Pet owners always want the best for their pets. But having a dog or cat can get expensive with all the food, toys and care needed. And what about pet insurance?
While pet insurance is yet another expense, it can become valuable if your dog or cat has a serious injury or illness.
Is Pet Insurance Worth The Price Tag?
If you have a dog or cat, particularly, of a certain breed that is predisposed to an illness or injury, pet insurance can save you money in the long run.
The treatment for most conditions or injuries can run from $10,000 to $20,000.
And those pet owners who have purchased pet insurance prior to their pet getting sick or injured are really relieved to have it.
On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have a dog or cat that is healthy, paying a monthly premium can feel like a waste of money.
Most vet visits for healthy pets are easily payable out of pocket. Therefore, it depends on the cat or dog you have and if you want to take a chance that your pet remains healthy throughout his life.
How Much Is Pet Insurance, On Average?
The average cost of most pet insurance plans ranges anywhere from $20 to $110 a month.
Dogs are typically more expensive to insure than cats because they are outside and more prone to injuries.
How Does Pricing Work?
There are numerous factors that affect the price of a pet insurance policy:
A deductible is your first payment that is required before the pet insurance company starts to reimburse you.
The average deductible is anywhere from $200 to $300.
When you receive your first bill, you would pay the deductible and your potion of the reimbursement level that you choose.
You typically only pay the deductible once a year and it is called an annual deductible.
If you choose an annual deductible of $900, you pay $900 of expenses throughout the year. If at the end of the year, you had $4,000 in medical costs, you would pay $900.
Your insurance company would then reimburse you $3,100 (minus the reimbursement owed depending on your chosen level).
If you chose a $100 deductible, you pay $100 for the same expenses and your insurer will pay $3,900 but your monthly premium will be higher.
To help lower your monthly premium, it is always best to choose a higher deductible.
But, the choice is yours if you want to pay more up front or be reimbursed for more.
Some pet insurance companies allow you to pay a per-incident deductible annually. This means that you pay a deductible per condition or illness that your pet might encounter.
This could be helpful for a dog that has diabetes, but any other condition will cost you another deductible.
If you want the best price, look for an annual deductible. There are no surprises and you know exactly what you are paying.
If you opt for a higher deductible, this will help reduce your monthly premium.
How Reimbursement Levels Also Affect Price
The reimbursement level you choose will also affect your monthly premium. The reimbursement percentage is the amount your pet insurance will reimburse you after your deductible is paid.
Reimbursement levels typically range from 70% to 90%.
Figo actually offers a 100% reimbursement choice which is the highest we’ve encountered.
Look for a policy that pays on the actual cost of the vet bill. This type of plan is most common in pet insurance policies that allow you to choose the percentage.
If you choose a lower reimbursement percentage, the monthly premium will be lower. If you are looking to minimize your monthly premium and then be paid less back in the event your pet needs care, than choose the 70% level.
Benefit reimbursement schedules are not the best choice because they put a maximum amount of reimbursement that your dog or cat received.
The company pre-determines the cost and it can add up if our dog or cat has one or more illness a year.
Some pet insurance companies have a ‘usual and customary’ where they determine the price which again is not preferable, particularly if you live in a city where prices tend to be higher.
Benefit limits are the maximum amount that an insurance company will pay of your vet’s medical bill either annually or per-lifetime.
The amount a company will pay for the policy each year.
Annual limits – the amount a pet insurance company pays back for the entire year whatever the illness or condition. Plans with annual limits have lower monthly premiums but once that limit is reached, you pay the rest out of pocket.
Healthy Paws has unlimited benefits in all their coverage plans which means more bang for the buck!
A policy with lifetime limits put a price or cap on the most the company will reimburse you over the lifetime of your dog or cat.
Pet insurance companies allow you to choose which limit you prefer and this can also affect the cost of your premium.
Look for a policy that offers unlimited benefits without any lifetime limits. While your monthly premium might be slightly higher, you have the potential of saving more in the event you have a big medical bill for your pet.
Other Factors Which Influence The Price Of Pet Insurance:
Dogs have higher monthly premiums than cats:
Since dogs spend a lot of time outdoors, they are more likely than cats to get hurt or pick up an illness.
The older your pet is, the more expensive they are to insure:
A young dog or cat is less expensive to insure because they are at their healthiest. This is the best time to purchase pet insurance before any pre-existing condition presents itself
Some breeds are more expensive due to common illnesses for that breed:
Boxers and bulldogs tend to have issues with their breathing and therefore will be more expensive to insure.
The city where you live will also affect your premium rate:
Just as housing costs differ from state to state, pet insurance premiums are also affected by where you live. A hip replacement surgery for a dog in New York could cost twice as much as the same surgery performed in Milwaukee.
Since most companies reimburse on the actual vet bill, the monthly premium rate will be reflected in those higher costs if you live in New York and at a less rate if you live in Milwaukee.
The coverage you choose will affect your monthly premium:
There are different coverage choices available which can also affect the price.
Read each policy carefully to find out what is actually covered that is important to you for your pet.
The best and highest priced option. These plans tend to cover all illness, accidents and testing including emergency care and specialist treatment. Even though comprehensive plans are more expensive, your pet will be covered for the most care possible.
Accident Only Coverage
While this is the least expensive plan, it only covers injuries and accidents. If your dog or cat gets ill, they won’t be covered.
Preventative Care Coverage
Wellness pet insurance comes at an additional cost and only as a supplement to pet insurance plan.
Wellness covers preventative care procedures that are not that expensive for you to pay. If you want to save money, there is no need for wellness coverage.
Cheapest Pet Insurance Companies
Below is a list of some of the cheaper pet insurance companies and their average monthly premium rates:
Healthy Paws standard monthly premium averages $38 a month.
Pros: Unlimited benefits, deductible from $100 – $750 – reimbursement choices of 70 to 90%.
Learn more about Healthy Paws and its pricing.
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Petplan’s standard monthly premium averages $32 a month.
Pros: Flexible deductibles ranging from $100 to 1,000 – reimbursement choices of 70 to 90%.
Learn more about Petplan and its pricing options.
Figo’s standard monthly premium averages $35 a month.
Pros: Figo has a 100% reimbursement choice and deductibles from $50 to $500.
Learn more about Figo and its pricing options.
Embrace’s standard monthly premium averages $40.
Pros: Deductibles of s $100, $200, $300, up to $1,000, reimbursements from
Learn more about Embrace and its pricing.
Nationwide’s standard monthly premium averages $60 a month.
Pros: bundle up on insurance to get discounts, one deductible of $250, reimbursement 90%.
Learn more about Nationwide and its pricing.
Pet Premium standard monthly premium averages $35 a month
Pros: deductibles of $100, $250 and $500, reimbursements from 70 to 90%.
Learn more about Pet Premium and its pricing.
Pets Best’s standard monthly premium averages $57 a month.
Pros: deductibles from $50 to $1,000 – very customizable, reimbursements from
Learn more about Pets Best and its pricing.
Petfirst’s standard monthly premium averages $64 a month.
Pros: deductibles from $50 to $500, reimbursement levels of 70% to 90%.
Learn more about Petfirst and its pricing.
Every dog or cat is different so make sure to call and get quotes from at least a few pet insurance providers.
Ask a lot of questions, find out if they have any discounts, and look for the most comprehensive coverage at the best price!
If you want to learn more about how pet insurance works, take a look at our list of other great companies to help you with any questions you might have.