Dog insurance is certainly not the essential thing we must have when we own a dog. However, it definitely cannot be seen as an unnecessary luxury, as some see it. Like all other living beings, dogs can also get sick or injured, and when our pet’s health is at stake, the only thing we should think about is how to make him feel better.
Yet, anyone who has a dog knows that often vet visits can be a huge financial burden, since treatment costs can sometimes reach staggering amounts. We can lift much of that burden off our backs by getting dog insurance. Insurance can cover a large part of vet costs, so in case of an illness or injury, we can think solely about the well-being of our dog—instead of thinking about our bank account balance.
However, finding the right dog insurance is not a straightforward task. There are a multitude of dog insurance reviews available online, some of which are very comprehensive but can still seem confusing. We have tried to make this article simple and concise while giving you all the information you need to know in order to find the best insurance for your dog.
Keep reading to find out if getting dog insurance is worth it, how you can find out the exact price of insurance premium for your dog, and everything else that will make it easier for you to find the optimal insurance policy.
Dog Insurance Cost
The health of our dogs should come first, but many of us can’t afford the luxury of not caring about the numbers. Thus, one of the major questions that arise when we decide to get dog insurance is how much it will cost us. One should know that there is no straightforward answer to this question because many variables influence the price.
These variables include, but are not limited to:
- Dog’s age: If you are wondering when it’s the best time to get dog insurance, the answer is – now! Insurance premiums increase with age because the risk of illness and injuries is higher in senior dogs. Another reason it’s better to insure a dog while he’s still a puppy is that none of the insurance companies cover pre-existing health issues. The longer you wait, the more likely that some health issue whose treatment costs you will have to cover yourself will arise.
- Breed: Some breeds are more prone to injuries and certain health issues, thus the amount of the premium may be higher for those pets.
- Gender: The premiums for females are usually higher because they are prone to more health issues.
- Deductible: This is the amount you will have to pay out of your pocket before you can receive reimbursements for eligible treatment costs. This amount can range from $100 to $1,000. The lower the deductible, the higher the amount of insurance premium and vice versa. Some dog insurance providers have an annual while others have a per-incidents (or per-condition) deductible. With an annual deductible, you will have to meet that sum once a year (regardless of how many times your dog is sick or injured), while with a per accident deductible you will need to meet that sum for each type of incident.
- Reimbursement percentage: This is the amount that the insurance company covers once you meet your deductible. Percentages vary from company to company, but they range from 50 to 90% in most cases. The higher the reimbursement percentage, the higher the monthly premium and vice versa; if you choose a lower reimbursement percentage, your premium will also be lower.
- Annual coverage limit: This refers to the maximum amount the insurance provider will reimburse you each year. It can range from $5,000 upwards, while few companies don’t have the limit at all. If you choose an annual limit of $5,000, for example, your insurance premium will be lower than it would be if you opted for an annual limit of $15,000 per year.
- Location: Vet services are more expensive in certain areas, so dog insurance companies charge higher premiums to offset these costs.
Besides the aforementioned variables, some extra fees such as enrollment and transaction fees can also affect the total cost of the dog insurance policy.
To reduce the cost of your policy and to avoid limited coverage due to pre-existing conditions, it’s recommended to enroll your dog when he’s still young and healthy. You should also bear in mind that the insurance premium can grow as the dog ages.
Finding the ideal combination that won’t break the bank, but will give you peace of mind knowing that your dog will get all the medical care in case he needs it also depends on the type of coverage you want, i.e. the type of dog insurance plan.
Dog Insurance Plans
There are many pet insurance companies today, so the number of available plans is also large and diverse. But in general, we can divide dog insurance plans into three following types:
- Basic or accident-only plans (cover the expenses incurred solely because of injuries)
- Comprehensive or accident and illness plans (cover the injuries and the most illnesses)
- Wellness plans (often available as optional add-ons, wellness plans cover some or all preventative care costs like annual checkups, teeth cleaning, vaccination, flea, tick and heartworm treatment, etc.)
