average monthly cost for
$5,000 annual coverage,
$250 deductible and 80%
reimbursement
Average monthly cost for
unlimited annual coverage, $500
deductible and 90%
reimbursement
 Chihuahua  $30 $38
 French Bulldog  $76 $101
 German Shepard  $52 $68
 Golden Retriever  $56 $69
 Goldendoodle  $40 $49
 Mixed Breed (large)  $46 $60
 Mixed Breed (medium)  $39 $50
 Mixed Breed (small)  $33 $41
 Shih Tzu  $33 $41
 Yorkshire Terrier  $35 $44

How Much Is Pet Insurance for a Cat?

While pet insurance for cats is less expensive compared to how much pet insurance for dogs costs, there are still certain cat breeds that cost more to insure than others. Below is Forbes’ analysis of average monthly costs for cat insurance, broken down by different breeds.

Breed Average monthly cost for
$5,000 annual coverage,
$250 deductible and 80%
reimbursement
Average monthly cost for
unlimited annual coverage, $500
deductible and 90%
reimbursement
Abyssinian $21 $27
Bengal $21 $26
Bombay $20 $25
British Shorthair $21 $28
Devon Rex $20 $24
Domestic Shorthair $17 $19
Exotic Shorthair $21 $26
Maine Coon $21 $29
Mixed Breed $17 $19
Persian $20 $24
Ragdoll $19 $22
Siamese $19 $22

Pet Insurance FAQs

Is pet insurance worth it?
Absolutely. With pet ownership at an all-time high, it makes sense that the pet insurance market more than doubled in size between 2018 and 2022 as more pet parents sought to take financial control over the out-of-control rise in veterinary costs. A pet insurance policy that covers accident and illness can lead to your pet receiving treatment for expensive procedures that might have meant euthanasia without the policy in place.

How does pet insurance work?
Just like human health insurance, pet insurance is based on the level of coverage you feel you need for your pet. For hearty, healthy pets with no genetic red flags or pre-existing conditions, full medical coverage can be surprisingly affordable.

Policies are available on a contractual month-to-month or per-incident basis, with monthly plans tending to cost more than per-incident plans.

What does pet insurance pay for?
Broadly speaking, most total coverage plans will cover accidents and illnesses. These pet insurance policies provide coverage for inpatient, outpatient, and specialty care, as well as breed-specific, hereditary, or congenital disorders. These plans offer assistance paying for ancillary diagnostic costs that may or may not require hospitalization afterwards, including lab work, blood tests, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Surgery, stitches, and prescription medications are also usually covered by these types of plans.

Accident-only plans cover catastrophic events such as car strikes or if your pet ingests a toxic substance such as rat poison. Additional services such as dog dental insurance can be added as riders to both types of policies and are affected by the same extenuating conditions above.

What factors affect how much pet insurance costs?
Like all insurance policies, there’s no “one-size fits all” solution that covers cats or dogs specifically. Every pet insurance policy is tailored to extenuating factors which often include species, breed, age, and pre-existing conditions. These factors ultimately determine how much your pet insurance deductible will be.

How much can I save on vet bills with pet insurance?
Over your pet’s lifetime, pet insurance can save thousands of dollars in unforeseen costs and can ultimately extend your pet’s lifespan by years.

Does my vet accept pet insurance?
Most vets accept pet insurance, but you’ll need to talk directly to your vet to learn specifically what their practice covers.

Can I purchase insurance for pets other than cats and dogs?
Of course. Specialty pet insurance policies exist — you can even buy fish insurance.

If you have any more questions about pet insurance, we strongly encourage you to set up a personalized one-on-one call with one of our agents by requesting a quote here.

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