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Pet ownership is a big commitment, and costs can add up quickly.

Pet insurance is a good way to manage your pet’s unexpected medical expenses. Dog owners can expect to pay $584 per year on average for an accident and illness policy. Cat owners should expect to pay less, at an average of $343 per year.[1]

Quick Facts

  • Many pet owners face unexpected vet bills to keep their pets healthy.

  • Pet insurance can help cover unexpected injury and illness costs.

  • Pet insurance costs vary based on the type of pet you have and its age.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is health insurance for your pet. It’s designed to help you cover your pet’s medical costs if it gets into an accident or falls ill. Without pet insurance, an accident or illness can become quite expensive to treat.

Every pet owner knows that an unexpected vet visit is already stressful enough without the looming thought of the cost. For many, it can be helpful to know that the cost of any unexpected visits will be covered. Most pet insurance typically covers accidents and illnesses, with the option to add pet wellness insurance for routine and preventative treatments.

Learn More: What Is Pet Insurance?

How does pet insurance work?

Just like health insurance for humans, your pet’s insurance plan will have specific deductibles, annual limits, and coverage limitations. The type of plan you choose will determine what’s covered and for how much.

Important Information:

Not all pet insurance plans automatically include pet wellness coverage. Most insurers offer it as an add-on to standard pet coverage.

Most pet insurance policies cover expenses through reimbursement. You’ll be expected to pay the vet bill at the time of care, then you’ll submit a claim to your pet insurance company.

Your insurance company will then reimburse you for some or all of the medical expenses. Depending on your insurance policy, you may get reimbursed for the entire cost or only a predetermined percentage of the cost.[2]

Read More: How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Why should you insure your pet?

Pets get injured and ill more frequently than you may think. Of course, every pet owner hopes that their furry friend will always be happy and healthy, but it’s best to be prepared for the worst.

“Pet owners should consider getting pet insurance because it can provide financial protection for unexpected veterinary costs,” says Patrik Holmboe, head veterinarian for Cooper Pet Care.

“Even with regular checkups and preventative care, pets can still get sick or injured, and the cost of treatment can be very high. Pet insurance can help cover these costs, allowing pet owners to focus on getting their pet the care they need rather than worrying about how to pay for it. It also simply provides peace of mind to the owner — knowing that should disaster strike, their animal is covered.”

An emergency visit to the vet can easily cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. If you don’t have pet insurance, you could get stuck footing the entire bill.

How much does pet insurance cost?

The cost of pet insurance can vary dramatically based on the type of pet you have, its breed, its age, your location, and the type of coverage you choose. Dog owners paid an average of $584 per year for an accident and illness policy in 2021, while cat owners enjoyed lower average annual premiums of $343 in 2021 for the same type of policy, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

Accident-only policies are typically cheaper than accident and illness policies, with dog owners paying $239 per year for an accident-only policy and cat owners paying $130 per year.[1]

How are pet insurance costs calculated?

Every pet insurance company has its own method of determining premiums. However, most consider the following factors:

  • Type of pet: Dogs typically cost more to insure than cats.

  • Breed: Some breeds of pets are predisposed to certain injuries and illnesses. High-risk breeds often come with higher premiums.

  • Gender: The gender of your pet can affect your costs. Insuring a male animal is typically more expensive than insuring a female.

  • Age: Older pets have a higher risk of getting sick or injured. With that, many insurance companies charge higher premiums for older pets.

  • Location: Your location affects average vet costs, which can impact your premiums.

Finally, the type of policy you choose matters. If you opt for more coverage, you’ll likely find higher premiums.[3]

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What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance coverage varies based on the type of plan you choose. You’ll typically have the option between accident-only and accident and illness plans. Additionally, most insurers offer the option to add on routine wellness and preventative care plans.

Does pet insurance cover vet visits?

Basic pet insurance won’t cover routine vet visits. But many insurance companies allow you to add on pet wellness protection, which typically covers most routine vet visits.[4]

Does pet insurance cover vaccines?

