Massachusetts Pet Insurance
Pet insurance in Massachusetts is still an important decision even though it’s a split state for pet ownership. Massachusetts ranks lowest among the 50 states in terms of household pets, but don’t tell the pet lovers of Massachusetts that! Only 50.6 percent of Massachusetts households have pets, and only 23.6 percent of them are dogs. Despite the low number, those that do own dogs or pets want to ensure that their pets are protected from serious injury and illnesses. Every year, millions of animals are put down because the owner can’t afford expensive veterinary care. By researching pet insurance companies and choosing a good policy, you can be confident that your pet will receive the care he or she needs if necessary.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works in much the same way as your health insurance policy works. Most pet insurance companies offer policies that cover accidents and illnesses. The policy may have no limit on the coverage they will provide in a year or in a lifetime, but most have a limit. You can choose the deductible and reimbursement rate you want on your policy. You pay a premium, which may be paid monthly or annually. The higher the deductible, which is the amount you must pay before the insurance company pays, the lower your premium will be.
You can also adjust the reimbursement rate to lower your premium. Submitting and getting reimbursed for claims is relatively easy with most companies. It may be as simple as taking a picture of the invoice and uploading it to the insurance company’s website. For the best rates and coverage, it’s beneficial to insure your pet as early as possible.
Types of Pet Insurance Plans
Pet insurance companies typically offer several different types of pet insurance.
- Accident and illness – These policies are the most commonly purchased policies. They offer comprehensive coverage against both accidents and illnesses.
- Accident only – These do not cover illnesses. They are for accidents such as bug bites, animal fights, getting hit by a car and almost anything else that is not illness related. Accident only policies generally have the lowest premiums.
- Wellness plans – These insurance plans cover a wide range of things, including checkups, annual vaccinations and preventative care. Wellness plans are usually not sold independently but as part of a regular pet insurance policy.
- Riders – This type of policy offers specific coverage against things like holistic care, cancer treats or similar health issues. Riders are added to the regular pet insurance with an extra fee for each rider.
Best Pet Insurance Companies in Massachusetts
When looking for pet insurance companies in Massachusetts, of course you want the best. We determine the best option for you by looking at customer service, claim payouts, time in business, who underwrites the policy and our overall personal experience with each company, having worked with most of these companies for many years.
Pets Best is a popular pet insurance company that offers an accident and illness policy as well as a wellness policy. It offers the choice of a $5,000 or unlimited annual payout. You can also choose from a variety of deductibles from $50 to $1,000. You can also choose from 70 percent, 80 percent or 90 percent reimbursement rate.
They also offer three levels of coverage: Essential, Plus and Elite. American Pet Insurance Company/Independence American Insurance underwrites Pets Best. A Plus policy on a two-year old female German shepherd with a $250 deductible, 90 percent reimbursement rate and an unlimited annual limit is priced at $27.15.
SPOT is a pet insurance company that offers accident and illness policies, accident-only policies and several add-on preventative care plans. C&F Insurance Company underwrites SPOT. This company is also popular because collaborated with professional dog trainer Cesar Millan, who believes that well-trained dogs are less inclined to have accidents that require veterinary care. They offer reimbursement rates of 70 percent to 90 percent and several deductibles.
As one of the country’s longest-operating pet insurance companies, Trupanion offers polices to pet owners in the United States and Canada. Although Trupanion doesn’t offer a wellness plan, they do offer a comprehensive plan that covers almost every accident and illness that can affect your dog or cat. All their plans include a 90 percent reimbursement rate. They also offer Vet Direct Pay, which allows your vet to be paid instantly at the time of service. The American Pet Insurance Company underwrites Trupanion policies.
Nationwide is a popular pet insurance for several reasons, two of which are because it’s the country’s oldest pet insurance company, and they offer exotic pet coverage. In addition to offering accident and illness coverage, they also offer wellness plans to ensure your pet stays as healthy as possible. Nationwide also allows pet owners to customize their plans to meet the needs of their pet. National Casual Company underwrites Nationwide. They have an excellent reputation for their prompt and no-strings-attached claims process.
FIGO is a technology-based pet insurance company that offers the Pet Data Cloud, which means that you can track your pet’s health issues online. While they do not offer wellness plans, they offer a full coverage plan that can be configured to what you need for your individual pet. They also do not have a maximum amount they’ll pay on a specific incident. Markel Insurance Company underwrites FIGO pet insurance. Their annual benefits payable maximums range from $5,000 to unlimited depending on the policy.
Embrace Pet Insurance is a pet insurance company that offers a very comprehensive policy that includes wellness coverage as well as coverage for unusual things like cancer, dysplasia and even dental care. They also offer a pre-existing clause that allows you pet to outgrow its health condition. They offer a 90 percent reimbursement rate and a decreasing deductible each year that the pet has no claims. American Modern Insurance Group underwrites Embrace insurance.
How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance in Massachusetts
With so many excellent pet insurance companies around, it can be hard for Massachusetts pet owners to choose the best company. Most pet owners consider these factors when choosing pet insurance.
