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How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost in California? 2024 Update

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Veterinary bills can significantly add up over a pet’s lifetime due to routine checkups, unexpected accidents, illnesses requiring surgery, and ongoing medical care. If your dog or cat develops a chronic condition, you may have to pay for medications and treatments. That’s why most pet owners in California have pet insurance that helps them prepare financially. Just like human health insurance, pet insurance helps defray the cost of care.

When you have pet insurance, you’ll be better prepared to handle unexpected vet bills. More importantly, you won’t have to worry about putting your pet down because you can’t afford the medical care it needs.

If you’re a California resident with pets, you may be wondering how much pet insurance is in your state. The average annual cost of dog pet insurance in California is $649.49. The average cost of cat pet insurance in California is $328.92. We’ve put together the following information about the cost of California pet insurance we think you’ll find helpful.

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Factors Affecting the Cost of Pet Insurance in California

The cost of pet insurance in California and elsewhere depends on several factors like your zip code and details about your pet, like its species, breed, age, and pre-existing conditions. The cost of living in your city or community also affects the cost of your pet insurance. Why is this? It’s because the cost of living in a particular city affects the prices local vets charge for their services—it’s that simple!

Generally speaking, you’ll have to pay a bit more for pet insurance if you live in a large city like Los Angeles compared to a smaller community like Sonoma. But for this article, we’re going to give you the estimated cost of pet insurance for the State of California as a whole.

Regardless of where you live, quality veterinary pet care can be pretty costly. A balanced pet insurance plan from a company like Lemonade to help you keep those costs under control.

One more thing worth mentioning is that pet insurance for a dog costs more than pet insurance for a cat. This is because dogs are more costly to care for than cats. Now we’ll talk about money for a moment and continue dishing out some helpful information about pet insurance in beautiful California!

According to MoneyGeek, the average cost of dog pet insurance in California is $649.49. The average cost of cat pet insurance in California is $328.92. As you can see, covering a dog costs nearly twice as much as covering a cat.

vet holding a german shepherd
Image Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin, Shutterstock

How Many Pet Insurance Companies Are There in California?

The California Department of Insurance tells us that there are at least 11 insurance companies offering pet insurance in the Golden State. While having so many insurance companies to choose from may seem overwhelming, it can be to your advantage.

It’s a great idea to thoroughly check each California pet insurance company out. Yes, this will take time but, in the end, it will be worth it! Do things like reading through customer reviews, checking discount offers and coverage plan details, and comparing prices.

When reviewing a pet insurance plan online, view the plan’s underwriting insurance company profile and look at things like its license and complaint history. This is important because all the pet insurance plans in California (and elsewhere) are brands operated by larger nationwide insurance carriers. For example, Pets Best pet insurance plan is operated by Aetna Insurance Co. of Connecticut.

As a consumer and pet owner, it’s on your shoulders to find the best pet insurance for your beloved cat or dog. So, roll up your sleeves and do the necessary work!

What Does Pet Insurance Cover in California?

California pet insurance covers veterinary bills related to unexpected accidents and illnesses that affect your cat or dog.

This coverage typically includes the following:
  • Medical procedures and treatments
  • Diagnostics
  • Examinations
  • Prescribed medications
  • Hospitalizations
  • Emergency care
  • Specialist care

While California pet insurance covers a lot, it does not cover treatments necessary for pre-existing conditions or symptoms that begin before enrollment or during the waiting periods for accidents and illnesses. For example, if your cat was limping before your waiting period and coverage started, treatment for the leg would not be covered by the plan.

Pet insurance companies lump pre-existing conditions into two distinct categories: curable and incurable conditions. A broken leg is an example of a curable condition, and cancer is an example of an incurable condition.

a female veterinarian with cat
Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

Does Pet Insurance Cover Teeth Cleaning?

Even though it’s important to keep your pet’s teeth clean, most pet insurance plans do not cover teeth cleaning. This is because pet insurance companies consider teeth cleaning a part of preventative care, so they don’t typically cover it under accident and illness plans.

If you want the cost of teeth cleanings to be covered by your pet insurance, look for a company offering a wellness plan that includes dental hygiene services. This type of plan will cover those cleanings and annual dental checkups. It may even reimburse you for dental care products like dog and cat toothpaste or dental chews.

Ways to Lower Your California Pet Insurance Costs

Some things that can influence the cost of pet insurance, like your pet’s age or breed, can’t be changed. But there are some ways you can lower the cost of your California pet insurance, including the following:

  • Choose an accident-only plan rather than a comprehensive one: You can save several hundred dollars by only having pet insurance that covers accidents rather than a comprehensive plan covering both illnesses and accidents.
  • Skip the wellness plan option: When you opt-out of your insurer’s wellness plan coverage that covers things like vaccinations and flea treatments, you can save yourself a couple of hundred dollars a year.
  • Shop around: As stated earlier, it pays to shop around so you can compare pet insurance costs while looking for discounts you can take advantage of.
  • Choose a large deductible: The size of your deductible will dictate how much you’ll pay each year before your pet insurance plan takes effect. It’s better to go with a large deductible to reduce your overall rates so don’t be tempted by those low deductible numbers you’re offered when reviewing a plan.

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Pet insurance is the best way to ensure your four-legged pal will get the medical treatment he needs as quickly as possible. It’s no secret that California vets charge high rates. This is why it’s essential to find good-quality, affordable pet insurance so you can offset these high medical costs to help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Ultimately, you should obtain quotes from several pet insurance providers in California to compare plan pricing and coverage. If you’re fortunate, you’ll find an insurer you like offering a nice discount to save yourself some bucks!

Featured Image Credit: bmf-foto.de, Shutterstock

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