How much is pet insurance? Average cost in 2024

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Updated: 16 February 2024
Written by
Cara Carlone
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Without knowing the average pet insurance cost, deciding just how much value you get out of your coverage can be difficult. Without pet insurance you could face vet bills for thousands of dollars, all for one emergency. Keeping your pet covered keeps your bank account covered too.

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost of pet insurance for dogs is $50 per month and $30 per month for cats.

  • The cost of pet insurance in 2023 is based on things like the breed, age, and your pet’s health.

  • You can get quotes from several companies in order to find discounts that fit your circumstances.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

For dogs, the average cost of pet insurance is $53 per month, and for cats, it is $30 per month. Several factors determine the cost of pet insurance, including the type of animal, breed, gender, age, current health, and location.

Some pet insurance companies specialize in things like riders, cheap coverage for older pets, multi-pet discounts, and the like. As such, it is important to shop around and get multiple quotes from different companies to ensure you have the best deal and the most comprehensive coverage.

How Much Does an Average Pet Insurance Policy Cost?

The average cost of pet insurance is between $30 and $60 depending on the type of animal you have and several other factors including breed, age, potential discounts for things like having multiple pets under the same provider, and pre-existing health conditions.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats

The average cost of pet insurance for cats & dogs goes up based on many factors, like age, breed, and health.

The table below provides the average costs for different pets with a $5,000 annual coverage, $250 deductible, and 80% reimbursement:

Animal/Age Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Alaskan Husky Puppy
(6 weeks-11 months old)
$35.21 $422.52
Alaskan Husky Dog
(9 years old)
$121.30 $1455.60
Calico Kitten

(6 weeks-11 months old)

$25.18 $302.16
Calico Cat

(9 years old)

$84.15 $1009.80

The table below provides the average costs for different pets with unlimited coverage, a $500 deductible, and 90% reimbursement:

Animal/Age Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Alaskan Husky Puppy
(6 weeks-11 months old)
$53.06 $636.72
Alaskan Husky Dog

(9 years old)

$187.62 $2251.44
Calico Kitten

(6 weeks-11 months old)

$40.60 $487.20
Calico Cat
(9 years old)
$131.26 $1575.12

What Is the Cost of Pet Insurance by Age?

Age plays a significant role in pet insurance costs; the older a pet is, the higher the risk of health complications and therefore, the higher the premium.

The Average Pet Insurance Cost by Dog Age

Below is a table listing the average monthly cost of pet insurance for a Border Collie, with a maximum annual coverage of $5,000, a $500 deductible, and an 80% reimbursement.

Age Monthly Cost
6 weeks-11 months $37.28
1 year old $38.39
2 years old $39.03
3 years old $45.32
4 years old $54.29
5 years old $72.70
6 years old $87.10
7 years old $104.10
8 years old $110.78
9 years old $119.36
10 years old $142.54

The Average Pet Insurance Cost by Cat Age

Below is a table listing the average monthly cost of pet insurance for a domestic longhair, with a maximum annual coverage of $5,000, a $500 deductible, and an 80% reimbursement.

Age Monthly Cost
6 weeks-11 months $23.46
1 year old $23.66
2 years old $23.80
3 years old $27.99
4 years old $30.48
5 years old $34.75
6 years old $40.11
7 years old $46.95
8 years old $55.77
9 years old $67.28
10 years old $81.76

How Pet Insurance Costs Change as Pets Age

As you can see in the examples above, the cost of pet insurance remains relatively the same for the first few years, and then there’s a significant jump once a pet reaches adulthood because the older a pet gets, the higher its likelihood of illness or injuries.

The development of pre-existing conditions can contribute to increased costs, especially as animals age. A history of illness or accident will also increase the cost of premiums, especially if you are taking out a new policy. Tangentially, there may be limited availability for new policies if you have an older pet which is why it’s important to buy pet insurance early before you actually need it.

Even if you have a relatively young pet, around 4 years of age, if they get into an accident or start to show signs of a pre-existing condition, and you then try to take out a policy, it could impact your rates. However, if you already have a policy, your premiums are based on risk assessment, not the number of claims you file.

