Twenty years ago, if you suggested getting a pet health insurance policy, most pet owners would have taken it as a joke.
Not anymore. As veterinary treatments have gotten more advanced and sophisticated — and vet bills for serious conditions can quickly add up to thousands of dollars — buying pet health insurance is something to consider.
Just like people, canine companions suffer from unexpected illnesses, accidents and death. For these unexpected occasions, you cover yourself with health and life insurance. Policies exist to cover the same for your pet. Not all insurances are the same and not every dog owner needs a life insurance policy.
Dogs are considered a valuable member of the family and dog life insurance was created to answer for the needs of a bereaved family when the beloved dog dies.
For one, it enables the family to immediately buy a replacement, especially when the children find it hard to deal with the loss of a pet.
What services does dog health insurance cover?
Dog life insurance usually pays you the cost (based on the determined market value) of the dog when it dies. There are also dog life insurance products that pay for the original purchase price. In addition, dog life insurance also provide for end-of-life expenses, which includes:
- burial or cremation expenses
- euthanasia for your dog because of a major injury or a terminal illness
- expenses for the funeral service
- bereavement counseling
- Dog life insurance may also cover for medical and veterinarian expenses needed to treat your dog because of an accident, an emergency or a terminal illness. Illnesses that are usually covered include digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as cancer.
Some benefits of dog life insurance also involve co-payments and deductibles that you will have to shoulder. There are also hereditary and pre-existing conditions that may be excluded. The insurance company may also look into the dog’s behavior and age to help them decide whether to provide life insurance coverage to your dog or not. Premiums are computed based on your dog’s breed and health condition. It will also look at your dog’s expected lifespan.
Some dog life insurance policies are bundled with other dog insurance coverage, such as dog health insurance and dog bite insurance.
It’s a Dog’s Life (Insurance)
It will take some digging and research, but it is possible to find life insurance for your dog. Traditional insurance companies, like the one your life or homeowner’s policy is through, usually don’t carry policies on dogs, even if they’re purebred. There are companies that specialize in pet insurance, however, and they’re the ones that can provide the coverage you’re looking for.
Things to Consider
Life insurance for dogs doesn’t work exactly like life insurance for humans. You’ll have to shop around and find out what different policies cover and how they determine the payout. Some policies are written for accidental death only, and some will pay for costs like final veterinary expenses, euthanasia, cremation or burial. One insurance company might calculate the payout based on the market value of the dog at the time of his death, while another will base it on the price you paid for your dog. Ask about age cut-offs, too. Some insurance companies won’t insure dogs over a certain age and will even drop insurance once a dog reaches 10 or 11 years.
Other Dog Insurance
If life insurance on your pooch isn’t practical, consider getting help with healthcare to improve the quality of his life and possibly extend it. If you haven’t looked into it before, you might be surprised at the number of companies that offer health insurance for pets. Like your own health insurance, there are usually different levels of coverage ranging from wellness plans to accident coverage. It may not insure the life of your dog, but it can help defray the costs of medical treatment — which may end up literally being a life and death issue.
Do You Need Life Insurance?
If you have health insurance for your dog, determine if the policy covers burial or cremation. If it does, you may not need a life insurance policy unless you are looking to recover a financial loss from the death of your dog. This is a common thought for breeders, owners of top show dogs and owners of service dogs. In these cases, the loss of your dog may cause a financial loss as well. For example, service dogs who provide assistance to those with disabilities undergo expensive training. When a service dog passes, the owner must replace this dog to continue to receive support. Having a life insurance policy will help cover this replacement cost.
How much does dog health insurance cost?
Costs vary. Typically the fees are paid monthly and there may also be an annual fee.
Online quotes are easily accessible. For instance, an ASPCA basic plan for a one-year-old mixed Beagle puppy living in Los Angeles would cost $8.99 a month with an annual issuance fee of $10.50. It’s a level 1 plan, which is basic accident coverage. Boosting coverage to accident and illness would increase the premium to $26.64 a month. A plan that adds wellness care would be $43.23 a month. The premiere plan, with the most extensive coverage, is $72.01 per month.
How much does pet health insurance pay?
Pet health insurance plans range from basic to deluxe, and the coverage varies from plan to plan. Typically, pet insurance plans are set up with a deductible that ranges from $100 to much higher. Then, Sullivan says, much like the human “fee-for-service” or indemnity model, the plans provide an 80% reimbursement for covered expenses.
Plans are likely not to pay for “cosmetic” procedures. For instance, ear crops, often performed on show dogs, won’t likely be covered unless they are medically necessary.