How to Get Pet Insurance Quotes: 2024 Guide

You’ll need to compare pet insurance quotes to find the best coverage at the right price.
Robin Hartill, CFP®
By Robin Hartill, CFP® 
Published
Edited by Sarah Schlichter

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Nerdy takeaways
  • Your pet insurance quote is based on your pet’s species, breed, age and location.

  • You can typically customize pet insurance quotes by adjusting your deductibles, reimbursement levels and policy limits.

  • Pet insurance quotes are available online or by phone.

Pet owners spent an average of $491 on veterinary care for their fur kids in 2021, the most recent year for which data was available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We Love Our Pets, and Our Spending Proves It. Accessed May 13, 2024.
. But if your pet requires surgery or emergency treatment, vet bills can cost thousands of dollars. Buying pet insurance can help defray these expenses. Your first step is to get pet insurance quotes.

How to get pet insurance quotes

You can get quotes from the best pet insurance companies online, though most companies also give you the option to speak with a human. Note that we’re focusing on how to get pet insurance quotes for dogs and cats in this article. If you want insurance for your iguana, guinea pig, bird or ferret, you’ll need to work with an insurance company that specializes in exotic pets, such as Nationwide.

Deductible

The amount of your pet’s veterinary bill that you’ll need to pay before pet insurance kicks in.

Reimbursement level

The percentage of your vet’s bill that insurance will cover after you’ve met the deductible.

Annual limit

The maximum dollar amount your pet insurance company will pay for covered care in a year.

To get a pet insurance quote, you’ll generally need to provide your ZIP code and the following information about your animal:

  • Name.

  • Sex.

  • Species (dog or cat).

  • Breed.

  • Weight (for mixed-breed dogs).

  • Age.

Once you’ve entered your pet’s basic information, you may have the option to customize your quote. For example, if you want to save money on monthly premiums, you could increase your deductible. Or if you’re willing to pay more each month for increased coverage, you could raise the policy’s annual limit or reimbursement level.

Can I insure multiple pets on the same policy?

Some pet insurance companies let you cover multiple animals on the same plan. You may have a single deductible for all covered animals or pay a separate deductible for each pet, depending on the policy.

Even if the insurer doesn’t allow more than one pet to be covered on a policy, you may get a multipet discount if you enroll more than one animal. Many pet insurance companies offer multipet discounts of 5% to 10%.

Types of pet insurance plans

When you get pet insurance quotes, you may be able to choose either an accident-only plan or an accident and illness plan. You may also be able to add a wellness plan to your pet insurance to cover routine vet care. Note that not all carriers offer all types of plans.

Accident and illness plan

An accident and illness plan helps with costs if your animal companion gets sick or injured. It can reimburse you for part of your vet bills if your pet is hurt in an accident or develops an illness such as cancer, thyroid problems or arthritis.

An accident and illness plan usually doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, which are health issues that showed symptoms before your pet insurance took effect. However, some insurers may help with costs related to a hereditary condition or birth defect if the symptoms didn’t surface until later in life. Other policies offer this coverage as an add-on.

Accident-only pet insurance

An accident-only plan helps you pay for your pet’s care if they’re injured in an accident, but it won’t cover treatment related to an illness. For example, if your furry pal gets hit by a car, is bitten by another animal or swallows a toy, your insurer would typically foot part of the bill. But there’s no coverage if your pet is diagnosed with a condition like hip dysplasia, cancer or a metabolic disorder.

Though the coverage is limited, it’s usually cheaper than more comprehensive plans. Some companies offer accident-only plans to animals that may not otherwise qualify for coverage due to their age.

Wellness plans

Pet insurance covers unexpected veterinary expenses your dog or cat may incur, but a wellness plan helps you pay the expected costs of keeping your pet healthy. Usually purchased as a separate plan or add-on, you can use a wellness plan to help pay for routine care like checkups, vaccinations, dental cleanings, spaying and neutering and microchipping.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Wellness plans may help you budget better for veterinary expenses by spreading them out over a 12-month period, but they may not actually save you money. Before buying wellness coverage, compare the cost of the plan to the cost of the covered services you’ll use in a given year.

What factors affect your pet insurance price?

The type of plan you choose will affect your pet insurance price. Accident-only plans are usually cheaper than more comprehensive accident and illness plans. Other factors that determine how much pet insurance costs include:

  • Cat vs. dog: Cats live longer than dogs on average, but they tend to have fewer health problems over their lifespans. Many felines are indoor-only cats, so they’re less exposed to accidents and illnesses compared with dogs. Dogs are also more likely to have hereditary problems.

