What Does Dog Insurance Cover?
Dogs are our best friends and precious family members. So when they become ill or injured, we want to be able to get them the care they need. Dog insurance is a great way to help your pup while also sparing your own savings account.
But what exactly does dog insurance cover?
To answer that question, we’ve got to separate dog insurance plans into three categories:
Accident and Illness Plans
This is the most common type of dog insurance. An accident and illness plan covers the expenses associated with an accident or sudden illness. This means things like diagnostic tests, prescription medications, treatments, hospitalization, and surgeries will be covered under this plan.
Some people choose to go with an accident-only plan because they are usually cheaper than accident and illness plans. But remember, you get what you pay for. So while an accident-only plan will cover expenses related to an accident, they won’t cover the expenses associated with an illness, such as if your dog suddenly has an acute pancreatitis attack or your cat is diagnosed with cancer. Both acute (sudden) and chronic illnesses often require hospitalization, diagnostic testing and medications, so you may be looking at a bill for thousands of dollars. Just keep this in mind.
These types of dog insurance plans essentially cover preventative care. They do not, however, cover expenses related to accidents and illness. Many insurance providers will offer wellness plans as an add-on option to accident and illness insurance. There are a handful of companies that offer wellness plans as a standalone policy. Products and services covered under a wellness plan include:
- Yearly checkups
- Common vaccinations and vaccination titers
- Heartworm testing
- Heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives
- Fecal tests and deworming
- Routine laboratory tests
- Routine spay/neuter surgeries
What’s Not Usually Covered by Dog Insurance?
When shopping for a dog insurance plan, pay close attention to what the policy does not cover. Here are some common exclusions:
What are pre-existing conditions? These refer to any health issues your dog had before you signed up with a policy. Most insurance providers do NOT cover pre-existing conditions. Some companies do have exceptions for health problems that were “cured” in the past. They will consider covering these after 180 – 365 days, depending on the specific policy.
Curable conditions may include the following:
- Bladder infections
- Ear infections
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections
Incurable pre-existing conditions are health issues that typically require ongoing treatment, medication and even surgery. Some examples include:
- Heart disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Kidney disease
- Orthopedic conditions
- Any chronic condition
Hereditary or Congenital Conditions
Certain dog health issues are hereditary or present from birth. Examples include hip dysplasia and intervertebral disk disease. Some dog insurance policies exclude these conditions while others will cover them as long as symptoms were not present before enrollment.
Elective or Cosmetic Procedures
Those procedures such as cosmetic ear cropping or tail docking, that offer no health benefits to a dog, are typically excluded from coverage.
Breeding and Pregnancy
Most dog insurance plans exclude coverage for costs associated with breeding and pregnancy. Some do allow this coverage as an add-on.
How Does Dog Insurance Work?
Dog insurance works a bit differently than human insurance. Most plans work on a reimbursement basis. This simply means you pay the vet up front, then file a claim for reimbursement of eligible expenses. There are some dog insurance plans that pay vets directly so you’re only responsible for paying ineligible costs out of pocket.
When shopping for a dog insurance plan, you’ll want to pay close attention to the deductible, reimbursement percentage, and any annual limits. Most plans will allow you to choose what works best for your budget, so you can get a plan with an affordable monthly premium.
Like human insurance, your deductible must be met before the insurance company will issue any reimbursements. Once the deductible is met, the provider will issue payments based on the reimbursement percentage you selected, usually 65% to 90% of the costs.
It’s important to take all of this into consideration before selecting your policy. Many people focus solely on monthly premiums, but you really do get what you pay for. By choosing just a little higher of a monthly premium, you’ll find yourself needing to pay less of a deductible and receive a higher payout should an accident or illness occur. This can bring a lot of comfort and peace of mind during a very difficult time.
When someone enrolls their pup into a new dog insurance policy, there will be a waiting period before they can make any claims. These waiting periods help to prevent fraud because they make it impossible for someone to get coverage on a pre-existing condition or an accident that happened right before the policy was purchased.
