How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Any pet parent knows how expensive a visit to the veterinarian can be. Thankfully, you can get help for your pet’s medical care just like when you go to the doctor. Much like your own health insurance, pet health insurance can soften the financial blow of an emergency visit.

Is pet insurance worth it? To find out, we got quotes for cats and different breeds of dogs from five popular pet insurance providers.

On average, a pet insurance plan for dogs costs around $40 per month, while a pet insurance policy for cats lands around $15. The exact cost depends on your provider, where you live, and your pet’s breed, age, and health. And, as with human insurance, each pet insurance provider offers different levels of coverage.

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Compare pet insurance premiums

Dog insurance cost Icon Tooltip  Dark
Cat insurance costIcon Tooltip  Dark
Multiple pet discount
Learn more

Embrace

$49.53

$13.61

10%

Nationwide

$57.42

$17.71

5%

ASPCA

$38.51

$12.58

10%

Pet First

$33.55

$20.89

Unspecified

Pets Best

$33.22

$13.43

5%

Data effective 8/4/2021. Offers and availability subject to change.

Generally, there are three things to consider before buying pet insurance:

  1. Your budget
  2. Your pet
  3. Your lifestyle

1. Consider your budget

Best preventative power
Embrace Pet Insurance Logo
Embrace Pet Insurance
Pro Bullet Easy custom quotes
Pro Bullet Coverage for extras like training and prescriptions
Con Bullet No coverage for pre-existing conditions

While shopping for pet insurance, don’t go straight for the lowest prices. Consider how often your pet needs care, and remember this is a monthly premium. We recommend mid-tier policies that won’t drain your budget every month but will cover the care your pet needs.

We wanted to learn more about what kind of prices to expect from different pet insurance providers. So we dreamed up two imaginary pets and got quotes for them: Waldo, a two-year-old, male domestic shorthair cat and Bailey, a two-year-old, female, medium mixed-breed dog.

Between the two of them, the average cost of cat insurance was $17.19 per month, while the dog insurance cost $30.80 per month.

And, much like human health insurance, you can opt for plans with higher or lower deductibles. We saw some plans as high as $1,000 and low as $200.

What does pet insurance cover?

While it depends on your carrier and policy, most pet insurance plans cover basics like accidents and illnesses. You can usually get help with procedures like cancer treatment, resetting bones, and medication.

Check all the details in a policy to make sure it covers the veterinary services your pet needs.

How does pet insurance work? 

Unlike your health insurance, pet insurance requires you to pay each vet bill up front. After you’ve paid for veterinary care, you or your vet will send an invoice to the pet insurance company. Based on your policy, your pet insurance will reimburse you up to 90% for the costs of the vet bills.

2. Consider your pet

It’s tempting to choose the cheapest pet insurer you can find. Instead, put your pet first and think about the kind of coverage they’d need and find the best deal from there.

Your four-legged friend’s health history can affect how much you pay for pet insurance. Hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia (more common in larger dogs), congenital conditions, and chronic conditions (like diabetes) are more common in some breeds than others.

You’ll also want to consider your pet's age. If your pet is already older, you may have to pay more for pet insurance. That said, the best pet insurance companies won’t change your premium based on how old your pet is.

Your pet’s behavior can also increase their chances of going to the vet. For those with pets who pick fights or tend to wander, it’s smart to get pet insurance that covers care your pet is most likely to have.

Pets who go outdoors, for example, might be more prone to accidents, diseases, or fights with other animals. We recommend getting a GPS collar to keep track of those pets as they wander with (or without) you.

Dog insurance quotes by breed

Chihuahua

Yorkie

Beagle

Labrador

Golden Retriever

Great Dane

EmbraceIcon Tooltip  Dark

$24.48

$28.47

$46.68

$49.53

$49.53

$85.96

NationwideIcon Tooltip  Dark

$30.66

$36.61

$47.53

$57.42

$47.53

$82.25

ASPCAIcon Tooltip  Dark

$21.83

$24.48

$31.94

$38.51

$38.51

$47.01

Pet FirstIcon Tooltip  Dark

$21.03

$25.44

$23.70

$33.55

$36.46

$54.62

PetsBestIcon Tooltip  Dark

$17.32

$19.98

$30.69

$33.22

$29.73

$53.51

Quotes as of August 2021 

An animal’s breed is a factor in the cost of pet insurance, so we got quotes from five popular dog insurance providers for different dog breeds. These quotes represent the monthly out-of-pocket premium cost to insure a healthy two-year-old female dog. The only difference is her breed.

To make it easier to compare these quotes, we kept the annual limits to $5,000 with a $250 annual deductible and 80% reimbursement. For Embrace, we had to choose a $200 annual deductible. The ASPCA's quote included a $10,000 annual deductible with 70% reimbursement.

Breed isn’t as much of a factor for cat owners. Unless you own a specialty breed, the monthly pet insurance premium is generally the same for most cats.

Thumbs Up
Getting a pet insurance quote is super easy

We didn't have to call anyone to get those sample quotes. Each website lets you plug in a few details about your pet and gives you an instant quote. 

Try it yourself to get a more accurate picture of your pet insurance costs.

3. Consider your lifestyle

Much like human health, your pet’s daily routine and schedule can affect how often they visit the doctor. When shopping for pet insurance, think about how often you take your pet in for routine visits, because not all policies offer a wellness plan for routine care. Some pet insurance companies include holistic or alternative treatments if you prefer veterinarians who offer services like acupuncture or dietary treatments.

Pet insurance can change based on where you live too. For example, if your area has fewer veterinarians, your local clinic might be able to charge more for their services.

How often is your pet home alone?

The amount of time they spend unsupervised can also increase their chances of a veterinary visit, especially for animals with curious palates.

If you leave your pet home alone, finding a pet sitter or using a pet camera can keep them out of trouble. But illness coverage will make sure they can get the veterinary care they need if they eat something dangerous or get hurt while you’re away.

Pet insurance FAQ

Yes. In most cases, pet insurance costs less than $40 per month and can save you money and your pet’s life in the future.

Even if your pet isn’t older or doesn’t have special conditions, accidents happen. You’ll have to spend money at the veterinarian’s, but you’ll get the money back after your pet’s treatment.

If your pet ingests a foreign object (a stick, peach pits, your stamp collection), surgery can cost up to $12,000. Poison control for your pet can also cost you up to $800 if they ingest human medications, rat poison, or chocolate.

Yes, companies like Geico, Progressive, Nationwide, and State Farm provide pet insurance. Ask your insurance agent about bundling pet insurance with your current policies to see if you can save money.

Other companies specialize in pet insurance. If your pet requires special care, these may be the better option.

Coverage varies from policy to policy, but cosmetic procedures like docking or declawing, serious dental work, and injuries caused by illegal activities like racing or fighting aren't covered.


Read the full pet insurance policy before signing up to make sure your pet’s medical needs are covered.

Sure! Plenty of providers offer pet insurance policies for birds and exotic pets, but they may cost more per month than a plan for your cat or dog. Minor visits for parrots, for example, can cost up to $200, making pet insurance a good idea for your other feathery and furry friends.

Final word

You mean the world to your pets, so make sure they’re healthy and happy with the right medical care. Depending on your budget, adding another expense like pet insurance can feel intimidating. But with a little shopping around, you can find a policy that will fit your budget and keep your best friend around for a long time.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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