Tip: Choose pet insurance when your animal is younger and healthier, and you can save significantly compared to trying to get a policy when they are older.

What Is the Cost of Pet Insurance by Breed?

One of the factors that can significantly impact the cost of your pet insurance policy is the breed you have. The reason for this is that purebred animals are more likely to have significant health problems that are passed down genetically, which makes them more prone to illnesses. Higher rates of illnesses and genetic conditions cost more to treat, and as a result, your premiums are higher.

For example, brachycephalic breeds have protruding eyes and a higher risk of ocular disease, digestive issues, and breathing problems.

Brachycephalic dogs suffer from corneal ulcers 3 to 4 times more than other breeds.

Mixed breed animals, by comparison, are likely to have cheaper pet insurance costs as long as they don’t have pre-existing health conditions.

The Average Dog Insurance Cost by Breed

The table below provides a list of monthly insurance premiums for several dog breeds, 5 years of age, with a $5,000 maximum coverage amount, $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement:

Breed Monthly Premiums
Puggle $63.17
Bulldog mix $85.27
Labrador Retriever $91.61
Pug Purebred $97.15
Bulldog Purebred $154.65
American Mastiff $244.19

As you can see in the example above, the average monthly cost for a purebred pug is nearly $100 whereas, by comparison, the mixed puggle breed is only $63 per month. Similarly a purebred Bulldog is nearly $155 but the Bulldog mixes only $85 per month.

The Average Cat Insurance Cost by Breed

The table below provides a list of monthly insurance premiums for several cat breeds, 5 years of age, with a $5,000 maximum coverage amount, $500 deductible, and 80% reimbursement:

Breed Monthly Premiums
Domestic Longhair $34.75
Siamese $37.46
Feral $37.46
Persian $44.78
Bombay $44.78
Maine Coon $52.26

Breed-Specific Health Risks

According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19.8% of German shepherds end up diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

In the example above for the dogs, the American Mastiff is one of the most expensive to insure because purebred American Mastiffs have a high risk of several conditions, such as:

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Hip and eye dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Bloat

Breed-specific health risks associated with dogs and cats increase the likelihood of developing chronic conditions, and certain diseases and known diseases can result in expensive treatment and vet bills, which is why premiums are correspondingly higher.

There are 24 dog breeds with a genetic risk of brachycephalic syndrome.

Below is a short list of some examples of breed-specific health issues that can result in expensive treatment and vet bills:

Breed Type Common Health Risks
German Shepherds/English Shepherds/Retrievers Hip Dysplasia
French Bulldogs/Boston Terriers/English Bulldogs Brachycephalic Syndrome
Persian Cats Polycystic kidney disease
Maine Coons Spinal muscular atrophy

Tip: If you have a purebred pet, get higher coverage amounts to protect against genetic conditions.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance by Annual Coverage

The level of your annual coverage is one factor that will determine your monthly premiums. Others include your reimbursement percentage and your annual deductible. All three of these can be negotiated depending on the type of coverage you need.

Your annual coverage represents a maximum coverage limit that your insurance provider will pay out each year. Once you exceed that limit, you will be responsible for all remaining costs until the start of the next fiscal year.

The Average Cost of Dog Insurance by Insurance Provider for $5,000 in Annual Coverage

Below is a table demonstrating the difference in cost for puppies compared to older dogs. In the table below, the average monthly premiums are for an Australian Shepherd, with an annual deductible of $500 and a reimbursement percentage of 70%.

Dog Age Monthly Premiums
3 years old $38.48
8 months old $40.45

The Average Cost of Dog Insurance by Insurance Provider for $10,000 in Annual Coverage

Below is a table for an Australian Shepherd, with an annual deductible of $500 and a reimbursement percentage of 70%, but with $10,000 in annual coverage.

