Pet insurance provides a financial safety net when you’re hit with an unexpected veterinary bill. Having the right policy in place could potentially be the difference between getting your dog or cat the best possible care, and considering other less desirable (and sometimes heartbreaking) options.
If you’re thinking of taking out cover for your pet, “How much does pet insurance cost?” is probably the question at the front of your mind. The truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as a wide range of factors can influence just how much pet insurance will cost for your cat or dog.
Let’s take a closer look at those factors to help you decide whether pet insurance is worth it for your fur-baby.
Before you start comparing pet insurance quotes, be aware that there are two main policy types available:
Accident-only cover provides reimbursement for veterinary bills resulting from an accident
Accident and illness cover reimburses veterinary bills resulting from an unexpected accident or illness
Accident and illness policies provide a higher level of protection, so as you’d expect, they cost more.
If you want comprehensive coverage for your pet, you might want to add what’s often called a “wellness plan” to your pet insurance policy. This allows you to take out cover for the cost of routine and preventative veterinary care, such as routine checkups, vaccinations, and worming and flea control.
As you’d expect, adding this optional cover to your policy will increase your premium.
Dogs typically cost more to insure than cats. This is because dogs are generally larger than cats and their veterinary care costs more.
Pet insurance for a dog won’t always be more expensive, but it will often cost more to cover Fido than Felix.
Pet insurers receive more claims for veterinary treatment for dogs than for cats. As a result, male pets generally cost more to insure than females.
The older your pet is, the more you can expect to pay for pet insurance. This is because the chances of your pet suffering an illness — and of you making a claim on your pet insurance policy — increase as your dog or cat gets older. On the flip side, younger pets will often have minimal health issues.
And once your pet reaches a specific age, some insurers will refuse to provide them with any cover.
Another important factor that affects the cost of pet insurance is your dog or cat’s breed. This is due to the fact that some breeds are more susceptible than others to certain illnesses.
For example, the potential for Maine Coons to suffer from hip dysplasia can make them more expensive to insure than other breeds. Generally speaking, larger dog breeds also tend to have shorter lifespans and suffer from more health concerns than their smaller counterparts, so they cost more to insure.
Veterinary costs vary depending on where you live. Not only will costs differ from state to state, but they also tend to be higher in major metropolitan cities than they are in regional areas. As a result, your zip code can affect how much you pay for pet insurance.
The specific details of your policy can also impact how much pet insurance costs. There are a few factors to consider here:
Deductible. The pet insurance deductible is the amount you pay towards your pet’s vet bills before your policy coverage will apply. Pet insurers let you choose your deductible amount, which typically ranges from $0 to $1,000. A smaller deductible means fewer out-of-pocket costs at the vet, but higher policy premiums. On the flip side, a larger deductible amount means lower premiums but paying more upfront when your pet needs treatment.
Reimbursement level. Pet insurance covers a percentage of your vet bills — you choose the size of that percentage, which will usually be anywhere from 50% to 100%. The higher the percentage of the bill you want your policy to cover, the more expensive your premiums will be.
Policy limits. Some insurers will also let you choose from a range of annual maximum limits to cover. The higher the annual limit you choose, the more you can expect to pay for premiums.
Finally, you can save on the cost of pet insurance by taking advantage of discounts whenever possible. Some insurers will lower your premiums if you insure more than one pet, if your pet is spayed or neutered, or if you take advantage of special offers and coupon codes.
Now that you know what factors can affect the cost of cover, you can start comparing pet insurance quotes for your dog or cat from a range of insurers. You’ll then be able to read the fine print closely to find out what each policy does and doesn’t cover, and decide whether pet insurance is the right choice for your fur-baby.