Best Dog Insurance of 2024
Our team has researched coverage levels, pricing, reimbursement policies, deductibles and more to help you make informed decisions about dog insurance. The providers below have options to fit any budget and cover dogs of all breeds and ages. We make it easy to get quotes and compare your options.
Last Updated: February, 2024
- One Stop Pet Health and Wellness
- Unlimited Annual Coverage Options
- $0 Deductible Options Available
- 100% Reimbursement Options Available
- Exam Fees for Accident and Illness Visits Covered
- 24 Hour Waiting Period Available if Switching Insurers
- Variety of Coverage Plans Available
- 90% Reimbursement Options Available
- Coverage Options for ER Visits and Surgery
- No Annual Fees or Lifetime Caps
- Customer Service Options Include Live Chat, Email and Phone
- Deductible Options from $100 to $1,000
What Is Dog Insurance and Why Should You Compare Your Options?
Owning a dog can bring a lot of pleasure to your life. Their playfulness and unconditional love are unmatched, and they’ll certainly keep you physically active. Your dog is a member of the family, and you love them just as much as they love you.
As with any other member of the family, a dog does bring certain expenses into your life, however. You need to keep them groomed and fed on a regular basis, and there are always vet bills to keep up with. You make sure other members of your family are insured so you can afford their medical care, but what about your dog?
Knowing what dog insurance is helps you decide whether to get it. You can make a truly informed decision when you know how it works and specific reasons why you should buy it.
What Is Dog Insurance?
Dog insurance is a kind of insurance policy that you buy as a pet owner. You can use it to minimize the total impact of costs involved with expensive vet bills. In this way, it works a lot like health insurance policies do for you and your family.
Depending on the policy, dog insurance might partially or fully cover expensive procedures at the vet. To find the best plan for your budget and pet, you need to compare and evaluate any available dog insurance plans available to you.
Most dog insurance plans have a deductible. That’s the total amount of expenses you’ll need to pay out of your own pocket before the coverage starts. Dog insurance policies might not cover every veterinary procedure, and the amount of your dog insurance premiums may be contingent upon the average costs involved with veterinary care in the region where you and your pet live.
How Does It Work?
When you compare plans, you need to make sure you read about what is and isn’t covered. Otherwise, you might be in for a rude awakening later. One common example is veterinary exam fees. These are a component of practically every vet bill you ever get, and yet, not all dog insurance plans will cover them.
For most dog insurance, you’ll pay the vet for their services in full. Then, you would file a claim with your dog insurance for anything you think they are supposed to cover. They will review the claim and then reimburse you later for it. This is obviously different from how human health insurance often works where doctor offices file the claims without being compensated upfront.
Reimbursements from dog insurance companies for accident and illness coverage are usually calculated using three primary factors. They are your deductible, the annual coverage limit, and the reimbursement percentage listed in the policy.
Your deductible must be met in full before reimbursement starts. Some dog insurance plans operate using per-incident deductibles that must be met every time there is an incident. Other plans apply a single annual deductible that only must be satisfied once per year regardless of how many different times your dog gets sick or hurt. As you might know from car insurance, higher deductibles can mean lower monthly premiums since it’s less likely the dog insurance provider would have to pay claims out to you.
The annual coverage limit is an upper ceiling that blankets the entire policy for the 12 months it is in effect. Once the dog insurance provider has paid out enough claims to match this amount, there is unlikely to be any further coverage for the remainder of the year.
A reimbursement percentage often kicks in after the deductible has been met. It’s the percentage of any covered costs you will get reimbursed for after you’ve paid the deductible. Common options range from 70% up to 100%, but your choices will vary with each dog insurance provider. Higher percentages do cost you more in monthly premiums, whereas lower percentages mean lower premiums but also less reimbursement when filing a claim.
Why Should You Get It?
Veterinary science has advanced far enough that procedures once only available to humans are now possible for dogs and other pets. However, as with human medicine, pet medicine can be very expensive. The typical cost for emergency vet treatment often ranges from $800 to $1,500 for dogs.
In addition to emergency visits, there will always be primary pet care costs that include dental cleanings, blood work, vaccines, and annual exams. Specialized fields of pet medicine, such as oncology and neurology are also exploding in their growth and applications. This all adds up to a scenario that can be cost-prohibitive for some, so dog insurance might be the only way one can afford a dog in the first place.
Lack of dog insurance can also end a pet’s life. Economic euthanasia, unfortunately, happens when pet owners can’t reasonably afford expensive medicines or procedures that would otherwise extend their dog’s life.
The cost of dog insurance will vary with several factors, including your dog’s breed, gender, age, and geographic location. However, on average, you can expect to pay approximately $600 for dog insurance per year.
The older a dog gets, the more likely it is that dog insurance would pay off. Even with younger pups, it only takes a single accident or illness for dog insurance to pay out more in claims than you pay in premiums.
You’ll typically have three tiers of dog insurance you can pick from. Accident-only or basic coverage is the cheapest but covers the least. Accident and illness coverage is also known as comprehensive coverage. Wellness coverage adds some preventative procedures for the most coverage.
The average dog insurance policy covers 80% reimbursement rates after deductibles are met. However, you can find lower and higher percentages.
It’s best not to wait too long into your dog’s life to get insurance for them. Some providers will have maximum age limits where they won’t grant coverage to dogs they consider too old, but a dog who already has coverage from previous years might be allowed to stay on their policy into the years you will need it most. Aging dogs are more likely to have health issues resulting in claims.
Keep in mind that while the cost-effectiveness of dog insurance goes up with your dog’s age, so too do the premiums. Dog insurance providers know that older pets cost more, so they will gradually introduce rate hikes each year you are with them as your pet ages. This is where shopping around usually pays off.
Making Your Decision
Pet insurance, in general, is thought to have started in Sweden around 1890, but it didn’t come to America until 1982. Dog insurance was the first kind of pet insurance here when canine Hollywood star Lassie was first covered. Now, almost 3 million pets are insured, and many of them are dogs.
As you make your decision, consider the following key takeaways:
- Dog insurance makes health care for your four-legged family member a lot more affordable.
- You’ll have to pay all vet bills and deductibles in full, first, before filing claims for reimbursement.
- Dog insurance might be just the thing that makes pet ownership affordable and possible in the first place.
- Having dog insurance later in your dog’s life can give you more years with your furry friend.
Knowing all this helps you see what dog insurance is, how it works, and whether it’s right for your family.
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