Dogs become beloved members of families and unfortunately like any other family member, they can get sick. As the owner of five dogs, we are very familiar with how veterinary bills for treating illness and injury can add up. One way to hedge your bets against unexpected medical expenses for your pet is to purchase the best dog insurance for your indiivdual circumstances.
What is Dog Health Insurance?
The best dog health insurance programs work pretty much the same way as any insurance that we take out for ourselves and our family. For a recurring premium payment, you can be protected against unexpected expenses due to illness or injury. Veterinary medicine has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and much more can be done to improve our pet’s longevity and quality of life. With those advances, however, have come escalating costs and fees that are now increasing by about 10% per year. Having insurance eliminates the need to ever have to make the difficult decision between providing for your pet’s health and spending money that you can’t afford.
What to Consider When Getting Dog Insurance?
Pet insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product and your specific pet and individual circumstances need to be considered before committing to a policy. Here are some questions to ask?
Do you have the financial resources to cover a large bill if your dog gets seriously sick or injured? If you do then you probably don’t need to buy pet insurance. You can in effect self insure by simply putting some money aside in an investment or savings account and collect interest on the balance until you need it for doggy health care. If you are fortunate and the dog never incurs large medical bills you have a windfall that can be used elsewhere. If not, you have money available to take care of your dog. The difficult part is determining how much money to put aside.
Understand what it is you want from dog insurance? There are many types of dog insurance plans. Some cover accidents and emergencies, while others will reimburse you for routine vet care. Medication can be included in the basic plan or covered at additional cost. Some plans reimburse a percentage of the total vet bill. Others only cover usual and customary charges, which are averages established by the insurance company. Premiums can be as low as $5 per month or as high as $100.
What Breed of Dog do you have?
Some breeds like Labrador Retrievers or German Shepherds are more prone to expensive illnesses such as hip dysplasia than other breeds. Breeds that are more rambunctious and active such as Spaniels and Terriers are much more likely to incur or cause injury than lethargic breeds such as Basset Hounds or lap dogs such as Bichon Frises. Premiums therefore can vary by breed and some breeds like Pit Bulls or the bigger guard dogs may not even be insurable.
How old is your dog?
Just like health insurance for humans, dog insurance premiums increase as a dog gets older. If you are going to insure your dog it is always a good idea to start when it is a young, healthy puppy and take advantage of any discount programs the insurer may be offering. Some of these programs include discounts for regular checkups and vaccinations for the life of the dog.
How do you want to pay for the premiums?
You can pay a small amount fee every month or you can just do a “one time big time” payment. Different pet insurance companies have different policies regarding payments. But the top dog insurance providers offer flexible payment options and online payments through their websites.