What is dog insurance?
Being a dog owner can bring many years of great joy. Your dog is like a member of your family and you them enjoy a long and happy life.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to owning a dog. It is likely that your furry friend will eventually suffer an injury or get sick. And when that happens, it’ll cost you. Even something as minor as kennel cough or a mishap at the dog park could mean big bucks in terms of veterinary visits and medications.
We’ve all heard the stories. A friend owned a dog that suffered a life-threatening illness or disease. They had to make a choice whether to pay for the medical bills, surgery, hospital visits, and medication, or put their dog down. Maybe this has happened to you too.
For example, what happens if your seemingly healthy dog suddenly develops lung cancer at 10 years old? There are no smokers in your household, but the dog gets cancer anyway. After several initial visits to the veterinarian and the university pet hospital, the costs are too much to bear. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for surgery and cancer treatments, you decide to put your dog down. For you, the matter came down to the final costs to keep your dog alive. Sometimes, we are faced with that difficult choice, but it can be avoided.
With dog insurance, there are options. Having a specialized health insurance policy for your dog will ease the burden of paying for these unexpected medical costs.
Dog insurance is similar to our own health insurance. You select a plan, choose the deductible and premium amount that suits your budget, and then your dog will be covered by a network of veterinarians. Visits to the vet, hospital stays, prescription medications, and procedures will be at least partially covered by the dog insurance.
In a survey conducted by the Associated Press in 2011, pet owners spent an average of $505 in veterinary bills the previous year. Other individuals avoided the vet unless their pet had a serious illness. Some answered that they simply couldn’t afford vet visits.
Yet, what if you had a dog insurance policy and didn’t need to worry about the costs? According to veterinarian Jean Maixner, “If you get the right policy, it can be an asset to the health care of that pet and have a significant impact on the bill that results from a visit in an emergency situation.” And, “if people had acquired pet insurance before the emergency occurred, they might have been able to move forward with some reasonable treatment to help their pet.”
With monthly premiums and a set deductible, pet insurance does not make the high costs of veterinary bills completely go away. But, it can help to mitigate the amount you pay out of pocket. According to one pet insurance company, the top ten highest payouts per claim were:
- Torn Knee Ligament/Cartilage: $1,578
- Intestinal- Foreign Object: $1,967
- Stomach- Foreign Object: $1,502
- Intervertebral Disc Disease: $3,282
- Stomach Torsion/Bloat: $2,509
- Broken Leg (Plate): $1,586
- Laryngeal Paralysis: $2,042
- Tumor of the Throat: $1,677
- Ear Canal Surgery: $1,285
- Ruptured Bile Duct: $2,245
Of course, purchasing dog insurance is your decision. Some people argue that the costs of coverage are higher than the average lifetime medical claim for a dog. For example, if a policy costs $300 per year and your dog lives 10 years, that’s $3,000 for insurance. However, a single incident or serious illness can often cost far more than $3,000.
Keep in mind that each dog insurance policy is different, so make sure that you understand the annual premiums, co-payments, service fees, and deductibles for the plan you selected. Check to see if pre-existing and chronic conditions are covered.
Policies and payouts can vary by state, but the age of your dog is a primary factor when considering the costs of dog insurance. The younger the dog, the cheaper your monthly premiums will be. If your dog is over 10 years of age, they may even be denied coverage. So, if you are considering dog insurance, buy it sooner rather than later.
Dog insurance is a relatively new form of coverage in the U.S., and has recently been increasing in popularity. Maybe you know someone who has decided to purchase coverage for their dog.
There are many advantages to owning a dog insurance policy, including:
- The high costs of a trip to the veterinarian, especially if you live in a metropolitan area. A few visits to the vet may be enough to cover the costs of the policy for that year.
- Helping to pay for an unexpected injury or illness.
- The variety of services included in the insurance plan, including dental cleanings, x-rays, vaccinations, spays and neuters, and office visits.
- Worry-free pet ownership.
If you have any questions about dog insurance plans, speak with an insurance agent today. They will have the knowledge and experience to provide you with helpful advice before you purchase coverage.
While the majority of people want an agent involved in their purchase of insurance, many people want to see if they can save money by buying direct from the insurance company. Others want to try a direct quote to make sure the premium they’re now paying through their local agent is fair. If you want a quote for your coverage, click on the competitive quote button on the right side of this page.