The items covered by each of these types of plans vary from company to company, but what all insurance companies have in common is that none of them cover pre-existing conditions, i.e. health problems that arose before insurance started. If some issue occurs during the approval period, it will also be considered as a pre-existing condition.
How to Choose the Best Dog Insurance Plan For My Dog?
Whether your four-legged companion has been with you for a while but you just decided to seek insurance for him, or you already have insurance but you’re not happy and want to change the current insurance company, or maybe you’re just planning to get a dog so you want to inform yourself in advance, here you will find a few simple tips that will help you choose the optimal insurance plan for your pet.
Getting a Dog Insurance For the First Time
Before choosing a dog insurance plan, sit down and try to make an overview of the vet care costs you have had so far. What kind of vet interventions were most often involved; were the costs more often related to illnesses or injuries, how much did you spend on vet bills annually?
Based on this information, it should be clearer to you whether an accident-only plan is enough for your dog or whether it’s better to go with the full coverage. It should also be clearer which reimbursement limit and deductible would be optimal in your situation.
I Am Planning to Get a Dog and I Want To Know Which Dog Insurance Plan Would Be the Optimal For Us
If you are planning to get a dog (or you recently got one) and you want to find out which insurance plan is best for your pet, do the research on that particular breed; check if there are any diseases or other health issues to which your dog is predisposed to. This way, you will come up with a list of health issues that might occur in your pet. You can find a list of health issues for some of the most popular breeds in the U.S. on our site.
By doing further research on the costs of treating the health issues you have singled out, you can get a rough idea of the future costs.
With the data you get; a list of potential health problems that could occur in your dog over time and the approximate cost of vet treatments, it should be easier to find the ideal insurance plan for your pet.
I Want To Change the Dog Insurance Plan I Currently Have
Some of the most common reasons people decide to change insurance is the price increase after policy renewal or after realizing that the coverage they have chosen doesn’t suit them after all. However, changing your current dog insurance provider can sometimes do more harm than good, so to speak. Here is why.
It’s known that dog insurance companies don’t cover the costs of treating pre-existing conditions. If your dog has developed an illness or got injured while being on the current insurance policy, the insurance provider will cover the cost of treatment. But if you decide to change the insurance company, a new provider will consider any health issues that have appeared in the meantime as a pre-existing condition and they will exclude it from the plan.
Therefore, if the price is the reason you are thinking of changing the current insurance provider, before you take any action, think carefully and make a detailed comparison between the current company and the plan you have with those for whom you want to change them.
How Does Dog Insurance Work Once I Find the Right Plan?
Once you enroll your dog, you will pay a monthly premium to the insurance provider for the ongoing coverage.
Let’s say you have chosen the following options:
- Accident and illness plan
- Annual deductible of $500
- Reimbursement percentage of 90%
- Annual reimbursement level of $15,000
The insurance company will start reimbursing you for the vet bills after you meet the $500 deductible. For all future costs covered by the insurance policy, you will file a claim to the insurance provider to get reimbursement.
Let’s say a vet treatment for your dog had cost you $2750. Since you opted for 90% reimbursement, it will cost you only $275, while the insurance will cover the rest and so on until you reach the annual limit of $15,000.
Best Dog Insurance
Aside from seemingly complicated terms that can make it difficult to fully understand how things work in the dog insurance world, what makes it even harder to find the best dog insurance is numerous insurance companies available to consider during a search.
After reviewing dozens of different dog insurances, we narrowed down the selection to a few of them offering good value for money. The criteria we were guided by:
- Reputation and longevity of the company: Insurance providers that have been around for years and have a good reputation are a better choice in the long run than those new to the market. Insurance providers that have just appeared on the market or are operating for a shorter period are still trying to figure out business metrics, so they are very likely to change prices. Also, it can happen that they suddenly shut down and disappear.
- Plans available: What do they cover, whether there is only one or more plans to choose, whether it is possible to further customize the chosen plan, etc.
- Claims filing and processing: No one wants to waste hours trying to figure out how to file a claim or wait months to get reimbursed. That’s why we have taken the simplicity and speed of the process as one of the criteria in our search for the best dog insurance.
