Pet insurance premiums can vary based on several factors, one of which is location. The impact your location has on your premium may be unavoidable, but there are other ways you may be able to lower your premiums.
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When it comes to insurance policies, there are certain factors that play into the overall cost, or premium.
For example, your life insurance costs will be impacted by your age, health history, and how much coverage you want to buy. Your homeowner’s policy cost is based on things like your home’s value, its location, and even the deductible you choose. Auto insurance prices can vary according to the car you drive, your age, and your driving history.
Pet insurance is no different, with premiums often being affected by your pet’s age, breed, and, of course, your location. Where you live can impact your average veterinary costs, often impacting how much you pay for your insurance coverage. Here’s a look at why location matters when buying a pet insurance policy, how much you can expect to pay for pet insurance by state, and a few ways you can reduce your coverage expenses.
In this article:
- Why your location impacts your premium
- How much does pet insurance cost in each state?
- Ways to lower the cost of a policy if you live in a state with high premiums
Why your location is a factor in determining your premium
It can be easy to see why location impacts auto insurance or even homeowner’s insurance premiums. But when we are talking about pet insurance, why does your zip code matter?
Well, there are a few big reasons why your state—and even your specific city—can play a role in your pet insurance premiums.
The cost of care fluctuates between different areas
A downtown New York City veterinarian is likely to charge more for his or her services than a small vet outside of Tulsa. Therefore, pet insurance carriers will often adjust premiums according to your city, state, or zip code to account for a difference in the cost of care.
This premium adjustment ensures that the carrier can cover the costs that your pet may incur and provide you with the best possible coverage for your unique location.
Certain areas may pose a greater risk of injury or illness
A house cat in the quiet suburbs may not encounter as many risks as one living in a bustling metropolitan area. A pup with its own backyard might not be exposed to as many illnesses as one who lives in a city and visits busy dog parks.
The less risky your location is regarding your pet’s health and safety, the less your pet insurance premiums might be.
Access to care can vary
Some cities may have a vet on every block and be readily available whether your pet needs routine care or emergency treatment. Because of this easy access, you’re more likely to take your pet in for regular check-ups and can reach the vet quickly when care needs arise.
If you live in other areas, however, accessing a vet or animal hospital might mean traveling a far distance or navigating public transportation. Pet owners in these areas might find it more difficult to obtain routine care for their pet(s), or quickly access care in an urgent situation.
How much does pet insurance cost in each state?
It’s important to note that, when pet insurance companies consider your location, they are primarily considering your zip code, not your state. That being said, a state breakdown can still be useful to see which states are generally viewed as riskier or more expensive for pet owners.
The quotes in the table below were collected from three highly-rated pet insurance providers. Quotes for each state were based on a single zip code from within the capital of that state. All other details submitted to receive a quote were left the same.
Here are the quotes we received from each provider:
As shown in the table above, the premium charged for a policy varies greatly depending on where you live. In some cases, the difference can be as much as $54 per month!
The average monthly premium of all the quotes we received was $58.74. In the following table, we’ll look at how much more or less expensive each state was compared to the average of all quotes received.
Here are the results:
|State||Average Premium||Difference from Average|
Based on the quotes we received, the state with the most expensive premiums was New York, with an average premium of $84.07 per month, which was 30% more expensive than the country’s average.
The state with the least expensive premiums was Louisiana, with an average premium of $45.85, which was 28% less expensive than the country’s average.
Ways to lower the cost of a policy if you live in a state with high premiums
Short of moving, there’s not much you can do about pet insurance policy costs related to your location. But just because the impact of your state (or city) on your premiums is out of your control doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways you can lower your pet insurance costs.
Here are some ways to lower the cost of a pet insurance policy, especially if you live in a state with high locality-based premiums.
Shop around for a more affordable provider
If you’re not happy with the premiums you’re paying (or being quoted), shop around and see if there’s a more affordable policy that still meets your needs. This can often be the key to not only getting the coverage you want but also finding a cheaper price tag.
A good place to start is our guide on the best pet insurance carriers. There, you’ll find a list of pet insurance companies with various coverage options, plans, and, of course, premiums.
Choose your plan wisely
If your pet insurance company offers more than one plan option, consider whether a different plan will save you money. For instance, if you don’t need coverage for preventative care costs, avoid the wellness add-on to reduce the cost of your policy. This way you can stick with emergency coverage and put the savings toward other expenses.
Adjust your policy’s deductible
Your deductible is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your policy kicks in. Most carriers allow you to choose your deductible so that you have control over the final cost of your policy. By selecting a higher deductible, you can lower your premium. This is because you’re taking additional costs away from the insurer and making them your responsibility.
Pick a lower reimbursement percentage
Another option is to decrease your pet insurance plan’s reimbursement percentage. If your carrier offers more than one reimbursement option—such as your choice of 70%, 80%, or 90%—choosing a lower percentage will usually result in lower premiums.
It’s important to remember that this will mean a higher out-of-pocket cost for you if you need to file a claim against the policy. However, until then (or if you never end up needing emergency care), you’ll save money on your monthly premiums.
Opt for a smaller benefit limit
Most policies have a built-in benefit limit, which is the maximum amount that the carrier will contribute toward your pet’s care each year or sometimes for life. Once you hit that limit, the insurance company will stop paying for that type of care until the following year or forever if you have a lifetime limit.
If you can choose your benefit limit amount, opting for a lower limit can mean lower pet insurance premiums. Just know that if your pet needs care that exceeds your new lowered limit, you’ll be on the hook for anything over that limit.
Take advantage of discounts
Discounts can be a great way to purchase the policy you want—without compromise—at a price that makes you happy.
Depending on the pet insurance carrier you choose, various discount options may be available. These could include multiple pet discounts, discounts for purchasing additional coverage options, military discounts, discounts for going claim-free for a certain period, and so on.
Be sure to ask which discounts are offered before buying a policy to see what you qualify for and how much you could save.
Consider whether monthly or annual premiums are cheaper
Your carrier may offer a discount for paying your premiums annually rather than monthly. If this is an option, consider whether you can afford to pay an entire year’s worth of premiums upfront and how much you’ll save.
Author: Stephanie Colestock