There are an estimated 395 million pets in the United States in 85 million households. According to the ASPCA, 184 million of them are cats and dogs, which are the most common pets that visit veterinary professionals every year. That can add up to an extraordinary amount of money being spent at the veterinarian’s office every year. So, should you get pet insurance if you have a pet? How do you know if pet insurance is right for your pet?
There are all kinds of pets and almost all of them are covered. You may not think getting pet insurance on your pet fish is a good idea because, unfortunately, no matter how much you love your fish, they do not have a very long lifespan. However, there are some companies that offer fish insurance. Really. Some fish can cost a lot more than a dog, and if you are going to spend that much on your fish, I suppose you will want to get health insurance. Rates can run about $5 per month. Other species will cost you more, of course. Reptiles are about $8 per month on average, small critters like hamsters and gerbils are about $10 per month, cats will cost you approximately $30 per month, and dogs are usually about $50.
Your Pet’s Age
If your pet is over 10 years old, the insurance premium (the amount you pay per month) can be over $100. In fact, many insurance companies will not even cover dogs over a certain age, usually about 8-12 years of age. Some insurance companies do not have an age limit.
Sex of Your Pet
Just like humans, there is a difference in premium payments for males and females. The reason being that some illnesses are more prevalent in one sex or another. For example, male dogs are more susceptible to accidents and injury due to aggression, but females are more susceptible to many kinds of cancers. However, the cost for medical care in males and females are skewed so males tend to cost more.
The breed of your dog also makes a big difference in the cost of pet health insurance. For example, the German Shepherd breed has approximately 80 congenital or hereditary conditions. In addition, larger dogs cost more due to their shorter life spans. The five dog breeds that cost the most to insure include:
- English Bulldog
- Shar Pei
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
On the other hand, smaller dogs are cheaper to insure because they tend to live longer and have less congenital and hereditary illnesses. The least expensive dogs to cover include:
- Lakeland Terrier
- Miniature Pinscher
- Welsh Terrier
What about cats? The top five most expensive cat breeds include:
- Norwegian Forest
The least expensive cat breeds to insure include:
- American Shorthair
- Egyptian Mau
- Turkish Van
The way they rate cats is by averaging the top health insurer’s claims of each breed using the top 10 pet insurance companies, Assurance, ASPCA, Nationwide, Pet First, Pet Partners, Petplan, Pets Best, Trupanion, Embrace, and Healthy Paws.
But, what if your pet is already sick? Well, many insurance companies will not cover a pre-existing illness. If you do find coverage for your sick pet, it will cost you a lot more than a healthy pet.
Of course, if you have a pet you know that no matter what the cost, you want to make sure they live a good, long, happy life. Whether your pet is a two-day old fish or a 15 year old dog, you can find health insurance somewhere. However, if your dog is older and already ill, health insurance will probably cost you more than you want to pay. If you are not sure, talk to your veterinary professional about it first.