Guide to Dog Insurance
Jump to Section
- What is dog insurance?
- Dog insurance policy factors
- Pre-existing conditions
- Emergency care
- Routine care
- Vet acceptance
- Dog insurance breakdown
- Steps for buying
Dog insurance gives you peace of mind that your best friend is covered should an accident or illness occur.
Our dogs are a huge part of our lives. They are there for us when we need a friend, and they provide a focus for love and care. Sometimes our dogs provide needed security and have been known to save lives in many situations. Since they provide so much for us, we try to take care of their health and well-being with food, veterinary visits, and other aspects of care. But what if the unexpected happens? For that reason, there is dog insurance. This page covers many aspects of dog insurance and will be helpful as you compare providers and look to find the best policy for your beloved pooch.
What is Dog Insurance?
Dog insurance is a type of policy that covers your beloved Fido in case he is injured or becomes ill. Policies can also cover preventative care such as check-ups, diagnostic procedures, and even teeth cleanings.
Dog insurance works much like your health, homeowners, or car insurance policy. Once you determine the level of coverage you want for your dog, you can choose a coverage plan. From that point, you pay monthly premiums to ensure that your pet is covered in case he eats the wrong thing, is injured in the street, or falls ill.
Dog insurance plans can also cover things such as veterinary visits, medications, and alternative therapies. Even dogs have chiropractic adjustments, acupuncturists, and massage therapists.
What You Need in a Dog Insurance Policy – Important Factors
Dog insurance comes in many different forms. Some plans are comprehensive and will cover everything from a massage to cancer treatments. Others focus only on life-threatening situations. The more comprehensive the plan, the more expensive it is likely to be, so take this into consideration.
Dog insurance policies should offer comprehensive coverage for your pet. The policy premiums should be affordable with low deductibles in case you need to make a claim. At a minimum, your policy should cover major injuries, surgeries, and medications. That is, you want your beloved dog to receive the best care in a life-threatening situation.
You also need your dog insurance policy to cover less dire things such as veterinary visits, diagnostic procedures such as MRI, cat scan, and ultrasound. Not all plans will cover these routine procedures, as they focus only on emergency, crisis situations. Therefore, it’s important to determine the level of coverage you need for your dog.
Features to Look For
When you shop for dog insurance, weigh out the various features available for your dog’s coverage plan. You might start by considering your dog’s breed. For instance, certain breeds tend to have back problems or they face hip dysplasia later in life. If you have other pertinent genetic information on your pet, you can take that into consideration, as well. Once you have all of the information on your dog, you can assess the features you most need from a dog insurance policy.
This feature of insurance has been discussed in the media a lot lately, as it is a big issue in human insurance. Some policies will not offer coverage if your pet is already ailing or injured. Or, they may cover your dog, but will charge exorbitantly high premiums and steep deductibles.
If you’ve ever had a late-night emergency with a dog, you know that the emergency vet is not cheap. When you are shopping for a dog insurance policy, make sure that it covers emergency care. Dear Fido is not liable to swallow the Lego at a convenient time, so make sure that you are paying premiums on a policy that covers such inconvenient dog health emergencies.
Routine, or wellness care, is a big feature to consider. If you are paying premiums for a plan that covers many aspects of wellness and preventative care, such as regular vet visits, diagnostic procedures, and even alternative treatments you might be more likely to get them for your dog. However, dog insurance policies that cover wellness procedures are likely to be more expensive. You will need to assess whether such preventative measures will pay off down the road in terms of early disease detection and overall fitness. Here are some of the things you may get covered in a wellness add-on:
A majority of dog insurance plans cover dental illness or accidents, but you will need to find a plan with wellness care if you want routine cleanings covered, at least in part. Be sure to understand the policy you choose. Getting a wellness plan may make sense if you plan on using dental benefits, which may save you on dental issues down the road.
With all of the advancements in veterinary medicine, insurance policies are starting to cover more and more of what are considered alternative therapies. These can include acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic and massage.
