Pet Insurance For Dogs: Is It Worth It?

Owners may want to take all healthcare steps necessary to ensure the pup gets well, but they aren't sure just how to afford that. One great solution for pet owners is pet insurance.
By Matthew D.
Updated Dec 17, 2020
pet insurance
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When people get a dog as a pet, that dog can quickly feel like a member of the family. After all, a pet dog provides love, companionship, entertainment, protection, and more. In addition to being a vital member of a family, a dog can also be an expense for owners. This is because, like human dependents, dogs require food, shelter, medical care, supervision, education, toys, and other costs that help keep them happy, healthy, and safe. If a dog gets sick or injured, an owner will want to pay to have the dog treated and nursed back to health.

However, vet bills can be expensive—sometimes cost-prohibitively so—and that can create a real dilemma for pet owners who experience an unexpected health emergency or severe medical problem with their dog. 

 Owners may want to take all healthcare steps necessary to ensure the pup gets well, but they aren't sure just how to afford that. One great solution for pet owners is pet insurance. Companies sell pet insurance for both dogs and cats (and also other domestic household animals). When a person buys pet insurance for their dog, that insurance will cover significant medical expenses and additional veterinary care costs, should they be incurred. Pet insurance can be a smart financial choice for any pet owner in the long run. Read on to learn more about how pet insurance works, why owners should consider purchasing it for their dogs, and how to know whether it's a worthwhile investment.

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How Does Pet Insurance Work?

 When a pet parent purchases pet insurance, they pay for a policy that covers the costs of the veterinary care for the pet if that pet is to get sick or injured. People can think of pet insurance a lot like human health insurance. An insurance plan requires a premium payment by the pet owner each month. It usually has a deductible, which is the amount that a pet owner must pay for before the insurance picks up the rest of the cost. A pet insurance plan also usually has a co-pay, which is the percentage of the total costs of care that the pet owner must pay even after the deductible is met.

By purchasing into a pet insurance plan for a dog and paying the premiums each month, the insurance company is responsible for paying for all covered veterinary care, per the terms agreed upon in the plan.

How to Decide Whether to Purchase a Pet Insurance Plan for a Dog

 Pet owners considering getting a pet insurance plan for their dog should consider the following things before choosing to purchase a pet insurance plan for their dog.

Consider Whether the Dog Has a Pre-Existing Condition

 Most pet insurance plans do not cover veterinary care or medication for pre-existing conditions. This means that if a dog is already suffering from an ailment, illness, or injury, owners shouldn't buy into a plan to help pay for that care since the plan would not benefit financially. In the future, the insurance will cover veterinary care for new problems (but owners should make sure those problems aren't connected to or originating from the pre-existing condition).

Determine Whether It Fits in a Pet Budget

 Pet owners should have a budgeted amount to cover pet care. Pet insurance policies for dogs cost an average of $22 per month. Consider whether it makes sense financially to invest in that cost while deciding whether to purchase a pet insurance plan.

Know that it Takes Work

 A pet insurance claim doesn't just get handled and covered by the insurance company. Pet owners cover the cost of veterinary care, then submit a claim to get reimbursed for what they pay. While the process is straightforward, it takes time and energy, so pet owners should know that they'll have to put some more effort to reap the benefits of having the plan.

Think About Whether a Dog is Accident Prone

 Some dogs are calmer than others; some dogs are more likely to get into trouble than others. If there is a pup or a breed that is particularly likely to get into trouble (chewing on something or eating something they should not be, for example), then it probably makes sense to invest in pet insurance.

When Pet Insurance Might Not Be Worth It

 In addition to if a dog has pre-existing conditions, there may be other factors that make purchasing pet insurance and unwise financial decision for pet owners. Here are some of those reasons:

The Dog is Old

 If the dog is old for his breed, it might not make sense to invest in an insurance plan that just will never have time to pay off. Pet insurance is not always a wise choice for a senior dog.

The Only Options Available are Premium Ones

 Pet owners may have limited insurance options. If they only pet insurance options available for their dog are premium options, they should consider whether the investment—which can be hefty—is worth it in the long run. Pet owners who want to protect their pets and make a smart financial choice should weigh the option of getting pet insurance. The right policy for a dog can help make sure he is around for many years for his family to enjoy, and it could be a huge money help throughout the pup's life.

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