- Waiting periods: The policy doesn’t become effective the same day you sign up for insurance; waiting periods can range from a few days to several weeks, but some companies have shorter waiting periods than others.
Here is the comparison table of the insurance companies that stood out with their offer, and below you can find more details about their insurance policies.
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Embrace Dog Insurance Review
The Embrace company has been around since 2006, and with its plan with fairly extensive coverage, multiple discounts, diminishing deductible, and a few other beneficial features that we will mention later, has stood out as one of the best dog insurance providers. Embrace’s most popular policy – the accident and illness plan, covers more vet services than most other companies’ policies, and it has fairly reasonable prices.
The content of the following table refers to the Embrace’s most popular policy – the accident and illness plan.
Embrace insurance offers good customization options for accident and illness plan, which include:
- Three reimbursement amounts: 70%, 80%, and 90%
- Five deductible amounts: $200, $300, $500, $750, and $1000
- Five annual limit amounts: $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000, and $30,000
Unfortunately, dogs older than 15 are not eligible for the above-mentioned plan. An accident-only plan is available for senior dogs, and it covers the following:
- Accident exam fees
- Foreign body ingestion
- Torn cruciate ligament
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Car accidents
- Dental trauma
- Prescription drugs for covered conditions
- Related procedures for accepted conditions
Deductible at the accident-only policy is $100 and you need to meet it once a year. Reimbursement is 90% and you can get reimbursed for up to $5,000 per year.
Both plans can be supplemented by a wellness plan that covers preventive care costs of up to $650 per year.
Embrace insurance has a two-day waiting period for accident coverage and a 14-day waiting period for illness coverage. A vet exam within the last 12 months before the policy start date or 14 days after the start date is required.
There is also a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions, which you can reduce to 14 days if you take your dog to a simple orthopedic exam after purchasing the insurance policy. In this case, you will need to download a copy of your dog’s orthopedic exam report card from MyEmbrace and have your veterinarian complete it.
For any health-related concerns, Embrace’s customer care is available 24/7 at no additional charge.
Claims Filing and Processing
Claims for accidents and illnesses are eligible for coverage once the waiting periods are over. You can submit claims by email, fax, or mail as well, but the quickest way to get the claim started is via Embrace Pet Insurance App or via MyEmbrace customer account. All you need to do is to get a copy of an invoice from your vet’s office, upload it, and follow simple step-by-step instructions.
If you provide all the necessary information, they should process your claim in 10-15 business days. You can check the status of your claims via the app or by logging in to your MyEmbrace account. You can get reimbursed by check (up to 10 business days) or direct deposit (within 2-3 business days).
The cost of Embrace dog insurance depends on many factors and therefore it’s not possible to give one answer that could apply to everyone. Therefore, we will use the following example to show the cost of this and the plans of other insurance providers that we reviewed.
The monthly premium for Aria, a one-year-old female Greyhound from Philadelphia, is $64.56. We selected a $500 deductible, an annual limit of $15,000, and a maximum reimbursement percentage of 90%.
Additional fees within Embrace dog insurance policies:
- Enrollment fee (one time): $25
- Installment fee (unless you pay for the entire year in advance): $1
Embrace offers several discounts to its customers; if you enroll more than one pet you get a 10% discount (5% in New York), and an additional 5% if you are a former or current military member (not available in all states).
Another benefit that Embrace offers is the so-called diminishing deductible – for every year you don’t receive a claim reimbursement, Embrace will reduce your deductible by $50 the next year.
All insurance companies, including Embrace, increase their policy premiums over time. Premiums may rise as your dog gets older or if there is an increase in the prices of vet services in your area. Some companies will also increase your monthly premium if you have a large number of claims, but that is not the case with Embrace and that is the thing we like about this insurance provider.
