What Is Dog Insurance? 6 Q&As That Back Up This Investment
The first time I heard someone talk about pet insurance, my thought process went something like this, “Dog insurance? Do I need dog insurance?” In all my years of having pets as a child, I had not heard anyone ever talk about dog insurance. I was sure it was a joke, but it turned out that dog insurance is a very real (and very useful) thing!
Many pet owners don’t know that it’s possible to buy coverage for your pet’s health in the same way we buy coverage for our health. After all, pets are just as likely to need sudden treatment for illness or another health affliction!
Since the top of dog insurance isn’t often discussed or covered, I thought it’d be beneficial for us all for me to do a little research and share with you some important facts about dog insurance as well as some tips to choosing, paying for, and understanding pet insurance.
Let’s get started!
What Is Dog Insurance?
Dog insurance is a health insurance plan for your dog. Like insurance for people, you pay a premium to have insurance. Then, when covered vet visits, emergencies, or other situations arise, the insurance company covers a certain amount of the cost.
Dog insurance comes in a variety of plan and coverage types from big-name chains as well as smaller, pet-specific insurers. No matter what kind of chronic conditions your dog has or how old they are, there is a pet insurance out there for your pet.
What Does Dog Insurance Cover?
Dog insurance coverage differs by plan, so you have to pay attention to the specifics.
Most plans do not cover routine care or examination fees but have a preventative care option you can add-on that will help cover routine check-ups, medicines, and more aimed at preventing other health issues from developing.
However, dog insurance plans will include partial or full coverage of costs accumulated from accidents or illnesses depending on the type of coverage. Some plans simply offer comprehensive coverage.
This type of coverage usually handles injuries or emergency visits that come from fractured bones, exposure to dangerous or toxic substances, swallowing something, bite wounds, burns, and similar events.
This coverage is for illnesses, including cancer, ear infections, sick stomachs, urinary issues, and more. Some plans also cover dental illnesses.
How Much Do These Things Usually Cost?
Veterinary bills, especially those of specialists, can run very high. Here’re just a few of the treatment costs you could have to cover completely out of pocket without pet insurance:
- Cancer - $8,000+
- Car accident - $4,000+
- Kidney failure - $18,000+
- Ear infection - $5,000
- Eating something bad - $5,000+
- Broken leg - $4,000+
As you can see, those bills could rack up quickly. Having pet insurance can save you from this expense.
How Does Dog Insurance Work?
Let’s say you have a dog and no dog insurance. Your dog eats a fruit pit in the yard, but you don’t know it. In a few hours, they’re clearly very ill, so you take them to the emergency vet. After some tests and treatment, your dog is recovering, but your bill is over $10,000!
Believe it or not, that happened to the family of a good friend. Their energetic dog just couldn’t help himself and got ahold of the pit without anyone seeing.
Had my friend had pet insurance, the anywhere from 50% to 100% of the cost of the emergency visits related to this accident would have been covered by the pet insurance company.
With dog insurance, you pay a monthly premium for a specific amount of coverage. Your plan specifies how payouts and reimbursement for covered care will be handled and should also indicate the co-pay amounts.
What Should I Keep In Mind While Buying Pet Insurance?
The thing you need to think about is how much coverage you want to get. When choosing a plan, look carefully at the following:
- Payouts: Is it a specified amount per treatment, or will they pay the actual cost of treatment?
- Starting Period: Is there a lead-in period?
- Co-pay Percentage: How much will they pay; how much do you need to pay?
- Existing Conditions: Are they included in coverage?
For more information about why you should pay attention to these things, check out this helpful video:
Do I Need To Buy Dog Insurance?
It is not required to have insurance for your dog, but it can be very beneficial. In 2016, it was estimated that owners would spend more than $62 billion on pets, with nearly $16 million of that being spent on vet care specifically.
If you can afford to handle a large, out-of-pocket cost for any potential accidents, then you can skip the insurance. If you’d prefer to avoid that, budget the cost of insurance into your plan to keep big vet bills from causing you to go into debt.
What Is The Best Dog Insurance?
You’re probably now wondering: “What is the best pet insurance for dogs?”
With so many options out there, it can be really difficult to know what kind of plan is best for your pet, but it depends on your needs.
Here are three great options that have different types coverage. Browse their plans to see if one will work for you.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance: Supports paperless claims, lifetime coverage, has a deductible, does not cover pre-existing conditions, does not offer preventative coverage, covers illnesses and accidents completely, pays actual cost of treatments
Pet’s Best: Accident only or accident and illness coverage, offers routine care coverage, no age-limits, does not cover pre-existing conditions but offers wellness coverage for ill pets
Go Pet Plan: Cover hereditary and chronic conditions for dogs of any age, offer accident only or accident and illness coverage, have many additional add-ons that may be useful to pet owners, cover dental injuries and illness
Gain Safety Of Mind With Pet Insurance
When it comes down to it, what is dog insurance but the comfort of knowing that your family will not be financially burdened or forced to make a money-saving, life-threatening decision if something should happen to your dog.
Just as there are plenty of different life insurance plans for people, there are lots of different ranges of coverage for your pet. Consider how much you can put towards pet insurance, and choose the plan that works best for you.
No matter which plan you choose, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your best friend has an extra layer of protection.