Dog Age Monthly Premiums
3 years old $43.35
8 months old $45.58

The Average Cost of Dog Insurance by Insurance Provider for Unlimited Annual Coverage

The table below shows the average price for a policy for an Australian Shepherd, with an annual deductible of $500 and a reimbursement percentage of 70% and an unlimited annual claim.

Dog Age Monthly Premiums
3 years old $53.47
8 months old $56.23

The Average Cost of Cat Insurance by Insurance Provider for Unlimited Annual Coverage

The table below shows the average price for a policy for a mixed breed, long hair cat with an annual deductible of $500, a reimbursement percentage of 70% and an unlimited annual claim amount.

Cat Age Monthly Premiums
3 years old $36.94
8 months old $30.21

Tip: Choosing a 70% reimbursement percentage can save you 10% or more on your monthly premiums, money you can put aside toward emergency care.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance by the Reimbursement Rate

The reimbursement rate represents the percentage the insurance company will reimburse you for any covered claims you file. If you have a higher reimbursement percentage, you will have a higher monthly premium.

The reason for this is that a higher reimbursement percentage means the insurance company is required to cover a larger percentage of your covered claims, so the insurance company hedges this cost by increasing your premiums.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance for Dogs by the Reimbursement Rate

The table below provides a summary of a medium-sized mixed breed dog, 6 years of age, based on different reimbursement rates, a $500 deductible, and a maximum payout of $5,000:

Reimbursement Percentage Monthly Premium
70% $81.32
80% $89.97
90% $111.58

The table below is the same policy but for a 7 month old puppy:

Reimbursement Percentage Monthly Premium
70% $39.89
80% $42.82
90% $52.65

As you can see in the tables above, even a 10% decrease in the reimbursement percentage can represent significant savings each month. Conversely, a 10% increase might amount to several hundred dollars for which you are reimbursed in exchange for an extra $10 per month.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance for Cats by the Reimbursement Rate

The table below provides a summary of a mixed breed cat, 6 years of age based on different reimbursement rates, a $500 deductible, and a maximum payout of $5,000:

Reimbursement Percentage Monthly Premium
70% $39.29
80% $43.26
90% $53.20

The table below is the same policy but for a 7 month old mixed breed kitten:

Reimbursement Percentage Monthly Premium
70% $21.61
80% $23.62
90% $28.65

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance by State

The average cost of pet insurance by state is based on the average income and the cost of services in that state. States like Colorado and California, which have higher living expenses, also have higher pet insurance rates. By comparison, states with limited living expenses, like Mississippi, Indiana, or Oklahoma, have lower average costs.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance for Dogs by State

The table below shows the average monthly premiums for dogs in each state. Some of the most expensive states include Maryland, Connecticut, Arizona, and California.

State Average Monthly Premium
Alabama $42.60
Alaska $46.89
Arizona $53.22
Arkansas $41.10
California $61.29
Colorado $47.56
Connecticut $52.63
Delaware $45.70
Florida $39.70
Georgia $35.61
Hawaii $45.82
Idaho $41.87
Illinois $43.71
Indiana $36.77
Iowa $37.34
Kansas $41.14
Kentucky $41.13
Louisiana $35.18
Maine $40.64
Maryland $50.05
Massachusetts $47.56
Michigan $36.79
Minnesota $46.58
Mississippi $34.17
Missouri $39.21
Montana $39.31
Nebraska $37.90
Nevada $42.72
New Hampshire $46.72
New Jersey $48.27
New Mexico $48.63
New York $40.11
North Carolina $40.07
North Dakota $39.92
Ohio $40.17
Oklahoma $35.71
Oregon $45.65
Pennsylvania $42.85
Rhode Island $42.35
South Carolina $38.09
South Dakota $39.01
Tennessee $40.92
Texas $41.65
Utah $40.41
Vermont $37.88
Virginia $45.56
Washington $43.63
West Virginia $36.95
Wisconsin $42.11
Wyoming $33.97

States like Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma have lower average incomes and, as a result, lower expenses and, indirectly, lower insurance premiums for dogs.

