The purpose of dog health insurance is to help you pay for the veterinary costs if your dog is in an accident or becomes ill. Dog health insurance usually pays you a specific percentage of the cost of the treatment with a maximum limit you can claim per annum. This may be in the range of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 depending on the policy you take. Most policies will also have a per incident limit which is the maximum amount you will be reimbursed for each separate incident.
Dog health insurance policies vary in what they cover. It is a good idea when you’re getting dog insurance quotes to find out if the dog health insurance policy covers surgery, cancer treatment, prescription medication, x-rays, lab tests and chronic conditions because these are the types of treatments that can cost you a lot of money.
In addition to these actual treatments it is a good idea to consider whether you want your dog to be covered for hereditary conditions. Many policies make an exclusion for hereditary conditions so it is a good idea to ask about this and do some research on the type of hereditary conditions commonly found in your breed of dog.
Most dog health insurance policies will have deductibles. They will most likely be either a per incident deductible or a per annum deductible. A deductible is the amount of money that you must pay yourself before the insurance reimbursement pays out. The advantage of a per incident deductible is that if your dog has a chronic condition the deductible only needs to be paid once and not every year. The advantage of a per annum deductible is that if your dog gets sick or is in an accident several times in the same year then you don’t need to pay the deductible for each incident but only once for the year.
Deductibles will vary in cost and conditions so this is another point to raise with your insurance advisor before you take dog health insurance.
If you are planning on your dog having puppies then you should consider whether your dog health insurance policy includes pregnancy. Some policies exclude pregnancy altogether and other include pregnancy but exclude pregnancy cover for certain breeds. Always check your dog’s breed is included in the coverage if dog breeding is something you want to consider.
Most insurance companies offering dog health insurance provide a choice of levels of cover. They usually start with the cheapest being an accident/injury plan then go up to accident/injury with illness included and then the top policies include accident/injury with illness included as well as hereditary and/or chronic conditions and also routine care. The advantage of a policy including routine care is that you know you will definitely benefit from the plan yearly because it will include items like an annual check-up with the vet, routine vaccinations, tests such as heartworm tests and more. There will of course still be out of pocket expenses for you on routine care but at least you will be able to claim a certain amount if your dog health insurance includes it.
Another point to remember when you’re getting dog insurance quotes for dog health insurance is to check whether the policy restricts you to only using certain vets. This may not be a problem when you are going to the same vet in your local area who is one of the policies approved vets but it does become a problem if you decide to travel with your dog and it gets sick or is in an accident. If you are in this situation it is nice to know that you are still covered if you need to use another vet. Similarly, check that your dog health insurance is still valid if your dog is treated by a vet outside your home state.