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 insurance can soften the financial blow of an emergency visit.
But we wanted to know, 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, pet insurance for dogs costs around $40 per month, while pet insurance for cats lands around $20. The exact cost depends on your provider, where you live, and your pet’s breed, age, and health. And like human insurance, pet insurance providers have different levels of coverage.
Generally, there are three things to consider before buying pet insurance:
Consider your budget
Consider your pet
Consider your lifestyle
Consider Your Budget
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 pet insurance cost for our cat was $17.19 per month, while the care cost for the dog was $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.
Embrace Pet Insurance
Easy custom quotes
Coverage for extras like behavioral therapy and prescriptions
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 too.
Check all the details in a policy before purchasing to make sure it covers the veterinary services your pet needs.
Data effective 10/10/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Unlike your health insurance, pet insurance requires you to pay your vet bills up front. After you’ve paid for veterinary care, you or your pet’s doctor will send an invoice to the insurance company. Based on your policy, your pet insurance will reimburse you up to 90% for the costs of the vet bills.
Consider Your Pet
It’s tempting to choose the cheapest pet insurance 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 their 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.
Insurance Quotes by Dog Breed
Quotes as of October 2019
Because an animal’s breed is a factor in the cost of pet insurance, we got quotes from five popular insurance providers for different dog breeds. These are quotes for the price per month to insure a healthy two-year-old female dog. The only difference is her breed.
Breed isn’t as much of a factor for cat owners. Unless you own an exotic or specialty breed, monthly costs are generally the same for most cats.
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 cover checkups. 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 pet insurance will make sure they can get the care they need if they eat something dangerous or get hurt while you’re away.
Pet Insurance FAQs
Is it worth it to have pet insurance?
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.
Can I get pet insurance through one of my current providers?
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.
What doesn’t pet insurance cover?
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.
Can pet insurance cover animals other than cats and dogs?
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.
The 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 has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more