- Is your breed of dog susceptible to certain diseases?
- Does your dog require specific vaccinations? Are they covered under the policy?
- Does the policy cover accidents and injuries?
- Does the company also offer a wellness plan?
- Does it have age requirements?
- What are its exclusions?
- What is the co-pay and deductible?
- How is this company with claims?
The most popular dog breeds in Massachusetts are Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd. While both of these breeds are relatively healthy breeds, they both tend to be susceptible to hip dysplasia, so it’s important to know if the pet insurance in Massachusetts covers this disease. Massachusetts is a state prevalent with ticks, which can cause diseases like Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.
These issues can often be prevented with tick repellents. Does the policy cover this? Do they cover the diseases? A bacterial disease, known as Leptospirosis, is also common in the Boston area of Massachusetts. This disease can often be prevented through vaccinations. Does the policy cover this type of treatment?
It’s also crucial to ensure you don’t delay in getting a pet insurance policy. If you visit the vet before you sign up, you may now be faced with a pre-existing condition, and you can’t get coverage for that condition. However, it is still a good idea to get coverage for any and everything else that may happen with your new family friend!
Pet Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has very specific pet laws particularly where dogs are concerned, and these apply to owners as well as visitors. Information regarding laws other than those posted below can be found on the Massachusetts government web page.
- A dog may not be tethered or chained for more than five hours in a 24-hour period.
- A dog may not be chained or tethered or left unattended outside during the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- A pet owner may not leave the animal confined in a vehicle in hot or cold weather.
- Dogs may not be off leash any time they are off of their owner’s property. Leash laws vary from city to city.
- All dogs at least 6 months old must be licensed and show proof of rabies vaccination.
Massachusetts is not only a great place to live but is also an exciting state to visit. Today more and more families are choosing to take their dogs with them on vacation. Luckily for the many dogs coming to Massachusetts, this state is filled with pet-friendly establishments for playing, boarding, eating and sleeping.
- Nahant Doggie Beach in Nahant – This super clean beach allows dogs to run and swim as long as they’re on leash. It’s a very friendly area.
- Peter’s Park in Boston – This 13,000-square foot fenced-in park lets logs run off leash. They have benching, graveled areas and a smaller fenced in area for small dogs.
- Stodder’s Neck in Weymouth – This dog-friendly place is surrounded by water on three sides, offers hiking trails, woods to explore and even a pooping bag station.
- Marshfield Beaches in Marshfield – This beautiful beach allows leashed dogs to swim and frolic in the water. It also offers an excellent walking area.
- Danehy Dog Park in Cambridge – This fenced-in dog park has separate areas for small and large dogs and offers a graveled area as well as grassy areas, water and benches.
- Weymouth Airbnb Rentals – This place offers a variety of pet-friendly hotel, motels, igloos, B and Bs or whatever type of place you want to stay with your dog.
- Jenna’s in Weymouth – This pet-friendly restaurants specializes in burgers and tacos and offers outdoor seating for your dog.
Massachusetts Veterinary Costs
Even if you’re lucky enough to never have to take your dog to the vet for injuries, illness of some other emergency, you’ll still have to pay for routine care to ensure your dog is as healthy as possible and complies with the law regarding required vaccinations. Here are some average annual costs for veterinary costs in Massachusetts.
- Office visit – $50
- Vaccine boosters – $25
- Fecal exam – $25 – $45
- Heartworm test – $50
- Heartworm medication – $40
In addition to the routine costs of pet care, pet owners can easily find themselves saddled with hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills if the unfortunate happens and the animal becomes seriously ill or injured. Pet insurance can offer great help with paying for many of these extra bills.
Monthly Cost for Pet Insurance by City
When pet insurance was first introduced to the public, many people scoffed at the idea of paying for insurance for their cat or do with so many other insurance expenses to pay. It didn’t take paying more than one or two bills from the vet for emergency service for the pets for most of them to change their minds. Pet insurance can take a lot of the stress away from having a sick pet.
Here are some examples of what premiums might cost in a few different cities in Massachusetts. This is for a policy that pays 80% with a $250 deductible on a mixed-breed, 55-pound, 5-year old male dog.
Low-Income Pet Help in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has several organizations that help pet owners take better care of their pets. Some of them offer free service while others offer affordable and low-cost services, such as wellness checks, pet food, and spay/neuter assistance.
Alliance for Animals in Boston – offers veterinary medical care and spay/neuter assistance
Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston – offers veterinary care assistance
Fairy Dog Parents in Duxbury – offers assistance with medical needs, pet food and general wellness checks for dogs
Animal Rescue League of Boston – offers veterinary assistance for pet owners on government assistance (statewide)
Phinney’s Friends MSPCA – offers veterinary care assistant to ill, senior or disabled pet owners
Kane’s Krusade in East Longmeadow – offers veterinary care, pet food and dog equipment/housing
Southborough Pet food Pantry in Southborough – offers pet food
The Sampson Fund in Cape Cod – offers funds to help with companion animals
Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine – offer spay/neuter assistance