The Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance for Dogs

When you have a pet, you understand that you are making an investment in time and money for the animal’s health care and well-being. Neglecting daily needs can be detrimental and will affect the animal’s longevity and quality of life. 

When your pet is in good health, you can enjoy time together. However, when injuries and illnesses occur, you have the difficult decision to make in paying for potentially expensive treatment at the vet’s office. Some pet owners regrettably have to forego this care and watch their pets suffer. Financial constraints don’t have to get in the way of helping your beloved companion. 

Thanks to pet insurance, you can save money on health care for pets such as dogs. The best pet insurance will cover many of the essential services your dog needs to live a healthy, happy life. Pet insurance may not be right in every situation, so be aware of both the benefits and drawbacks of having this coverage

Pro: You Can Go Where You Want

One of the other nice aspects of having pet insurance is that you shouldn’t have to change veterinarian offices. If you have a vet that you like and that has been treating your dog for years, you can keep going and have coverage. Your insurance policy should be valid anywhere as long as the vet is properly licensed. This is convenient, especially if you have an established provider that you trust and that knows your dog and her needs. 

Con: You Have to Pay Upfront

Be aware that when you take your dog to the vet’s office, you don’t hand over an insurance card and walk out without paying a dime. The plan works differently than your own health insurance. Instead, you will pay the total amount of the costs. Then, you will submit a claim to the insurance company — either by mail, email, or through an app. Then, you will wait to be reimbursed. This can be a challenge if you don’t have a lot of extra cash at the time of the visit. 

Pro: Low Premiums

Like health insurance for people, pet insurance requires that you pay a monthly premium for service. These costs are different from plan to plan. However, the good news is that there are affordable options for just about any budget. You won’t likely find any plans where the premiums are more than $50 a month. Most are around $25 to $30 a month, with some as low as $20 or cheaper. 

Annually, you should expect to pay around $300 to $400 for pet insurance premiums. Compare this with one-time costs that come with treatments for major issues that your dog may have. Surgeries and other procedures to fix problems such as broken bones, deep lacerations, or infections can cost into the thousands. 

Con: You Will Still Have Other Costs

Pet insurance will not pick up 100% of your expenses at the veterinarian clinic. Your pet insurance plan will require that you pay a copay for each visit. Copays are usually about 10% to 30% of the total cost of the service at that visit. 

Pro: Pet Insurance Covers a Wide Range of Services

Just like people, dogs can encounter any number of health challenges. Your dog may become injured, develop an illness, or face a debilitating disease. Your pet insurance plan should cover many of the needs your dog will have. Coverage can include the following items:

  • Hereditary and congenital issues
  • Accidents and illnesses
  • Prescription medication 
  • Vaccinations 
  • Microchip implantation 
  • Chronic health concerns
  • Alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture 

Con: Your Plan Has Limitations and Exclusions

Don’t take your dog to the vet’s office thinking that your insurance will pay for everything. Some services will be 100% your financial responsibility. Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is that pet insurance does not cover preexisting conditions. You may not be aware of some issues, so an examination can identify certain problems. Be prepared to pay for care when your dog has had a longstanding health concern. 

A pet insurance policy also does not apply to wellness exams and preventive care. However, some plans do allow you to pay a little extra to add on this coverage. Don’t expect your plan to cover grooming, breeding treatments, or elective procedures. 

There are also limits to how much your plan will pay. There will be an annual cap of how much the policy will pay before you have to cover the rest. This amount will vary but is usually a few thousand a year. 

Your pet’s needs are high on your priority list. But when the cost of care is expensive, you may struggle to know what to do. With pet insurance, you can have financial help and peace of mind. There are also some potential challenges with this coverage that you should know about.