Most dog insurance providers have put some kind of age restrictions in place. The majaority will require your pup to be at least six to eight weeks old before they are eligible to be insured. Some insurance companies have upper age limits to prevent enrollment of older pets. Many dog insurance providers on our list do NOT have any upper age restrictions, so even if you have a seniot dog, you can get excellent coverage.
Dog insurance plans will cover all or most of the following:
- Accident and Injury
- Continual Care
- Dental Trauma
- Cancer Treatments
- Bilateral Conditions
- Medical Imaging
- Lab Tests
- Emergency Visits
- Foreign Object Ingestion
- Dietary Supplements
- Prescription Drugs
- Organ Transplants
- Behavioral Treatments
- Outpatient Care
What’s the Best Dog Insurance?
The best dog insurance for your pup will take many factors into consideration. There is no one-size-fits-all plan because the right one will offer your family the best coverage at the most reasonable price. This, of course, will vary depending on your dog’s breed, age, medical history and even your zip code.
To find the best dog insurance for your pup’s needs and your own budget it’s important to sit down and make a list of what matters most to you. This is where we encourage you to bring your veterinarian into the decision-making process. She can tell you what kinds of health issues your dog’s breed may be prone to. And believe it or not, certain breeds of dogs are more prone to accidents and trips to the emergency vet clinic (We’re talking to you Goldendoodles who tend to love eating socks!).
We know it can be overwhelming finding the best dog insurance for your fur baby. And that’s why we created this website! We use dog insurance reviews from real pet parents just like you to rank the best dog insurance policies on the market. So far we have over 150,000 reviews we use to rank the best providers. Based on our data, the following our the best dog insurance providers:
- Embrace – Best for Superior Benefits
- Spot – Best for Annual Coverage Choices
- Pumpkin – Best for Senior Dog and Senior Cat Coverage
- Figo – Best for Short Waiting Period for Accident Coverage
- Lemonade – Best price for Puppies and Kittens
- Trupanion – Best for Lowest Out-Of-Pocket Claims Costs
What’s the Best Senior Dog Insurance?
It can be incredibly difficult to watch our dogs age. Like humans, older dogs can experience many health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. And of course, the more health issues your dog faces, the more vet bills you will be responsible for. Senior dog pet insurance is how many pup parents get their dog the care she needs without going into debt to do it. But how do you go about choosing the right pet insurance policy?
To start, we should mention that it is best to enroll your dog into an insurance plan as early as possible. When should you get pet insurance? Ideally before your pup starts to experience any health issues. Most pet insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions, so the earlier you purchase a policy the better.
How to Choose the Best Senior Dog Insurance
Go for Customizable Coverage
The best senior dog pet insurance will offer customizable coverage. This means you are able to choose a monthly premium that fits your budget while still getting the coverage your senior dog needs.
No Upper Age Limit
You’ll want to look for providers that have no upper age limit for enrollment. That means if you fall in love and adopt a 10-year-old senior Corgi from the local shelter, you’ll be able to insure her.
Go for an Unlimited Coverage Policy
Senior dogs tend to begin developing numerous health issues. You want a policy that will cover the most, not one that has a limit to how much they will cover each year.
Flexible Reimbursement Rates
Look for an insurance provider that offers a wide range of reimbursement rates. Some providers even have 100% reimbursement rates. This means once you reach your deductible, your vet bills will be fully reimbursed for the rest of the calendar year. Your monthly premium will be higher, but if you can afford it, a 100% reimbursement rate can be a lifesaver down the road, literally!
Look for Discounts
Senior dog pet insurance can be more expensive because older dogs are more likely to need veterinary care. Choose a provider that offers discounts to help offset your monthly premium fees. For instance, a company like Embrace offers several discounts. They provide a 15% discount for those who do not file a claim in 1 year. They will also reduce your annual deductible by $50 each year you do not file a claim.
How Much Does Senior Dog Insurance Cost?
There are a variety of factors that will influence your monthly premium. The biggest is the age of your pup. The older a dog gets, the more expensive it becomes to insure him. If you are enrolling an older dog for the first time, monthly premiums will most likely be higher than the average. For example, pulling some quick price quotes, an 11-year old medium-sized dog may cost around $100 a month to insure whereas a 3-year-old medium-sized dog may cost half that amount.
