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Is Dog Insurance Worth It?

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher


Jump to:
Why Dog Insurance
What does dog insurance cover?
What to consider when comparing dog insurance plans.
What does dog insurance cost?
What to consider when getting dog insurance.
The four best dog insurance companies. 
Dog Insurance FAQ


Insurance for your puppy.  Think of it as the dog equivalent to human health insurance. 

While it’s not mandatory, it does give animal lovers a welcome peace of mind. 

  

As medical-related bills are on a slow incline, pet parents are finding it more and more difficult to cover routine visits to the local veterinarian. 

Fortunately, by securing good dog insurance, puppy parents are able to choose life-saving treatments for their furry friends without straining the budget. 

With proper dog insurance, you no longer need to force a decision between financial stability or saving your dog’s life.  Rather, you are free to focus on what is actually best for your pal’s health versus focusing on the least expensive treatment. 

However, before you snag your own dog insurance, there are a few things to be aware of. 

In the following space, you will discover the different types of insurance available for dogs as well as what to consider when choosing and comparing insurance packages. 

Plus, we’ll look at four insurance companies that are bringing dog lovers peace of mind today. 

 

Why Dog Insurance?

Accidents happen.  No matter how good of a parent you are, accidents still happen. 

Maybe a foot gets broken.  Perhaps it’s a simple ear infection.  Or it’s time to update your canine’s vaccines. 

All of these can carry costly price tags and can catch us off guard if we aren’t prepared. 

An ear infection, for example, can easily cost upward of $3,000 for proper treatment. 

  

Some visits to your local veterinarian can be expected.  Getting flee shots and vaccines may be scheduled and budgeted as needed. 

However, not everything is this simple. 

Disasters happen.  Furry pals get sick.  There’s always a chance for the unexpected. 

  

That’s why today more and more people are turning to dog insurance. 

It creates a welcome peace of mind. 

Plus, it frees you to focus on keeping your pal truly healthy while not getting bogged down with associated medical expenses.   

 

What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

There are three general types of dog insurance packages.   

First are base packages that offer minimal care.  These are lower in price and cover all accident-related injuries.   

A level higher is accident and illness coverage, in which your dog is covered should he/she begin not feeling well. 

Illnesses such as cancer and arthritis can be covered with packages at this level. 

The most comprehensive packages include wellness exams and routine care.  In terms of price, these constitute the most expensive insurance plans. 

However, your routine visit for vaccines and occasional flee and tick treatment are all included with this package. 

Beagle dog getting checked out by veterinarian with woman owner watching.

  

It’s important to note that no dog insurance will cover pre-existing conditions.  If your dog is feeling ill prior to signing on with an insurance company, be sure to notify your company of any pre-existing conditions. 

  

What to Consider when Comparing Dog Insurance Plans

The first thing to consider is your deductible.  This is the dollar amount you are expected to pay out of pocket before the insurance company steps in to assist.

For example, if you have a deductible of $900, you are expected to pay the initial $100.  Your insurance company will then assist with the remaining $800.

Deductibles can vary anywhere from zero to $1,000 and beyond.

When choosing a dog insurance, look for a plan that has a deductible that you feel comfortable with.

(Note: The price tag for packages with lower deductibles is typically on the higher end.)

 

Next, consider if a plan includes co-payments.

Lastly, compare premiums between companies (the amount you are expected to pay each month).

 

With these things in mind, you are able to best choose what fits for you.  Do you prefer a higher deductible with a lower monthly premium?  Or would you rather opt for a low deductible and budget for an increased premium throughout the year?

To be certain there is no one right way.

Simply evaluate your lifestyle and consider what is best for you.

  

What Does Dog Insurance Cost?

The cost of dog insurance varies based on a variety of factors. 

These include the breed of your dog.  Insurance for purebred dogs and puppies is typically higher as these dogs are more prone to hereditary conditions. 

Age is another factor that weighs in on premium costs with older dogs often costing more. 

Another factor is your location and the current condition of your fur pal.  Is she happy and healthy, or is her immune system running low? 

Lastly, how much coverage you choose will directly influence your final cost. 

  

Typically your monthly premium can vary from as low as 9$ to over $100. However, many dog owners can expect to pay between $30 and $50 for decent coverage. 

 

What to Consider When Getting Dog Insurance

Following is a list of things you’ll want to consider when choosing a dog insurance policy.

What to consider when getting dog insurance.

1. Coverage and Exclusions

The first thing to look for in dog insurance is the degree of coverage you are getting, along with any exclusions.   

Congenital and hereditary illnesses can be expensive and are often excluded from being covered. 

In addition, pre-existing conditions are never covered.  Not to mention, some companies consider an illness pre-existing if it develops up to one year after enrollment. 

  

In terms of coverage, there are three types of coverage available for dog lovers. 

  

First is accident coverage.   

This includes anything pertaining to an unexpected accident.  Think torn ligaments, poisoning, injuries, broken bones, and emergencies. 

  

Next is illness coverage.   

Illness coverage includes sicknesses including cancer, arthritis, allergies, vomiting, urinary tract infections, and ear infections. 

You’ll want to be aware: many insurance plans limit illness coverage as a dog ages. 

Not to mention, it’s always best to get dog insurance while your pal is still young in order to reduce exemptions for pre-existing conditions. 

  

Last is wellness coverage.   

This option is certainly optional and for some plans is considered an add-on item. 

Wellness coverage takes into consideration annual exams, vaccines, treatments for fleas, ticks, and heartworm, as well as any costs associated with spaying and neutering. 

  

Bonus: it’s always a good idea to be informed.  So go ahead and talk to your veterinarian about normal costs associated with your breed.  This can help you in better choosing which type of coverage is best for you. 

 

2. Deductibles

There are two types of deductibles in dog insurance: an annual deductible, and a per-incident deductible. 

With the annual deductible, you are expected to pay a single deductible each year.  Any and all expenses that exceed that deductible are not your responsibility. 

A per-incident deductible, on the other hand, requires you to pay a specific deductible for every incident your dog is involved in. 

For example, if you have an annual deductible of $100 and you encounter bills from three different illnesses throughout the year, you still only need to pay a one-time bill of $100. 

If, however, you choose a deductible of $100 per-incident, then you will be required to pay the first $100 for each of those three illnesses throughout the year. 

 

3. Reimbursement Method

Believe it or not, not every company pays your actual veterinarian bill. 

Some companies require you to first pay the bill, and then they will reimburse you. 

While other companies will pay your veterinarian directly and you only need to cover your deductible. 

  

4. Is there a Cap on your Payout 

Your payout is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for a specific incident. 

If, for example, you select an insurance plan that caps at $20,000 yet your bill is $25,000, you will need to pay the remaining amount after the initial $20,000. 

There are also different types of caps for payouts. 

There is a per-incident cap, a per-year cap, and a payout cap over a dog’s lifetime. 

Different companies offer different caps. 

Learn if your company has any caps in place and if so, what type of cap is it? 

 

5. Your Premium

Many companies fluctuate your premium based upon a dog’s age. 

Learn if and how your premium may increase as your dog ages. 

 

6. Customer Service

Read reviews and learn what other customers are saying. 

Are the staff friendly?  Is the company good to work with?  How is their customer service? 

 

The Four Best Dog Insurance Companies

1. Healthy Paws

Screenshot of healthypawspetinsurance.com

Healthy Paws is a top-rated pet insurance company that offers a good bang for your buck. 

They offer an annual deductible, with the option of choosing from several different levels.  These levels include deductibles of $100, $250, $500, and $750. 

Because of the annual deductible, once you reach your yearly deductible, all policy covered incidents are covered for the remainder of the year. 

In addition, the premium at Healthy Paws is typically lower than comparable companies with a monthly cost starting as low as $25.00. 

  

Healthy Paws offers a reimbursement of up to 90% for veterinarian bills caused by unexpected accidents and illnesses. 

As a result, coverage is provided for accidents, illnesses, cancer, emergency care, and genetic conditions. 

Alternative care is also available and covers such things as chiropractic care and acupuncture. 

Healthy Paws does not, however, cover preventative care such as check-ups, vaccines, and regular teeth cleaning. 

  

A few winning factors for Healthy Paws is that you are free to visit any licensed vet. 

They have no restrictions on hereditary and congenital conditions, and among their competitors, they are the only dog insurance company to offer no maximum limits on claim payouts. 

 

2. Nationwide

Screenshot of petinsurance.com (Nationwide)

Like Healthy Paws, Nationwide offers an annual deductible with a monthly premium starting at $35.00 a month. 

You can visit any vet and you’ll be covered. 

Plus, they offer a selection of plans to meet a variety of lifestyles and needs. 

What sets Nationwide apart from their competitors is that they do cover routine care. 

When browsing Nationwide’s dog insurance packages, you can include options for illness, injury and wellness care. 

So you can rest assured you’ll be covered far beyond accidents and injuries. 

In addition, you can expect coverage for things including poisonings, vomiting, diabetes, skin conditions, hip dysplasia, blood tests, vaccines, and more. 

 

3. PetsBest

Screenshot of petsbest.com

This is arguably the best dog insurance for aging dogs. 

There is absolutely no upper age limit, so you can rest with peace of mind that your Fido is covered to the very end. 