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance for Cats by State

The table below includes the average monthly premium for cats in each state. As you can see when you look at the averages, states like Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wyoming have much lower rates compared to states like Alaska, Connecticut, or California.

States that have higher average incomes naturally have higher expenses for things like veterinary services, which means the insurance costs are higher in those states and, conversely, lower in states where the cost of the same care is significantly less.

State Average Monthly Premium
Alabama $26.09
Alaska $28.35
Arizona $31.96
Arkansas $27.52
California $31.97
Colorado $28.82
Connecticut $31.67
Delaware $27.71
Florida $21.87
Georgia $22.44
Hawai’i $28.15
Idaho $25.94
Illinois $26.90
Indiana $22.01
Iowa $22.54
Kansas $24.68
Kentucky $24.47
Louisiana $21.41
Maine $24.19
Maryland $30.19
Massachusetts $28.04
Michigan $21.71
Minnesota $23.05
Mississippi $19.64
Missouri $19.77
Montana $22.68
Nebraska $22.87
Nevada $26.08
New Hampshire $28.02
New Jersey $25.98
New Mexico $24.67
New York $24.92
North Carolina $23.94
North Dakota $23.25
Ohio $24.67
Oklahoma $21.77
Oregon $28.15
Pennsylvania $26.90
Rhode Island $25.85
South Carolina $24.63
South Dakota $23.72
Tennessee $24.35
Texas $20.68
Utah $23.90
Vermont $22.66
Virginia $27.14
Washington $26.46
West Virginia $21.61
Wisconsin $25.86
Wyoming $19.37

The Average Cost of Pet Insurance by Insurance Provider

The average cost of pet insurance will vary from one insurance provider to the next. Not all insurance providers operate in every state, which means some states may not have the same options. Similarly, different companies offer discounts for multiple pets and available riders like routine care.

The Average Cost of Dogs Insurance by Insurance Company

Each company offers several options for the coverage you can receive as well as potential discounts for things like multiple pets and riders like routine care.

The table below shows the average costs for a 2 year old Cocker Spaniel. The policy is for a $500 deductible, with a 70% reimbursement rate and a $10,000 annual coverage limit:

Company Monthly Premium
ASPCA $39.65
Embrace $42.46
Prudent Pet $43.82
Figo $23.34

By comparison, the table below shows the average cost for the same pet but with routine riders added:

Company Monthly Premium
ASPCA $49.60
Embrace $61.21
Prudent Pet $55.77

The table below shows rates for multipet policies that include the same dog and a 5-year-old, mixed breed cat. The monthly premiums indicated cover both pets:

Company Monthly Premium
ASPCA $59.35
Embrace $54.75
Prudent Pet $74.89
Figo $36.45

The Average Cost of Cat Insurance by the Insurance Company

Below is a table with the average cost of insurance for an 8 year old, purebred Burmese cat. The policy is for a $500 deductible, with a 70% reimbursement rate and a $10,000 annual coverage limit:

Company Monthly Premium
ASPCA $39.82
Embrace $39.60
Prudent Pet $60.51
Figo $22.33

The table below is for the same policy, but for a kitten:

Company Monthly Premium
ASPCA $35.48
Embrace $29.13
Prudent Pet $46.71
Figo $23.12

The Average Cost of Medical Treatments for Pets

The average cost of medical treatments for pets doesn’t vary as much by age. However, the older an animal is, the more likely they are to struggle with one or more health conditions, and the average cost to treat many health conditions starts at a few hundred dollars and often reaches several thousand dollars.

The Cost of Medical Treatment for Dogs

Dogs, especially purebred dogs, are at a high risk of several health conditions as they get older such as broken bones, ingesting foreign objects, eye conditions, and bladder infections. As they get much older, they are prone to genetic conditions like diabetes, hip dysplasia, or cancer.

The average cost of a pet emergency is around $1000 without surgery.

With the national average annual cost of dog pet insurance reaching roughly $600 per year, you can see that in the table below, $600 per year is significantly less than the cost of almost every treatment.

