Dog Insurance Rates: What You Need To Know Before You Buy

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
From vet visits to unexpected illness and accidents, many pet parent turn to dog insurance for peace of mind

From the moment you bring your dog home, he becomes your responsibility and it is your job to provide him with the best care possible. Caring for your dog involves more than just putting a roof over his head and food in his bowl – you also need to give him proper exercise, love and attention. One thing that many dog owners do not think enough about before bringing home their new dog is veterinary care. The costs for routine check-ups and vaccinations can add up quickly, not to mention unexpected costs for illnesses and injuries. If you are worried about being able to pay your dog’s veterinary bills, you may want to think about pet insurance.

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance performs the same role for pets that health insurance performs for people – it provides benefits for covered services to help mitigate the costs of veterinary care. While a single visit to the vet may cost you around $50 plus the cost of vaccinations, emergency care and surgery could cost you thousands of dollars. If you aren’t able to cover such a cost on short notice, pet insurance may be a good option for you. Pet insurance policies typically work by reimbursing the pet owner for covered services which are determined by the individual insurance company and policy. Some plans cover routine and preventive care while others are designed for emergencies like accidents or illness.

Understanding Dog Insurance Rates

For many pet owners, the foremost question in their mind is, “how much does it cost?” As is true for health insurance policies, pet insurance rates differ from one company to another and from one policy to another. For the most part, the higher the coverage offered by the policy, the higher the monthly premium will be – lower deductibles will also increase the monthly premium. You also need to keep in mind that most pet insurance plans do not offer 100 percent reimbursement for all services. Many plans offer no more than 80 percent reimbursement on certain services while some offer as little as 60 percent. Before you buy a pet insurance policy, you need to understand how the policy works so you know exactly how much you are going to be paying.

For basic coverage, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per month, depending on the company. Keep in mind, however, that most companies require you to pay a deductible of at least $100 before the plan will issue any reimbursement – depending on the policy, that deductible may renew annually or it might apply for every service you use. It is also important to realize that most pet insurance plans are designed to cover accidents and illnesses – if you want the plan to cover routine services (labeled “wellness care”) like vaccinations, heartworm tests and spay/neuter surgery, you will have to pay an additional monthly fee.

Is it Really Worth It?

Whether you buy insurance for your pet or not is truly up to you. Some pet parents enjoy having peace of mind that their pet will be covered in the event of a serious accident or illness while other simply can’t afford the added cost for services they may never use. If you simply want to carry pet insurance to protect yourself against unexpected costs for surgery or expensive emergency care, you might consider opting for “catastrophic coverage” – coverage for costs over $1,000. If you do so, choose the highest deductible you can manage to keep your monthly premium low. No matter what policy you buy, make sure you carefully read over the terms and conditions as well as the company’s list of limitations and pre-existing conditions so you fully understand the coverage you are buying.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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