Embrace Dog Insurance PROS
- Extensive coverage
- Multiple discounts
- Diminishing deductible
- Great customizing options
- Free medical history review
- Waiting period of only 2 days for accident coverage
- Free 24/7 customer support
Embrace Dog Insurance CONS
- Newly enrolled dogs over the age of 15 are limited to an accident-only plan
- Waiting period of 6 months for orthopedic conditions
Fetch by The Dodo Dog Insurance Review (Formerly Petplan)
Petplan, a reputable insurance company that has been in business since 2003, partnered with The Dodo in 2022 and changed its name to Fetch by The Dodo. Fetch offers one plan which covers most of the illnesses and accidents, but wellness coverage is not available at all. However, there are some other perks that make this insurance worth considering.
As said, Fetch insurance has only one insurance plan available, but you can customize the price by choosing your deductible, reimbursement, and payout rates. The following options are available:
- Reimbursement percentage: 70%, 80%, 90%
- Deductible amounts: $250, $300, $500
- Maximal annual payout: $5,000, $15,000, unlimited
Fetch by The Dodo has a 15-day waiting period for both illness and injury coverage, which is the disadvantage of this insurance compared to others, which have slightly shorter waiting periods, at least when it comes to injuries.
To make your policy effective, you need to take your dog to a vet exam within six months prior to the start date of the policy, or make an exam at your own expense within 30 days of the start date of the policy (this period may vary by state).
For orthopedic conditions, there is a six months waiting period which you can waive if you take your dog to a vet exam within 30 days of policy issuance and the vet confirms that there are no indications of orthopedic issues.
Claim Filing and Processing
Once the waiting periods are over and you meet the deductible, you can submit claims via mobile app or customer account on the provider’s website. Claims must be submitted within 90 days following treatment and they are usually processed within days if no information is missing. You can track the status of your claims and get real-time updates via the app. You can get reimbursed by check or direct deposit. If you set up a direct deposit, you can get your money back 10-15 days faster than with checks.
The monthly premium for Aria, a one-year-old female Greyhound from Philadelphia, is $72.26. As with plans from other insurance providers, we selected a $500 annual deductible, an annual limit of $15,000, and a maximum reimbursement percentage of 90%.
Fetch states they don’t charge additional fees. The benefit this company offers to its customers is the so-called healthy pet credit. Healthy pet credit is a 15% discount that applies to your premium for the upcoming year if your dog goes without a paid claim during the first 12-month renewal period. For 24 months without a paid claim, Fetch claims it will increase the credit to 30%.
There is no obvious information on the increase in premiums on Fetch’s website, but some long-time policyholders complain that there have been significant changes in prices in the last few years. The information they received from customer support shows that the price gets higher mainly due to aging and an increase in the number of claims. So if this company’s insurance policy seems like a good fit for you and your dog, it would be a good idea to check this part with their support team first.
Fetch by The Dodo Dog Insurance PROS
- Covers a variety of unexpected non-health expenses such as boarding fees (in case you end up in hospital), trip cancellation if your dog gets ill, advertising and reward for lost pets
- Healthy pet credit (15-30% discount for each year you go without paid claim)
- Unlimited annual payout
Fetch by The Dodo Dog Insurance CONS
- Only one plan is available
- No multi-pet discount
- No wellness plan available
- No 24/7 customer support
- The waiting period for accidents is 15 days, which is longer than average
Trupanion Dog Insurance Review
Trupanion is a well-known name in the dog insurance industry. It was founded in 1999 in Canada and has been operating in the United States since 2005. The company offers one plan which you can complement with two additional packages covering non-clinical procedures and unexpected costs such as advertising and rewards if your dog goes missing, third-party property damage liability, etc.
The content of the following table refers to Trupanion’s basic plan, without additional packages. You should keep in mind that Trupanion has an age limit, so dogs 14 years of age and older are not eligible for this insurance policy.
Trupanion doesn’t really offer a lot of customization options, but the good thing is there are no payout limits. Their plan includes a 90% reimbursement rate and the only part that you can customize is deductible, which ranges from $0 to $1,000.
In addition, Trupanion is one of the few, if not the only, company that has a per-incident rather than an annual deductible. This means you will have to meet deductibles for every new health issue your dog encounters (per-incident deductible doesn’t reset every year like an annual deductible).
