There has been a lot of talk about the availability of health insurance over the last several years. Yet aside from that national discussion, did you know that you could purchase health insurance for your dog? Yes, health insurance for your dog. For the better part of the last 20 years, there have been a handful of insurance companies throughout the country offering health care policies for pets.
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According to the ASPCA there are roughly 160 million cats and dogs owned by American pet owners. Of those pet owners, less than 1% carries health insurance, as demonstrated in a December 2009 report in the Wall Street Journal. But for those to whom their dog is as important a member of the family as parents and children, medical care is equally important, especially if they spend large amounts of money on veterinary bills every year.
How does health insurance for your dog to work?
Dog health insurance operates in a manner that is surprisingly similar to health insurance for humans. Dog owners pay a monthly premium between $20 and $100 per month to receive a certain amount of benefits. They submit their insurance cards to their vet at the time of service, as long as the vet accepts such insurance. If not the pet owner pays the bill out-of-pocket and then submits it to his insurance company for reimbursement. Essentially, it works the same way as a third-party service provider for people.
Just like human insurance, dog health insurance comes with a multitude of options. Pet owners can choose specifically the type of coverage they’re after, annual deductibles and limits, and so on. How much each individual pet owner pays in monthly premiums will be determined by all of his or her policy choices.
Unbelievably, some dog insurance companies even offer policy discounts for multiple pets. Cover your dog, cat, and bird and you could save significantly on the cost of each one.
Why do people purchase dog health insurance?
As stated earlier, there are some individuals who consider their dogs to be an important part of the family, on the same level as the human members. For these people, treating the dog that has cancer is not even a question; they would not put their dog down any more than they would another family member. That said; the cancer treatment is very expensive to the point that the average dog owner could probably not afford it without an insurance policy.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the question of how much medical care you’re willing to provide as a pet owner. If you believe your pets deserve all the same car as you and your children, it’s probably going to cost you a significant amount of money if your dog ever develops serious issues. On the other hand, if you believe animals are not on the same par as people, you might be willing to put them down for those same serious medical issues.
Are there restrictions on health insurance for your dog?
Just like many human insurance policies, there are some restrictions for things like pre-existing conditions. If your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, for example, you won’t be able to get a new health insurance policy after the diagnosis is made. If you’re inclined to purchase such health insurance, the time to do it is when the dog is healthy and active. That way, when medical complications arise the policy is already in place.
There may be some other restrictions depending on the company in which you decide to purchase your insurance. For example, some types of care may be covered in full and without question, while other types of care will be left up to the discretion of the insurance company. In other words, just about everything that applies to human health insurance also applies to pet insurance with the possible exception of annual cost. Insurance for your dog is generally only a few hundred dollars a year while insurance for your children and spouse can run the thousands of dollars.
According to some reports, the popularity of pet health insurance is slowly growing in the United States. Nonetheless, it’s not nearly as popular as it is in Europe, where insurance rates are as high as 50% of all pet owners.
Whether you purchase health insurance for your dog pretty much comes down to how valuable your pet is to your family and how much are willing to spend on healthcare. There is no right or wrong answer; it’s up to you as an individual pet owner.
Pets aside, you can search for health insurance rates online by entering your zip code right now!