Basic pet insurance won’t cover vaccines since they’re considered preventative care. You’ll need to opt for comprehensive coverage or a pet wellness add-on to get your pet’s vaccines covered.

See Also: Puppy Vaccination Schedule: What Shots Does Your Puppy Need?

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

Spaying and neutering aren’t typically covered by basic pet insurance. However, a wellness add-on to your pet insurance plan might include spaying or neutering coverage for your pet.[5]

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

A pre-existing condition is a condition, such as diabetes or arthritis, that your pet has before you purchase a pet insurance plan.[6] Pet insurance doesn’t usually cover pre-existing conditions, however. If your pet gets into an accident before you purchase pet insurance, injuries and complications stemming from the accident won’t be covered.

What isn’t covered by pet insurance?

Pet insurance usually isn’t comprehensive. A few expenses that often aren’t covered include supplements, pre-existing conditions, and grooming.

What are the types of pet insurance coverage?

You have a few different types of pet insurance coverage to choose from:

Accident-only coverage

Accident-only coverage steps in to reimburse pet owners for covered accidents. Some common accidents include motor vehicle accidents, ligament tears, poisoning, foreign body ingestion, and lacerations. Most unexpected accidents that result in an injury are covered.

Accident and illness coverage

Accident and illness coverage expands accident-only coverage to include coverage for illnesses. Covered illnesses might include cancer, digestive problems, and infections. However, pre-existing conditions are often excluded from coverage.

Wellness coverage

Some insurance companies offer wellness coverage as an add-on option to basic pet insurance plans. It covers things like annual exams, vaccinations, and routine checkups. Wellness coverage typically provides the most comprehensive insurance for your pet, but the extra coverage usually comes with higher premiums.[7]

Check Out: Pet Dental Insurance: Do You Really Need it?

Best pet insurance plans

It’s important to know that there is no singular “best” pet insurance plan. The best pet insurance plan for you depends on your and your pet’s specific needs. However, the options below cracked the top five on our list of the best pet insurance plans. We considered each insurer’s rates as well as customer ratings from ConsumerAffairs to determine these rankings.[8]


Lemonade comes in at the top of our list. This insurer, known for affordable renters insurance, also offers pet insurance plans for dogs and cats, as well as a preventative care plan created especially for puppies and kittens. Its average monthly rates are $28 for a dog and $18 for a cat, and it boasts a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs.

You can take your pet to any licensed veterinarian with Lemonade. Its basic plan covers accidents and illnesses, and it offers add-ons that cover expenses like vet fees, behavioral conditions, and physical therapy. You can also upgrade or downgrade your plan as your and your pet’s needs change.[9]


  • Quick claim reimbursements

  • Discounts for policy bundling and multiple pets

  • Short waiting periods for most types of coverage


  • Rates may be affected by your credit history

  • Not available in all states

  • Requires your pet’s medical records upon sign-up


Spot takes the second spot on our list, with a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs and average monthly rates of $28 for a dog and $14 for a cat. Spot’s basic plans cover accidents and illnesses, with the option to add preventative care coverage in the form of the Gold plan ($9.95 per month) or the Platinum plan ($24.95 per month).

You’ll also have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth service provided by VetAccess, which can let you rest easy knowing that someone is always available to answer pressing health questions.[10]


  • Provides coverage for prescription foods

  • Offers a 10% multi-pet discount

  • Has 24/7 telehealth support


  • Doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions

  • 14-day waiting period

  • Can’t pay vets directly


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers a few pet insurance plans, including coverages for accidents, illnesses, behavioral issues, and even hereditary conditions. Some policies may even cover things like congenital conditions, prescription foods, and alternative therapies.

ASPCA pet insurance earned 4.2 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs and offers average monthly quotes of $33 for a dog and $17 for a cat. Its two main plans are the Accident-Only plan and the Complete Coverage plan, with the option to add preventative coverage for $9.95 per month.[11]


  • Ability to choose your deductible amount

  • Flexible coverage options

  • Multi-pet discount


  • Doesn’t offer 100% reimbursement

  • Yearly caps on coverage

  • Lower-cost plans may not offer adequate coverage


Figo offers pet insurance plans for cats and dogs and allows you to bring your pet to any veterinarian. It has three plans that cover accidents and illnesses, hereditary and congenital disorders, cancer, and chronic conditions. You also have the option to add wellness coverage for $9.50 per month, which covers routine checkups, vaccinations, and some exams.

