Every true dog lover is devoted to their furry friend, and wants their puppy and dog to have a happy, healthy life. Despite this, the whole world of dog insurance is murky, and understanding of it not clear. A lot of dog owners know little or nothing about it, and think that if they care for their dog it really just isn’t worth it, and that you are even jinxing your dog’s health by getting it.
However, many experts, including breeders and vets would advise EVERY dog owner to get insurance as early as possible. So let’s keep it simple, as we discover 5 facts showing why insurance might well be worth it.
The Big Basic Question: What is Pet Insurance?
Let’s start real easy. Pet insurance is offered by many companies, just like life insurance, or house insurance. For a set monthly price, often increasing each year, you will have coverage for your dog at the vet, for certain conditions, care, and medical bills. Pet insurance can be purchased at any time, but as your dog gets older the cost of insurance will increase.
What’s Covered (and not covered) by Pet Insurance?
In all honestly most of you basically knew the answer to the previous point, but this is where it gets trickier. What is and isn’t covered by pet insurance for your puppy may surprise you. First off, every pet insurance plan will be different, including various requirements for different breeds (more on that later). But there are general rules that almost always apply. At its most basic pet insurance will cover medical and care costs if your dog becomes unexpectedly sick or gets into an accident.
But some plans can be ‘Accident Only’; and to cover illness you will need something like an ‘Accident and Illness’ plan too. Any plan will almost certainly cover accidents, and unexpected emergencies, and this can be a serious life saver. If your dog, god forbid, has an accident, the cost of surgery can be very, VERY high.
In an accident and illness plan, diagnosis, surgery, and the medication required should all be covered.
Top Tip – Some plans will have price limits on the cost of coverage for certain procedures. So always check the small print, as you might find yourself covering some costs even with having insurance.
And what isn’t covered…
Regular vet check ups. Unlike with us humans, standard checks up are not usually within the insurance cost. So you will most likely have to pay for those vaccinations, dewormings and any dental care. But some plans out there do cover this, just not many.
This one is almost always true – No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions.
So if you have adopted an older dog, that already has certain conditions, or is diagnosed by your vet before getting insurance, then none of these conditions, the care needed, or any future problems caused by it, will be covered by insurance.
If you choose a puppy from a great breeder, they should be 100% healthy when they arrive in your home. And if you wish to get insurance it is always best to get it right away, just in case!
Is Pet Insurance expensive?
This question is of course dependent on you. But let’s put it this way… Right now, a reasonable ‘Accident and Illness’ plan that covers most costs will set you back at least $35 – $50 per month, while a full Comprehensive plan will be starting at around $70.
If your dog was to require surgery, or need long term medication and care for an illness, like hip dysplasia (common in larger breeds), then you can EASILY be talking about $1000’s of dollars worth of procedures, surgeries and medication covered by your insurance. Even five figures isn’t uncommon.
It would be fair to say that you could pay over $5000 in insurance in the lifetime of your dog, and a surgery for a broken leg, or treatment for pneumonia, would cost you more than that in just one go! And vet costs are increasing all the time.
Is Pet Insurance important for ALL dog breeds?
Yes! Any dog can get into an accident sadly; and all breeds, and any mixtures, can suffer from illnesses. But for certain breeds it’s even more important, and it is going to cost more!
For breeds that are more prone to illnesses, such as breathing and digestive problems in the English and French Bulldog, costs will be higher. It may seem unfair to pay more depending on the breed, but generally speaking the more you pay for the breed, the more likely they are to need care in the future. So you will pay more, but you will almost certainly have more costs covered.
For a Bulldog breed, and for some bigger breeds like a Neapolitan Mastiff, you will be looking at paying closer to $100 than $50 for an Accident and Illness plan. Whereas popular breeds like a Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever or a German Shepherd Dog will be closer to the average.
Is Pet Insurance the Only Option?
There is of course one big alternative to Pet Insurance, and that is to have your own ‘pet savings’. There are benefits to this, but restrictions too. Whether through a general savings account, or the piggy bank on your shelf, you can save up your own money to cover the costs of any veterinary care. And if you don’t need to use it all, and the vet care needs of your dog turned out to be low, then you haven’t lost that money like you have with pet insurance. And you of course have the benefit of interest added to your account.
But the big catch is this. If you save $50 a month you can only pay your vet the amount you have saved, and not a penny more. Essentially $1000 of your savings, pays $1000 of your vet bills. But that price that you pay for insurance, could cover far far more than the amount you put in. As mentioned before, the cost of vet care is high, and you could easily save $2000 or more for every $1000 paid into your insurance.
As we said before every dog owner loves their dog, and will do anything to make sure they are happy and healthy. Though it might not always be needed, and it might not cover all the costs if it is, pet insurance can take a huge burden off your shoulders. Especially if urgent, expensive treatment is needed for your dog.
With the ever increasing veterinarian costs, no one wants to choose between their wallet and their dog!