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Most pet owners know just how expensive a trip to the vet can be, and how much a major health scare with your pet can cost. If you're considering getting pet insurance, your monthly cost of pet insurance can vary widely.
There are a few factors that can change how much your pet insurance will cost, including the type of pet you have. In general, insurance for dogs is more expensive than insurance for cats. And, for dog owners, the cost can vary widely by breed.
But, if your cat or dog is injured, pet insurance could provide some helpful financial assistance until they're back on their paws.
The North American Pet Health Insurance Association gathers data on pet insurance from companies across the US. According to its data, the type of coverage you buy and the type of pet you have are the two big factors in how much you'll pay.
There's a stark difference in the price between the two major types of pet insurance: accident and injury insurance, and accident-only insurance. Here's how these two factors influence pet insurance costs, according to NAPHIA data from 2019:
|Type of pet||Average premium/month|
|Accident and illness coverage||$48.78|
|Accident and illness coverage||$29.16|
Like any other type of insurance, pet insurance companies consider facts about your pet differently. In turn, companies will price your pet's coverage differently.
Business Insider gathered quotes from eight different major pet insurers for both a typical cat and dog. Quotes were based on a 4-year old, 25-pound beagle mix, and a 4-year-old domestic shorthaired cat living in Chicago, Illinois. Policies considered were accident and illness policies, with a deductible between $200 and $300, and reimbursement limits of 70% or 80%, as noted below.
Here's how each company's prices stack up for this hypothetical pet.
|Company||Dog: Average premium/month||Cat: Average premium/month|
|Accident & illness||Accident only||Accident & illness||Accident only|
|Healthy Paws pet insurance||$41.38||N/A||$16.31||N/A|
|Figo pet insurance||$39.80||N/A||$22.88||N/A|
|Petplan pet insurance||$68.06||N/A||$31.11||N/A|
|Embrace pet insurance||$44.69||offered, but no quotes online||$30.48||offered, but no quotes online|
|Pets Best pet insurance||$46.02||$9||$24.81||$6|
|Nationwide pet insurance||$77.14||N/A||$40.76||N/A|
|ASPCA pet insurance||$60.48||N/A||$36.96||N/A|
|Trupanion pet insurance||$84.21||N/A||$53.73||N/A|
|AKC pet insurance||$45.80||$18.04||$27.42||$10.80|
Even for very similar policies, prices vary. Note, however, that two companies don't offer unlimited coverage. Embrace pet insurance's maximum annual coverage limit is $30,000, and ASPCA's maximum is $10,000 per year. Prices for Nationwide pet coverage was based on reimbursement limit of 70%.
It's also worth noting that while accident-only pet insurance is a more affordable option, it's much harder to find. While pet insurance company Embrace offers this coverage for older pets, no quotes are available online. Both Pets Best and AKC offer accident-only pet insurance, but also charge transaction fees which will make the actual cost higher. Pets Best charges $2 per payment, while AKC adds a $3 service fee to each month's premium. Both companies charge this fee on accident-only and accident and injury plans.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and the cost of insuring a dog can vary widely based on its breed.
Here's how insurance quotes for several of the most popular dog breeds stack up, according to quotes from pet insurers Figo, Healthy Paws, and Embrace. Business Insider obtained quotes from all three companies for an accident and injury policy, then averaged the three quotes together. Quotes for each breed were for policies with $250 deductibles, 80% reimbursement, and an unlimited maximum annual payout.
|Dog breed||Average monthly premium|
|Mixed breed - small||$35.28|
|Mixed breed - medium||$49.26|
|Mixed breed - large||$65.06|
|German Shorthaired Pointer||$60.48|
Mixed breeds are the least expensive to insure. According to the NAPHIA, purebred dogs and cats are more likely to have inherited medical conditions than mixed breed pets. Some breeds have more inherited health conditions. than others.
Short-nosed dogs, like bulldogs or pugs, can also be more expensive to insure since breathing problems are more common. Large dogs can also be more expensive to insure because they require more medication, which can cost more. They're also more prone to joint issues than small dogs, NAPHIA says.
You can't change your pet's age or breed to save on pet insurance. But, you can lower your pet's insurance costs by putting all of your pets on the same policy and paying in full, buying pet insurance while your pets are young, or by choosing a plan with higher deductible and lower reimbursement limit.
Put all your pets on one policy, and pay in full
Like many other insurance policies, you can generally pay for your pet's insurance coverage by the month, or pay for the year's coverage up front. Paying the year in full could save a few dollars. Also, it doing this could help save on service fees. Pets Best, for example, charges a service fee of $2 transaction, which could add up if you pay monthly.
Some insurers also offer discounts when multiple pets are included on a plan. If you're looking to insure multiple pets, putting them all on the same policy is an easy way to save.
Buy pet insurance sooner rather than later
Pet insurance gets more expensive as your pet ages. But, getting a pet insurance policy when your cat or dog is young could help to keep costs down. Some pet insurers will lock in your insurance premium, even as your pet ages.
However, it's worth noting that not all pet insurance companies lock in rates. For example, ASPCA's pet insurance increases with the pet's age. Read the fine print on the policy you're considering to see if your rates will increase in the future.
Lower the coverage or raise the deductible
Raising your deductible, or the amount you'll pay before insurance coverage kicks in, will generally lower your premiums. But, you'll need to make sure that you have cash on hand in order to cover that amount.
Lowering the reimbursement amount and annual maximum can also lower your deductible. Policies generally come with a few different levels of coverage, offering reimbursement for expenses (generally between 70% and 90% of the cost) and an annual maximum coverage limit. Some policies only cover up to $5,000 per year, while other policies will cover an unlimited amount.
Comparison shop for coverage
Like any other type of insurance, comparing pet insurance quotes is the best way to save. Each insurance company will consider your pet differently, so it's important to check with several to find the best price.
Most pet insurance companies offer a simple online quote system, so it's easy to calculate what your pet's insurance could cost. Gather three to five quotes, and compare them. Look for the reimbursement amount, maximum annual limit, and scan the fine print to see if you'll ever be surprised with rate changes as your pet ages. Look for a policy that has the most versatile coverage for your pet's needs.