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More than 90 million households in the U.S. have pets, which roughly translates into more than 90 million opinions on how to best care for a pet. But one way to guard against giant and unexpected vet bills is with pet insurance.

Here’s a guide to pet insurance costs.

How Much Does An Average Pet Insurance Policy Cost?

For dogs, pet insurance ranges from $20 to $44 a month. For cats, we found a range of $12 to $46 a month. Overall, pet insurance costs an average of $35 per month for dogs and $28 a month for cats, for $5,000 in coverage for the year.

You can find a pet insurance policy that fits almost any budget by adjusting the levels of coverage inside the plan. Know that pet insurance rates generally rise every year at renewal time as your pet gets older.

The cost of pet insurance varies based on multiple factors, including the type of coverage, the amount of coverage, and the pet’s breed and age.

$5,000 annual coverage maximum Unlimited annual coverage
Puppy $34/month $51/month
Dog $35/month $56/month
Cat $28/month $50/month
Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance costs based on data from for coverage with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement level.

How Much Is Pet Insurance for Dogs?

As you’ll see below, pet insurance costs vary depending on the pet insurance company. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare pet insurance quotes from multiple insurers before you buy a policy.

Average cost of dog insurance with $5,000 of annual coverage

Company National average cost per month for a puppy National average cost per month for a dog Overall national average cost per month
Lemonade $20 $20 $20
Pets Best $24 $24 $24
Figo $34 $33 $34
TrustedPals $36 $32 $34
Petplan $37 $47 $42
Embrace $46 $44 $45
ASPCA $46 $44 $45
Spot $44 $47 $46
Average $34 $35 $35
Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance costs based on data provided by for policies with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement level

The average cost of dog insurance with unlimited annual coverage

Company National average cost per month for a puppy National average cost per month for a dog Overall national average cost per month
Lemonade $24 $24 $24
ManyPets $24 $24 $24
Pets Best $28 $33 $31
Figo $44 $43 $44
TrustedPals $51 $46 $49
Healthy Paws $44 $54 $49
Nationwide $49 $53 $51
Prudent Pet $58 $64 $61
Embrace $65 $62 $64
Trupanion $63 $83 $73
Petplan $71 $92 $82
Spot $85 $90 $88
Average $51 $56 $53
Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance costs based on data provided by for policies with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement level

How Much Is Pet Insurance for Cats?

Here’s a look at average costs for cat insurance. Rates and policy details vary by company, which is why it’s vital to compare rates and benefits when shopping for a pet insurance plan for your cat.

Average cost of cat insurance by provider

Company Average cat insurance monthly cost
Lemonade $21
Nationwide Whole Pet with wellness $27
Pets Best $28
Spot $36
Figo $38
Toto $39
Healthy Paws $39
Embrace $42
PetPlan $43
TrustedPals $47
Prudent Pet $48
Trupanion $61
Average $39
Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of data from Averages are for $5,000 and unlimited annual maximum plans

Factors In Pet Insurance Costs

Pet insurance companies use multiple factors when setting rates.

Coverage type

One of the biggest factors determining pet insurance cost is the coverage. For example, a comprehensive policy that covers a range of treatments and also routine care will cost more than an accident-only policy.

Your coverage choices depend on the pet insurance company. Here are the common types of pet insurance plans:

  • Comprehensive pet insurance plan. A comprehensive pet insurance plan will combine an accident and illness policy with a routine care plan.
  • Accident and illness coverage. This type of policy helps pay for vet bills for unexpected incidents, such as sprains from accidents, poisonings and common illnesses, such as ear infections. This might also cover lab tests, surgeries, hospitalization, prescription medications and emergency care.
  • Accident-only coverage. This type of policy covers certain medical expenses if your pet suffers an accident, such as a broken bone. Coverage might include diagnostic tests, surgeries, X-rays, hospitalization, prescription medications and emergency care.
  • Routine wellness plans. This type of policy covers medical expenses for wellness exams, flea and heartworm prevention, vaccinations and other routine annual care. These plans are typically add-ons.


A deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket every year to a veterinarian before coverage starts. You can typically choose a pet insurance deductible that ranges from $0 to $1,000.

The higher your deductible amount, the less you pay in pet insurance costs.

Reimbursement levels

Pet insurance policies are reimbursement-based, meaning you usually have to pay upfront for your pet’s medical bills and submit a claim to the pet insurance company.

Once you meet the deductible for your plan by paying out-of-pocket, coverage kicks in at the level outlined in the plan. You can typically choose reimbursement options of 70%, 80% or 90% of the pet medical expenses that are covered by the plan.

Pet insurance costs are higher for better levels of reimbursement.

For example, say you have a pet insurance plan with a $500 deductible and 80% reimbursement level:

  • If the pet has a medical procedure that costs $1,500 and it’s your first claim of the policy period, you would first pay $1,500 to the vet.
  • The first $500 of that is your deductible.
  • Then you’d be reimbursed 80% of the remaining $1,000, for reimbursement of $800.

Pet’s breed

Your pet’s breed is a factor in determining pet insurance costs. That’s because some breeds are predisposed to illnesses, which typically translates to more veterinary visits and higher medical bills. For example, some larger breeds of dogs are more susceptible to heart and hip issues.

In our analysis of filings by pet insurers to state regulators, we found many pricing levels based on dog breeds but little variation for cats.

Cats are cheaper to insure than dogs. And birds, reptiles, rabbits and ferrets cost less to insure than cats.

