What Is a Good Annual Limit for Pet Insurance?


  • An annual limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for your pet’s treatment in a 12-month coverage period.
  • Typically, a high annual limit comes with a high monthly payment, and the opposite is true for lower annual limits.
  • In most cases, you will still have to pay any deductibles, co-insurance, and routine care costs.
  • Many plans have restrictions and exclusions, and some offer add-ons for additional coverage.

What Is A Good Annual Limit For Pet Insurance?

Much like your own health plan, pet insurance policies use a lot of the same terminology to describe their products. Let’s review the most important information you need to make the best decision for your pet and your budget.

What a ‘good’ annual limit looks like

A ‘good’ annual limit depends on each person’s situation. Someone with a high income may opt for a higher annual limit for their liability insurance, while someone with a lower income may choose a lower limit.

It is generally best to select a policy with an annual limit that would cover the cost of a worst-case scenario, such as major surgery, up to the amount you can afford.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the top pet insurance companies.

It’s encouraging to see statistics from the NAPHIA showing that pet insurance numbers are rising, but even with over 4 million pets insured by the end of 2021, this is still a fraction of the number of cats and dogs owned – less than 4% of dogs are insured and not even 1% of cats! The average cost of a veterinary visit in the U.S. is $800-1500. Would you be able to afford that? As a veterinarian, I’ve often had to have tough conversations with pet owners struggling to afford the costs of medical care. I’d encourage all pet owners to think about getting their pet insured: for help with those unexpected large bills and for the peace of mind knowing that your pet has good medical coverage.

Dr. Lizzie Youens, Veterinary Surgeon

How to decide on the right annual limit for you

These are some of the biggest factors to keep in mind:

Your pet’s age

Younger pets may be more prone to accidents and need more initial vet visits and vaccinations. Older pets are more prone to health issues like arthritis and heart disease.

Each insurance company has its own way of evaluating how age impacts coverage. Generally, cats and dogs over seven years are considered senior pets, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get coverage.

Your pet’s breed

Certain breeds of dogs and cats are more prone to certain health conditions.

Your budget

What can you afford when it comes to monthly premiums or out-of-pocket expenses? A cheaper monthly expense may be nice now, but accidents and illnesses could end up costing far more in the long run.

Your lifestyle

Do you take your dogs on hikes and camping trips? Is your cat an indoor or outdoor cat? Consider your animal’s activity levels and associated risks.

What is an annual limit on pet insurance?

What are annual limits?

Annual limit policies tend to be reasonably priced, but if your pet has a lot of accidents or health problems, you may have to pay for its care yourself. Some companies offer policies with no limits, which means they will pay for all eligible expenses. This can be reassuring, but these policies are usually more costly.

Why do pet insurance companies have annual limits?

Since the limit is relative to your monthly premium, this allows the insurance company to provide different tiers of coverage at different prices (and manage costs for providing their services).

What are the different types of pet insurance limits?

There are four types of limits:

  • Pet incident limits: the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for each incident. An incident is any condition, accident, surgery, or any other medical event.
  • Annual limit: the maximum amount your insurance company will pay, in total, every policy year (the 12-month period between the start date and renewal date of your policy).
  • Lifetime limits: the total amount your insurance company will pay throughout your pet’s lifetime (while covered under their policy).
  • Pet body part limits: the total amount your insurance company will pay for the treatment of a particular body part. This refers to a specific dollar limit assigned to parts like the eyes or hips.

Are there pet insurance policies with no limits?

“No limits” sounds nice, but what does it really mean? Just like comparing a high or low deductible, there are pros and cons to no-limit policies.

What is a no-limit policy?

A no-limit insurance policy has no maximum limit on the amount the insurance company will pay for something covered by the policy. This means the insurance company will reimburse all covered losses, no matter the amount.

Comparison of no limit vs. annual limit policies

A no-limit pet insurance policy has no limit on how much coverage you get in a policy year. The insurance company will pay out whatever it needs to cover the cost of vet care for covered incidents.

An annual limit pet insurance policy has a set maximum amount of coverage for the policy year. Once that amount is reached, the policyholder pays the rest of the veterinary care costs until the policy renews.

Why you should consider a no-limit policy

  • If the monthly cost is not a concern for your budget.
  • If your pet has a known health issue or is older in age.
  • If you value the peace of mind in knowing your pet’s care decisions will be easier to make in the future.


Are there any exclusions or restrictions that I should be aware of when it comes to my pet’s annual limit?

Some pet insurance providers limit how much they will pay for a particular condition or incident. Once you have reached the maximum amount they will pay for that condition, you will not be able to make any more claims and will need to pay out of pocket.

Can I increase or decrease my annual limit over time if my circumstances change?

Policies usually have annual renewals or open-enrollment processes. Some allow changes more flexibly.

Are there any additional options or riders that I can add to my policy to increase my annual limit?

Different tiers of coverage typically have different annual limits. You may be able to include optional coverage for known hereditary conditions or for conditions that arose before you started your policy with that company.

Many companies also offer add-ons for wellness and alternative treatments that are not included in most standard plans.

What happens if I reach my annual limit, can I renew it again?

Your annual limit typically resets when your policy year restarts. Usually, you cannot simply renew a plan at any time in order to reset your annual limit.

Consider this when scheduling vet visits and routine services so you can take full advantage of your coverage before or after it resets.

Are there any differences in annual limits for different types of pets, such as cats or dogs?

Yes, insurance companies generally consider the types of pets like they do other factors.

What’s the difference between a maximum vet limit and a maximum reimbursement limit?

A maximum vet limit is the most an insurance company will pay for your pet’s vet bills.

A maximum reimbursement limit is the highest percentage of covered claims the company will reimburse you for, in total.

No limits, no worries.

No one can predict the future, but having pet insurance can make unexpected expenses a little easier to manage. Purchasing the right policy can be a big relief for your pet’s health, your wallet, and your peace of mind, too.Wondering about the right time to get pet insurance, or even how to get discounts? If you’re currently navigating the pet health insurance market and have a few questions, never fear — our resources are here to help.

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Dylan M. Austin

Dylan is a writer in Seattle. He has written for Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, Inflow, and Figo Pet Insurance. When offline, he's hanging out with his dog, Will, and tending to his increasingly excessive houseplant collection. You can see more of Dylan's work at https://www.dylanmaustin.com/