Investing in medical insurance for my own dogs was something that I pondered over for many years. The problem was that it was always too late once I considered looking into it. My dog’s were always much older and to the point where no insurance company would cover their already existing health problems.
Plus, I was always a little concerned about the overall credibility of many of the companies providing pet insurance. I think that trust is a big factor for most owners looking to purchase health coverage for their best friend.
“What do they cover?” “Do they really cover what they say they will?” “Do they cover genetic diseases such hip dysplasia, etc.?”
These were many of the concerns that held be back from doing anything at all. Our yellow lab “Lulu” lived to be 16 years old before passing away on June 30, 2010.
We spent thousands of dollars on Lulu’s health issues when she developed a cancerous tumor at the age of 12 and had to undergo pretty invasive surgery. Like many, we consider our dogs our children and when they need special care, there’s really no debating it — we just do what we can. It was around this time that I really started investigating what was available in terms of health insurance for those with older dogs.
The Basics of Health Insurance for Dogs
Most companies allow you to choose between several options of deductibles and reimbursements. Keep in mind that the higher the deductible, the lower the monthly cost.
Pre-existing Conditions and Preventative Care
Both pre-existing conditions are NEVER covered and preventative care is typically NOT COVERED either.
No health insurance companies cover preexisting conditions, period! This is why it’s important to think about getting coverage for your dog or cat, before they get too old or before anything serious happens.
What is Considered Preventative Care:
- Flea, heart worm and parasite control
- Dental care (some do cover dental if caused by an accident)
- Anal gland expression
- Feeding, housing and exercise
- Behavioral training or therapy
These Are MUST Ask Questions
- Do they have age limits (some companies place restrictions and cut-off ages for certain breeds)?
- Do they limit annual claims or per condition?
- Do they cover hereditary and congenital conditions including eye disorders, hip dysplasia or knee problems?
- Is cancer coverage included or is it extra?
- Are prescription medications covered?
- Are there waiting periods once you purchase a policy (hip dysplasia, accidents or illnesses)
- If your dog sees a holistic vet – ask if they cover alternative treatments including, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments, homeopathy and herbal supplements? Although most DO NOT cover supplements, some will cover them if they are prescription strength and your Veterinarian is prescribing it as medicine. On the other hand – many companies only cover conventional prescription drugs period, even through a holistic vet. ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT HOLISTIC CARE
- Do they increase your policy cost if you submit claims or does it stay the same for the life of your pet?
Learn as much as you can about what the company offers. More importantly; understand it. If you are looking into insurance for your own dog, I highly recommend that you look at the article I did which includes a lot more detail and an informative chart as well.