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Insurance Pet Insurance

How Breed Can Affect Pet Insurance Costs

Pet insurance companies will often calculate premiums with your pet’s age, medical history, location, and even breed in mind. Your dog or cat’s breed is a significant factor for pet insurance companies.

Some breeds are more prone to certain illnesses, indicating an increased likelihood of veterinary care in the future. We’ll explore why your dog’s breed is a factor in your pet insurance policy premiums, what you can expect to pay for coverage, and how you can reduce your plan’s costs regardless of your dog’s breed.

Why breed is a factor in determining your premium

An insurance carrier’s job is to offer trusted coverage when you need it most while mitigating the company’s losses. Premiums are calculated according to each policy’s level of risk.

Here are several reasons your pet’s breed affects your premium cost:

Different breeds are of different sizes

Your dog may be a large, medium, or small breed (or some combination of these). For example, a Yorkshire Terrier will always be smaller than a Great Dane. Larger breeds are often prone to certain medical conditions, such as hip dysplasia and heart conditions, so pet insurance carriers may charge a higher premium for a larger dog breed than a smaller one.

Some conditions are common in certain breeds

Size-related issues aside, some breeds are more prone to certain medical conditions. For example, Rottweilers are more affected by osteosarcoma, an aggressive type of bone cancer, than other breeds, with more than one out of every eight Rotties being diagnosed. Some breeds—including Saint Bernards and Great Danes—are more susceptible to bloat (or stomach flip)—a life-threatening emergency.

If your dog’s breed is more likely to have an urgent or emergency condition, expect to pay more for coverage.

Certain breed traits can lead to health concerns

Some dogs are bred to produce specific traits, which may only be possible by breeding two dogs with the same lineage. This inbreeding may result in a purebred dog displaying those desired traits. However, such can mean a higher risk of congenital defects or hereditary conditions. Full-breed French Bulldogs, for instance, are more prone to congenital heart disease than many other breeds.

Some dogs are simply riskier from an insurance carrier’s perspective, meaning you’ll often pay different pet insurance rates by breed.

How much does pet insurance cost for each breed?

To demonstrate the impact your pet’s breed can have on the premium you pay, we submitted quote requests to three highly-rated pet insurance providers for some of the most popular dog breeds.

All details outside of the breed were the same for each quote to ensure any difference in price was due to a change in the dog’s breed.

These quotes were for a one-year-old male in Charlotte, North Carolina. The policy terms include a $5,000 annual benefit, 90% reimbursement rate, and $500 deductible for an accident and illness policy with no wellness add-on.

Here are the quotes we received from each provider:

Labrador Retriever$55.56$49.51$49.51
French Bulldog$85.25$69.04$69.04
German Shepherd$55.56$41.06$41.06
Golden Retriever$55.56$49.51$49.51
Australian Shepherd$45.02$35.62$35.62
Yorkshire Terrier$31.93$31.47$31.47

As you can see, your pet’s breed can have a significant impact on the price you pay for a policy. In some cases, the difference can be as much as $64.50 per month.

But not all breeds were priced differently. For example, Embrace offered the same price for Retrievers and German Shepherds. Spot and ASPCA offered the same price for German Shepherds and Beagles.

For the 10 breeds we got quotes for, the average monthly premium was $54.

In the following table, we’ll look at how much more or less expensive each breed was compared to this average. Here are the results:

BreedAverage premiumDifference from average ($54)
Labrador Retriever$51.53-5%
French Bulldog$74.4438%
German Shepherd$45.89-15%
Golden Retriever$51.53-5%
Australian Shepherd$38.75-28%
Yorkshire Terrier$31.62-41%

Based on our research, Rottweilers were the most expensive breed to insure, with an average premium 45% higher than the average of all 10 breeds. The cheapest breed was Yorkshire Terriers, with an average premium 41% lower than the average of all 10 breeds.

The size of your pet doesn’t always lead to higher premiums. French Bulldogs and standard Bulldogs were both pricier to insure than German Shepherds and Retrievers.

Ways to lower the cost of a policy if your pet’s breed tends to come with high premiums

When it comes to the cost of your pet’s insurance policy, some factors are beyond your control (such as the effect of your dog’s breed). However, consider the following to lower the cost of your pet insurance policy.

  • Get a quote from multiple insurers. Each insurance carrier has its own pricing and may consider certain breeds riskier than others. It’s important to shop around before buying a policy to ensure that you find the best deal for you and your pup. Check out our picks for the best pet insurance companies to get started.
  • Enroll in an accident-only plan. When discussing pet insurance, most people are referring to an accident and illness policy. As the name implies, these policies reimburse you for both accidents and illnesses. A lesser-known option, which is more affordable, is an accident-only policy. This plan only reimburses you for accidents your pet suffers, not illnesses.
  • Raise your deductible. Most carriers require you to pay a deductible, which is the portion of your pet’s veterinary costs that you must cover before reimbursement kicks in. A higher deductible usually means lower monthly premiums, so adjusting your deductible can help you reduce costs.
  • Lower your benefit limit. The more coverage your pet insurance plan offers, the more you can expect to pay for the policy. Many carriers let you choose the benefit level you want; opting for a plan with a $5,000 annual maximum will likely cost less than a plan with a $10,000 annual maximum.
  • Lower your reimbursement rate. Your reimbursement rate is the percentage of covered costs on your veterinary bill paid back to you after filing a claim. By lowering your reimbursement rate, you’re reducing the amount the insurance company has to pay you for veterinary care, which should lower your premium.
  • Check for discounts during enrollment. Discounts make for a terrific way to save on policy costs without sacrificing coverage. Some plans offer discounts for association members, certain affiliations (e.g., active duty military), or multiple pets, so see what’s available to you.
  • Pay your premium annually. Paying your premium annually instead of monthly may lead to a discounted premium. If you can afford to pay the total cost upfront, ask your carrier whether it offers any such discounts.
  • Enroll your pet at a young age. You can expect that all pet insurance policies will exclude pre-existing conditions. Buying pet insurance when your pet is still young and healthy can lead to lower premium costs.

Many factors can affect pet insurance costs, and your dog’s breed is an important one. However, whether you have an Anatolian Shepherd or a teacup Chihuahua, you can find a pet insurance plan that’s affordable and offers you peace of mind for years to come.

To learn more about pet insurance for specific breeds, check out these resources: