Pet Insurance for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

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Written by Amber LaRock

Updated: June 2, 2023

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Pet ownership is a rewarding journey that many of us are lucky enough to experience. Though filled with joy and love, dog ownership comes with quite a bit of financial responsibility as well. One of the responsibilities that comes along with pet parenthood are trips to the vet. This includes annual veterinary care and unexpected emergencies. There’s no way to know what illnesses or injuries lie ahead for your pup. However, there are ways to lessen the financial burden that these complications can cause, such as buy purchasing pet health insurance.

We know many pet owners struggle to pay their dog’s vet bills. Here, we discuss the benefits of pet insurance! This article covers what pet insurance is, what medical conditions pet insurance will cover, costs involved, and so much more!

Let’s get started!

What Is Pet Insurance?

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Pet insurance is a tool that can help to ease the financial burden of unexpected vet bills.

Pet insurance is a tool that can help to ease the financial burden of expensive medical pet emergencies. It’s important to understand the details of this pet care tool before relying on it. Many pet parents plan for routine care their little one requires. However, unplanned illness or injuries can set even the most prepared dog parent back financially. Pet insurance can be a financial safety net for those unexpected bumps in the road, allowing you to seek urgent vet care when your dog needs it.

Many assume that pet insurance works in the same way that human health insurance works, but there are major differences. While our dogs are our entire world, they are still technically property of their owners. This means that pet insurance falls into a different category than human health insurance.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover for Dogs?

As we mentioned above, pet insurance does not work in the same way that human health insurance works. Pet insurance mainly reimburses pet parents for emergency medical care, as well as the medical conditions that develop as your furry friend ages. Every pet insurance company and coverage package will vary. However, you can typically expect insurance companies to cover anywhere from 70-90% of unexpected care expenses.

To help you gain a better understanding of what pet insurance can cover, let’s break down the common categories below!

Sudden accidents or traumas: Pet insurance covers common accidents or injuries. These include eating toxins or foreign objects, fractures, muscle or tendon injuries, and eye injuries. Traumas like insect stings and dog fight wounds are also covered, as well as hospitalization or surgeries these accidents require.

Sudden illness: Some of the many illnesses that your pet insurance can cover include sudden diarrhea and vomiting, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, ear infections, skin infections, and any hospitalization your dog requires.

Chronic illness: As long as your dog develops a disease after you have established coverage, your pet insurance may cover costs and hospitalization associated with kidney disease, diabetes, cardiac disease, cancer, and more.

Essential diagnostics: Many serious health conditions need confirming diagnostics, which most pet insurance companies will cover. This can include x-rays, blood testing, urine testing, and more.

Medication: If your dog requires medication to treat or manage a health condition, your pet insurance may cover it, as long as you enrolled before the injury or illness developed.

Essential physicals therapy: Some pet insurances will cover a portion of your dog’s physical therapy. However, it must be mandatory to manage or treat your pup’s health condition.

An array of unplanned medical conditions can develop in our furry friends. A long list of ailments falls under the scope of pet insurance coverage.

How Does Pet Insurance for Dogs Work?

Most pet insurance companies require you to pay for vet care upfront, and they will reimburse you.

Pet insurance can be an essential tool for many pet parents. However, before purchasing for your little one, it’s important to understand how pet insurance works. Unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance companies require you to pay for your dog’s vet care upfront. They will reimburse you after you have submitted the necessary paperwork and proof of the condition. Pet insurance is often changing and implementing new plans to better accommodate their customers, but most currently follow this practice.

The easiest way to understand pet insurance is by comparing it to car insurance. Though our dogs mean more to us than any vehicle ever could, pet insurance currently follows similar principles. This means that most pet insurance companies will jump in when the unexpected happens but will not cover routine care.

Your pet’s coverage will also vary based on the insurance company and tier option you choose. Additionally, this will determine how much of your dog’s care is reimbursed. These tier options will vary when it comes to your deductible, monthly payment, and percentage of total costs reimbursed.

Most pet insurance companies will only cover the unexpected, but some are beginning to implement routine care coverage. If this is important to you, then be sure to seek out companies that offer this type of coverage.

Can All Dogs Get Pet Insurance?

So, does your dog qualify for pet insurance? This is one of the most common questions that pet parents ask about pet insurance. The answer will vary from case to case. If your pet has any chronic or underlying health conditions at the time of enrollment, then it is unlikely that your pet insurance company will cover any costs associated with this condition.

However, if your dog develops any health issues that are not related to their underlying illness, then your pet insurance should still cover these! While you may not be reimbursed for care related to the chronic illness, pet insurance is still great to have. It can be a real lifesaver for those unthinkable bumps in the road. Essentially, even if your pup has a chronic illness, she should still qualify for coverage of medical emergencies unrelated to the illness.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost for Dogs?

If you think pet insurance is right for your little one, then you will want to know how much you can expect to spend on coverage. The fees associated with pet insurance will vary based on your company of choice, your dog’s age, your dog’s health status at enrollment, the coverage tier you choose, and your chosen deductible. With this aside, there are some costs averages you can expect.

Pet insurance for dogs will often cost anywhere from $40-$60 per month. You are also typically expected to pay a deductible if you have to file a claim. Just remember, you are in control when it comes to choosing the coverage and fees to suit your dog’s situation. You should always shop around before settling on an option!

How Do I Choose the Best Pet Insurance for My Dog?

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When choosing an insurance plan for your dog, you need to consider your dog’s specific health needs.

If you are ready to invest in pet insurance, you will want a coverage plan that fits your pet’s needs. In order to choose the best coverage option, here are a few things you will need to consider:

  1. Make sure you understand exactly what is covered. Many pet parents assume all health conditions fall under their coverage plan, only to meet disappointment when their insurance company denies their claim down the line. This is especially important if you have a dog breed that is prone to any health conditions. You will want to confirm that these issues are covered if they arise.
  2. Make sure the coverage to cost ratio makes sense for your little one. For example, you may assume that paying the lowest monthly fee is the best option. However, this could mean your pet has minimal coverage or a high deductible when it’s time to file a claim. You want your pet’s health insurance to be cost effective, but it should still support you in an emergency.
  3. Search for coverage that is specific to your individual needs. For example, if you want coverage that includes some routine vet care, then enter this criterion into your search.
  4. Get multiple quotes. There is an array of pet health insurance companies out there. Each company offers a variety of coverage tiers you can choose from. Be sure to shop around and get as many quotes as possible to help you make the best decision for your family.
  5. Make sure you can afford the deductible in an emergency situation. While pet insurance can save the day, it will not help you if you can’t swing the deductible. If you choose the lowest monthly payment, this often means your deductible will be higher.
  6. Be aware of how long it takes to complete a claim. Since pet insurance will typically expect you to pay upfront, it’s important to know just how long it will take for the insurance company to reimburse you. The timing of a claims process can vary, so be sure to review this information in the fine print.
  7. Know what percentage of your pet’s vet costs will be reimbursed. Most pet insurance companies will reimburse anywhere from 70-90% of your dog’s unexpected vet bills. However, make sure you know exactly how much will be returned to you so you can plan accordingly.

At the end of the day, it’s important to look for a plan that fits your dog’s lifestyle and specific needs. There are a variety of pet insurance plans to choose from, so it’s important to shop around and find a plan that suits your family best. Remember, you are in control!

Final Thoughts

Vet bills can easily stack up, especially when it comes to emergency situations. Pet insurance can help to lessen the financial burden these health emergencies bring, allowing you to focus on getting your dog the medical care he needs.

Just remember that not all pet insurance is equal, and that it’s important to shop around for a plan that fits your pet’s needs best! Be sure to review the detailed guide we discussed above, and you will be on your way to finding the best insurance plan for your beloved pet!

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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