Health insurance is really important to most of us as its purpose is to provide help in emergency situations.
In the dog world, pet insurance is the equivalent of health insurance.
But do they need it as much as we do? More precisely – is it worth it?
Being a dog owner is a great and rewarding feeling, but it’s not one without responsibilities. The goal of every dog owner (or should be at least) is to keep its dog happy and healthy. Taking your dog to the vet is something that should be done on a regular basis and something every dog owner should count on when getting a dog. However, in case of unpredictable situations, the veterinarian bills can really pile up.
So, is it better to get a pet insurance that will cover all potential expenses? And if so, which one to choose?
First of all, let’s find out more about pet insurances and what they cover.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is pretty much like health insurance. There are different policies, but the basic principle is to cover some basic exams completely and some other exams on a limited basis. The main goal of pet insurance is to offer protection in case of unpredictable situations and help you afford medical treatment. Some policies will even pay out in case of dog death or if the dog would get lost or stolen.
The two main types of insurance policy are lifetime and annual. Lifetime policies cover your dog for life, if you reinstate the policy. As the name says, it covers your dog throughout its life, even when it gets older – which can be difficult to insure with an annual policy. It also means that you’re using the same insurer all these years.
On the other hand, annual policies are cheaper and are limited. However, it could be a problem if your dog gets sick at the end of one insurance policy, before you have time to get a new one. In that case you’ll have to pay yourself for any medical care.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
As mentioned, there are many different types of pet insurance policies. Some policies cover almost every situation, while other only cover the basic examinations etc. Most policies include these standard risks:
- Vet fees, usually to an annual limit.
- The costs of recovering your pet or advertising in case it is stolen or missing.
- Liability, in case your dog causes damage to someone else.
More expensive policies also cover:
- International treatment, in case your dog needs help while you’re abroad.
- Boarding costs, if you can’t take care of your dog due to medical reasons.
- Holiday cancellation, in case you can’t go because your dog is sick.
In general, we can divide policies into four categories. Let’s check them out!
As the name says, these are the policies that cover situations caused by accidents. This is usually the cheapest option as those are the policies that cover the least amount of situations. There are variations among these policies as well; in general the cheaper the policy is, the less is covered. Some policies of this kind will also cover emergency illnesses.
These policies cover various situations, up to a certain amount of money. Time-limited policies usually last for about 12 months, after which you’ll have to renew the policy even if you haven’t spent all the money. This is another policy that’s pretty cheap, as the options are pretty limited.
Maximum Benefit Policies
These types of policies also have a certain amount of money you can spend, but as opposed to the time-limited, there are no time limits. This means that you can use the amount you decide as long as you have the necessary amount to cover what you need. So, in case of an ongoing illness, this policy might not cover the entire treatment if it costs more than you have.
As you can guess, these are the lifetime policies we mentioned before. They are also called ”covered for life” policies. These types of policies are the most expensive ones, but also the ones that cover most expenses. If the policy remains active, it means that your dog will remain insured for life.
When Is The Best Time To Insure My Dog?
If you’re planning to insure your dog, the best and most affordable option is to do it while he or she is still a puppy. Puppies usually don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions or other problems related to age that usually make insurances more expensive.
Besides the economic aspect, it’s also a good idea to insure your dog as a puppy because puppies, as you know, can get into a lot of different problems. They also have weak immune systems which is why pet insurance can pay off in these cases. Finally, if you know you want to insure your dog, it’s best to do it at this early age since many dogs aren’t insurable later in life, when they get too old. And even if they are, it will be so much more expensive.
But the question is…is pet insurance worth it? We’ve created a pro and con list in order to help you make up your mind, but before you start reading, check out the video below:
Pet Insurance Pros
- Expensive treatments are more affordable. Regular vet checks are affordable if they’re not to frequent, but more serious treatment can be very expensive. Examples are surgery, drug therapy, chemotherapy and other medical interventions. With insurance, you could reduce these expenses and help your dog if needed.
- Multiple choices. As mentioned, pet insurance comprises many different policies that cover various aspects and unpredictable situations. While there wasn’t much to choose from in the beginning, you can now choose a policy that suits you and your dog the best.
- The policies are customized. Besides the fact that you’re the one who’s choosing what kind of policy you want for your pet, you also pay less for a puppy and more for a senior dog. This gives you time to plan, as you don’t have to spend enormous amounts right away.
- Peace of mind. Even though chances are big you’ll pay more than you get back, you still get a peace of mind when you invest in pet insurance. You can worry less in case of an emergency or accident since you know your dog is covered.
- Coverage. Pet insurance can be really helpful if your dog has long-term health problems and needs regular treatment. In these cases, it can definitely be a money-saver and help you worry less. Discounts are also possible. Some insurances offer some possibilities to help you save money. For instance, you can get a discount if you insure more than one pet.
Pet Insurance Cons
- It’s possible that you will spend more on insurance than you get back. Pet insurance can definitely pay off in case of unpredictable situations, but fortunately these situations are not that frequent. So, you might end up spending way more on insurance than what you would only on regular check-up. This is why some people just put aside money in case of an emergency, instead of paying for insurance.
- It’s hard to insure some pets. Not all pets and dogs are “insurable” and not all diseases are included, which can especially be a problem if you have a breed that’s prone to a certain health condition.
- It doesn’t cover everything. For instance, sport or working injuries are usually not covered. This is the case in almost all policies, except the most expensive ones or for an additional cost. Another surprising thing is that some things you may consider regular, such as dog vaccines and dental care, aren’t covered.
- Pet insurance policies can be confusing. While it’s great to have so many choices, it can be very difficult to determine which one is the right choice for you. When choosing, make sure your policy covers what’s most important to you and your dog.
Now that you have a bit more facts, maybe you’ve decided what’s right for you? If you think that you should get an insurance for your dog, read on and see what you should consider when choosing policy.
What To Think About When Choosing Policy
As mentioned, there are so many different policies and they all cover different things. Every dog has different needs and can be prone to different problems, so it’s important that you choose the right one. We’re here to help! These are some of the most important aspects to consider before you make a decision.
- Vet fees. Does the policy in question cover consultations, examinations, X-rays, medication, bandages, surgery, hospitalization…? Not all do and there are not that many that cover every single aspect, so choose the one that covers what you need.
- Death by illness or accident. Some policies cover the purchase price or the market value of the dog that passes away by illness or accident. Many dog owners with rare or expensive breeds find this important.
- Cremation costs. Some policies cover these costs, so if it’s important to you, choose a policy that does.
- Liability. We’ve already mentioned that some policies can cover expenses in case your dog hurts someone else. There are different variations; some cover accidental damages, while others don’t.
- Overseas cover. If you travel a lot and you’re bringing your dog with you, this could be very important to you as you might find yourself in a country with very expensive vet fees.
These were only some aspects and there are many more, so choose carefully!
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry – it’s completely understandable considering there are so many aspects to think about!
On the one hand, you can pay for the insurance policy you choose and relax more in case of an unpredictable situation. On the other hand, you can just put aside money in case your dog would need it, and pay yourself for regular visits to the vet. It’s all up to you! There’s no right or wrong way, it’s just important that you do what feels right for you and your dog.
If you were to insure your pet, make sure you read carefully about the different policies beforehand and choose the one your dog will benefit the most from. And if you decide that you don’t want to do that, put aside a certain amount of money each month that you will use in case of an accident or emergency situation.
The bottom line is – make sure you can always help your dog get better, no matter the way you choose!