Not every policy will cover exam fees, so this is important to note when you are shopping around. Annual exams and exam fees for accidents and illness will usually not be covered under a standard plan. With a wellness add-on, you can get exam fees covered. Be sure to check with your plan to make sure all exam fees are covered in the event of accident or illness. Sometimes that is fine print that is in your policy’s documents, but it is important to review.
Wellness add-ons cover vaccinations, either in a schedule of benefits or in a flat fee over the course of the year. Embrace lets you pick from an annual limit for wellness benefits, while Pets Best works off a schedule of benefits covering either $30 or $40 for a vaccination, depending on the plan you choose.
If you already have a favorite veterinary office that is close, friendly, and accessible, you will want to make sure that they know how to work with your insurance plan. Since pet insurance works off a reimbursement model, you will pay your vet bill first and then get reimbursed later. This means that this insurance will work with any vet. However, it is helpful if your vet office knows how to help you submit a claim and provide the appropriate paperwork.
Here’s a look at some of the popular dog insurance companies and what they offer:
Dog Insurance Breakdown
|PetsBest||$9.22/month to $50.35 for Accident and Illness Plus||Accidents, Illnesses, Cancer, Hereditary Conditions, Prescription Meds, Surgeries, Exam Fees||Add-on||70, 80, 90% reimbursement, no annual limit, deductible $50-$1000|
|Figo||$20.20/month for basic to $92.78/month for most coverage||Accidents, Illnesses, Cancer, Hip Dysplasia, Rehab, Holistic Therapies, Lost Pet, Exam Fees||No||70, 80, 90, 100% reimbursement, $14k or no annual limit, deductible $50-$500|
|Healthy Paws||$31/month to $54/month for coverage||Accidents, Illnesses, Cancer, Chronic Conditions, Diagnostic Treatment, Surgery, Hospitalization||No||70, 80, 90% reimbursement, deductible of $100-$500, unlimited payouts|
|Petplan||$16/month for the most basic to $61/month for most coverage||Accidents, Injuries, Illnesses, Exam Fees, Cancer, Rx Meds, Surgery and Rehab||No||70, 80, 90% reimbursement, deductible of $250 to $1000 and $2,500 to unlimited limits|
|Trupanion||$40/month to $112/month for the $0 deductible plan||Hereditary Conditions, Congenital Conditions, Unidentified Issues, Recovery and Complementary Care||No||90% reimbursement, deductible of $0-$700,|
Steps for Buying
- Shop when your pet is healthy. Dog insurance plans will not cover pre-existing conditions, so start your dog on an insurance plan when they are frisky puppies. If your plan covers preventative and routine care, you can possibly have insurance offset some of those puppy expenses, such as vaccines, and mistakes like eating the wrong thing.
- Decide how much coverage you want. Our dogs become parts of our family, beloved friends and companions. Yet, we must also determine the limits of their insurance coverage. Compare dog insurance plans and measure the level of coverage you feel is appropriate for your dog and your budget. If your dog is a specific breed that has particular problems, take those into consideration and make sure that your policy will cover those.
- Understand reimbursements and deductibles. You might already be familiar with these concepts from your own insurance, but don’t be caught unaware when your insurance policy demands a deductible. That is, they may want an additional payment from you prior to paying a claim. Make sure you understand the level of care you will be asked to cover out-of-pocket.
- Read fine print. Always read the fine-print in any insurance plan. Make sure you fully understand your policy before you begin making premium payments. There may be special circumstances under which the company will not pay a claim, or you might find that the deductible.
- Examine extra fees. Your dog insurance policy might include extra fees such as a policy fee. Be sure to inspect the policy and ask whether there are any of these hidden, extra fees.
- Compare quotes. Before buying any dog insurance policy, make sure that you have at least three quotes to compare. You might even gather several sets of policies so that you can group certain types of coverage plans. You might be able to afford more coverage than simple emergency/crisis care. A little homework can go a long way when choosing the right insurance plan.