You may have heard people talk about pet insurance, and questioned if it was actually worth purchasing.
Is dog insurance worth it? For most people, the answer to this question is “yes.” To really answer this question, however, you need to ask yourself, “Can I afford not to insure my dog?”
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of purchasing insurance for your dog. By the end this article, you will know for sure if purchasing an insurance plan for your dog is the right choice for you.
Why Should I Consider Dog Insurance?
You should consider dog insurance for the same reason that you consider purchasing health insurance for you and your family members. I don’t know about you, but we consider our dogs part of our family, and we want to ensure that they are given the best care possible should a crisis situation arise.
A “crisis” could be sickness, disease, or traumatic injuries like getting hit by a car. As pet owners, we don’t like to think about these things, and that’s understandable. I don’t either. However, it is wise to have a plan in place should a medical emergency arise.
Unless you are able to fork over hundreds or even thousands of dollars at a moment’s notice, to cover any and all medical expenses that your dog may incur, you may want to consider purchasing medical insurance for your dog. For now, understand that there are affordable insurance plans that can be custom suited to your needs, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Another reason to consider medical insurance for your dog is that it will remove any additional stress should a situation arise where you need to visit the veterinarian. You will rest with assurance that all of your dog’s medical needs will be taken care of.
Finally, obtaining dog insurance will cover all of your dog’s health needs, including regularly scheduled office visits. Statistically speaking, those who have pet insurance for their dogs, are more likely to take advantage of all that their insurance plan allows for, like regularly scheduled check-ups.
Granted, this is not a fun topic to talk about, but a necessary one. Knowing what is available, what is covered and what is not covered can make a world of difference in the life of your dog.
What Does Dog Insurance Cover?
There are several insurance plans available for your dog that you can take advantage of, and they can range from accident only plans, to total and complete coverage.
Most pet insurance companies will offer you the ability to customize your plan to suit your needs. Each plan will differ, but you can expect to be able to obtain coverage for the following ailments.
Accidents do happen, and when we least expect it. For that reason, it is a good idea to get insurance that will cover emergency visits to the veterinarian. If your dog were to suffer a broken bone, or a torn ligament, it would be covered.
Accidents also include leaving your Halloween candy out overnight, only to find that your dog ate all of it. Under such a circumstance, you would need to immediately bring your dog to the vet. Unfortunately, accidents do happen.
There are other types of accidents that can occur with your dog. For example, in taking your dog for a walk, it is possible for your dog to step on broken glass, or have a chard of glass borough it’s way into your dog’s paw. This too, would be covered. In fact, while walking your dog, were he to get into a fight with another dog and suffered a bite from the other animal, (or a bite under any circumstances), your dog would be covered.
Like people, dogs get sick too. It may be something temporary like a treatable stomach ache, or it could be something major like cancer or arthritis that requires long term treatment. You can easily find insurance that covers both the small and major illnesses that your dog could come upon.
Hereditary and Congenital Conditions
As a puppy, you don’t really know if your dog will suffer from cancer or heart disease later in life, or suffer from eye disorders or require treatment due to painful hip dysplasia. Purchasing insurance that covers hereditary and congenital conditions would ensure the care for your dog as he grows older.
If your dog were to suffer from a major injury such as a broken hip, or from a back injury, making the initial veterinary visit is not where the healing ends. Your dog may require chiropractic care, or hydrotherapy where your dog is placed in a pool of water (with a person, of course), for rehabilitative therapy. The goal is to get your dog healthy and strong, and sometimes therapy is necessary to bring that about.
Compulsive behavioral issues such as excessive scratching to the point where they gnaw on their bare skin to find relief, or if they exhibit excessive licking, or even excessive barking, may require specialized therapy. There are insurance plans out there that cover such behavioral issues.
Chronic conditions refers to allergies that your dog may have, diabetes, or even cancer. If you purchase a plan that covers chronic conditions, you won’t have to worry about ailments that your dog may develop later in life, such as diabetes or cancer.
Some insurance agencies offer plans where there are no caps on annual or lifetime payouts, meaning that if you needed to take your dog to see the veterinarian 20 times or more in a given year, (or during their lifetime), the insurance company can’t say, “No.”
Another thing you want to consider is finding an insurance plan that will allow you to choose ANY licensed veterinarian that you wish to take your dog to for a visit.
What Does Dog Insurance NOT Cover?
There are, however, some things that are not covered by insurance. As with people insurance, pre-existing conditions and elective surgery is not covered by most insurance companies.
There are some insurance companies that require a waiting period of 6 months before they will cover your dog. For example, if your dog had suffered from a traumatic injury that required hydrotherapy, the insurance company may require a waiting period of 6 months before your dog could be covered.
This, of course, does not mean that they would not be covered in the future, even for the same injury. It just means that your dog’s body needs ample time to heal from any pre-existing illness or injury before coverage could take effect. It also means, however, that if your dog were to get sick or become injured during the waiting period, your dog would not be covered.
Elective cosmetic procedures such as claw removal, ear cropping, (when they clip the ears), or tail docking, (when they clip the tail), are not covered by most insurance companies. These are not health issues, but rather elective surgery.
How Much Does Dog Insurance Cost?
In looking at the top 10 insurance providers, the average monthly cost is $39.46. The insurer and their respective monthly premium are listed below. [source]
|2||Figo ($10k annual max)||$31.13|
|3||Nationwide ($250 deductible, unlimited max)||$33.08|
|5||AKC/PetPartners (max of $3k per incident)||$35.00|
|9||HealthyPaws (No annual max)||$52.09|
|10||Trupanion (No annual max, 90% reimbursement)||$58.14|
On average, the most common dog treatment will cost around $250, but there are extreme cases where cancer treatment is needed, which requires chemotherapy, and that can run anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on how many sessions are required.
According to 10 of the largest pet insurance companies, the average monthly dog insurance plan ranges from anywhere from $25 to $58. It really depends on how much coverage you want for your dog.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the following are the most common conditions that people bring their dogs to the veterinarian with. Additionally, you will see the average cost for each respective condition.
|Rank||Common Dog Conditions||Cost of Vet Visit|
Questions To Ask Before Obtaining Coverage
When checking with your insurance agent, be sure to ask lots of questions. Below are 8 questions that you should ask your insurance agent before obtaining coverage.
- Do I get to choose any Veterinarian I want, or do I limited to Veterinarians that you choose?
- Is there a deductible, and if so, how much is it?
- Do you limit how much you will cover for a given incident?
- Are there any waiting periods, and if so, how long are they?
- Exactly what is NOT covered?
- Are ongoing prescriptions covered?
- Can I schedule regular visits whenever I want?
- Do you cover Neutering or Spaying?
After all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, don’t just buy insurance to buy insurance. Make sure that you are very comfortable with the plan you have chosen, and the company which is selling the insurance.
You need to see medical insurance for your dog as an investment. If you are not happy with the plan you have chosen, (or with the company for that matter), you might be tempted to drop the insurance coverage leaving your dog without coverage at all. Your dog will be far better off if you are completely comfortable and confident with the insurance coverage you have chosen.