How Much Is Pet Insurance in 2023?

Pet insurance costs vary depending on many factors, including your pet’s age and health.

Updated December 14, 2022

Reading time: 6 minutes

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Pet ownership is rewarding, but it doesn’t come cheap. Whether you have a dog, cat, or any other type of pet, you may face a number of expenses to keep them healthy. While some of these expenses are planned, like annual exams and vaccinations, others are unexpected and might occur if your pet faces a sudden illness or injury.

Vaccinations, for example, can run you anywhere from $60 to $100. Routine checkups usually cost between $50 and $250. Specialty services, like ear infection treatments, may cost around $150. The good news is pet insurance can help you manage your pet’s healthcare costs.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Just like other types of insurance, like health insurance and car insurance, pet insurance costs vary greatly. The type of pet you have, their age, their breed, your geographic location, and the type of coverage you choose will all determine the price you pay.

On average, though, dog owners can expect to spend $584 per year on an accident and illness policy, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.[1] An accident and illness policy includes accident benefits and coverage for illnesses like cancer and digestive problems. Cat owners pay an average of $343 per year for this type of policy.

Another common type of pet insurance is an accident-only policy, which pays for expenses associated with accidental events, like car accidents, poisoning, lacerations, and ligament tears. For an accident-only policy, dog owners typically pay an average of $239 per year, or $20 per month. Average costs for cat owners are $130 per year, or $11 per month.

Read More: What Is Pet Insurance?

Average pet insurance costs for dogs

Below, you’ll find the average monthly cost of accident and illness pet insurance for a dog.

Pet Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Cost
Pets Best$20
Healthy Paws$37
Nationwide$35 ($250 deductible)

Average pet insurance costs for cats

This table shows the average monthly cost of accident and illness pet insurance for a cat.

Pet Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Cost
Pets Best$12
Healthy Paws$18
Nationwide$14 ($250 deductible)


Insurify sourced the quotes on this page directly from the pet insurance company websites. Dog quotes were based on a 2-year-old male mixed-breed dog that weighs between 31 and 50 pounds and lives in Hartford, Connecticut. Cat quotes were calculated based on a 2-year-old female American shorthair that lives in Hartford, Connecticut. 

All quotes were based on a $500 deductible, except for Nationwide, which provided quotes based on a $250 deductible. Keep in mind that your quotes may look different based on your particular pet profiles and where you live.

See Also: Best Pet Insurance Companies

Factors that affect the cost of pet insurance

A number of factors affect how much you’ll pay for pet insurance, including:

Pet’s age

The older your pet is, the more you’ll likely pay for a pet insurance policy. This is because older pets pose a higher risk for health issues than younger ones. Plus, their routine care costs tend to be more expensive. If you have a 10-year-old dog, for example, you can expect much higher pet insurance costs than someone with a puppy.

Type of animal

The type of pet you have will also play a role in your pet insurance premiums. If you’re in the market for a new pet, take note that cats usually have fewer medical issues than dogs and are therefore cheaper to insure.


Some breeds are predisposed to certain medical ailments. German shepherds, for example, are at a higher risk for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Frenchies, English bulldogs, and similar dog breeds are more likely to face brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome. Keep this in mind when comparing pet insurance quotes: If you have one of these breeds, you may wind up paying more for pet insurance.

Coverage type

Not all pet insurance plans are created equal. Compared to an accident-only policy, an accident and illness policy offers more comprehensive coverage. That’s why you can expect a higher premium if you opt for accident and illness health insurance. Think about whether the more expensive rate is worth it for your situation.

Geographic location

The cost of pet insurance also depends on where you live. For example, you might pay more for a policy if you live in a large, urban area than a pet owner in a rural location. If vet care costs are higher in a certain state or city, pet insurance costs will be higher as well.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is a health plan that helps pay for part of your pet’s medical bills, based on the coverage you select. While most pet insurance plans are for cats and dogs, you can find pet insurance for other animals, such as reptiles, birds, and rabbits.

When you purchase pet insurance, you’ll choose a deductible, reimbursement percentage, and annual limit. A deductible is an amount you have to pay before the provider kicks in and starts to reimburse you. Reimbursement percentage refers to the percentage of the bill your policy will pay after you meet your deductible, up to the annual limit. The annual limit is the total amount your policy will pay for all the claims you submit in a year.