Figo earned 3.6 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs and has an average monthly rate of $26 for a dog and $14 for a cat. The insurer typically processes claims in under three days and has no incident coverage caps. Policyholders also have access to a 24/7 vet hotline and Pet Cloud, a service that provides personalized pet tags to help reunite lost pets with their owners.[12]


  • Customizable plans

  • May cover some pre-existing conditions

  • Quick claim processing


  • May charge a fee to enroll

  • Senior pets may need testing before they can be insured

  • Waiting periods may vary

Pets Best

Pets Best takes the fifth spot on our list, with a ConsumerAffairs rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. It offers the least expensive average monthly premiums of our top five insurers, at $20 for a dog and $12 for a cat. The insurer’s basic plan, BestBenefit, covers accidents and illnesses, including emergency care costs, medications, lab tests, and specialist care.

Policyholders can upgrade to the Plus or Elite plans for $10 to $20 extra per month to receive coverage for things like exam fees. Pets Best also offers wellness and routine care coverage in the form of the EssentialWellness plan and the BestWellness plan. These plans cost $15 to $30 per month and cover things like vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and wellness checkups.[13]


  • Budget-friendly plans

  • Option to pay the vet directly

  • Has a 24/7 helpline


  • Doesn’t offer many discounts

  • Doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions

  • Doesn’t cover elective procedures, alternative therapies, or non-veterinary expenses

Other pet insurance companies

Other reputable pet insurers are in the market if the above five aren’t quite suited for your and your pet’s needs. Healthy Paws, Trupanion, and Embrace all have respectable customer star ratings on ConsumerAffairs at 4.2, 3.8, and 3.6 out of 5, respectively.

The average rates we found for these three companies were a bit more expensive than our top five, however. Healthy Paws was quoted at $37 per month for a dog and $18 per month for a cat. Trupanion was quoted at $50 per month for a dog and $22 per month for a cat. And Embrace was quoted at $58 per month for a dog and $33 per month for a cat.

It’s still worth taking the time to consider these companies, though, as one might be the best fit for your and your pet’s needs. You may also find that the price you’d pay with one of these companies ends up being lower than the average, depending on your pet’s unique profile and the level of coverage you choose.


Insurify sourced the quotes on this page directly from the pet insurers’ websites. Dog quotes were based on a 2-year-old male mixed-breed dog weighing between 31 and 50 pounds and living in Hartford, Connecticut. Cat quotes were calculated based on a 2-year-old female American shorthair that lives in Hartford, Connecticut. Quotes were based on a $500 deductible.

Company rankings were determined by considering the affordability of the average monthly quotes for dogs and cats, along with the quality of reviews from ConsumerAffairs. Keep in mind that your quotes may look different based on your particular pet profiles and where you live.

Read More: Best Pet Insurance Companies

Pet insurance for dogs

Dog owners tend to face higher premiums for pet insurance than cat owners. These higher costs are primarily due to the fact that dogs cost more than cats to treat but also partially because dogs are more likely to have genetic issues and require more vet visits.

A mixed-breed dog is typically less expensive to insure than a purebred dog, since they usually have a lower predisposition for genetic-based illnesses. Also, older dogs are typically more expensive to insure than puppies.

Check Out: Cheap Pet Insurance for Your Dog

Are there dog breeds that can’t be insured?

Some pet insurance companies may exclude certain dog breeds from their insurance policies, but you’ll likely find a pet insurance option for every dog breed. While it’ll likely cost more to insure pets with specific genetic predispositions, it’s usually possible to get your pet insured.

Pet insurance for cats

Cat owners enjoy lower average pet insurance costs than dog owners, since cats require much lower maintenance, have fewer genetic conditions, and need fewer vet visits.

