If you love your pet and want to protect them from costly medical bills, a pet insurance plan may be worth the cost. Pet insurance covers vet visits, procedures, prescriptions and other treatments your dog might need to stay healthy. It can also help pay for a lost or stolen animal, as well as euthanasia if needed. But how do you choose the best pet insurance for your pup? To help you decide, we spoke to veterinary professionals—including Dr. William Hodges, DVM, Aliyah Diamond, Surgery Technician, and Ricky Walther, DVM—and pet owners to understand the pros and cons of this type of coverage.
When deciding on a policy, you’ll need to consider the types of injuries and illnesses that your pet might encounter. Accident coverage helps with things like bite wounds, broken bones and swallowed objects, while illness coverage includes treatments such as X-rays, MRIs, blood work and medications. You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want a preventive care add-on, which typically pays for vaccinations, wellness exams and blood work.
Most pet insurers allow you to cover a maximum of about 80 percent of your vet bills, with higher costs covered at a lower percentage. You should also check a company’s age restrictions, as some insurers won’t cover pets older than eight or nine, or even younger for some breeds. Other important factors include the company’s reimbursement rates, coverage limits and deductibles.
While some companies may offer different plans, most include two basic types of policies: accident and illness. Accident coverage will reimburse you up to a specific annual limit for the costs of treatment for your pet’s injuries, such as hospitalization and medications. Illness coverage, on the other hand, typically covers a variety of treatments for your pet’s illnesses, such as antibiotics and steroid injections. Some providers also offer hereditary and congenital condition coverage, which helps with the costs of common conditions such as heart disease and hip dysplasia.
Figo is an example of a pet insurance company that offers a comprehensive accident and illness policy, including nonroutine dental care, alternative treatments and hereditary conditions. The company also recognizes that some pre-existing conditions are curable, so if your dog has been symptom and treatment-free for 180 days, they will no longer be considered pre-existing.
Nationwide’s Whole Pet and Major Medical pet insurance plans offer a variety of annual coverage limits for both accidents and illnesses. The company’s mobile app, Pet Cloud, offers features such as health care reminders and the ability to organize medical records and chat with a veterinarian. In addition, you can purchase a separate wellness plan for your pet from the company, although this feature isn’t available in all states. The company also offers a per-condition deductible that could save you money in the long run, though this isn’t available in all states. pet insurance for dog