August 8, 2021

Protecting Your Dog With Pet Insurance

Getting your dog insured is an easy way to help you save on expenses to keep them healthy.

Health insurance providers offer plans that cover whole families. Sadly, this does not include the furry companions you have at home. When you don’t have insurance, the costs of keeping your pets healthy can easily stack up. You need to pay for annual vaccinations and sometimes emergency visits to the vet. The good thing is you can manage the costs of caring for your pets while still providing them the quality care that they deserve.

Pet insurance can make pet care expenses more affordable, which becomes useful when an unexpected situation occurs. When you have a healthy pup, a pet insurance plan will ensure that you can keep them healthy as long as possible. If your dog does get sick, a pet insurance plan can help you deal with the costs of treatment required. If your pooch doesn’t have pet insurance yet, there’s no need to worry since getting your dog insured is now a simple and affordable process.

How to Get Pet Insurance for your Dog?

There’s no need to find an insurance broker or representative if you’re looking to get your pooch insured. It’s easy to do alone when you go to your chosen provider’s website. When you purchase directly from the insurance provider, you avoid paying commissions and other extra fees.

Most breeds are accepted by the majority of pet insurance companies (although if you have a rare one, check with the provider if they cover such breeds). The common age requirement to insure a dog is at least seven weeks. The best move is to get pet insurance while your dog is still healthy. Getting insured early allows you to maximize the benefits you get from your plan. There are some insurance companies that do not set a maximum age limit so you can still get pet insurance if you have an older dog.

Here’s a general step by step guide on how to get pet insurance:

1. Ask for a quote – You can do this on the insurance provider’s website. You’ll need to provide details such as your dog’s name, breed, age, gender, and medical history. You will also be asked for information about yourself including name, location, and email address. This is a quick step that takes less than two minutes.

2. Select a plan – Insurance providers offer different types of plans with varying levels of coverage. You can go for accident-only, accident and illness, or a routine care plan. Select the plan that fits your budget and your pet’s needs the best.

3. Sign up for the plan – Once you’ve selected the perfect plan for your pup, it’s time to purchase and pay. Your monthly premiums will depend on the age and breed of your dog, your location, and the coverage level that you select.

4. Enjoy the benefits – When you finalize the insurance contract, you can benefit from the coverage when your dog visits any licensed vet in the US, which includes specialists and emergency clinics.

What exactly is pet insurance?

Pet medical insurance or pet health insurance provides reimbursements for vet bills if your cat or dog gets injured or sick. Pet insurance helps pet owners ensure that their dogs can get the best medical treatment without any huge financial burden. You can be confident that your dog will receive the care they need during an emergency. Having a dog is not cheap even when they’re in good health. A pet insurance plan will help you lessen the costs and manage your budget better.

How to use your pet insurance?

Each insurance provider will have a different process. Here’s a sample step by step guide from Pets Best:

1. Let the waiting period pass

When you sign up for an insurance plan, the waiting period determines the amount of time that needs to pass before coverage kicks in. For Pets Best, the waiting period varies based on the type of plan but they offer the shortest waiting periods in the market. Their waiting period for accidents is 3 days and for illnesses is 14 days. If you purchased routine care coverage, you can use it the day after enrollment.

2. Go to your vet appointment

If your dog gets injured or sick, schedule an appointment and visit your vet. The insurance plan will cover vet visits as well as emergency care. Your dog will get the medical care that they require.

3. File a claim

After you visit the vet, file a claim with the insurance provider. Submit a copy of the invoice to the provider. For Pets Best, you only need to upload a photo to your customer account.

4. Wait for the reimbursement

Depending on the provider, you need to wait for a certain number of days to process the claim. Pet’s Best offers direct deposit to your savings or checking account instead of paying the vet.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance providers a wide range of benefits for cats and dogs. Although the exact items covered will with each insurance provider, here’s a list of what you can expect from a pet insurance plan:

• Accident – includes car accidents, broken bones, poisoning, and lacerations

• Illness – includes diabetes, arthritis, allergies, cancer, and epilepsy

• Diagnostics – include exams, blood work, X-rays, CAT scans

• Cancer treatment – includes blood work, MRI, surgery, chemotherapy, and medication

• Emergency care – covers hospitalization and surgery with any licensed vet

• Congenital and hereditary conditions – includes dysplasia, epilepsy, and glaucoma

• Chronic conditions – include treatment for conditions diagnosed while the dog was insured even with treatment that takes months or years

• Behavioral conditions – include consultations and medication

• Dental coverage – covers periodontal disease with certain conditions

• Full coverage – include hormonal skin conditions, prostate problems, injury from aggressive behavior

Many providers will also cover exam fees, chiropractic and acupuncture treatment, prescription medication, and physical rehabilitation. However, you can choose to exclude these items from your plan if you’re looking for lower premiums.

If you want more comprehensive coverage, you can add the option routine care coverage for an extra fee. This will cover routine vet visits and procedures such as teeth cleaning and shots. It’s a good deal for those who just brought home a new puppy.

There are also accident-only plans perfect for pet owners on a tight budget but still want to protect their pets. This covers bites, accidental swallowing, broken bones, and more. Accident-only plans don’t cover medical conditions such as cancer.

What are the exclusions?

Pet insurance providers will have their list of exclusions to keep costs down. Below is a list of common items excluded from insurance coverage:

• Pre-existing conditions – include illnesses or injuries diagnosed before the policy’s start date

• Parasites – testing and treatment of parasites such as ticks, fleas, and heartworms

• Elective & preventive procedures – include ear cropping, declawing, tail docking, and nail trimming. Some procedures are offered with optional routine care coverage.

• Non-veterinary items – include food, vitamins, supplements, and special diets

• Herbal and experimental therapies or medications.

How much does dog insurance cost?

The cost of dog insurance varies depending on the following factors:

• Dog’s age

• Dog’s breed

• Your location

• Annual coverage limit

• Reimbursement rate

• Deductible

The type of plan will also affect how much you need to pay monthly. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average cost of accident and illness plans for dogs was $48.78 a month and $16.17 a month for accident-only coverage.

Older dogs tend to have more expensive premiums. As your dog gets older, unexpected costs for vet care increase so your insurance premium may change as time passes and your furry companion becomes more susceptible to natural health risks.

Premiums are not the end-all-be-all when it comes to pet insurance. When you go for higher monthly premiums, you’ll get lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Is it worth buying pet insurance?

Getting pet insurance for your dog is an investment. The benefits and coverage are designed for you to use. Over the course of its life, your pet is likely to get injured or sick at some point. According to research, 4 out of 5 pets will experience a medical emergency during their lives. Testing and treatment for emergency conditions are not cheap. On average, emergency vet care for pets ranges from $800 to $1,500 which would change depending on your location.

If you get the right coverage, pet insurance can be a worthwhile investment. You don’t have to touch your savings when your pooch needs treatment.

How to look for the best insurance for your dogs?

Below are some factors you can consider when looking for pet insurance for your dog:

What is covered in the plan? – Do you want coverage for accident, for illness, routine care, or one that covers all three?

What are the coverage levels? Vet care and treatments are expensive. Ensure that the coverage limits are sufficient so that you can be prepared in an emergency.

How much are you willing to spend? – Are you willing to pay higher monthly premiums for lower out-of-pocket costs or would you settle for lower monthly premiums with higher out-of-pocket costs?

Does the plan allow you to visit any vet? There may be some providers that limit vet care providers covered by the plan. Find one that allows you to go to any licensed vet including specialists and emergency care veterinarians.