How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost In 2022? – Forbes Advisor


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More than 91 million households in the U.S. have pets, which roughly translates into more than 91 million opinions on how to best care for a pet. But one way to guard against giant and unexpected vet bills is with the best pet insurance.

Here’s a guide to pet insurance costs.

Average Pet Insurance Costs

For dogs, pet insurance ranges from $20 to $44 a month. For cats, we found a range of $12 to $46 a month. Overall, pet insurance costs an average of $35 a month for dogs and $28 a month for cats in 2022, for $5,000 in coverage for the year.

You can find a policy that fits almost any budget by adjusting the levels of coverage inside the plan. Know that pet insurance rates generally rise every year at renewal time as your pet gets older.

The cost of pet insurance varies based on multiple factors, including the type of coverage, amount of coverage, and the pet’s breed and age.

How Much Is Pet Insurance for Dogs?

As you’ll see below, pet insurance costs vary depending on the pet insurance company. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare pet insurance quotes from multiple insurers before you buy a policy.

Average cost of dog insurance with $5,000 of annual coverage

The average cost of dog insurance with unlimited annual coverage

How Much Is Pet Insurance for Cats?

Here’s a look at average costs for cat insurance.

Factors In Pet Insurance Costs

Pet insurance companies use multiple factors when setting rates.

Coverage type

One of the biggest factors determining pet insurance cost is the coverage. For example, a comprehensive policy that covers a range of treatments and also routine care will cost more than an accident-only policy.

Your coverage choices depend on the pet insurance company. Here are the common types of pet insurance plans:

  • Comprehensive pet insurance plan. A comprehensive pet insurance plan will combine an accident and illness policy with a routine care plan.
  • Accident and illness coverage. This type of policy helps pay for vet bills for unexpected incidents, such as sprains from accidents, poisonings and common illnesses, such as ear infections. This might also cover lab tests, surgeries, hospitalization, prescription medications and emergency care.
  • Accident-only coverage. This type of policy covers certain medical expenses if your pet suffers an accident, such as a broken bone. Coverage might include diagnostic tests, surgeries, X-rays, hospitalization, prescription medications and emergency care.
  • Routine wellness plans. This type of policy covers medical expenses for wellness exams, flea and heartworm prevention, vaccinations and other routine annual care. These plans are typically add-ons.

Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket every year to a veterinarian before coverage starts. You can typically choose a pet insurance deductible that ranges from $0 to $1,000.

The higher your deductible amount, the less you pay in pet insurance costs.

Reimbursement levels

Pet insurance policies are reimbursement-based, meaning you usually have to pay upfront for your pet’s medical bills and submit a claim to the pet insurance company.

Once you meet the deductible for your plan by paying out-of-pocket, coverage kicks in at the level outlined in the plan. You can typically choose reimbursement options of 70%, 80% or 90% of the pet medical expenses that are covered by the plan.

Pet insurance costs are higher for better levels of reimbursement.

For example, say you have a pet insurance plan with a $500 deductible and 80% reimbursement level:

  • If the pet has a medical procedure that costs $1,500 and it’s your first claim of the policy period, you would first pay $1,500 to the vet.
  • The first $500 of that is your deductible.
  • Then you’d be reimbursed 80% of the remaining $1,000, for reimbursement of $800.

Pet’s breed

Your pet’s breed is a factor in determining pet insurance costs. That’s because some breeds are predisposed to illnesses, which typically translates to more veterinary visits and higher medical bills. For example, some larger breeds of dogs are more susceptible to heart and hip issues.

In our analysis of filings by pet insurers to state regulators, we found many pricing levels based on dog breeds but little variation for cats.

Cats are cheaper to insure than dogs. And birds, reptiles, rabbits and ferrets cost less to insure than cats.

Examples of pet insurance costs among dog breeds

Related: Most expensive dog breeds for pet insurance

Age of pet

A pet’s age is another piece of the pet insurance cost puzzle. As your pet gets older, the chances of illness and injury increase, which results in higher pet insurance costs. We analyzed age rating factors for a Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. policy and found that the best prices were after a pet’s first birthday until around age six. By the pet’s ninth birthday, you can expect its age rating factor to more than double.

Here’s a look at how pet insurance costs can change with age, from a Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. policy in California.

Location

Where you live, and the local cost of veterinary care in the area, will affect pet insurance costs. For instance, pet owners in urban areas may pay more for pet insurance due higher average vet costs.

What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance can offer your pet and your wallet vital protection, but it doesn’t cover everything.

A pet insurance policy doesn’t typically cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Grooming
  • Experimental treatment
  • Training
  • Food, dietary and nutritional supplements

You also want to read your policy closely. Pet insurance policies can include exclusions, such as accident-only policies won’t generally cover illnesses.

Related: What does pet insurance cover?

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Pet Insurance Cost FAQ

What discounts are offered by pet insurance companies?

Similar to other types of insurance, you can sometimes get discounts for a pet insurance policy.

Pet insurance discounts may include annual pay discounts, multi-pet discounts and bundling multiple types of policies. You may also save if you’re in the military or if the policy is part of your employer’s benefits.

Will pet insurance offset the average cost of medical treatments?

Pet insurance will offset the cost of medical treatments that are covered, but whether you come out ahead will depend on how much you’ve been paying in pet insurance premiums. It will also depend on your deductible.




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