Here, Kitty Kitty. Why Cat Insurance Costs More Than Dog Insurance

Is Cat Insurance More Expensive Than Dog Insurance?

Pet insurance can provide valuable protection against unexpected veterinary costs for cats and dogs. However, pet parents are often surprised to find out that premiums for cat insurance are significantly higher than dog insurance on average.

According to a survey by Money, pet insurance for cats costs approximately $250 more per year than for dogs when comparing popular comprehensive accident and illness plans from top providers. With cats living longer than dogs on average, this adds up to thousands of dollars in extra costs over the lifetime of your furry friend.

In this article, we’ll break down the key reasons cat insurance tends to be pricier and walk through what coverage options make the most sense to protect your budget as a cat owner.

Average Costs

According to ValuePenguin’s data from 2024, pet insurance costs an average of $53 per month for dogs and $32 per month for cats for plans that cover both accidents and illnesses.[1] MarketWatch’s data from December 2023 shows that for adult dogs, pet insurance costs an average of $28.36 to $89.78 per month, while for cats it costs an average of $15.96 to $37.17 per month.[2] Forbes’ data from 2023 shows that pet insurance costs an average of $44 per month for a dog for $5,000 of annual coverage.[3] Overall, the data shows that on average dog insurance costs more per month compared to cat insurance.




Factors Affecting Cost

There are several key factors that affect the cost of pet insurance, whether for cats or dogs. According to, some of the main considerations include the pet’s age, breed, and location.

Age is one of the biggest drivers of pet insurance costs. Young pets generally have lower premiums, while older pets have higher premiums. This is because as pets get older, they are more prone to illnesses and chronic conditions that require expensive veterinary care. So insuring an older pet comes with more risk and cost for the insurance company.

Breed also affects pet insurance pricing. Some breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions and may require more medical interventions over their lifespan. For example, retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, while French bulldogs often have respiratory issues. Insurers factor in these breed-specific risks when setting premiums. Location also matters, as the cost of veterinary care can vary significantly by region. Insurers will charge higher premiums in areas where vet costs are typically higher.

Coverage Differences

When it comes to pet insurance, there can be some differences in coverage options and limits between cats and dogs. According to, cats typically require less veterinary care over their lifetime compared to dogs, so their insurance plans may have lower annual limits or lifetime caps on coverage.

For example, Nationwide’s pet insurance has an annual limit of $7,500 for cats but $15,000 for dogs. Many plans also set limits per incident or condition specifically for cats and dogs. Trupanion caps coverage per condition at $8,000 for cats and $14,000 for dogs.

Insurance companies cite the longer lifespan of cats compared to larger dog breeds as one reason coverage limits may be lower. Cats are also less prone to major injuries that require costly surgery. On average, pet insurance costs for cats run about 25% lower than comparable plans for dogs (

However, the type of coverage also matters. Accident-only plans will be cheaper but have lower benefit limits compared to plans that include illness coverage. Always read the fine print to understand exclusions and coverage caps based on your pet’s breed and age.

Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions can significantly impact the cost and coverage of pet insurance, according to CBS News. Most pet insurance providers do not cover pre-existing conditions, which are defined as any illness or injury that occurred or showed symptoms prior to enrollment in a policy. This means conditions that were present before the waiting period has ended are usually excluded from coverage.

Some pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, hip dysplasia, and allergies often make a pet uninsurable with most providers. According to Forbes, incurable conditions are generally not covered. However, some insurers like ASPCA allowenrollment if a vet certifies the pet as cured of the pre-existing illness. Overall, pre-existing conditions can significantly increase premiums or lead to coverage exclusions.

Benefit Limits

One key difference between cat and dog insurance is the annual benefit limit. This is the maximum dollar amount the insurance company will reimburse you per year after meeting your deductible. Dog insurance plans tend to have higher annual limits than cat plans.

For example, according to Pawlicy, a popular pet insurance provider offers up to a $20,000 annual limit for dogs but only up to $10,000 for cats. Other providers may offer unlimited annual coverage for dogs but cap coverage for cats.