  • Breed: Purebred animals are often pricier to insure because they’re more prone to breed-specific illnesses than mixed-breed pets. Pet insurance for larger dogs tends to be more expensive than coverage for small dogs, as large-breed dogs have shorter life expectancies and frequently develop more health problems in a shorter timespan.

  • Age: Older pets are at higher risk of developing health issues, so as your dog or cat ages, you’ll probably pay more for pet insurance.

  • Location: Where you live affects the cost of pet insurance because veterinary costs vary widely by location. Since most pet policies reimburse a percentage of vet bills, you can expect your pet premiums to be higher if you live in an area where pet health care is pricey.

  • Deductibles, reimbursement level and annual limit: If you have a high deductible and a low reimbursement level and annual limit, you’ll pay less in premiums. However, your out-of-pocket costs for vet bills will be higher. Conversely, a low deductible combined with a high reimbursement level and annual limit increases your premiums, but your out-of-pocket expenses will be lower if your pet gets sick or injured.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Pet insurance generally doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Your pet’s risk of developing a health issue increases as they get older, so buying a policy early can up the odds that future conditions will be covered.

How to compare pet insurance quotes

Your monthly premium isn’t the only factor to consider when comparing pet insurance quotes. You’ll also need to evaluate how much you’ll pay out of pocket when your pet needs care, as well as what services are covered. Here are some things every pet parent should know before choosing a policy.

Deductibles

You’ll need to pay an out-of-pocket pet insurance deductible before your insurer will cover part of your vet bill. If your policy has an annual deductible, your policy will cover care after you’ve hit the deductible for the year. However, some policies have a per-incident or per-condition deductible that applies when your pet develops a new health condition.

Say you hit your per-condition deductible when your pet developed a bladder infection. If you took them back to the vet a few weeks later for allergy treatment, another deductible would apply since it’s a new condition.

Generally, you’ll pay higher premiums if you choose a low deductible.

Reimbursement rates

Your reimbursement rate is the percentage of covered services your insurer will pay for. But this amount is often applied before the deductible. For instance, suppose you have a policy with an 80% reimbursement level and a $250 deductible. If your pet incurred a $1,000 vet bill, here’s how your pet insurance reimbursement rate might factor in:

  • $1,000 (vet bill) x 0.8 (80% reimbursement rate) = $800.

  • $800 - $250 (deductible) = $550 (covered by pet insurance).

  • $1,000 - $550 = $450 (your out-of-pocket cost).

Annual limits

The annual limit is the maximum amount the policy will pay during a 12-month period. Once you reach the annual limit, you’ll need to pay out of pocket for veterinary care. Many insurers offer an unlimited option.

Waiting periods

A waiting period is a specified amount of time that must elapse before pet insurance kicks in. Many policies have a two-day waiting period for accidents and a 14-day waiting period for injuries. Some specific conditions like orthopedic problems and cruciate ligament issues may have longer waiting periods.

What’s included

Before you buy insurance, make sure you understand what your pet insurance policy covers. Find out how your policy defines pre-existing conditions and whether it pays for things like hereditary conditions and behavioral issues.

How to save money on pet insurance

Pet insurance doesn’t have to break your budget. To save money on pet insurance costs, follow these tips:

  • Compare quotes. To make sure you’re getting a competitive rate, get quotes from several insurance companies.

  • Look for discounts. You may qualify for discounts if you’re a member of certain groups, like AAA or the AARP, or if you’re a military member or veteran.

  • Find out if your employer offers pet insurance as a voluntary benefit. Some employers partner with pet insurance providers to offer discounted plans for workers who are pet parents.

  • Bundle policies. You may be able to save by bundling policies, e.g., a pet policy and an auto policy, with the same insurer.

  • Increase your deductible. If you’re willing to pay more out of pocket for an unexpected veterinary bill, increasing your plan’s deductible can save you money on premiums.

  • Think carefully about wellness plans. If your pet is healthy, has already been spayed or neutered and microchipped, and is up to date on their vaccines, a wellness plan may cost more than you’d pay out of pocket at the vet.

Frequently asked questions

The average pet insurance premium for an accident and illness plan in the U.S. was about $676 for dogs and $383 for cats in 2023, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. That breaks down to a monthly premium of $56 for dogs and $32 for cats.

Metlife, Embrace and Pets Best are at the top of NerdWallet’s list of the best pet insurance companies. However, be sure to compare several pet insurance companies to find the best policy for your animal’s needs.

You’ll typically need to provide your pet’s name, sex, species, breed (including size if it’s a mixed-breed dog), age and ZIP code to get a pet insurance quote.

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