Condition Average Cost
Cancer $10,000+
Ingested Foreign Object $2,000-$5,000
Heart Murmur $200-$1,000
Arthritis $75-$170 per month
Broken bones $600-$2,000
Eye Conditions $2,500-$4,000
Bladder infection/UTI $274 each time
Dental Disease $500-$1,000
Diabetes $100-$300 per month
Hip Dysplasia $800-$6,000

The Cost of Medical Treatment for Cats

Cats are at risk for their own set of health conditions. In most cases, paying for treatment out of pocket over time is more expensive than the annual cost of insurance.

For example: Assume the annual cost of insurance at the $30 monthly average for cats is $360. Any of the treatment costs for the ten common cat health conditions in the table below cost far more.

Condition Average Cost
Cancer $10,000+
Ingested Foreign Object $2,000-$5,000
Feline immunodeficiency virus $150-$2,000
Feline leukemia virus $650-$750
Diabetes $1,000-$5,000
Heartworm $90 per year
High Rise Syndrome $1,500-$3,000
Kidney Failure $100-$500 per month
Upper respiratory infections $216 each time
Ulcer/skin conditions $458

The amount of coverage that you should have based on your state is related to the cost of medical care in that area. In most cases you will want a minimum of $5,000 no matter where you live with an upper limit anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000.

The table below shows recommended minimum coverage amounts for each state but again, the more coverage you have, the better your protection in the event that something goes wrong.

State Recommended Coverage Minimum
Alabama $6,000
Alaska $6,000
Arizona $8,000
Arkansas $6,000
California $10,000
Colorado $6,000
Connecticut $8,000
Delaware $6,000
Florida $5,000
Georgia $5,000
Hawaii $6,000
Idaho $6,000
Illinois $6,000
Indiana $5,000
Iowa $5,000
Kansas $6,000
Kentucky $6,000
Louisiana $5,000
Maine $6,000
Maryland $8,000
Massachusetts $8,000
Michigan $5,000
Minnesota $6,000
Mississippi $5,000
Missouri $5,000
Montana $5,000
Nebraska $5,000
Nevada $6,000
New Hampshire $6,000
New Jersey $7,000
New Mexico $7,000
New York $6,000
North Carolina $6,000
North Dakota $5,000
Ohio $6,000
Oklahoma $5,000
Oregon $6,000
Pennsylvania $6,000
Rhode Island $6,000
South Carolina $5,000
South Dakota $5,000
Tennessee $6,000
Texas $6,000
Utah $6,000
Vermont $5,000
Virginia $6,000
Washington $5,000
West Virginia $5,000
Wisconsin $6,000
Wyoming $5,000

How Are Pet Insurance Rates Calculated?

Pet insurance rates are calculated with a variety of factors that include the following:

  • Provider
  • Species
  • Breed
  • Age
  • Plan
  • Add-ons
  • Deductible customization
  • Reimbursement percentage
  • Annual limit

Pet-Based Cost Factors of Pet Insurance Prices

There are several pet-based cost factors that can influence the price of your insurance policy.

Your location

Where you live directly influences the cost of insurance because of the cost of care.

Pet species

The type of animal you have influences your pet insurance prices. Smaller animals are less expensive to insure because they require smaller doses of medications.

NAPHIA has found that cats are cheaper to insure than dogs.

Pet breed

Purebred animals, especially dogs, are at a higher risk for developing serious genetic conditions as they age, which means they cost more money to maintain.

Pet age

Older dogs are at a higher risk of developing illnesses or getting into accidents, so prices go up the older your animal is.

Pet Gender

Male pets are more likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior, get involved in fights, and are larger than females. This means they need emergency care more often; the medication and tools needed for surgery and emergency care have to be bigger as well.

How to Lower Your Pet Insurance Cost

If you are worried about the cost of your pet insurance policy, there are several ways that you can lower your premiums.

