In the last decade, dog health insurance has emerged as a financial cushion for pet dog owners to bear medical costs. Some dog owners saw this as an opportunity to lessen the burden of expensive visits to the vet. The service is popular in Europe, but a considerably lesser percentage of pet owners in the US have yet to opt for insurance for their puppies and dogs.
It might be easy for you to pay for your pet dog’s healthcare if you make a consistent handsome income. Yet, for many dog owners who do not have a ton of disposable income, a sudden accident or a life-threatening disease may deplete their savings or force them to incur a debt.
The charges billed by veterinary clinics in the US are growing, and pet owners are often faced with unexpected invoices of several hundred, or even a few thousand, dollars.
Dog health insurance has benefitted many pet owners in passing some or all of these large vet expenses onto the insurance companies that grant these policies. However, there are some conditions to be aware of, and enrolling in insurance for your dog still requires proper financial planning.
Again, we urge you to look at all the factors and compare the costs of dog insurance to your monthly budget before jumping to any conclusion. As with any other insurance policies, there are some technicalities in dog health insurance that we need to thoroughly consider before deciding. Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the main points of dog health insurance:
What is Dog Health Insurance?
Dog health insurance is a policy that the pet owner needs to purchase. This insurance policy covers the medical bills of the particular pet in case of hospitalization and other incidents. The coverage entirely depends upon the insurance company’s regulations.
Dog health insurance relates to the particular ‘insured’ or ‘covered’ pet dog and the concerned veterinary costs. In most cases, the pet owner may need to make an out-of-pocket payment before the insurance company pays as per the coverage norms.
Dog health insurance would minimize the burden on your wallet in case of emergencies with your pet dog. It is crucial to analyze all the related factors to choose the best plan that sets you apart from worries. Continue reading for some more important factors in deciding whether or not it’s worth investing in dog health insurance.
Facts, Statistics related to pet health insurance sector in the US
The details about the pet health insurance sector in the country would help you analyze the growth. Again, you get an idea about the overall rate of pet owners opting for such coverage. The statistics would support you in making an informed decision about buying a pet health insurance policy.
An in-detail report, titled ‘27 Pet Insurance Statistics,’ published by shortlister offers various interesting facts and figures regarding the pet health insurance sector, expenditure on pets, and more.
Here are some interesting facts and figures regarding pets and pet health insurance in the US:
- About 85 million homes in the country own at least one pet, and most consider their pets as family members.
- Freshwater fish, cats, and dogs take the top 3 ranks as per the popularity of pets.
- Most of the pet expenditure occurs on pet foods and treats. This accounts for about $96 billion in 2020.
- The veterinary costs are growing, and this factor makes most pet owners uncomfortable.
- Sudden illness and subsequent surgeries, such as cancer, may cost $10,000 to $20,000.
- About 3 million pets were insured for medical bills by the end of 2019.
- Out of the insured pets, dogs account for 83% and cats 17%.
- Routine vet visits cost around $230, while surgical visits may cost up to $600.
- Though the pet industry is growing steadily, only 1% of pets are insured.
- Pet health insurance is growing at an average gross rate of about 16% to 22%.
- The US alone accounts for a premium volume of more than $1.5 billion in 2019.
Please refer to the market survey reports of the pet health insurance sector in the USA:
Average Cost for Veterinary Care
Considering a healthy pet dog and an average lifestyle and good quality supplies, routine veterinary check-ups and preventive medication, and supplements may cost between $1000 to $3000 tentatively, every year.
A Tentative Cost of Dog Health Insurance
Considering the health insurance plans that cover illness and accidents, an average monthly cost of dog health insurance would be around $25 to $50.
If you wish to look out for insurers as per your pet and area and get more details about the pet health insurance cost, please refer to the following source:
How Does Dog Health Insurance Work?
Most of the insurance providers follow a reimbursement model. You take your pet dog to a licensed vet for treatments in case of an illness, injury, or accident. You must settle the bills upfront. Then, you are supposed to claim for reimbursement following the predefined protocol or procedure.
Things To Consider While Buying a Dog Health Insurance Policy It is better to make an informed decision when it comes to buying a dog insurance policy. The homework about the details saves you a considerable amount and also protects you from possible future surprises.
Here is the list of most appreciated brands that offer pet insurance:
- Pet insurance with best discounts: GEICO
- Comprehensive coverage for emergencies: Embrace
- Coverage with the most holistic approach: Figo
- Best for Multiple Pets: ASPCA
- Excellent coverage for aged dogs: Hartville
- Best coverage for chronic health issues: 24PetWatch
- Best all-around coverage: Pet Assure
- Most-suited coverage for Service Members: USAA
- Extensive coverage for scheduled medical care: PetFirst
The following are some significant factors you must consider when buying a dog health insurance:
1. The Most Expensive Treatments
Consult veterinarians and experts to know about the most expensive surgeries and treatments for pet dogs. Gather information specific to the breed, medical history, and age of your pet dog.
2. Hidden Costs
Consider the cost you may need to bear while making claims. Again, consider the amount you pay as a co-payment as most insurers do not cover 100% of the medical bills.
Know about the restrictions beforehand. Insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions among pet dogs. Go through the medical history of your pet dog and try to anticipate the possible health hazards and the cost for the subsequent treatments. You may need to bear this cost even when you buy a dog health insurance policy.
4. About Where Can You Get Your Pet Dog Treated
Analyze if the insurer would be okay with the medical bills for the treatments at a local veterinary clinic. Is the veterinarian supposed to be licensed to get the claim?
