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Pet Insurance Costs 2024: An Overview by Breed

Many factors influence pet insurance costs, but the breed is one of the greatest. Why does breed matter? Pet insurers set premiums based on risk factors. Some breeds have more risk factors or are predisposed to specific conditions, so they cost more to insure. Let’s break down how pet insurance works, how breed influences premiums, and what some average pet insurance costs for popular breeds are.

How pet insurance works: a brief overview of costs and coverage

Pet insurance functions as a health insurance plan for your pet. You’ll enroll your pet in a policy and pay a monthly premium to maintain coverage. If your pet becomes ill or injured, your pet insurance will help cover some of their veterinary bills (after a deductible is met). How much you’ll pay for your monthly premium and how much will be covered will depend on several factors, including your location, the type of plan you choose, and details about your pet.

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How pet insurance premiums are determined

Pet insurers set premiums by assessing a pet’s overall risk factors, which can determine how much the insurer may pay out over the pet’s lifetime. These factors can include location to determine regional veterinary costs and the pet’s age, sex, and breed. Because there are so many factors, you can see drastic variations in pet insurance costs from one pet to another.

Each factor also has variables that can make premiums higher or lower. For example, male cats can be slightly more to insure than female cats due to their risk of urinary tract issues and propensity to want to roam or engage in fighting. Older, unspayed female dogs can sometimes carry higher premiums due to their risk of uterine infections and certain cancers. Younger pets, both dogs and cats, often cost less to insure because they have fewer overall risk factors.

How breed affects pet insurance costs

Some breeds have more risk factors and disease predispositions, meaning they are more prone to developing certain health conditions and statistically have more claims. Therefore, those breeds often have higher monthly premiums than others with lower risk factors. For instance, brachycephalic breeds (those with flatter faces and shortened airways), like French Bulldogs and Persian cats, often cost more to insure due to their risk factors for developing brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This refers to conditions affecting brachycephalic breeds' ability to breathe normally, often requiring surgery.

Extra large and giant dog breeds like Rottweilers and Great Danes can also carry higher premiums for their unique health risks and the additional costs that come with size when medical treatments are needed. From higher doses of drugs and more anesthesia time to extra sutures and bandaging materials — bigger dogs can often come with bigger medical bills.

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Most expensive breeds to insure

While there are many factors that can determine individual pet insurance costs, these breeds are commonly the most expensive to insure overall.

Most expensive dog breeds to insure:

  • French Bulldog
  • English Bulldog
  • American Bulldog
  • Rottweiler
  • Akita
  • Great Dane
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • American Mastiff
  • Belgian Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Brazilian Mastiff
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Cane Corso
  • Boerboel

Most expensive cat breeds to insure:

  • Sphynx
  • Persian
  • Russian Blue
  • Himalayan
  • Siamese
  • Bengal
  • Scottish Fold
  • British Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Ragdoll

While pet insurance premiums for these breeds may be higher than others, it’s essential to consider their medical bills. Treating some of the health conditions these breeds can be prone to will often cost far more than what you'll pay for pet insurance.

Average pet insurance costs 2024 by dog breed

Here’s a look at some average monthly premiums for popular dog breeds at different life stages:

Dog breed6-month-old puppy5-year-old adult 8-year-old senior
French Bulldog$60$75$140
Labrador Retriever$45$60$110
Golden Retriever$40$58$92
Yorkshire Terrier$30$50$70
Shih Tzu$28$36$48
German Shepherd$50$60$105

Compiled with data from Pawlicy Advisor. Numbers based on average pet insurance policies with a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement rate, and $10,000 or unlimited annual coverage.

Average pet insurance costs 2024 by cat breed

Here’s a look at some average monthly premiums for popular cat breeds at different life stages:

Cat breed6-month-old kitten5-year-old adult10-year-old senior
Domestic Shorthair$18$22$55
American Shorthair$20$25$60
Exotic Shorthair$28$44$68
Maine Coon$30$45$71

Compiled with data from Pawlicy Advisor. Numbers based on average pet insurance policies with a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement rate, and $10,000 or unlimited annual coverage.

Choosing the right pet insurance for your breed

By now, we know that breed has much to do with pet insurance costs, but it’s also important to note how it can affect coverage. Some pet insurance providers have exclusions based on breed, which can sometimes leave pet owners with claim denials and high veterinary bills they were expecting to have covered.

Not all pet insurance policies have breed-specific exclusions, but among those that do, they’re typically related to hereditary conditions common within the breed. An example is an exclusion for cardiomyopathy in Boxers and Maine Coons, two common breeds afflicted by this heart condition. Or, coverage for degenerative myelopathy, a neurologic condition affecting the spinal cord, is excluded for German Shepherds because the breed carries a high incidence rate.

When shopping around for pet insurance, it’s always a good idea to research all potential health risks of your breed and look for any exclusions in pet insurance plans you’re interested in. You can also consult your vet, who can help determine what health risks your pet might have and what items are most important to have covered. Lastly, as with all insurance, it’s always important to read the fine print before signing!


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