Many companies will not accept dogs over twelve years old so if you have a greying canine in your home and you’re looking to get insurance, this is your company. 

The basic plans at PetsBest cover accidents and illnesses with a customizable annual limit. 

Your annual deductible can range anywhere from zero to $1,000, and you can select 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement. 

The accident-only coverage starts as low as $9 a month, with their comprehensive accident and illness plans ranging from $35 to $58 a month. 

  

If you want even more complete coverage, an additional pet wellness plan can be added to help cover regular visit costs. 

This would include vaccines, dental cleanings, and spaying and neutering. 

Not to mention, PetsBest has excellent customer service. 

  

4. Trupanion

Screenshot of trupanion.com

Trupanion is a dream come true for dogs sporting a high risk of hereditary conditions. 

While other companies consider hereditary and congenital conditions as pre-existing, not so at Trupanion.  Provided symptoms weren’t showing prior to signing up, you’re good to go. 

Trupanion keeps it easy with one simple plan. 

Their deductable is per condition, and they provide coverage for all unexpected injuries and illnesses. 

This includes hereditary conditions, unidentified issues, congenital conditions, and medical procedures. 

There is no payout limit, and they’ll reimburse you 90%. 

Payments are also kept simple as once your portion is paid, they pay the remaining balance straight to the hospital. 

Dr. John Basterfield, a veterinarian from Juan De Fuca Veterinary clinic describes Trupanion as, “The policy over the years has become broader and more comprehensive, adjusting to the increasing sophistication of medical services, diagnostics, treatments, and specialty care.” 

 

Dog Insurance FAQ

Q.  Is it worth it to have pet insurance?

Considering accidents do happen, pet insurance enables you to provide life-saving treatment without straining your budget. With insurance, you can focus on your pet’s health rather than the least expensive treatment.

Q.  How much does dog insurance cost?

Your monthly premium can vary from as low as 9$ to over $100. However, many dog owners can expect to pay between $30 and $50 for decent coverage.

Q.  Which is the best pet insurance for dogs?

Healthy Paws and Nationwide are both top-ranking pet insurance companies. PetsBest is the best dog insurance for aging dogs, while Trupanion is excellent for dogs ranking high-risk for hereditary diseases.

Q.  What does dog insurance cover?

Equivalent to your personal health insurance, dog insurance covers medical-related expenses. Dog owners can select from a variety of coverage options ranging from basic accident coverage to preventative care.

Q.  Can I ensure my elderly dog?

Yes. PetsBest offers an excellent dog insurance package for aging and elderly dogs. There is no upper age limit, plus you can customize the plan specific to your needs.

 

In Closing

As you consider which plan is best for you, Michael Cohen, veterinarian and owner of Center City Veterinarian Hospital in Philadelphia, PA gives a bit of timely wisdom:

“Avoid plans with breed restrictions.  Avoid plans that have a fee schedule, [meaning] a list of common illnesses and treatments and the insurance company reimburses based on what they think a procedure should cost.  This is often way different than what is commonly charged, and can leave owners owing more [than] they might otherwise.” 

Instead, opt for a plan that covers a percentage (i.e. 80% or 90%) of the total instead. 

  

Consider also how much coverage you actually want. 

What are you comfortable paying for out of pocket? 

Do you prefer a lower monthly premium with higher doggy bills, or do you prefer a higher premium with lower veterinarian costs? 

  

Again, there is no one right choice.  Instead, do what feels right for you and your dog. 

  

Now it’s your turn.  We want to hear your voice. 

What feels most important to you when choosing dog insurance?  Drop us a line in the comments below. 

  

As always, we’re glad you are here. 

Thanks for being a part of this dog-loving community. 

We value you and the effort you put into caring for your dog. 

Until next time, 

VIP Puppies 

 

References:

Alt, K. (2020).  Is pet insurance worth it?  (Comprehensive Guide).  Retrieved from https://www.caninejournal.com/is-pet-insurance-worth-it/.

Benefits of Pet Insurance (2013).  Petplan.  Retrieved from https://www.petplan.com.au/blog/dogs/benefits-of-pet-insurance/.

Blyskal, J. (2018).  Is pet insurance worth it?  Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/is-pet-insurance-worth-it/2018/10/23/64ff3dfa-ccb1-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html.

Butch, A. (2017).  The pros and cons of pet insurance.  Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-pros-and-cons-of-pet-insurance-2017-04-13.

Walker, M. (2016).  Is pet insurance worth the cost?  Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/pet-products/is-pet-insurance-worth-cost/.

Wamala, Y. (2020).  Average cost of pet insurance: 2020 facts and figures.  Retrieved from https://www.valuepenguin.com/pet-insurance/average-cost-of-pet-insurance.

 

Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.

 

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