Pet insurance is growing in popularity, and for good reason. The cost of veterinary care can be downright expensive. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2021, pet owners in the United States spent 34.3 billion dollars on veterinary-related care and products.
This leaves a lot of pet owners feeling uneasy about unexpected health care costs that could pop up at any given time, and that’s where pet insurance comes in. So, how much does pet insurance cost, and is it worth it? We’ll break it down for you.
The Importance of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance works in the same way as other insurance policies. You pay a premium in place of not having to pay for your pet’s medical expenses. There are different types of coverage offered by a variety of companies. Most pet owners opt for pet insurance to offset the cost of unexpected medical costs that can be quite stressful on the wallet.
With veterinary costs already expensive and on the rise due to advancements in veterinary technology, pet insurance can be a great safety net to keep you from being caught in a very difficult financial situation. In addition to coverage for accidents, injuries, and illness, some policies help with routine and preventative care as well.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
Pet insurance policies are going to vary greatly depending on several factors. It is highly recommended that when searching for pet insurance, you reach out to different providers and discuss their plans and pricing so that you make the best decision for you and your pet. Prices will vary depending on the following
Many different insurance providers offer pet insurance policies. Some companies focus on pet insurance only, while others may cover a wider variety of insurance options. It’s recommended to research each company and compare their plans and pricing to the others, so you can have the full scope of knowledge for each one. This will help you in your decision-making.
Each company will likely offer a variety of plans that have different levels of coverage and deductibles. Pet insurance operates by reimbursement, where you cover the cost upfront and then submit a claim. The insurance company will then reimburse you for any costs that fall within your plan’s eligibility.
Pet insurance costs will be dependent on which type of pet you have. Most companies offer coverage for cats and dogs, with cats typically costing less for coverage each month in comparison to dogs. For coverage of other pets such as birds and exotics, policies are much more limited and currently offered by Nationwide only.
Not only does species matter, but so does breed and size. Some breeds are more prone to suffer from certain health ailments and insurance companies will consider this. Larger animals and those that are predisposed to a variety of health conditions will likely cost a little more.
Age will also play a key factor in determining your costs for pet insurance. More health problems tend to show up during the senior years, which typically results in a higher premium for older pets.
Your location will also play a role in overall costs. Insurance policies will undoubtedly vary in cost from sea to shining sea. The cost of living is variable depending on geographical location and whether you are in a rural or urban setting. You’ll be asked to enter your zip code when obtaining a quote, so the provider will give you the precise rate for your specific location.
The following tables represent the average monthly cost of insurance for dogs and cats, respectively, with $5,000 of annual coverage and a $250 deductible from a list of different providers:
|Insurance Provider||National Average Cost Per Month for a Dog|
|Fetch by the Dodo||$35|
|Insurance Provider||National Average Cost Per Month for a Cat|
|Fetch by the Dodo||$25|
Common Coverage Options
Coverage options and plans will vary by company, but the following are the most common types of pet insurance coverage options:
Accident and Illness Coverage
This type of coverage encompasses veterinary care related to both illnesses and accidents. This is the most common coverage option, as it will reimburse the high costs that can be associated with sickness or any injuries that result from an accident.
Accident-only coverage will cover the costs of medical care associated with unexpected accidents and sustained injuries. This can include broken bones, torn ligaments, bite wounds, lacerations, and poisoning. Accident only coverage typically involves coverage for:
Wellness Coverage (Add-On)
Wellness plans are offered as an add-on to other policies at an additional cost. This type of add-on can be very beneficial, as cats and dogs do require semi-annual or annual exams, yearly vaccinations, and upkeep on the prevention of parasites. Dental care is also another add-on to check into with each provider, as dental care can get quite expensive as well.
Just like any other insurance policy, pet insurance involves a deductible. An annual pet insurance deductible is the fixed amount that the pet owner is required to pay before the insurance provider will reimburse any costs. Pet insurance deductibles will range anywhere from $100 to $1,000. The higher deductible that is chosen when selecting coverage, the lower the monthly cost and vice versa.
Most pet insurance policies will come with an annual limit. This means the provider will only reimburse you up to the annual limit amount. The annual limit can vary depending on the policy and the provider but typically fall within the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Make sure to check on the annual limit when shopping around, as you don’t want to be surprised if you have a particularly bad year in terms of veterinary costs and you fall short of getting your money back.
When you are shopping for pet insurance, be sure to check and see if your chosen provider offers any discounts. Some companies offer military discounts, AAA discounts, and even discounts to pet parents that have adopted from a shelter. In addition, there may be discounts associated with service and therapy animals.
Pet insurance policies work differently than your own health insurance. This is very important for pet owners to be aware of when purchasing a policy. In addition to paying the agreed-upon deductible amount, you will need to pay the veterinary care costs upfront.
When selecting a plan, providers will give an option for reimbursement percentage. The lower the rate, the lower the monthly premium but you will pay more expenses out of pocket. Reimbursement rates typically range between 70 and 90% but this is based on the provider.
After you have paid the bills associated with your pet’s care, you will submit a claim to the insurance provider, and they will reimburse you for the costs that fall within your plan’s coverage. Reimbursement generally comes in the form of a check or direct deposit once the deductible has been met.
What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover?
Currently, no pet insurance company offers coverage for pre-existing conditions or an illness that existed before enrollment. In addition, anything that occurs during the waiting period before the beginning of coverage will also not be covered. Most companies have a 14-day waiting period after enrollment, but this can vary so it’s important to check with each company.
Outside of preexisting conditions and anything that falls within the waiting period for coverage, here’s a list of other expenses that do not fall within the scope of pet insurance coverage:
Pet insurance is a growing industry that can be very helpful when unforeseen circumstances come about. There are plenty of different pet insurance providers out there and the costs will vary greatly depending on many different factors. If you’re ready to get a policy started or are curious to learn more, be sure to shop around for the best rates.
Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: WATPFC