The reason for this disparity is that dogs tend to have higher veterinary costs over their lifetime compared to cats. Given their larger size, dogs are more prone to injuries and conditions requiring expensive surgery or treatment. Cats have lower caps because their care costs less on average.

When comparing plans, look closely at the annual limit. A higher limit for dogs provides peace of mind in case of an unexpected emergency leading to a large claim. For cats, a lower limit may be sufficient in most cases.


The deductible you choose for pet insurance plays a major role in the cost of your premiums. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance coverage kicks in.

According to Money, pet insurance policies typically offer deductible options ranging from $100 to $1,000. The most common choices are $250, $500, and $1,000. The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be.

As noted by MarketWatch, most pet owners select an annual deductible of $250. However, choosing a higher deductible like $500 or $1,000 can result in significant savings on premiums over time, even accounting for paying more out of pocket per claim.

For example, a $500 deductible may reduce your premium by 25-40% compared to a $250 deductible. While you pay more per incident upfront, the long-term savings on premiums often outweigh the higher per-claim costs. Evaluating your pet’s health history and risk factors can help determine what deductible makes the most financial sense.

Adding Riders

Pet insurance policies typically cover only basic accident and illness expenses. However, most companies offer supplemental coverage in the form of add-on “riders” for an additional monthly premium.1 Common riders include:

  • Wellness coverage – This pays for routine veterinary care like annual exams, vaccinations, and teeth cleaning. On average, wellness coverage costs $15-$25 per month for dogs and $10-$15 for cats.2
  • Preventative care – This rider covers flea/heartworm prevention medication at around $7 per month.
  • Spay/neuter coverage – For $5-$10 monthly, this rider reimburses surgery costs to spay or neuter a pet.
  • Pet insurance with dental – At $8-$12 per month, this add-on covers dental cleanings and tooth extractions not due to accidents.
  • Hereditary conditions – For $20-$30 monthly, owners can get reimbursement for expenses related to inherited diseases.

Adding multiple riders increases the premium but provides more comprehensive coverage. Pet parents should evaluate their budget and needs to decide if the extra cost is worthwhile.

Getting Quotes

Getting quotes from multiple pet insurance providers is the best way to find the most affordable coverage for your cat or dog. Here are some tips for getting accurate quotes:

Use an online quote tool like Pawlicy Advisor or Forbes Advisor to get personalized quotes after entering your pet’s information. These tools compile quotes from multiple insurers to compare.

When entering your pet’s details, be as accurate as possible about their breed, age, location, and medical history. This will ensure the quotes reflect your actual expected costs.

Get quotes for similar coverage levels if you want to accurately compare pricing between providers. Make sure deductibles, reimbursement rates, and covered services are the same.

Look into policy extras like emergency boarding, lost pet rewards, and preventative care coverage if desired. Add these to quotes as riders to understand how they impact pricing.

Compare not just premiums but also customer service ratings, claim processing times, and reimbursement rates. An inexpensive policy isn’t a good deal if they rarely pay out claims.

Consider getting quotes from both online insurers like Healthy Paws and traditional providers like GEICO to compare options.

Talk to a licensed pet insurance agent if you have questions about recommendations for your specific pet. They can explain differences between plans.


In summary, while there are some general trends that cat insurance costs more than dog insurance, there are many variables that impact the actual premiums pet owners will pay. Factors like the pet’s breed, age, and location as well as the coverage options selected make precise blanket statements about costs difficult.

For pet owners, the most important thing is to obtain quotes tailored to your specific pet’s details and your desired coverage. Look at multiple providers, read the fine print, and determine what coverage limits and deductibles fit your budget. Focus less on whether it’s strictly a “cat” or “dog” policy, and more on what each company charges for the coverage you want for your individual pet.

With the right policy for your needs, species is less important than personalized factors. Do your research, shop around, read reviews, and purchase adequate but affordable coverage. This is the best way to protect your furry companion regardless of whether they are a cat, dog, or other pet.

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