Breed is another factor that can influence monthly premiums. Certain breeds such as Boxers and German Shepherds are more prone to developing health conditions as they age.
And finally your zip code will affect the price of your monthly premium. If you and your fur baby live in a smaller, rural town you may pay less than if you both live in a large city.
The bottom line is, senior dog pet insurance will help you to pay for the costs of taking great care of your pup. And the providers on this list all offer excellent coverage.
Dog Insurance Costs – What are They Exactly?
Typically speaking, dog insurance costs more than cat insurance because dogs are usually larger, which makes them require more in the way of medications, sedation, supplies etc. during medical procedures. Since the costs are more, the insurance policies will reflect that.
Coverage premiums for a dog can range from $10 to $100 per month with average costs ranging between $30 and $50. There are a few factors that impact the premium you will pay, namely your dog’s breed, age, health history and your zip code. You will pay more for an older dog than you will a puppy simply because older dogs are more likely to face significant health issues requiring medical care. This is why it’s always a good idea to enroll your pup into a plan as early as possible so you can lock in a lower rate.
Most insurers offer accident & illness and accident only policies. Many will also offer add-ons to the plans that cover the cost of routine care, dental care, and preventative treatments and medications. Some plans pay vets directly but most will reimburse you.
How Does Breed Affect Dog Insurance Costs?
As we mentioned, premiums are significantly impacted by the breed of dog being covered. This is because there are certain dog breeds that carry a higher likelihood of developing health issues. Then there are those breeds that have less of a chance of developing health issues. These breeds usually carry lower insurance premiums.
The breeds that cost the least amount to insure, according to an analysis by LendEDU, are the:
- English Springer Spaniel
- Miniature Yorkshire Terrier
Their data showed that the monthly premiums for these particular breeds range from $34 to $40 per month.
How to Save on Dog Insurance Costs
Many pup parents don’t realize there are ways to save on a great pet insurance policy. Here are a few:
You’ll want to take a bit of time to look at a short list of providers to see who offers the best policy. We make it incredibly easy to conduct a side-by-side comparison of multiple pet health insurers.
Be sure to read ALL of the fine print and understand everything before enrolling. If you have questions, pick up the phone and speak with a rep.
Go for a Higher Deductible
As with human insurance, your choice of deductible will impact what you pay each month. Choosing between, say, a $300 deductible and a $750 deductible can significantly decrease how much you pay in premiums each month. Choosing a lower reimbursement rate will also bring down your monthly premium. But consider how nice it will be to have 90% of your vet bill taken care of by your insurance provider instead of just 65%.
Have more than one pet? Get them all enrolled into the same company and save big on costs. Ask prospective providers if they offer multi-pet discounts. Many do and you can save 10% – 15% a month.
What is Dog Dental Insurance?
Sadly, dental disease is very common in dogs. If left untreated, dental disease can lead to more serious medical conditions such as heart, liver, and kidney disease.
While there are things you can do at home to help protect your pup’s teeth and gums, such as daily brushing, your dog will also require professional cleanings at the vet’s office. These can be quite costly, which is why dog dental insurance can be a great idea.
Do I Really Need Dog Dental Insurance?
The short answer is, most likely yes. Having an insurance plan that includes dental exams and cleanings can help you protect your dog’s health while also protecting your wallet from sudden expensive surprises.
Routine cleanings require your dog to go under general anesthesia. This is so your vet can thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth for any signs of gum disease and tooth decay. These cleanings can get quite expensive should your pup need one or more teeth pulled.
What Does Dog Dental Insurance Cover?
This really depends on the provider, which is why it is so important to read all of the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Generally speaking, an accident-only insurance plan would only cover dental accidents, like a chipped tooth.
Accident and illness plans will usually cover both dental accidents and dental illness, such as gum disease. There can be exclusions, such as dogs who had symptoms of dental disease before enrollment into the plan.
