Having a dog in your life is expensive. Pup parents need to take into account the price of food, gear, toys, and of course, veterinary costs. Sometimes those costs come at the expense of your bank account, especially when emergencies occur. The average emergency vet bill for pets ranges between $800 - $1500; however, unexpected surgeries can be upwards of $3,300, and cancer treatments average around $5000.

Too many pet parents are placed in an unenviable position: go into debt to pay for their dog's emergency bills, decline the treatment that will make their dog feel better, or opt for euthanasia. No pet parent should be faced with these decisions, and with insurance coverage, they won't be.

Pet insurance is a smart way to protect your dog against accidents and illnesses. It can be difficult for people to decide how much coverage they need, as the cost of insurance varies depending on the dog’s breed, age, and location. With so many considerations to account for, how much is pet insurance for dogs? Let's take a look at what you should know when deciding whether a health coverage policy is right for your four-legged friend.

Beagle poses for the camera.

Pet insurance variables for dogs

There isn't one set price for pet insurance for all dogs. The cost of pet insurance varies depending on how much coverage you want, your dog's breed, your dog's age, and your location. If you want to protect your dog against accidents that are not covered by regular pet insurance plans, it will cost a little bit more. You should also consider how much coverage you need based on how much you're willing to spend each year.

What is the average cost of pet health insurance for dogs?

The average pet insurance costs for dogs depends on what type of coverage you want. Pet insurance premiums depend firstly on your choice of policy. Here are the two types of policies available:

Accident-only policies

Accident-only coverage provides protection for sudden accidents, such as your dog jumping off the couch and hurting herself, broken bones, or if she is hit by a car. These policies are cheaper because they only cover an unexpected vet bill. The average monthly cost for accident-only coverage for dogs was $16.17 in 2019.

Accident and illness policies

The accident and illness policy covers both accidents and various illnesses and injuries, such as dental disease and cancer. Typically, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, and surgeries are covered with this policy level. In 2020, the average monthly premium cost $49.92 a month. for around $5000 of annual coverage for accident and illness, with a $500 deductible and an 80% reimbursement level. Accident and illness coverage is the most popular plan choice amongst pup parents.

Your plan's price is also dictated by your choice of deductibles. Most deductibles are available at rates of 70-90%; a higher deductible means lower premiums now, but it may take much longer to reach your chosen deductible. The reverse stands for lower deductibles, which lead to higher premiums but a more likely chance of meeting the policy standard.

Senior German Shepherd takes a break in the grass.

Pet insurance coverage cost for different ages

How does your dog's age impact the cost of a pet insurance policy? Insurance prices often increase as your dog grows older. This scenario is not the case for all pet insurance companies; some companies will keep your payment steady regardless of your pet's age. Older pets tend to have more health problems, so their premiums are often set at a higher rate.

This example is an excellent reason pet owners should get insurance coverage for their pup when she is young. Monthly premiums are the lowest for puppies. Since pre-existing conditions, a component that no pet insurance company covers, typically don't emerge until later in a dog's life, you can get coverage for your pup before those issues arise.

Most insurance plans require that a puppy be at least six to eight weeks old before enrolling in a pet insurance plan. Here's some data and prices from the top pet insurance companies researched by Pet Insurance Review.

Pet insurance for pups in various locations

Most pet insurance plans provide coverage in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Your insurance premiums will be pricier if you live in a larger city where the cost of living and the veterinary prices are high. For example, if you live in New York City, you can expect to pay more for dog insurance than if you lived in a more rural area in Ohio. Veterinary care costs are much steeper in metropolitan locations because the veterinarian is paying higher prices, and that difference is reflected in your coverage. 

A Border Collie plays with a ball.

Pet insurance for different dog breeds

Your dog's breed also impacts the price of your pet insurance premium. Purebred dogs often cost more to cover monthly because certain breeds are susceptible to genetic and hereditary conditions. A monthly premium for a Golden Retriever might be $74.90, while a mixed breed dog who is less likely to develop those medical concerns will be less expensive to insure. The company thinks it is taking a bigger risk on a purebred dog breed with a history of certain diseases than it is on a mixed breed dog; thus, they charge a higher premium for the purebred pup.

Pet Insurance Discounts for Dogs

Do pet insurance companies offer any discounts for dogs? Pet owners who want to save money on pet insurance might find that they qualify for a discount if their dog has certain characteristics, such as being a mixed breed or rescue dog. Here are some of the most common discounts offered by pet insurers:

  • Military
  • Multiple pet
  • Assistance pet or therapy pet
  • Animal care worker's
  • Spay/neuter
  • Annual pay
  • Employee benefits
  • Healthy pet

Not all insurance companies offer these credits, so do your research and find the company that does if discounts are important to you.

A happy dog rolls in the grass.

How much does pet insurance cost with wellness plan coverage?

Generally, a pet insurance policy does not include wellness plan coverage (annual exams, deworming, vaccinations, and flea/tick prevention) with veterinary care. However, most pet insurance providers offer wellness plan coverage as an additional rider to the main medical policy. Depending on the price you pay for your dog's wellness care from your veterinarian, this added coverage may or may not be worth your while. The additional monthly charges for wellness plan coverage fall between $14 - $30.

Wellness exams coverage reimburses you based on the pet insurance provider's set benefit schedule. The benefit to the wellness plan coverage is that you can budget for the expected veterinary expenses for your dog. Most pet owners choose the added wellness plan coverage if they price of routine care from their veterinarian is higher than what their policy covers.

Is pet insurance right for you and your dog?

Dogs are part of the family and deserve the best care possible. That’s why you may want to consider an affordable pet insurance plan for your pup when she's young before she has any pre-existing conditions or accidents. Ultimately, you will have to determine whether the cost of pet insurance is worth having a financial support for an expensive vet bill, particularly in emergencies.

With how expensive unexpected vet bills can be, paying premiums in advance will help save money on emergency vet visits down the road. Not all companies offer wellness plans with pet insurance policies; however, if this additional coverage is something you want, shop around and find one company that offers both medical and wellness benefits to suit your needs best.

Pet Insurance Review can help you find the dog insurance policy and insurance company that fits your dog's needs and your budget. Get free pet insurance quotes today to view your options.

References:

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  2. Walker, M. (2016). Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/pet-products/is-pet-insurance-worth-cost/
  3. Croll, M. (2021). Average Cost of Pet Insurance: 2021 Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.valuepenguin.com/pet-insurance/average-cost-of-pet-insurance
  4. Alt, K. (2021). How Much Does Pet Health Insurance Cost And Is It Worth It? Average Cost, Deductibles, Premiums, Reimbursement, Fees, Etc. Retrieved from https://www.caninejournal.com/pet-insurance-costs/#determines
  5. Chen, P. (2021). Average Pet Insurance Cost. Retrieved from https://advisorsmith.com/data/average-pet-insurance-cost/#average-cost-dogs
  6. Danise, A. (2021). Most Expensive Dog Breeds for Pet Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/pet-insurance/most-expensive-dog-breeds/
  7. Rosenberg, E. (2021). The best pet insurance companies for your beloved cats, dogs, and more. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/average-cost-pet-insurance
  8. Jones, S. (2021). Pet Wellness Plans: Manage Your Preventative Vet Bills. Retrieved from https://www.caninejournal.com/pet-wellness-plans/#pet-insurance-wellness