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How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost? For Dogs, Cats and More

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updated: June 19, 2024

Owning a pet can be a rewarding experience but also an expensive one. Veterinary care is costly, and if your pet is involved in an accident or has a health emergency, vet bills can quickly creep into the thousands. For that reason, many pet owners choose to insure their animals—but pet insurance comes at a cost, too.

In this article, we explain how pet insurance works, including the cost, factors that influence prices, the premium differences between cats and dogs, and how pet insurance premium costs can vary among insurance providers.

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Max annual coverage
$5,000 to $100,000
Reimbursement rates
70% to 90%
Deductible choices
$100, $250, $500, or $750
Usual coverage
Diagnostics, injury from accident, cancer, flea and heartworm prevention, allergy medicine, arthritis medicine

Average pet insurance costs

Pet insurance costs vary based on pet type, age, breed, etc. While one pet owner may find insurance coverage relatively affordable, another might discover it’s not within their budget. Understanding the average costs of pet insurance can help you determine whether it’s worth it for your pet.

Pet typeAverage monthly premium (Accident only)Average monthly premium (Accident and illness)
Dog
$16.70
$53.34
Cat
$10.18
$32.25

How much is dog insurance?

The exact cost of pet insurance for a dog depends on several factors. The dog’s breed is one of the biggest contributors, though costs will also vary among insurance providers. The two charts below lay out the average cost for common dog breeds as well as from popular insurers.

By breed

BreedAverage monthly premium ($5,000 annual coverage)Average monthly premium (Unlimited coverage)
Chihuahua
$44
$56
French bulldog
$44
$56
German shepherd
$44
$56
Golden retriever
$44
$56
Mixed breed
$44
$56
Shih Tzu
$44
$56
Yorkshire terrier
$44
$56

Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of data from PetInsurer.com.

By provider

ProviderSample monthly premium
($5,000 annual coverage)
$54.72
$35.01
$44.51
$47.29
$17.05

How much is cat insurance?

The cost of cat insurance coverage can also depend on the cat’s breed and the insurance provider. Below are the average insurance costs for the most common cat breeds and the average costs with different insurance providers.

By breed

BreedAverage monthly premium ($5,000 annual coverage)Average monthly premium (Unlimited coverage)
Abyssinian
$21
$27
Bengal
$21
$26
British shorthair
$21
$28
Domestic shorthair
$17
$19
Maine coon
$21
$29
Mixed breed
$17
$19
Persian
$20
$24
Ragdoll
$19
$22
Siamese
$19
$22

Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of data from PetInsurer.com.

By provider

ProviderAverage monthly premium (Adult cat, age 4)Average monthly premium (Adult cat, age 8)
$40
$62
$42
$62
$41
$92
$35
$62
$39
N/A
$24
$46
$26
$45
$29
$41
$57
$81
$21
$41
$57
$87
$81
$125

Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of data from PetInsurer.com.

The average cost of medical treatments for pets

The cost of medical treatment for pets varies widely, depending on the pet’s age, breed, and location. However, the average costs for common vet services are as follows:

Type of serviceAverage cost
Blood tests
$80 to $200
Cat or dog allergy test
$195 to $300
Cat or dog teeth cleaning
$300 to $500
Cat or dog vaccinations
$60 to $100
Cat spay or neuter
$100 to $499
Diarrhea or intestinal upset
$203 to $385
Dog spay or neuter
$50 to $500
Ear infection treatment
$149.30
Grooming
$43 to $73 per visit
Heartworm test
$35 to $75
Preventive medicine (flea, tick, heartworm)
$140 to $185
Routine vet checkup
$50 to $250

Remember that you can compare prices at different vets to ensure that the amount you pay is as close to your budget as possible.

What impacts the price of pet insurance?

The cost of pet insurance depends on several factors, including the age and breed of your pet, the type of coverage you choose, your location, the insurance provider, and any available discounts. Here is more information on how these factors affect pet insurance prices.

Pet age

Pets are more likely to get sick as they age, so older pets often cost more to insure than younger ones. The age at which premiums will increase depends on the provider, but you may notice your premiums creeping up significantly when your pet is between ages six and nine.

Pet breed

Breed plays a huge part in insurance premiums for dogs, though there’s not as much variance in cost for different cat breeds. Certain dog breeds are prone to medical issues such as hip dysplasia, congestive heart failure, or stomach bloat, which increases the likelihood you’ll need to make an expensive claim on your pet insurance policy.

Insurance coverage type

The type of coverage you pick for your pet will affect the cost. There are four main types of coverage to choose from:

  • Accident only: This coverage kicks in if your pet is involved in an accident and requires medical care. It may cover X-rays, surgeries, tests, medication, and hospital stays. Premiums for accident-only coverage tend to be on the low end of the range.
  • Accident and illness: This type of pet insurance is similar to accident-only insurance but adds coverage for illness, including lab tests, hospital stays, surgery, and medication. Accident and illness coverage is more expensive than accident-only coverage but less pricey than comprehensive coverage.
  • Comprehensive pet insurance: Comprehensive combines accident and illness insurance and adds coverage for routine wellness checks. It’s the most expensive type of pet insurance coverage.
  • Routine wellness: This add-on covers annual vet checkups, vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, and more.

Location

Your geographic location will affect how much you pay for pet insurance. That’s because vet fees differ from location to location, with costs often higher in high cost-of-living areas or in rural areas with few vet options.

Insurance provider

Each insurance provider sets its rates differently, so you may get quotes for the same coverage from different providers with wildly different costs. For this reason, it’s important to get several pet insurance quotes before deciding on the best policy since some may be more affordable than others.

Rate discounts

Many insurers offer discounts to help you minimize your insurance costs, and pet insurance is no exception. You may qualify for a discount if you insure more than one pet with the same provider, or you might be offered a lower rate if you can pay your entire annual premium upfront. Other common discounts include bundling multiple types of insurance under the same provider or being a member of an organization such as AARP or AAA.

TIME Stamp: Pet insurance can cost around $50 per month and help pay for expensive medical treatments.

Pet insurance might be another monthly expense to work into the budget. Still, it can be well worth the cost if your pet has an unexpected medical emergency or is involved in an accident that requires a hospital stay or surgery. Like any insurance coverage, shopping around and comparing quotes from different providers is a good idea. This can help you find an option that fits your budget and provides the protection you want for your pets.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do premiums increase as pets get older?

Yes, just like insurance premiums for humans, pet insurance premiums will increase as your pet ages.

Is it cheaper to insure multiple pets with the same provider?

Some insurance providers offer discounts if you insure multiple pets under the same provider. If you have more than one pet to insure, it’s worth asking whether you’ll get a discount before signing a policy.

Are there any discounts available for pet insurance?

The availability of discounts depends on the provider. Some may offer discounts for insuring multiple animals or paying annual premiums upfront. Others may offer discounts for customers who bundle pet insurance with another type of coverage, such as car or home insurance. Still others may offer discounts for customers in certain professions, such as pet care or the military.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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