What can YOU expect to pay?
This is the single most important, and misunderstood, question asked about pet insurance… what am I going to pay? Usnews.com recently published an average price quote of $11 to $70 a month to cover your pet. Why the wide variance? Pricing is created by species, breed, age, preexisting conditions, and where you live (sounds like people insurance, doesn’t it).
There’s also a pricing factor that kicks in based on what plan you choose, what treatments you choose to cover. Most providers align along these three lines;
- Basic Care– Covers accidental injuries and illnesses (excluding cancer). These are the budget busters and nightmares we all fear.
- Comprehensive– Adds in office visits, tests, X-rays, lab fees, and prescriptions to a basic plan.
- Wellness Care– that’s your yearly maintenance visits, checkups and vaccines not covered in either of the first two.
Of course, insurance isn’t a “get care for free” magic card. Much like human insurance, there are deductibles, co-pays and caps on the policy. Most basic policies do not cover office visits or medications but there are add-on policy options (like we describe above).
All of this is directly connected to the policy you choose, the type and age of the animal. What we’re saying is, like any insurance policy, it’s a crap shoot on if you’ll ever use it but it’s there when you need it. Just understand the policy you choose and your obligations in up front costs before insurance kicks in.
Other key things to know are items like, dogs cost more than cats to cover. Large breeds are more costly to insure than small, elderly more expensive than puppies and kittens. Again, this is the same thing you see in your personal insurance policies. It makes sense for the insurance company to protect themselves and the other policy holders by putting these rules in place.
In 2021, the national average pet health insurance premium for an accident and illness policy for dogs is $594.15 per year or $49.51 per month. This has a deductible of $2500 per condition that resets yearly.
The same year, the national average for a cat $341.81 per year or $28.48 per month. Cats tend to be smaller, have less appointments, fewer medications and treatments are less expensive. The same or lower deductible level would be in place.
As you might expect, breed and age are the two factors that increase the policy cost the most. This is true in both dogs and cats, with the cost of a plan nearly doubling at age 8. Let’s face it, older animals have more health issues… just like their owners. As we mentioned before bigger breeds, and breeds that are genetically predisposed to illness or issues, are going to be more costly to cover.
Some companies offer military discounts and the industry has started to honor First Responders with additional discounts, as well. Not everyone offers these discounts, but it never hurts to ask or search with these additional benefits in mind, if they apply.