Besides the basic insurance plan, add-ons are also available. The additional Pet owner assistance package is available for $4.95 per month and it covers the following:
- Liability coverage for third-party property damage
- Cremation or burial cost (if a dog dies in an accident)
- Advertising and reward cost if a dog gets lost
- Boarding fees (in the event you end up in hospital)
- Vacation cancellation costs
The price for the Recovery and complementary care package varies from one dog to another. This package covers the following:
- Behavioral modification
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Physical therapy
Although the company made an effort to offer its customers additional options, none of them unfortunately cover the costs of preventive care. So if this part is important to you, it’s better to go with another insurance provider, such as Embrace, for instance, which has a wellness plan available that covers these costs.
Trupanion has a 30-day waiting period for illnesses, which is slightly longer than the industry standard, and a 5-day waiting period for injuries. The good thing is that orthopedic conditions are being covered as soon as the aforementioned 30-day waiting period for illnesses is up. Most other insurance providers usually place a six months waiting period for orthopedic issues.
Claim Filing and Processing
The thing that sets Trupanion apart from most competitors is the direct payment system they offer. If your vet is a part of it, you will only have to pay your portion of the bill at checkout, and the company will pay the rest directly to the vet. This makes things a lot easier for you because there is no need to fill out forms and submit claims.
In the event your vet is not part of this system, the reimbursement process goes the traditional way – you need to fill out the form and submit a claim by mail, fax, email, or by logging into your account on Trupanion’s website and wait for the reimbursement. Trupanion doesn’t clearly state how long the claim process takes, but most users mention they got reimbursed within 14 days.
With an unlimited annual payout, a reimbursement percentage of 90%, and a $500 deductible, the cost of the monthly premium for Aria, a one-year-old female Greyhound from Philadelphia, is $96.98.
Trupanion also charges a one-time enrollment fee of $35.
Unlike some of their competitors, they don’t offer any discounts, pointing out that instead, they provide all customers with the lowest possible premiums, but the fact is that their premiums are among the highest.
Trupanion points out that your insurance premium will never automatically increase just because your dog gets older, which doesn’t mean there will be no changes at all. Same as with all other insurance providers, you can still expect premiums to increase over time because Trupanion doesn’t promise that other factors, such as an increase in prices of vet services in your area, won’t affect your premium.
Trupanion Dog Insurance PROS
- No annual payout limit
- Short waiting period for accident coverage (5 days)
- Possibility to pay your vet directly (only with vets who use Trupanion’s software)
- 0$ deductible available
- Covers a variety of unexpected non-health expenses
- 24/7 customer support
Trupanion Dog Insurance CONS
- Limited customization options
- Unusually long waiting period for illness coverage (30 days)
- No option to add coverage for preventative care
- No discounts
The joy that dogs bring into our lives is priceless, but owning these cute furry creatures, along with happiness and a good mood, implies the existence of ongoing costs as well. Dog insurance can cover a big part of vet expenses, but it is up to you to assess whether it is worth getting insurance for your dog.
Ideally, your dog will have a long and healthy life without the need for extensive veterinary care. But since we don’t know what the future may bring, it’s good to have a backup plan that will save you from unforeseen costs and ensure you don’t have to face the tough decisions people normally face when they can’t provide their dog with the professional care he needs.
Before deciding about getting a dog insurance, evaluate the health condition of your dog and the costs you have had so far. In the section “Dog Insurance Plans” you can find tips on how to find a dog insurance plan that will be in line with the needs of your dog, as well as with your finances. In the section “Best Dog Insurance”, you can find the reviews of companies whose insurance plans stand out from the competition.
Please keep in mind that the information in this article is intended for reference use only. Information regarding insurance providers’ offerings is subject to change by the insurance company at any time, so review your insurance policy carefully before signing up a contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those we used for example purposes in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Insurance
Is There a Dog Insurance?
How Much Is Dog Insurance?
Is Dog Insurance Worth It?
What Does Dog Insurance Cover?
How To Get Dog Insurance?
How Much Is Dog Health Insurance?