How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost? What Determines Pet Insurance Prices

What impacts the cost of pet insurance?

A premium is the price you pay for an insurance policy (homeowner, health, car, even pet insurance), and these rates change because of a variety of factors.

We’re clear about what impacts car insurance premiums (speeding, causing an accident, or driving under the influence) or health insurance premiums (smoking and age). But, when it comes to your cat or dog’s pet insurance premium, a lot of factors determine the cost of pet insurance. These variables consist of pet-based cost factors and policy-based cost factors.

Pet-based Cost Factors of Pet Insurance Prices

These factors can vary from company to company, but most pet-based variables that determine pet insurance costs include:

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Pet species

Dogs often cost more than cats to insure because dogs are generally bigger than cats and their needs at the vet cost more (like higher doses of medication.) Statistically, more claims are submitted for dogs than cats. However, pet insurance premiums for dogs aren’t always higher than for cats. All of the factors listed on this page combined determine the premium.

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Pet breed

Your pet’s breed matters in premium calculation because of size and predisposition to genetic conditions. For example, Rottweilers and Shepherds are much more likely than Shih-Tzus and Cocker Spaniels to need costly surgery for things like cruciate injuries and hip dysplasia.

Increased risk of genetic illnesses or a predisposition to certain injuries puts pets at higher risk which leads to a higher premium.

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Pet gender

Data shows that more claims are received for male pets than female pets so their pricing factors differ. Females are considered “lower risk” and are priced accordingly.

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Pet age

Pet insurance plans are priced with a pet’s age in mind, and most companies increase the cost of the plan as the pet ages. Older pets are more likely to get sick or injured, so the cost of their pet insurance plan reflects that increased risk.

Bonus Tip: Find a pet insurance plan that won’t decrease your pet’s coverage as they age, like Embrace.

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Vet location

Veterinary care is costlier in major metropolitan areas than in suburban or rural regions. Not only are you likely to find more advanced care in big cities in the form of complementary treatment* clinics and medical centers, but the vets make a little more due to the cost of living being generally higher in major cities.

Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, allow you to personalize parts of your policy so that you can get the best pet insurance plan for your pet’s needs and your budget. These customizable factors include:

Some pet insurance companies, like Embrace, allow you to personalize parts of your policy so that you can get the best pet insurance plan for your pet’s needs and your budget. These customizable factors include:

Policy-based Cost Factors of Pet Insurance Prices

  • Level of Coverage Chosen

  • Pet Insurance Deductible

  • Reimbursement percentage

  • Annual maximum

  • Riders or optional coverages

  • Maintenance or Enrollment Fees

Maintenance or enrollment fees

Reoccurring or one-time fees for enrollment, claims, or billing also affect the cost of your pet insurance plan. For example, Embrace has a one-time enrollment fee of $25 and a $1 monthly processing fee for those who pay monthly.

For more information about why these variables affect pet insurance costs, check out our coverage page.

Cost of pet insurance for dogs vs cats

The cost of pet insurance for dogs is often more expensive than the cost of cat insurance. Statistically, more claims are filed for dogs than cats – and veterinary care for dogs tends to be costlier as well. Embrace can’t speak for all pet insurance companies, but our dog insurance cost averages about $30-$40 per month, while our cat insurance costs an average of $15-$20 per month.

What doesn’t affect the cost of pet insurance premiums?

Contrary to popular belief, these items do not directly impact premium:

  • Prior medical history or chronic conditions

  • Whether your pet lives indoors or outdoors

  • Where you got your pet from (breeder, shelter, stray, etc.)

  • Declawed status

  • Weight change of your pet

  • Your pet’s level of training

  • Number of claims submitted

  • Your pet’s “extracurriculars” (agility games or therapy visits*)

*While Embrace does not, some pet insurance companies require you to pay an extra premium if your pet is involved in organized racing or working. Check out our pet insurance comparisons for details.

Explore affordable pet insurance

Pet health insurance is never “one-size fits all”. The difference in pet insurance plans lies in the details. A pet health insurance plan that allows you to personalize variables such as deductibles, maximums, and reimbursement percentages will help you find a price to fit your budget. Consider the following when shopping for the best pet insurance for your furry friend:

  • Annual limits vs per-incident limits

  • Annual deductible vs per-incident deductible

  • How claim reimbursements are calculated

  • Visit our compare page for a full side-by-side comparison of pet insurance providers.

Available pet insurance policy discounts

Discounts on pet insurance plans vary greatly by company, so be sure to do your research when you’re shopping around. Embrace Pet Insurance offers a variety of discounts to keep your pet insurance policy affordable for many budgets. Some common pet insurance discounts include: multiple pets, military, employee benefits, and veterinary practice.

*Complementary treatments were previously called alternative therapies.