Wellness plans may or may not cover dental cleanings. Some that do may have a set amount of coverage per year. It’s a good idea to make a short list of providers you are considering, and then get on the phone with each one to find out exactly what is covered in their dog dental insurance plans.
Does Dog Insurance Cover Neutering?
Spaying and neutering is typically covered under an added-on wellness plan. This is because neutering and spaying are considered preventative care procedures that don’t fit under a traditional “accident and illness plan” or an “accident-only plan.”
The following treatments and procedures are usually covered by a wellness plan:
- Flea, tick and heartworm prevention medication
- Parasite testing and treatment
- Spaying or neutering
- Routine dental cleanings
Find out which pet insurance companies cover neutering.
Does Dog Insurance Cover Teeth Cleaning?
As we mentioned a bit earlier, good oral hygiene is as important for your dog as it is for you! Tooth and gum disease is common in dogs. It is a condition that is not only painful, but one that can lead to more serious illnesses such as heart, liver and kidney disease.
But professional teeth cleaning can be an expensive procedure. Because dogs need to be anesthetized while having their teeth cleaned, the procedure can typically cost between $300 and $700. And that’s without any tooth extractions. If some teeth are found to be rotten and need to be pulled, your bill will go even higher.
To answer the question “does dog insurance cover teeth cleaning?” we have to say ‘yes and no.’ Most accident and illness plans will not cover teeth cleaning because it is considered preventative care. In some cases, as in your dog breaks a tooth chewing on something hard or your vet diagnoses your dog with oral cancer, those issues can be treated with an accident and illness plan.
But routine teeth cleaning would not be covered under a regular plan but instead would require a wellness plan be added on.
Does Dog Insurance Cover Spaying?
With so many stray and abandoned dogs filling shelters around the country, it’s more important than ever to have your young pup spayed or neutered. But many pup parents wonder if dog insurance covers spaying. And rightly so. The cost of spaying a young pup can range from as low as $100 all the way up to $500, depending on where in the country you live.
It should also be mentioned that spaying is a far more extensive procedure than neutering and therefore costs more.
Like neutering, however, insurance providers consider spaying an elective procedure and so most will not cover it under their typical accident and illness plan or accident-only plan. But as mentioned earlier, there are quite a few dog insurance providers that do offer add-on wellness plans that cover spaying and neutering.
Does Dog Insurance Cover Vaccines?
Vaccinations are usually covered only through a wellness plan. When your doggo gets a qualifying vaccine or titer, you can simply file a claim to get reimbursed up to the plan’s yearly limit.
As an example, you take your new puppy in for her bordatella vaccine. The total cost is $20. Your dog insurance wellness plan allows you up to $40 of vaccination reimbursements a year. You file a claim, get reimbursed for $20 and still have $20 more dollars to go toward any other vaccines or boosters.
Is pet vaccine coverage worth it?
Since vaccines are covered under a wellness plan, the real question to ask is whether it’s worth it to pay extra for wellness plan coverage. That really depends on your pet’s age and health needs. Some wellness plans cost an extra $15 a month. If you’ve brought home a new pup that will require multiple vaccines over the course of the year, plus they will need to be dewormed, spayed or neutered and microchipped, then a wellness plan can certainly make sense. For other pup parents, it might make more sense to pay for the spay surgery out of pocket.
Can I Get Multi Dog Insurance?
Not only can you, but you’ll typically save money by enrolling more than one dog or pet at the same time. But while you may enroll more than one dog at a time, each dog will have their own plan. You don’t buy one policy that covers all of the dogs or pets in your household. Though most providers make it incredibly easy to manage each plan’s coverage from one central account.
It actually works to your benefit to not have one plan for all of your pups but to rather have separate plans for each. In this way, you can have complete control over your deductible, coverage caps, reimbursement rates and monthly premiums. If you have pups of different breeds and ages and with different health issues, this can help you make the right financial decisions for your specific needs and budget.
If you’re not sure whether your short list of providers offers multi-dog discounts, get on the phone and ask them. Again, most dog insurance providers offer between 5% and 10% when you insure more than one pet through them.