If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you should seriously consider pet health insurance for your dog:
- Is your dog active, curious or accident-prone?
- Would the thousands of dollars you’d have to shell out to keep your dog alive in case of catastrophic injury or illness clean out your savings account?
- Do you postpone routine health care visits to the vet’s because you’re short of money?
- Are you hesitant to even buy a dog because of the costs involved?
- Would members of your family be devastated if you had to have your dog put down because of the costs of surgery or treatment?
- Do you have trouble making important financial decisions under stressful conditions?
Pet medical insurance isn’t free, but can provide you with peace of mind where your dog is concerned. Many dog owners consider their pooch a member of the family and, as such, monthly insurance payments may be as critical as health care coverage for the human members of the family.
Veterinary Pet Insurance Coverage for Dogs
When dog owners think of canine emergencies, they often recall childhood memories of a beloved dog running out into the street and being struck by a moving vehicle. Statistics show that such incidents are actually on the decline, thanks to local leash laws and vigilance on the part of dog lovers.
Nevertheless, despite the decrease in motor vehicle accidents, other disasters can befall your beloved pet. Take these cases, for example:
- Swallows an Object: Ricochet is a curious puppy who can’t seem to chew without swallowing. He had to have emergency surgery to remove a sock that got lodged in his small intestine.
- Pulls a Muscle: Beulah loves to run, as all dogs do when they’re young. She pulled a muscle in her leg and needed corrective surgery and follow-up care that cost more than $2,000.
- Has an Allergic Reaction: When Tobias investigated a strange buzzing sound on his morning walk, he got stung by a bee and experienced anaphylactic shock. The life-saving measures needed were more than his owner’s credit card limit.
- Gets Attacked: Perry and Winkle live on a farm where they roam freely in relative safety. Unfortunately, so do the porcupines, coyotes and other wild critters that they occasionally encounter. Their owner took out pet insurance as a precaution and gets discounts for the family cat too.
Pet Medical Insurance Details
Assessing the costs of pet ownership before you even consider purchasing a dog is a wise move. If you can’t afford the insurance, you may be unable to foot the bill for a dog’s medical needs that pop up down the road.
Did you know, for example, that the costs of insuring a mutt may be lower than the cost of insuring a purebred dog? Many breeds have genetic conditions that aren’t covered by insurance companies. For instance, some plans don’t cover hip dysplasia in large breeds or respiratory distress for short-nosed breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs. Check before you buy insurance. Better yet, head to the pound and pick up a mixed breed dog whose veterinary health insurance is likely to be more affordable.
Have a vet check over any dog you’re considering as a pet, since pet medical insurance won’t cover pre-existing conditions.
Be sure to shop around. While pre-existing conditions may not be covered or the dog may be too old for coverage, some companies have special policies for these cases. Of course, the cost of canine insurance for dogs with special needs is likely to be quite high when compared to insurance for younger, healthier dogs.
Newborn pups aren’t usually eligible for coverage until they’re at least eight weeks old.
You should also check your policy for these variables:
- Do I pay the deductible once a year, or once per incident or illness?
- Does my policy include routine care for healthy dogs?
- Does the policy pay a fixed amount for a procedure or a percentage of the costs?
- How much will premiums cost when my dog is older?
- Does the policy exclude some conditions in elderly dogs?
- Can I take my dog to my regular vet or does he have to go to a vet on the insurance plan?
- Will my pet medical insurance extend to any veterinary clinic or hospital if an emergency arises when I’m traveling?
Finally, be wary of plans that appear too good to be true. Check licensing in your state before you sign up. If you take out pet health insurance with a company that goes out of business, you may be left without coverage in an emergency.