It is a devastating situation that many dog parents have had to face. Like humans, dogs can get serious diseases or get injured in an accident that could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Research shows that many dogs are euthanized for economic reasons when treatment is possible, but costs are too high. Today, this leads to the reason why there is no doubt in which why dog parents are choosing to purchase health insurance for their dogs. It is hard to predict when or how your dog will get sick or how much it will cost, so choosing the right dog insurance can be a lifesaver.
Pet insurance is one tool that enables us to care for them without a financial burden. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s statistics on dog insurance show that 3.45 million pets were insured in North America at the end of 2020, and pet health insurance has been increasing at an average annual growth rate of 23.4% over the past five years.
Emergencies Can Happen
Unfortunately, most dog parents do not adequately prepare for veterinary care when they adopt or purchase their dog. The average cost for a routine veterinary checkup or wellness visit can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, but if your veterinarian discovers something at a regular checkup, you can expect your regular vet bills to go up substantially. The highest costs come from unexpected emergencies and surgeries, where pet insurance can be a lifesaver. Statistics show that 1 in 3 pets will need emergency treatment within a given year. Accidents like dog bites, fractures, and object ingestion can cost thousands of dollars. For example, a ligament repair in dogs can cost $3,000 to $7,000, not including the additional costs of X-rays, anesthesia, and follow-up care such as physical therapy.
Plan Coverage and Cost
Many insurance policies cover up to 90% of your vet bills. However, that portion varies by insurer and by your preferences. In addition, some procedures and care are excluded from coverage. With some policies, you can also hit annual or lifetime caps on payments, which can mean some bills aren’t covered. It can be challenging to find full coverage for your dog at an affordable monthly premium. Like most insurance options, you’ll pay a monthly premium to keep your coverage active. Once your deductible is met, you can expect your insurance provider to pay for your dog’s eligible expenses, based on the reimbursement rate. With top insurance companies, you get reimbursed 80%, 90%, 100% of the vet bill after the deductible has been met. With the right insurance plan, you can provide your dog with diagnostics, treatments, and medications without severe financial risk. It is always important to read your contract and ask questions to your pet insurance company about your plan, but most companies provide care for the following:
Unexpected injuries and accidents-foreign object ingestion, broken bones, and more
Unexpected illnesses-cancer, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, parvovirus, and more
Surgery-cruciate ligament tears, cataracts, and more
Tests/Diagnostics-Xrays, blood tests, MRIs, and more
Emergency exam fees
Additional services depending on the policy
The cost of your pet insurance premium will depend on many factors:
Your dog’s type of breed and gender
Your dog’s size (height and weight)
Common indoor and outdoor risks in the area
Term and length of insurance policy
Your dog’s age
Deductible and reimbursement level
Best Pet Insurances
Here is a list of the best pet insurance companies tailored to particular needs and preferences.
ASPCA- Best for hereditary and congenital conditions
Embrace-Best for older dogs/pets
Figo-Best for reimbursement options
Healthy Paws- Best for alternative therapies
Lemonade-Best for fast claims processing
Nationwide-Best for exotic pets
Pets Best-Best for treatment of mobility issues
Spot- Best for unlimited coverage
Trupanion-Best for direct payment to a veterinarian
Here are other companies that are highly recognized:
Geico Pet Insurance
Metlife Pet Insurance
USAA Pet Insurance
Many different available discounts are recommended to take advantage of to help reduce your monthly payment. Common discounts include:
Multipet discount-discounted rates for each additional pet you enroll with the same provider
Annual pay discount-lower rates if you pay for the policy annually instead of monthly
Spay/Neuter discount-reduced premium if you spay/neuter your pet upon enrollment
Military discounts for active and former members of the armed forces
Group discounts- lower rates for employer-provided pet insurance
Bundle discounts-discounted rates for bundling for homeowners or renters’ insurance under the same provider
Breed-specific Health Risks
If you are hesitant about whether pet insurance is worth it, you should consider that your dog’s breed or the breed you plan to buy or adopt can affect certain unexpected costs. For example, The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals reports that Pugs have a nearly seven times higher likelihood of developing hip dysplasia, costing $1,700 to $5,000 to treat.
Peace of Mind
While the cost to treat ear infections or an upset stomach likely won’t be a devastating financial burden, serious health problems, injuries, and accidents can cost several thousands of dollars. Whether you choose to get pet insurance or not, starting an emergency fund for vet care can help you handle unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Plan ahead and have financial resources in place for emergencies, whether a pet insurance plan, a well-funded pet savings account, or accessible credit to have peace of mind knowing your dog has access to the best medical care possible.