Health insurance can cover you and your immediate family – but unfortunately, it doesn’t cover your furry friends. (No matter how much it feels like they truly are part of the family!) However, without insurance, the cost of owning and caring for a dog can really add up. From vaccinations to illness to emergency veterinary visits, taking care of man’s best friend isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there’s a way to budget for the costs of pet care while still giving your pup the high-quality they need.
Pet insurance helps make it more affordable to protect your pet’s health, even when unexpected circumstances arise. When your dog is healthy, pet insurance helps you keep them that way. If your dog becomes sick or injured, pet insurance can help you cover the cost of treatment they need. If you haven’t purchased pet insurance for your canine yet, don’t worry – insuring your dog with pet insurance is an easy, affordable process.
How to insure your dog with pet insurance
No need to go through an insurance representative or broker to insure your dog. You can purchase pet insurance for your dog online, directly from an insurance provider. This allows you to avoid paying additional fees or commissions.
You can insure any breed of dog at any age over seven weeks, though it’s best to insure your dog while he or she is still healthy. Getting pet insurance early on makes you more likely to receive the maximum benefit from it. Still, some pet insurance providers don’t have any upper age limits, so you can insure your dog at any time.
Here’s the process of insuring your dog with pet insurance, step by step:
- Get a quote – Provide information about your dog, including their name, age, breed, gender, and medical history. You’ll also need to provide some basic information about yourself – just your name, zip code, and email address. This usually only takes a minute or two.
- Choose a plan – Many insurance providers offer a variety of plan options and coverage levels, including accident plans, accident, and illness plans, and plans that cover routine care. Choose a plan that’s best for your budget, your dog’s breed, and your needs.
- Enroll in a plan – Purchase the plan you’ve chosen. The cost of your monthly premium will be based on your dog’s breed and age, your location, and the level of coverage you choose. If you choose Pets Best pet health insurance, you can get an additional 5% off all premiums thanks to Guardian’s partnership with them.
- Enjoy your benefits – Once your dog is insured with, you’ll be able to receive benefits when you visit any licensed veterinarian in the United States, including emergency clinics and specialists.
What is pet insurance?
Also known as pet health insurance or pet medical insurance, pet insurance reimburses you for your veterinary bills in the event your dog or cat gets sick or injured. Pet insurance can help you afford the best treatment while protecting against any major financial setbacks. It allows you to know your pup will be able to get the care they in case of emergency. Owning a dog can be expensive even when they’re healthy – having pet insurance helps you mitigate those costs and budget better.
How to use pet insurance
The process of using pet insurance and receiving benefits can vary from provider to provider. Here’s how to use Pets Best pet insurance, step by step:
- Make sure your waiting period has passed – A waiting period is the amount of time after enrolling in an insurance plan before coverage is provided. Pets Best waiting plans vary depending on the type of plan you purchase, but they’re some of the shortest waiting periods in the industry. Waiting periods are just three days following the policy effective date for accidents and 14 days for illnesses. Routine care plans can be used the day after enrolling.
- Take your dog to the vet as usual – If your dog is sick or injured, visit any vet as you normally would. Your plan will cover visits to any licensed vet, including emergency care and specialty vets. That way, your dog can receive the treatment they need.
- Submit a claim – Once your dog has seen the vet, submit your claim to your insurance provider. Simply snap a photo of your invoice and upload it to your Pet’s Best Customer Account. No complicated paperwork required.
- Receive reimbursement – Most claims are processed within just a few days, so you won’t have to wait long. Plus, Pet’s Best can deposit payments directly to your checking or savings account, rather than paying out benefits to your vet.
What is covered by pet insurance?
Pet insurance covers a variety of health benefits for dogs and cats. Exact coverage varies from provider to provider, but here’s a list of what Pets Best accident and illness dog health insurance covers:
- Accidents – including broken bones, car accidents, lacerations and poisoning
- Illnesses – including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, and allergies
- Cancer treatments – including blood work, MRIs, medication, surgery, and chemotherapy
- Hereditary and congenital conditions – including dysplasia, glaucoma, and epilepsy
- Emergency care – hospitalization and surgery from any licensed veterinarian
- Ongoing and chronic conditions – including treatment for any previously covered conditions diagnosed while your dog was insured, even if treatment spans for months or years
- Diagnostics – including exams, blood work, CAT scans, X-rays, and more
- Full coverage, even when not spayed/neutered – including prostate problems, hormonal skin conditions, injury due to aggressive behavior, and more
- Behavioral conditions – including consultations and medications
- Dental coverage – periodontal disease coverage, provided your pet meets certain conditions
Many plans also offer coverage for exam fees, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, physical rehabilitation, and prescription medications, but they can be excluded from some plans to fit your pet’s needs and your budget.
