Dog Insurance: What Is the Cost and What Does it Cover?

Despite stiff competition from cats, dogs remain the top dog for pets in the United States with 40% of households owning one. That means around 90 million pooch pals making every day better and brighter for their owners. If you’re anything like most Americans, your dog isn’t just a pet; they’re part of your family, and you’d do anything for them.

Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. The sad fact is that our beloved dogs are mortal. They get hurt, they get sick, and they eventually leave us. Making their lives the best and most comfortable we can while they’re with us is as much as we can expect of ourselves. And one of the things we can do to make that happen is dog insurance.

Surprise bills are never something to celebrate, and it’s even more stressful when it’s a veterinary bill. Not only is your canine companion not feeling their best, but now you have an unexpected expense, too. One in three pets will have a medical emergency this year, and 27% of pet owners would have to scramble to pay even a modest $400 vet bill. Emergency vet bills can easily top $1000 and just keep going up from there.

This can put you in an incredibly difficult position as a pet owner. The last thing you want to be doing under that circumstance is letting your bank account determine what kind of care your dog gets. With dog insurance, you can rest easy because you know that the vet bill will get paid and you’ll have your best friend back in no time.

How Does Dog Insurance Work?

Dog insurance works much like other forms of insurance. Let’s use car insurance as an example. You choose a policy with the coverage you want and a monthly premium you can afford. If you have a car accident, you pay a small out-of-pocket deductible and your insurance covers the rest.

Car accidents can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more. Car insurance is mandatory simply because most people don’t have that kind of money set aside for an emergency. Insurance pays the bulk of the damages instead.

It’s similar with dog insurance. Your policy means that a third party assumes some of the risks for your dog’s health. While it may not run into the tens of thousands of dollars, the insurance is there regardless of being strapped for cash. You don’t have to worry about affording your dog’s veterinary expenses.

What Does Dog Insurance Cost?

Dog insurance can be surprisingly affordable. The cost is determined by your choice in policy and coverage, as well as your dog’s age, breed, where you live, and any applicable discounts. On average, you could expect to pay around $600 per year for your dog. While that might sound like a sizeable vet bill in itself, it suddenly becomes much more manageable as a monthly payment of around $50.

For example, insurance for a 3-year-old mixed breed dog weighing 20-55 lbs may be:

  • $41 in Seattle
  • $39 in Tacoma
  • $38 in Spokane

Rates for that same dog as a puppy will likely be less expensive; rates go up as your dog ages and requires more care.

What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

Most major types of illness and injury are covered by dog insurance. These include:

  • Emergency exams
  • Diagnostic testing, such as bloodwork, MRIs, and x-rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental conditions, such as tooth resorption and gingivitis
  • Hereditary conditions, such as hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis
  • Surgery, such as ligament conditions and cataracts
  • Cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Illnesses, such as allergies and gastrointestinal issues
  • Accidents, such as bite wounds and broken bones

Some policies offer additional coverage options that may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral training therapy
  • Vacation cancellation fees
  • Breeding and pregnancy costs
  • Lost pet ads and rewards
  • End-of-life care, euthanasia, burial, or cremation

Wellness care packages can be added to some policies, which include:

  • Wellness exams
  • Preventive care
  • Routing care
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying or neutering

Unfortunately, dog insurance doesn’t cover everything under the sun. Among the items not covered are:

  • Pet supplies
  • Elective surgeries
  • Cosmetic surgeries
  • Boarding
  • Property damage caused by your dog
  • Personal liability claims related to your dog (bites, etc.)

While no dog insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions, curable pre-existing conditions may be covered after they’ve completed a waiting period with no symptoms.

As always, read the fine print on any dog insurance policy. Some policies only cover injuries and others only accidents; around 98% of policyholders choose both. Wellness packages are almost always an add-on.

More and more people are signing on for dog insurance every year. They value the peace of mind they get from knowing that they can take care of their cherished companion in the worst-case scenarios.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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