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Choosing Health Insurance for your Dog

One of your responsibilities as a dog owner is to take care of your dog’s health.  Just as you would prefer to have health insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong, your pet would appreciate the same gesture.  There are two important aspects of healthcare for dogs, just as there are for humans: preventative care and emergency care/treatment of illnesses and injuries.  When you search for health insurance for your pet, you need to take both into account.

Just as plans for humans are largely lumped into piles that cover mostly preventative care or mostly emergencies, plans for dogs are quite similar.  There are some health insurance plans for dogs that cover only preventative care.  These plans are usually called “wellness” plans.  They are often comparably cheap.  The reason for this is that they often won’t cover much if your dog gets sick or injured and needs treatment.  Some pet owners seem to be caught off guard when this happens, so it’s key that you read all information about a pet insurance plan thoroughly before you choose a particular plan and company.

The different facets of a dog health insurance plans which need your attention are similar to those for a human health plan.  They include matters such as these:

·    What is the lifetime cap on a plan?
·    How does the company deal with pre-existing conditions?  Can the company deny you coverage or raise your rates in the future if your pet gets sick or injured?  Is the company ideal if your dog needs long term care?
·    What kinds of preventative care are covered?  Annual visits?  Unlimited office visits?  Are they free?  Are there co-pays?  How comprehensive are the exams?  
·    What screenings and tests are covered?
·    What are the premiums?  

And so on.  Vet bills for dogs that are uninsured can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.  The amount of money you pay for your insurance premiums will depend on a number of factors including the age and breed of your dog, conditions your dog currently has, and the company you choose to purchase the plan from.  While it’s another bill to add to your monthly expenses, it can save you money over the course of a year, especially if something does go wrong.  

There was a time when pet insurance wasn’t considered the big deal it is today.  Part of the reason there has been a change is that expensive treatments for serious diseases which were once only available for human beings are now available for dogs and cats.  So conditions that were fatal in the past are now potentially treatable.  That means your responsibility as a pet owner has increased; you now have to make a choice to pro-actively take care of your pet, even if your pet has a serious ailment.  That’s why dog insurance is a good move; with a good plan you’re far more likely to be able to afford to take care of your pet, even if your pet needs an expensive treatment. 


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