All these factors will affect your premium and the maximum amount of money you can recover. Most pet insurance plans work on a reimbursement basis. This means you’ll pay your vet bills in full, file a claim, and receive your reimbursement from the insurance company via direct deposit or a paper check.

Pet insurance plans also have waiting periods, which refer to the amount of time before your pet can receive coverage.[2] [3] 

Read More: How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Who needs pet insurance?

Whether you need pet insurance depends on your unique situation. It’s a good idea to compare the amount you spend on caring for your pet each year to the premiums you might pay. If pet insurance costs are cheaper than what you typically spend on pet healthcare, pet insurance may be worth the investment.

Also, if you have a breed that’s prone to certain health conditions, like hip dysplasia, for example, you may go to the vet more often and can save some money with pet insurance. If you have an existing relationship with a vet, you may want to speak to them about costs for certain routine and emergency procedures. Then, get some quotes from at least a few pet insurance companies to help you decide if a policy is a good idea.

You might not need pet insurance if you have a fairly healthy, low-maintenance pet that doesn’t require a lot of vet visits. This is particularly true if you can afford to pay the vet bills out of pocket.

Read More: Is Pet Wellness Insurance Worth It?

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance coverage depends on the plan you choose. The two most common types of pet insurance plans are accident and illness plans and accident-only plans.

  • An accident and illness plan pays for accidental health expenses and illnesses like infections, diabetes, and cancers.

  • An accident-only plan will reimburse you for accidents that happen to your pet, like swallowing foreign objects or breaking bones.

Some providers also offer stand-alone or add-on routine wellness and preventative care plans. These plans are designed to help cover services like immunizations, spay or neuter surgery, and flea treatments.

Check Out: Preventative Care Pet Insurance: Does Your Pet Need It?

What does pet insurance exclude?

Just like all health insurance plans, pet insurance won’t cover absolutely everything related to your pet’s healthcare costs. Some things that aren’t commonly covered by pet insurance include:

  • Supplements: These include food, dietary, and nutritional supplements that might help your pet avoid certain illnesses and conditions.

  • Experimental treatments: Experimental treatments are test treatments that aren’t yet accepted by veterinary medical boards.

  • Grooming: Unfortunately, pet insurance won’t pay to bathe your pets, trim their nails, and keep them looking good.

  • Pre-existing conditions: Policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, which may be genetic or related to the specific breed of your pet.

How to find cheap pet insurance

To land a great deal on a cheap pet insurance policy, follow these tips:

  • Comparison shop. Pet insurance costs can vary greatly by provider. That’s why it’s smart to shop around and compare your options. Request quotes from at least three different pet insurance companies, and compare premiums, deductibles, reimbursement percentages, and annual limits for similar policies.

  • Opt for an accident-only policy. Since accident-only policies only cover accident-related healthcare costs for pets, these plans are cheaper than accident and illness plans. If you’d like the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be protected financially in the event of unexpected injuries, an accident-only policy is the way to go.

  • Look for discounts. Many pet insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders, such as multi-pet discounts, annual pay discounts, and military discounts.

Pet insurance costs FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about pet insurance costs.

  • The annual pet insurance benefit is the maximum amount of money you can get reimbursed over a 12-month period. It resets when a new policy period begins. While some pet insurance companies cap this benefit to $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000, others offer an unlimited annual limit. It’s important to do your research and compare quotes from multiple pet insurance companies to make sure you’re getting a policy with coverage limits that meet your needs.

  • If you have an older dog or one that’s susceptible to certain injuries or illnesses, pet insurance is likely worth it — especially if you don’t want to pay for all the medical costs out of pocket.

  • Fortunately, you have many great pet health insurance companies in the U.S. to choose from. Insurify’s top picks include ASPCA, Embrace, Figo, Healthy Paws, Lemonade, Nationwide, Pets Best, Spot, and Trupanion.


  1. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Average Premiums." Accessed December 14, 2022
  2. Embrace Pet Insurance. "How Pet Insurance Works." Accessed December 14, 2022
  3. GEICO. "What is pet insurance and how does it work?." Accessed December 14, 2022
Anna Baluch
Anna BaluchInsurance Writer

Anna Baluch is a Cleveland-based personal finance and insurance expert. With an MBA from Roosevelt University, she enjoys writing educational content that helps people make smart financial decisions. Her work can be seen across the internet on many publications, including Freedom Debt Relief, Credit Karma, RateGenius, and the Balance. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.