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Should I Get Health Insurance for My Dog?

Posted: 05/06/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Pet care , Top Tips

As pet parents, we buy the very best food our budgets will allow, take our pups on walks around the neighborhood, and lavish them with toys and attention. In other words, we do everything we can to keep our fur babies happy and healthy. But despite  our best efforts, our dogs are not invulnerable to accidents and health issues. Which is why so many pup parents ask themselves, “Should I get health insurance for my dog?”

The truth is, most pets will experience an accident and/or illness at some point in their life. Whether it’s a fracture, a bad infection, or a diagnosis of cancer, unexpected vet bills can add up and cause pup parents to wonder how they will be able to afford treatment, sometimes in the thousands of dollars.

Let’s dive into this topic a bit more so you fully understand how pet insurance works and how it can help you make the best decisions for you and your fur babies.

5 Reasons to Consider Pet Insurance

In our line of work, we talk to a lot of veterinarians and even more pet parents, and we have consistently heard the same benefits of pet insurance over the years:

It Saves you Money

The first and most obvious benefit to having pet insurance is that it will help you save money when your pup becomes ill or injured. Many insurance providers offer reimbursement rates of up to 90% of the vet bills. So that means after meeting a (usually small) deductible, your plan will reimburse you for a majority of the approved expenses. 

This means you don’t have to max out credit cards or drain your savings account!

You Don’t Have to Make a Heart Wrenching Decision

Countless families each year are forced to say goodbye to their beloved furry family members because they simply cannot afford life-saving treatments. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you’ll never have to make that heart wrenching decision. With pet insurance in your back pocket, you can focus on getting your pup well.

Have More Care Options

A comprehensive pet insurance plan provides you with more care options, simply because you can afford them. For instance, should your dog ever be diagnosed with cancer, pet insurance means you can afford to try chemotherapy, which, without pet insurance, would cost you thousands of dollars. Some pet insurance plans will also cover the costs for alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. 

You Can Insure Older Pets

There is a myth that older are not eligible for pet insurance, but that is simply not the case. We always recommend insuring your pup when she is young and healthy simply because your premiums will be lower and your fur baby won’t have any pre-existing conditions yet. But having said that, most providers will allow you to insure your senior pup. This can really help you afford their care as they begin to experience more health conditions.

dog hip and joint health

Flexible Policy Options

Another pet insurance myth out there is that it’s not affordable, but that is usually not the case. The truth is, most insurance providers allow you to choose the plan that is right for you. This means that you get to choose whether you go with an accident-only policy or full coverage with an accident and illness plan. You can also decide how much your deductible and reimbursement rates will be. This helps pup parents be in charge of their monthly premium costs.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

There are two main types of pet insurance plans to choose from: accident-only plans or accident and illness plans. The one you choose will determine what care costs will be covered.

Accident-Only Coverage

Accident-only policies cover the costs of treatment for things like broken bones, torn ligaments, bite wounds, poisoning, foreign object ingestion, and most injuries or emergencies. 

Accident and Illness Plans

In addition to the above treatment costs, this plan will also cover the cost for treating illnesses. This can be anything from an infection, cancer, arthritis, parasites, vomiting and diarrhea, UTIs and more.

Because accident and illness plans offer comprehensive coverage, they will cost more than accident-only plans.

Wellness Coverage

More and more insurance companies are beginning to offer add-on coverage for the cost of things like yearly exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter, routine tests, teeth cleaning and heartworm treatments. If this is important to you, be sure to look for providers with this option.

How to Select the Best Policy and Provider for You

Hopefully we’ve answered the question, “Should I get health insurance for my dog?” Now it’s time to offer a few pointers on how to go about selecting the right plan and provider:

Read Reviews

You can find out a great deal about a pet insurance provider by reading the experience of other pet parents. We’ve just so happened to collect over 150,000 authentic reviews of providers by real pet parents like you. 

We then take those reviews and use them to rank the top providers in the industry. 

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Embrace14,218
4.9Healthy Paws7,477
4.9Trupanion60,294
4.9Fetch2,038
4.9Lemonade783
4.8Nationwide21,392
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.7ASPCA11,404
4.7Hartville164
4.7PetPartners110
4.7Spot5,258
4.6MetLife493
4.5Pets Best7,196
4.4AKC889
4.4Figo2,577
4.3Pet Assure12
4.3Pumpkin1,161
3.2ManyPets2,152

Read the Fine Print

Before signing on the dotted line, it’s really important to understand the coverage fully. For instance, dental disease is very common for dogs and cats. And dental procedures/surgical extractions can cost in the hundreds of dollars.

And yet, some providers consider dental care wellness care and will not cover unless there is a traumatic injury to the mouth. 

You’ll also want to speak with your vet to get a sense of what your pup may be prone to healthwise as they age. Certain dog breeds are more prone to developing certain health conditions. As an example, many breeds like Great Danes and German Shepherds are at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia. While a majority of providers will cover the condition, most won’t if it is deemed a pre-existing condition and some may have longer than usual waiting periods before coverage kicks in.

We always recommend giving the company a call and asking questions to ensure you have a full understanding of what exactly is and isn’t covered.

does pet insurance cover cataract surgery?

Don’t Focus Exclusively on Cost

Obviously pet parents need to choose a policy they can comfortably afford. But the goal shouldn’t be to find the absolute cheapest plan. It’s good to remember that as with many things, you get what you pay for with health insurance. Focusing on getting your monthly premium as low as possible may mean you need to pay more out of pocket down the road, or, worse, necessary treatments won’t be covered.

Final Thoughts

Should I get health insurance for my dog? That’s a question only you can answer. What we can say is, pet insurance brings much peace of mind because you know no matter what, you can afford to provide your fur baby the very best care.

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Disclaimer

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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