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How much does pet insurance cost?

Older Caucasian veterinarian staring at bulldog
Pet insurance can help offset costs or even cover them entirely. LWA/Larry Williams/Blend Images/Getty Images

Food prices aren't the only thing that has increased lately. So are veterinary bills. Thankfully, pet insurance can help. Vet bills can add up quickly when your pet has an injury or illness but pet insurance can offset those costs or even cover them entirely.

Like human health insurance, you pay a monthly premium and, in exchange, get coverage for a variety of medical treatments, prescriptions and sometimes preventative measures, too. 

Whatever your pet's breed, gender or age, it's important to have added protection. And there are even more benefits of pet insurance for new owners. Start by getting a free price quote now.

How much does pet insurance cost?

With most pet insurance providers, you'll pay between $30 to $70 per month for a dog and $15 to $40 per month for a cat. The exact price you pay will depend on several factors, including:

  • Type of animal 
  • Breed and gender
  • Age of pet
  • Location

The insurance company you choose matters, too, which is why it's important to shop around when getting pet insurance. Obtain at least three quotes to ensure you're getting the best deal and coverage. Use the table below to get started!

You may also be able to get pet insurance through an existing insurance company you work with (the one that provides your car insurance, for example). Many companies offer discounts for consumers with multiple coverage lines.

There are other reliable ways to get cheap pet insurance. Here are two important tips:

  • Speak with your veterinarian. While they won't directly influence your rates or coverage they can help advise you on plans that benefit your dog or cat. Tailor your policy accordingly so you don't wind up paying for coverage that you don't need. 
  • Get an accident-only policy. An accident-only policy is exactly what it sounds like - coverage for accidents only. Think: broken bones and items accidentally swallowed. While this baseline coverage won't be comprehensive (it won't cover medication, for example) it could be enough for your needs. And it won't break the bank. 

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance policies work on a reimbursement basis. So, you'll pay your vet directly and then file a claim with your insurer afterward. They'll then process that claim and reimburse you for the appropriate amount. Depending on your policy and the treatment, it may be the full amount or a percentage of what you were originally charged. In some cases, these policies have a deductible. This means you have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurer will contribute.

If this sounds like something that could benefit you consider providing some basic information to get a free price quote.

What does pet insurance cover?

Don't fall for any misconceptions. There are many advantages of pet insurance, though coverage differs based on the insurer and plan. Generally, pet insurance covers unexpected injuries and emergencies as well as larger items like surgery.

Here's a look at what most insurance companies cover:

  • Accidents and injuries, like broken bones, cuts or swallowed objects
  • Illnesses, including allergies, infections and diabetes
  • Surgery
  • Treatment for heredity and congenital conditions, like hip dysplasia, cherry eye or glaucoma
  • Treatment for behavioral issues, including pacing, chewing or licking
  • Alternative therapy, like acupuncture or chiropractic care
  • Testing and diagnostics, like blood tests, MRIs and X-rays
  • Emergency exam fees
  • Cancer treatment 
  • Certain medications and prescription foods

Keep in mind that all pet policy plans will have coverage limits — a maximum amount the insurer will contribute annually. You'll want to keep these in mind when choosing your policy.

Pet insurance typically doesn't include routine care, like vaccinations, heartworm/flea preventatives or annual check-ups — at least automatically. However, many insurers do allow you to add coverage for these items at an extra fee. 

Pet insurance usually won't cover pre-existing conditions either. So if your pet has a documented condition before you take out the policy, any treatments related to it will not be eligible for reimbursement (or you can wait until they clear in full).

Types of pet insurance

There are multiple types of pet insurance plans to know:

  • Comprehensive plans: Companies typically offer a comprehensive plan, which includes accidents and injuries, as well as testing, diagnostics, medications and various other medical treatments your vet deems necessary.
  • Accident-only plans: As mentioned above, some insurers offer accident-only plans, which only cover treatment for injuries and accidents, like a snake bite or ingesting a toxic substance. These tend to be the most budget-friendly options, as the coverage is limited.
  • Routine care or wellness plans (add-ons): You can add routine care or wellness packages as a supplement to your main policy. This will cover things like annual check-ups, vaccinations, microchipping and more.

Have more questions? Consider reaching out to a pet insurance expert to find out more.

The bottom line

Pet insurance is a smart and effective way to help pay for rising veterinary costs. The cost of a plan will range significantly based on the coverage options you chose and the type of pet you have (as well as their age and breed). Just be sure to shop around before committing to any particular provider (get quotes from at least three).

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