If you’re interested in more coverage, you can add routine care coverage to any plan for an additional premium. This helps you pay for routine veterinary visits as well as procedures like shots and teeth cleaning. This is a great option if you’ve just gotten a new puppy.
You can also choose to only purchase accident only coverage. These plans are designed for dog owners on a limited budget that still wish to have great coverage for broken bones, bites, accidental swallowing, and more. These plans do not cover medical issues such as illness or cancer.
What isn’t covered by pet insurance?
Every pet insurance plan involves some exclusions to keep prices down. Some dog health insurance plans may cover the following, but many do not. Here are some common pet insurance exclusions:
- Pre-existing conditions – including any illness or injury that begins before your policy is effective
- Elective and preventive procedures – including tail docking, ear cropping, declawing, and nail trimming, for example. Some preventive coverage is available with additional routine care coverage
- Parasites – testing, treatment, and prevention of parasites, including fleas, ticks, heart worms, etc.
- Non-veterinary expenses – including food, special diets, vitamins, and supplements, etc.
- Herbal, holistic, and experimental therapies and medications
How much is dog insurance?
Dog insurance costs are dependent on the following four factors:
- Your dog’s age
- Your dog’s breed
- Where you live
- Your plan’s annual limit, deductible, and reimbursement level
The type of plan you purchase can also determine the cost you’ll pay per month. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association found that the average monthly cost of accident-only coverage for dogs in 2019 was $16.17, or $48.78 for accident and illness coverage1.
Pets Best dog insurance starts at just $9 per month for accident-only plans, or $35 per month for comprehensive accident and illness coverage. Plus, the Guardian Direct partnership with Pets Best allows you to save an additional 5% on any Pets Best pet health insurance premiums.
Pet insurance for older dogs is usually more expensive. =The cost of unexpected vet care rises significantly as dogs get older, so your premium may change over time as your pet starts facing more inherent health risks. However, submitting a claim will not increase your pet insurance premiums.
Of course, premiums aren’t the only costs you should consider when choosing a dog health insurance plan. If you choose a plan with a higher monthly premium, your out-of-pocket costs will be lower.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Insuring your dog with pet insurance can be a great investment. Pet insurance coverage is designed to be used. Unfortunately, it’s likely that your dog will get sick or injured at some point during its life. In fact, research shows that four out of five pets will have a medical emergency in their lifetime2. And unexpected medical emergencies aren’t cheap. In fact, the average cost for unexpected veterinary care for dogs and cats is between $800 and $1,500, depending on where you live3.
Pet insurance can prove worth it for any dog owner, allowing you to keep your savings safe while providing your furry friend with the treatment they need.
How to purchase pet insurance
In some cases, you may be able to purchase pet insurance for dogs through your employer. A recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 11% of employers offered pet health insurance as a voluntary benefit to employees as of 20184. Contact your benefits or human resources department to see if that’s an option for you.
If your employer doesn’t offer pet insurance through a group plan, you can still enroll your dog in a pet insurance plan online. Many insurance companies allow you to purchase pet insurance directly from them, allowing you to avoid paying additional fees or commissions to an insurance broker or representative.
Here’s all the information you’ll need to provide to receive a custom quote and purchase pet insurance online:
- Your dog’s name
- Your dog's age
- Your dog’s breed
- Your dog’s gender
- A few details about your dog’s medical history
- Your zip code
- Your name
- Relevant payment information
Obtaining pet insurance online is a quick, easy, and secure process that’s available 365 days a year.
How to find the best pet insurance for your dog
To find the best dog insurance for you, consider the following factors as you search:
- What does the plan cover? – Consider whether you want accident coverage, illness coverage, routine care coverage, or a combination of the three
- What are the plan’s coverage levels? – Veterinary treatments can be very expensive. Make sure your plan’s coverage limits are high enough that you and your pet are well prepared in case something unexpected happens
- What’s my budget? – Decide whether you’d be more comfortable paying a higher monthly premium to lower your out-of-pocket costs, or if you’d rather keep your monthly premium low and opt for higher out-of-pocket costs
- Will I be able to visit any veterinarian? – Some plans restrict the veterinary care providers they’ll cover. Look for an insurance plan that allows you to see any licensed veterinarian, including emergency care and specialist vets.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.