If you let your cat outside, pet insurance is even more important, as cats may encounter other animals and get injured. You’ll typically pay less to insure a kitten than an adult cat.

Read More: Pet Insurance for Your Cat: Is It Worth It?

How to compare pet insurance quotes

When considering your pet insurance options, comparing quotes is crucial to finding the best fit for you and your pet. As you evaluate each policy option, you’ll need to look carefully at what’s covered to ensure you have sufficient protection for your pet.

You can compare quotes online through each insurer’s website or over the phone. It’s important to collect quotes from at least three different companies to ensure that you know what’s available to you. Make sure to consider your pet’s specific needs and ask each provider about any available discounts.

Pet insurance discounts

Like most kinds of insurance companies, pet insurance companies often offer discounts. Some common discounts are:

  • Multi-pet discount: If you have multiple pets, you could get a discount by insuring them all through the same insurance company.

  • Payment discount: Some insurance companies offer a discount if you pay for the full cost of the policy up front.[14]

How to file a pet insurance claim

Every insurance company has a slightly different claims submission process. However, most require you to submit your claim within 90 days of the treatment or invoice date. You’ll typically have to pay your vet up front at the time of the service.

You may also need to include the breakdown of vet costs and the medical notes from the incident. Once you submit the invoice and your insurer approves it, you’ll receive your reimbursement.[15]

If you’re new to pet insurance, make sure you understand your policy’s claims timeline. Sometimes, you won’t be allowed to submit a claim until after a waiting period has passed, and any incidents that occur within the waiting period won’t be covered.

Read More: Is Pet Insurance Really Worth It?

Pet insurance FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about pet insurance.

  • Pet insurance is often worth the cost. If your pet runs into an accident or medical mishap, you’ll be thankful that you have the coverage, as medical bills can add up quickly. Accidents and illness are usually unpredictable, so pet insurance is a good way to keep your pet healthy and safeguard against any sudden, expensive bills.

  • It’s generally more expensive to insure an older pet. Opting to sign up for insurance early on in your pet’s life will usually lead to lower premiums and lets you ensure that your policy won’t exclude any conditions your pet develops while uninsured.

  • Pet insurance is not a tax-deductible expense for most pet owners. However, you might be able to write off this expense for service pets or income-earning pets.[16]

  • The cheapest pet insurance is accident-only coverage. As the name implies, this coverage only protects against accidents, excluding coverage for illnesses or routine wellness care expenses.

  • Pet insurance is often geared toward cats and dogs, but it’s available for a wide range of species, including rabbits, ferrets, birds, reptiles, and even pigs.

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  1. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Average Annual Premium Year Over Year (U.S.)." Accessed January 30, 2023
  2. Illinois Department of Insurance. "Pet Health Insurance." Accessed January 30, 2023
  3. lendedu. "Factors That Influence Pet Insurance Costs." Accessed January 30, 2023
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts about pet insurance." Accessed January 30, 2023
  5. Allstate. "Does pet insurance cover routine vet visits?." Accessed January 30, 2023
  6. American Kennel Club. "What Is a Pre-Existing Condition in the World of Pet Insurance?." Accessed January 30, 2023
  7. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. " PET INSURANCE." Accessed January 30, 2023
  8. ConsumerAffairs. "Customer Reviews." Accessed February 3, 2023
  9. Lemonade. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 31, 2023
  10. Spot. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 31, 2023
  11. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 31, 2023
  12. Figo. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 31, 2023
  13. Pets Best. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 31, 2023
  14. GEICO. "Pet Insurance." Accessed January 30, 2023
  15. MetLife. "How to file a claim." Accessed January 30, 2023
  16. Citizens Bank. "You Can (Sometimes) Deduct Pet Expenses on Your Tax Return." Accessed January 30, 2023
Sarah Sharkey
Sarah SharkeyInsurance Writer

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys helping people make savvy financial decisions. She covered insurance and personal finance topics. You can find her work on Business Insider, Money Under 30, Rocket Mortgage, Bankrate, and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn.