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Home DOG GROOMING Puppy Insurance 101 | PetMD

Puppy Insurance 101 | PetMD

by Bella Woof

Puppies bring joy and energy to our lives. But they can also lead to worry and frustration when it comes to behavioral training and unforeseen problems.

Puppy insurance can help ease worries caused by unforeseen injury or illness during those puppy years. Pet insurance covers a percentage of your pup’s medical care and reduces the heartbreak of paying significant veterinary costs.

Do puppies need insurance?

Yes, it’s a good idea to get puppy insurance to cover unforeseen costs that will arise during the puppy years. It’s important to get a policy as soon as you bring a new puppy into your home.

Although most puppies are born healthy (apart from those with congenital problems) and are at low risk of being diagnosed with a chronic disease at an early age, here are several good reasons to consider puppy insurance for new members. of his family.

First, puppies are prone to certain accidents and diseases:

  • Eating things they are not supposed to eat, which could be toxic or cause a blockage in their intestines.

  • Sprains and fractures from accidents and falls

  • Bites from snakes or insects from being too curious

  • Gastroenteritis (dog stomach bug with diarrhea and/or vomiting)

  • virus

All of these need veterinary care, which can be expensive. An insurance policy can help reduce the cost of providing medical care.

Second, having an insurance policy in place when your pup is still young and healthy means they won’t have pre-existing conditions when they grow up, assuming you keep the policy intact.

Once an adult dog is diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers or brachycephalic syndrome in Bulldogs, it is considered a pre-existing condition. Many insurance companies will not cover a pet with a pre-existing condition. However, if you had an insurance policy in effect prior to diagnosis, that illness may be covered.

Types of insurance for puppies

Pet insurance is very similar to human insurance: You pay monthly premiums and you have a deductible, but there are some key differences.

With human insurance, it doesn’t matter if you were in an accident or have signs of a chronic condition, like allergies, it’s all covered under the same policy. You may have separate policies for vision or dental, but it is otherwise one main policy.

With pets, there are three main types of policies. One covers accidents only, another covers accidents and illnesses, and another covers preventive care like immunizations and checkups.

Accident and illness insurance for puppies

This is the most common type of pet insurance. Accident and illness plans cover unexpected surgeries, imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasound and X-rays, hospitalization, infectious therapy, cancer therapy, and emergency care.

This coverage can help with problems like:

  • Broken bones

  • urinary tract infections

  • bite wounds

  • Anaphylactic and allergic reactions

  • Bacterial/viral diseases such as parvovirus or Bordetella, if properly vaccinated

  • foreign body ingestion

Accident and sickness coverage often includes:

  • Initial exam and follow-up exams

  • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, blood tests, and urinalysis.

  • Surgical treatments and procedures administered in the hospital (such as injections, fluid therapy, wound care, laceration repair, fracture repair, or bandaging)

  • Hospitalization

  • Medicines to take home with the puppy

Puppy insurance for accidents only

Accident-only puppy insurance plans are less expensive than plans that also cover illness. These plans cover unexpected surgeries, such as a gastrointestinal blockage or a broken bone, but will not cover illnesses such as infections, cancer, and immune-mediated diseases.

Accident-only coverage often includes the following, only if it is an accident:

  • Initial exam and follow-up exams

  • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and blood tests.

  • Surgical treatments and procedures administered in the hospital (such as injections, fluid therapy, wound care, laceration repair, fracture repair, or bandaging)

  • Hospitalization

  • Medicines to take home with the puppy

Puppy Wellness Plans

These plans include annual wellness coverage based on age and race. They normally cover:

  • exams

  • Wellness blood and urine test

  • vaccines

  • fecal tests

  • Tests for heartworm and tick borne diseases

  • Antiparasitic treatments

Many wellness plans cover elective procedures like spaying and neutering, but may have limitations on the pet’s age and when the surgery is performed. Many cosmetic or elective procedures, such as tail and ear docking or declawing of cats, are also typically not covered.

dental insurance

Dental coverage is often part of the other plans. Most pet insurance plans do not cover dental prophylaxis (dental evaluation, dental x-rays, and cleaning) or removal of impacted deciduous (baby) teeth.

Some companies may cover routine cleanings as part of a wellness plan. However, accidents or injuries, such as a broken/fractured tooth or an abscess at the root of the tooth, may be covered under a traditional accident-only or accident and sickness plan.

How does puppy insurance work?

With human insurance, you typically show your card at the doctor’s office and then only pay a copay. With most pet insurance, you pay the entire bill at the vet’s office, then file a claim with the insurance company for reimbursement.

They will look at the receipt and decide which items are covered expenses. The insurance company will then mail a check or make a direct deposit or hold funds for you to withdraw to pay your covered expenses.

There are some pet insurance companies that pay the vet directly, so you only have to pay the vet your share.

How much can you expect from your insurance company? That depends on two key things: deductibles and reimbursement rates.

Deductible. This is the amount that must be paid before the insurance policy takes effect. For example, if you have a $200 deductible, your insurance company will not begin to cover the charges until you have paid $200 to the vet. There are several types of deductibles, including annual, incident/sickness, or lifetime deductibles for long-term conditions. In general, the higher your monthly premium, the lower your deductible.

Reimbursement rate. This is the amount of money you will be responsible for even after you meet your deductible. Many insurance policies have an 80-90% reimbursement rate, which means that you will be responsible for 10-20% of the vet bills for covered charges, even after you have met the deductible, and the company will reimburse the 80 to 90% remaining.

Let’s say the vet bill is $300. You pay the vet and file the claim for $300. Your deductible is $100, so you are now requesting a $200 reimbursement. The insurance company approves the claim. But your reimbursement rate is 80%, so the company will pay you back $160, or 80% of the $200.

How to get puppy insurance

The type of insurance you choose for your pup depends on your budget, risk tolerance, and your pup’s health needs.

The first step is to research your options and determine what type of policy meets your needs. It’s always a good idea to compare insurance company rates for similar plans. If you have questions, speak directly with the insurance providers.

Then, decide how to balance the premium (monthly rate), deductible, and reimbursement rate on your policy to fit your budget. There are some things you can’t control about the cost of the premium, since it’s based partly on your type of pet, its age and breed, and where you live. But you can choose a higher deductible to lower your premium.

Many puppy owners choose plans with higher deductibles and a lower monthly payment, because puppies are less likely to be diagnosed with serious illness. However, you may not want to do this if your pup gets into a lot of things and is very accident-prone. Some companies allow you to change your deductible each year.

There’s no wrong approach: Getting insurance for your pup is a good way to make sure he’ll get the medical care he needs.

Featured image:


Katie Grzyb, DVM


Dr. Katie Grzyb received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2009. She continued her clinical training at…

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