Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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On average, pet insurance costs about $15 to $28 per month and $2,000 t0 $6,000 over the life of a pet. However, there are many variables involved. Pet insurance can be a great investment for one pet owner and a poor investment for another.

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There are many people who have pets they consider to be family members. This is especially true for those who do not have children. Maybe they have yet to start a family or they are empty nesters whose kids have grown up and left home.

A pet can be a best friend who is not disagreeable. They can also be therapeutic. As an expression of love for the animals in your life pet insurance may be a no-brainer; or you may be able to handle the cost without it.

Do you really need pet insurance?

The most common pets people have are dogs and cats, but there are many who have birds, fish, and exotic animals they call loved ones. Once dogs and cats are wormed and given their initial distemper shots, the only thing they have to be protected from are fleas and ticks. That is not to say that individually they do not encounter other issues such as rabies, but they are usually on a case by case basis.

In other words, pets do not need to be seen by veterinarians like people frequent doctors. The likelihood of your pet needing surgery over its lifetime is slim. There are instances however when there is an intestinal blockage due to something ingested by Fido or Fifi. As your pet ages he or she might even experience conditions common to humans.

People who have paid a lot of money for purebreds want the best for their investment. They may also become emotionally attached to their family member. If there are kids in the home they become attached as well. So when Whiskers is suffering, the kids are affected; mom and dad are expected to take action. In families where money is tight a decision needs to be made on spending each month on pet insurance premiums or be able to pay thousands out of pocket if the family pet has a major medical need.

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In homes where pets are pampered and taken on frequent trips to the vet, insurance may be a good investment. To others trips to the vet are rare, and a monthly premium may be out of the question. If calculated over 15 years (the average life of a dog or cat), the premium may end up costing more than it would to pay for each trip out-of-pocket.

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What does a pet insurance policy include?

A pet owner can easily spend $6000 on premiums over the life of a pet in addition to the average cost to care for one. Most policies include routine care at a discount with a deductible and co-pay. Many require the policy holder to pay for vet services at the time they are rendered. They owner then has to file a claim to receive reimbursement, usually within 30 days. What you can expect to pay looks like this:

  • Premiums can run anywhere between $15-$50
  • Co-pays average between 20% to 50% of the cost of service
  • Deductibles run around $50-$100

Most policies also have caps on the cost of services as well as what is included in routine care.

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What are some of the common ailments dogs and cats have?

Although intestinal obstructions and fractures are common to most animals, dogs and cats also suffer from conditions common to humans such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Thyroid problems
  • Cancer
  • Urinary tract infections or stones

Dysplasia is the development and growth of abnormalities that have to be taken into consideration when breeding or adopting a pet. Most insurance companies do not accept preexisting conditions. Major medical conditions and surgical procedures can run as much as a couple of thousand dollars, although it is rare.

Can I customize a pet insurance policy?

When considering pet policies, customizing the policy to meet your pet’s needs may save you money in the long run. Some owners may find an additional $10 per month for flea dips and heartworm medicine unnecessary where another may find it worth it. Does your pet need dental cleaning on a yearly basis? These are services that may cost you extra.

It is advisable to read the riders and exclusions to see if there is something your pet can do without. It may be something that could be cheaper doing yourself. There are products on the market that help to maintain your pet’s health right at home. A $10 investment could last 6 months to a year as opposed to spending $120 over that same period of time. On the other hand, if time is a precious commodity it may be worth it.

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Where do I get pet insurance?

It is best to purchase pet insurance in your home state to protect your investment. Kennel clubs and animal associations offer pet insurance as well as pet store franchises. Discounts are offered for multiple pets and breeders. To obtain additional information and referrals click on the search tool to be directed to some of the best choices on the market today. Your zip code will help locate providers that cater to your location.

Enter your zip code and compare pet insurance quotes now!