5. Monthly Premium Compared To The Coverage
Try striking a balance between the premium you pay every month and the maximum coverage you may get in the case of a medical emergency with your pet dog.
6. Coverage For Regular Medical Expenses
Read the policy documents carefully to get an idea about the expenses that the policy covers. Does the dog health insurance cover expenses in case of hospitalization following an illness or accident? What about regular and preventive check-ups, vaccination, supplements, and medication?
7. Ease In Claim Settlement
Go through the customer reviews to know how long it takes to settle a claim. Again, ensure if the procedure for claims is easy to understand and implement.
8. Usual Increase In The Insurance Cost While Renewing
Usually, the insurance cost increases year after year for many reasons. Analyze how much it may raise during the next few years. Most of the pet owners switch to another insurer if they are not happy with the increased price.
9. Reputation Of The Insurer
Work with the market leaders and trusted brands that are experienced in providing dog health insurance. Again, look for the claim settlement rate in recent years.
10. Prompt Support
Ensure that the insurance company has an effective mechanism to listen to your queries and resolve them as soon as possible.
Pros & Cons of Dog Health Insurance
As a pet owner, you must be careful about the exclusions and restrictions, shown usually in fine prints on the policy documents, while choosing a dog health insurance. If you don’t pay attention to details while purchasing, you may pay high for what you get or may not obtain coverage for some health issues due to the restrictions.
Here are some significant pros and cons of dog health insurance you need to analyze:
1. Eligibility Criteria
You should know as a pet owner that you can opt for dog health insurance as your puppy grows 8 weeks old.
2. Comprehensive Coverage
Usually, you receive comprehensive coverage for various health issues of your pet dogs.
3. Availability of Affordable Plans
As there are many reputed players in the market, you can compare and choose a suitable dog health insurance plan.
4. Free Vet Visits
Most plans include at least one free vet visit in a year. This comes as a bonus.
5. Coverage for Serious Health Issues
If you look into details, you can negotiate a plan covering about 80% to 90% of medical bills in case of a severe illness of your pet dog.
6. Bonus Reimbursements
You can choose an insurer and a plan that reimburses in case of the following:
- Shortened vacations,
- Boarding of your pet dog in case of a family death, and
- The demise of your pet dog.
7. Peace of Mind
As a pet owner, you would experience better peace of mind as most medical expenses of your pet dog would be covered.
8. Freedom To Choose Your Veterinarian
Dog health insurance policies would be applicable at almost all veterinary hospitals, provided the veterinarian treating your pet dog is licensed. So, you can choose your vet as per the ease in access, specialization, and other factors.
1. Pre-existing Conditions Are Not Covered
Any pre-existing conditions among your pets, like diabetes and hip dysplasia, would be excluded from the coverage.
2. Routine Care Is Not Covered
You cannot claim expenses for routine care for your pet dog. Dog health insurance covers medical bills when your pet dog would be hospitalized.
3. Sports and Working Injuries Are Not Covered
Though most insurers cover accidental injuries, they don’t cover expenses due to sports or work injuries.
4. Dog Health Insurance Does Not Cover 100% Medical Bills
During the claim settlement, you may get a reimbursement of a maximum of 80% of your pet’s medical bills. Insurers don’t cover 100% of expenses.
5. Pay Upfront And Then Claim
As mentioned earlier, you are supposed to pay upfront to settle your vet’s bills and then claim as per the procedure. There are no cashless policies or veterinarian hospitals.
6. Considerable Increase In Insurance Price Year After Year
Your premium is low when your pet is young. The insurance price increases as it grows older. Naturally, your pet would be more prone to illness. Again, the advanced technology in veterinary treatments and the profitability requirements of your insurance are a few other causes of the increase in insurance price.
7. Coverage Terms May Vary For Chronic Issues
If your pet has a chronic issue, the insurers may raise your premium. Again, if your pet develops a chronic health issue within the coverage period, they revise your premium.
Is Dog Health Insurance Worth It?
From a positive perspective, dog health insurance can save you from the abrupt shocks to your wallet due to the accident or illness of your pet dogs. Again, you would be able to get rid of the guilt of not treating your pet dog as you cannot afford the treatment.
Again, dog health insurance develops health consciousness among pet owners as they pay premiums regularly. You enjoy peace of mind as your pet dog is covered for various health issues. However, as the claims and benefits depend upon the actual occurrences, sometimes you may feel that you are investing for no reason.
It may be embarrassing if your pet dog doesn’t get covered due to a pre-existing condition or any other exemption. These incidents may make you lose hope and trust in this whole mechanism of dog health insurance.
Again, the increasing insurance price may pinch your pocket every time you renew your policy. So, prefer making a decision striking a balance of all financial and health-related aspects.
Of course, dog health insurance is worth it. You never know when something would go wrong. What impact the incidence may bring to your financial abilities and your overall life.
The discussion about dog health insurance takes you through wide-ranging concerns in a short span. The bottom line could be, though it is arguable if dog health insurance is worth it or not, it is always good to get your pet dog covered as veterinary costs are increasing.
We recommend you go for a dog health insurance plan when your pet dog is young. It helps you keep your premiums low and get thorough coverage for its health issues right from the beginning. Again, as the dog health insurance sector is not ruled by any monopoly, you would have an option to switch at any time.
Finally, we would suggest you analyze all pros, cons, exclusions, etc., and choose the right dog health insurance plan at the earliest. Dog health insurance serves as a financial cushion, and you can rest assured that your pet dog would get the best possible treatment in case of any health issue that your insurer covers.