Customize your plan

You have several options for customizing your plan. You can change the total coverage limit, reduce your reimbursement percentage, or increase your deductible. Increasing your deductible by a few hundred dollars can save you significantly on your monthly premiums. Some of the best ways to customize include:

  • Raising your deductible
  • Lowering your annual or lifetime limit
  • Lowering your reimbursement rate

Check for discounts

Before you take out a new policy, check for discounts. Several companies offer discounts for things like military members or multi-pet households.

Shop around

Always shop around and compare quotes from several companies before you commit to a pet insurance policy. Some companies might be significantly less expensive, like Fido, compared to Embrace in the tables above.

Insure young

The younger you get insurance for your pet, the less expensive it will be, even as they age. Taking out a new policy for an older pet is more expensive than maintaining the same policy on a pet you’ve had for several years.

Get lower coverage

As mentioned, you can customize your plan, which means you can reduce the coverage and save 10% or more every month on your premiums.

Choose an annual payment option

Many companies give you the option of paying your premiums annually or monthly. Each time you pay, there is usually a processing fee as well. If you opt for an annual payment, you only have to pay one processing fee, not 12, and most companies will give you a small discount of around 5%.

Spay or neuter your pet/Microchip your pet

If you do things like spay or neuter your pet or get them microchipped, you might receive discounts on your pet insurance policy simply because this reduces the risk of emergency care for things like unexpected pregnancies.

Are There Any Pet Insurance Policy Discounts?

Yes, different pet insurance companies provide policy discounts. These discounts can significantly lower your monthly premiums.

Some of the most common pet insurance discounts include multi-pet discounts. If you have more than one pet in your home and you take out an insurance policy at the same time from the same company, you can receive 10% or more off your total premiums. Simple savings like these can make insurance more affordable.

What Is Pet Insurance and How Does It Work?

Pet insurance is a form of insurance that provides compensation for emergency animal care. It works much the same as any other insurance policy: you pay a monthly premium, and in the event that there is an emergency after you pay your annual deductible, you can submit a claim for reimbursement. Each policy comes with a different reimbursement percentage that indicates how much you receive from the insurance company for each covered claim.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance covers accidents, injuries, illnesses, diagnostic tests, prescription medication, surgeries, and other emergency care rendered for qualifying situations. Depending on the coverage you have, your policy might cover accidents only or accidents and illnesses, or accidents and illnesses and general wellness.

Covered items include:

  • Bite wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • ACL ruptures
  • Allergies
  • Seizures
  • Digestive issues
  • Skin conditions
  • Eye disorders
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Blood disorders
  • Nursing care
  • Hospitalizations
  • Endoscopies
  • Surgeries
  • Chemotherapy

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Pet insurance can absolutely be worth the money, especially if your animal experiences any type of emergency care. Pet insurance with wellness riders can cover regular vet appointments, vaccinations, and routine care in addition to emergencies.

However, no pet insurance policy offers 100% reimbursement, so you’ll still be responsible for at least 10% of the overall cost.

How Much Insurance Does Your Pet Need?

How much insurance your pet needs is based on the breed, the risk for genetic conditions, and their age. In most cases having between $6,000 and $20,000 will provide coverage for most emergency situations your pet will encounter.

The older they are, the more coverage they’ll need because there’s a higher risk of health complications. Similarly, purebred animals are more likely to suffer genetic conditions and need higher coverage.

FAQs

Should I switch providers to get better pet insurance rates?

If you can get a better quote, consider switching providers to save money, especially if they offer discounts or you have multiple pets.

Will pet insurance offset the average cost of medical treatments?

Yes, in most cases, pet insurance will offset the average cost of medical treatments, especially emergency care. You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars per year for pet insurance, and each emergency visit can cost a few thousand dollars.

Are pet vaccinations covered by pet insurance?

This depends on the type of policy you have. If you have routine care as an add-on, yes, pet vaccines will be covered.

What is the average annual cost of pet insurance?

The average annual cost of pet insurance is around $600 for dogs and $300 for cats.

What's a benefit schedule on pet insurance?

A benefits schedule lists all the benefits that you can receive as part of your pet insurance policy. This means anything listed on your benefits schedule you can submit a claim for after the fact.

Sources

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