Pet Insurance in Texas
Texas loves its animals, and residents of the Lone Star State often fall into the top ten in the country for dog ownership, where almost half of Texas households have at least one dog. Sorry, cats, you don’t get as much love in Texas. According to Banfield, there are 295,344 dogs and 41,474 cats in Texas. Allergies are a big problem in Texas, as well as fleas and ticks, but overall, pets in Texas are slightly less overweight than their national counterparts – perhaps in part due to nice weather and lots to do with animals in this state.
All About Pet Insurance in Texas
The Texas Department of Insurance has some good tips and questions to ask if you are thinking of insuring your pets. First, you should make sure you have a good idea of how pet insurance works, and you should get information about everything from the company ranging from which vets you can use to what it costs – the full picture.
Pet insurance is different than “people insurance” in that in most cases you have to pay for services and then the pet insurance company will reimburse you. Therefore, you must make sure that the services you are getting are covered by your plan, or you may be stuck with a bill. The great thing about pet insurance is the flexibility with the new providers. You can select to be reimbursed for 70, 80, 90 or even 100 percent of the bill, and choose deductibles ranging from $50 to $5000, meaning you may only be on the hook for $50 for what might otherwise be a very large bill.
Pet insurance can cover anything from accidents only to wellness plans and even other more sophisticated treatments like chemotherapy, chiropractic and acupuncture. The best time to enroll your pet is as young as possible, but it is never too late – even if your pet does suffer from a pre-existing condition (some ailment or illness diagnosed before you sign up) you can still get coverage for other things that may go wrong.
Pet Laws in Texas
Texas is one of a few states that allows exotic pets and even wild animals for personal ownership – with special permits of course. These animals are not to be owned as pets, however, but can be owned for educational or rehabilitation purposes. That said, there are several well-known animal sanctuaries in Texas that are home to lions, cougars, tigers, bears and other exotic animals. Texas also has some pretty strict rules regarding pet ownership, and owners must check with their local jurisdiction for specific laws. Some areas, such as Fort Worth, require owners to spay/neuter all pets over the age of 6 months for females and 8 months for males, unless you have a special intact pet permit.
All breeders must also be licensed, and facilities must be inspected every 18 months.
Pet Friendly Texans
Texas just got a little more pet-friendly, with a state bill recently passed by the State Senate that would allow dogs that are well-behaved to dine on restaurant patios with their owners. In most places in Texas, dogs can join parades, go near food trucks and hang out on sidewalks.
For the working dog – that is, the dog that likes to go to work with its owner, there are many dog-friendly workplaces in Dallas and Austin. Places like Modernize, Square Root and Rev are all Austin businesses that welcome four-legged friends. In Dallas, places like iProspect and Propel Group pride themselves on their pet-friendly nature. Dogs are allowed to have fun in Texas too, and are allowed (on-leash) at beaches in Galveston, Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.
Cost of Pet Insurance in Texas
We checked out dog insurance costs from Figo Pet Insurance in several Texas cities: Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio, since we know costs can vary depending on where you are in the state. We used a three-year-old male, mixed-breed dog, medium size, who has not been neutered. We looked at the costs of the middle level plan, the “Preferred” plan, with $14,000 in annual benefits, a $250 deductible and a 80 percent reimbursement. You can adjust your monthly rate by changing any of those variables.
in most states. This is largely due to access to quality care and also the amount of accidents that may occur in a larger city. Austin was the most expensive, then Houston, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio.
Low-income pet help
If the cost of pet care is too much for you at times, there is help. Here’s a list of resources available around the state for food banks and low cost spay/neuter.
Community Food Bank:3000 Galvez Road: Fort Worth – has free pet food.
Animal Hope Wellness Center: Fort Worth – has low cost vaccinations and spay/neuter.
North Texas Humane Society: Fort Worth – has spay/neuter for low-income and senior citizen pet owners who qualify.
EmanciPet: Austin – has spay/neuter assistance.
Freeman-Fritts: Kerrville – has low-cost veterinary care and spay/neuter assistance.
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine has veterinary care assistance through The Capper and Chris Save the Animals Fund.
Texas Coalition for Animal Protection has vaccination and spay/neuter assistance. Located in Azle, Cleburne, Denton, Fort Worth, Hamilton, Hillsboro, McKinney.
Pet Food Bank of Austin and Travis County has free pet food.
DaisyCares Pet Food Program: San Antonio – provides pet food assistance in conjunction with the local food bank.