Examples of pet insurance costs among dog breeds

Pricing group Dog breeds Average pet insurance cost for a 1-year-old dog
Low Pomeranian, Yorkshire terrier $31/month
Medium Jack Russell terrier, Puggle $43/month
High Bulldog, Dalmatian $73/month
Source: Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance costs based on data from prices are for $5,000 annual coverage with 90% reimbursement and a $250 deductible

Related: Most expensive dog breeds for pet insurance

Age of pet

A pet’s age is another piece of the pet insurance cost puzzle. As your pet gets older, the chances of illness and injury increase, which results in higher pet insurance costs. We analyzed age rating factors for a Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. policy and found that the best prices were after a pet’s first birthday until around age six. By the pet’s ninth birthday, you can expect its age rating factor to more than double.

Here’s a look at how pet insurance costs can change with age, from a Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. policy in California.

Age of pet Dogs Cats
0 - 11 months Base rate + 77% Base rate + 88%
1 year Base rate Base rate
2 years Base rate Base rate
3 years Base rate + 9% Base rate + 8%
4 years Base rate + 23% Base rate + 17%
5 years Base rate + 38% Base rate + 29%
6 years Base rate + 55% Base rate + 43%
7 years Base rate + 71% Base rate + 58%
8 years Base rate + 90% Base rate + 76%
9 years Base rate + 115% Base rate + 95%
10 years Base rate + 143% Base rate + 117%
11 years Base rate + 173% Base rate + 124%
12 years Base rate + 205% Base rate + 168%
13 years Base rate + 229% Base rate + 197%
14 years Base rate + 253% Base rate + 225%
15 years Base rate + 281% Base rate + 248%
16 years Base rate + 312% Base rate + 257%
17 years Base rate + 347% Base rate + 266%
18 years Base rate + 388% Base rate + 276%
19 years Base rate + 435% Base rate + 285%
20+ years Base rate + 450% Base rate + 295%
Source: State insurance filings from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.


Where you live, and the local cost of veterinary care in the area, will affect pet insurance costs. For instance, pet owners in urban areas may pay more for pet insurance due higher average vet costs.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Most pet insurance companies offer plans that will cover issues such as:

  • Accidents and injuries (such as broken bones, bite wounds, and swallowing objects or toxins)
  • Cancer (if it develops after plan is in place and not pre-existing)
  • Diagnostic tests (such as MRIs, X-rays and lab work)
  • Emergency care
  • Illnesses (such as diarrhea, urinary tract infections and vomiting)
  • Prescription medication
  • Specialty care
  • Surgeries and hospitalizations

What pet insurance covers will depend on the type of plan you purchase.

Review a plan’s benefits, coverage types and limits before buying to make sure it fits your needs.

What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance can offer your pet and your wallet vital protection, but it doesn’t cover everything. Pet insurance policy doesn’t typically cover expenses such as:

  • Boarding
  • Breeding, pregnancy or whelping
  • Cloning
  • Cosmetic procedures (such as ear cropping or tail docking)
  • Experimental treatment
  • Food, dietary and nutritional supplements
  • Grooming
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Training

Related: What does pet insurance cover?

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Pet Insurance Cost FAQ

What discounts are offered by pet insurance companies?

Similar to other types of insurance, you can sometimes get discounts for a pet insurance policy.

Pet insurance discounts may include annual pay discounts, multi-pet discounts and bundling multiple types of policies. You may also save if you’re in the military or if the policy is part of your employer’s benefits.

Will pet insurance offset the average cost of medical treatments?

Pet insurance will offset the cost of medical treatments that are covered, but whether you come out ahead will depend on how much you’ve been paying in pet insurance premiums. It will also depend on your deductible.

Do dogs really need insurance?

Medical bills for dogs can quickly add up if they are injured or fall ill. Pet insurance can be a good way to cover unexpected health care costs that pop up.

When considering if your dog needs pet insurance, run the numbers. Estimate the cost of veterinary services for medical issues that could arise and get quotes for pet insurance for your specific dog. You may find a cheap pet insurance plan is your best bet or instead decide to put money aside in a savings account for potential medical costs.

What percentage of dogs are insured?

Less than 4% of dogs in the U.S. are insured by pet insurance, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).

Even fewer cats are covered by pet insurance. NAPHIA finds less than 1% of cats in the U.S. are insured. More people are realizing the benefits of pet insurance, as NAPHIA found pet insurance had a growth rate of about 28% in 2021.

Pet insurance may be a good choice if you’re worried about future medical expenses for your pet. To find out if pet insurance is right for you, compare pet insurance quotes and see if its coverage and cost fit your budget and needs.

Does pet insurance increase with age?

Pet insurance costs typically increase with a pet’s age. Older pets are more likely to fall ill or be injured, so pet insurance companies raise rates as your pet ages.

Your rate for pet insurance can go up at renewal time—and your pet’s age is one reason you may see a rate hike. Forbes Advisor’s analysis of rates of a pet insurance policy found by the time your pet turns age 9 you can see your costs double.

Also, many pet insurance companies stop offering new pet insurance policies after pets reach a certain age. The maximum pet age for buying new pet insurance plans varies. Some companies have a maximum age limit of 10 and others sell coverage for pets age 14 or older.

If you want pet insurance coverage, it’s better to buy the plan before your pet is considered a senior and has developed medical issues. Pre-existing conditions are not generally covered by pet insurance, which may be more of an issue for an older pet.