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How much pet insurance do I need?

Cat owner is holding a Scottish Fold cat. relaxing and resting on the pet owner's arms
Pet insurance doesn't work like health insurance for humans. Accordingly, the question surrounding how much coverage owners should have is a subjective one. Getty Images

Pet insurance provides owners a unique chance to protect both their pet and their wallet.

For a minimal fee each month (cheaper if paid annually) owners can rest assured knowing that their animal has medical care and, should any emergencies arise, they have the economic support to get through it. But pet insurance doesn't work like health insurance for humans. Accordingly, the question surrounding how much coverage owners should have for their pets is a subjective one.

If you think you would benefit from having your animal insured, then start by getting a free price quote.

How much pet insurance do I need?

Here are four considerations to factor in when trying to determine the right amount of pet insurance to buy. 

Your pet's age

If your furry friend is young and healthy then you can probably get away with minimal coverage. An accident-only policy won't break the bank but will still offer protection for emergencies. This will only cover your pets for instances like broken bones or if they swallow something they shouldn't have. But if you're looking to cut costs and stay insured this can do both.

Just make sure to read the fine print. What's considered covered under an accident-only policy with one insurance provider may not be covered under another and vice versa. And remember: Pet insurance often doesn't cover pre-existing conditions so it's beneficial to act early before any nagging issues arise.

You can get a customized pet insurance price quote here now.

Your pet's breed

Regardless of age, some pet breeds are just healthier than others. If you have a pet predisposed to nagging health issues, then, you're probably safer with a more robust plan. 

For example, select dog breeds have known health issues. A German Shepherd is more likely to need a medical procedure for hip dysplasia than most other breeds. English bulldogs, Frenchies and many other "flat-faced" dogs are prone to suffer from Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS).

If you know from the start what health issues your pet is likely to have then you can sign up with a plan to help alleviate the costs in advance before they become more of a financial burden.

Your pet type

There's a reason why cats are generally cheaper to insure than dogs. That's because they tend to live longer and have fewer health issues. Dogs generally have shorter lifespans and more ailments during their life.

So, if you have a dog (and especially if you have one of the breeds mentioned above) then you will likely need more pet insurance protection than you would if you have a cat.

"Dogs cost more to insure than cats, in part due to data that shows they more often require care than cats, and it's more expensive when it's needed," a report recently claimed. You should buy your pet insurance accordingly.

Your budget

it may be tempting to pay for the biggest, most expensive policy out there but don't forget one of the main reasons you're buying pet insurance to begin with: to save money. it won't make sense to pay for a plan you can't afford - and don't need. So do a realistic appraisal of what you can pay each month. Then determine the level of care you want/need for your pet. From there you can more accurately determine how much pet insurance you actually need. 

You can start reviewing policies and costs with Spot insurance now or simply use the table below to start shopping for providers.

The bottom line

Pet insurance is often an inexpensive but valuable form of protection. On average, it costs $30 to $70 per month for a dog and $15 to $40 per month for a cat. But how much you spend is really dependent on what you need based on the above four items.

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