How Much is Pet Insurance?

What is the Cost of Pet Insurance?

For many Americans, pets are important members of the family. They provide companionship, protection and love. So its no wonder that when pets are injured or become ill, many families would spare little expense to see that they get proper medical treatment. But just as we do not know when accidents or illnesses will strike, families face the same dilemma when pets become ill. Pet insurance was introduced to give pet owners the assurance that medical bills would be covered should their pets need medical attention.

Monthly Cost of Pet Insurance

Like traditional health insurance plans, pet insurance comes in various levels of care. Choices may range from basic or starter plans to deluxe plans. Plans prices also differ on whether the pet is a dog or a cat. Insurance plans for dogs are typically more expensive than plans for cats. Example monthly premiums for pet insurance will typically fall into the following categories and ranges.

Starter Plan Best Value Complete Coverage
Dog $10-$17 $30-$35 $60-$70
Cat $14-$20 $20-$25 $40-$50

Plans may also differ on the age of the pet, with older pets paying a higher premium and having more limited coverage. Certain breeds may also be charged a higher premium.

Additional Costs

All plans carry a deductible typically $50 - $100 or more for certain illnesses. Pet insurance plans have a cap or maximum that they will pay during a given period for accidents and certain illnesses. Most insurers also require co-pays for each visit or treatment.

What is Covered?

Depending on the plan, pet insurance covers accidents, accidental death, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal system disorders, infectious diseases and cancer. Some plans cover wellness treatments like vaccinations, spay/neuter, annual checkups and tooth cleaning. One plan pays boarding and kennel fees should the owner be hospitalized and unable to care for the pet. Other miscellaneous covered costs are euthanasia and recovery costs to locate and offer rewards for lost pets.

How Can I Get Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is offered through private insurers like Pet Plan Insurance, Pets Best Insurance and Veterinary Pet Insurance. More than 1,600 companies including Google and Office Depot offer pet care insurance as an employee benefit. Several non profit organizations like the American Kennel Club and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offer pet insurance plans. The Humane Society of the United States offers a 10% discount on insurance from Pet Plan USA.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

The American Pet Products Association estimated that in 2009 Americans would spend $12 billion on veterinary care. The cost of treating pets has been rising constantly in recent years and is projected to continue an upward trend. One factor is the development of better diagnostic and screening methods in use by veterinarians. Many conditions that would have gone undetected can now be identified and treated. Some procedures like organ transplants that were only performed on humans are now being performed on cats and dogs.

These new techniques have boosted the cost of medical care for pets well into the thousands of dollars. Pet insurance has become a popular way to pay the higher cost of diagnosing and treating illnesses in pets.

Typical Pet Treatment Costs

One common ailment among cats and dogs is ingesting foreign objects which could be anything from a sock to hair ribbons and chew toys. The surgery involved in removing these items from the small intestine of a cat or dog can range from $1,300 to $1,700. Serious conditions like lung cancer in dogs may cost $2,000 and intestinal cancer in cats may cost $1,000. With increasing costs for surgical procedures and serious illnesses, many pet owners have opted for the protection of a medical insurance plan.

Choosing the Best Pet Insurance Plan

Shop around for the best plan focusing not solely on monthly premiums but also differences in deductibles, co pays and exclusions for varying conditions. Sometimes common conditions are excluded making it not worth your while to spend the extra money.

Be sure the company is licensed with your state regulators.

Check with your benefits administrator to see if you can get a group discount on pet insurance premiums.

Ask for referrals from other pet owners. Your veterinarian may also be able to give some guidance.

Discounts may be available if you have more than one pet.