Every dog owner finds themselves thinking about whether to buy pet insurance for their dogs or not. It is a tough call. Is pet insurance necessary? Is it worth it? How do I know if I can afford the monthly premium? How do I know which pet insurance company to choose? How do I know which plan to choose for my dog? The list of questions is an exceptionally long one that I know can be overwhelming. Hopefully, I will help answer some of your questions.

In 2020, a brindle Great Dane puppy came into our lives.  I had not been one to keep pet insurance on my dogs but when AKC offered the 30-day free pet insurance enrollment at registration, I took advantage of it and kept it after the 30 days had passed. Fast forward to March 2021 where Jama was facing an expensive, delicate eye surgery to remove a tumor on the iris of her left eye. She also needed surgery to correct entropion and was diagnosed with incipient cataracts. It was then that I found out how much the pet insurance plan would pay that I had been paying monthly for since she was a small puppy. That amount was zero due to the pet insurance plan only covering accidents.  I had made the mistake of thinking it covered more when it did not.  The total cost of Jama’s eye surgery including all visits to date is up to $4700.00.  Thankfully, we were in a place where we could handle this large of a vet bill because her surgery was needed sooner rather than later. That is not always the case for everyone, so it is important to have some understanding of what to look for when looking for pet insurance.

Things to consider:

  • Cost of premiums
  • Deductibles
    • Per Incident
    • Per Year
  • Coverage
    • Accident coverage
    • Illness coverage
    • Hereditary condition coverage
    • Routine care coverage
  • Waiting periods
    • With some pet insurance policies, coverage will start immediately but with others, coverage may be delayed due to the condition or illness.
  • How claims are processed
    • By mail only
    • Online
  • How quickly claims are paid when approved
    • Do they pay the vet directly?
    • Do you pay the vet and then they reimburse you?
  • Pre-existing conditions
    • Most pet insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions
    • Pre-existing conditions are conditions that have been treated by a veterinarian prior to a pet insurance coverage start date.
  • Do they offer multiple dog discounts when you enroll more than one dog?

It takes time to choose the best pet insurance plan for your dogs.  Take your time looking, make notes, check reviews, talk to actual customers and compare plans.  What might work for some, might not work for others.

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We narrowed our search down to Pets Best, Nationwide, Embrace, and Trupanion. For what we needed and could afford based on the number of dogs we own, what breed they are and overall customer service we finally chose Pets Best.  While turnaround time on claims can take longer than others, we felt they were our best option.  We do like that each dog has an annual deductible, not a per-incident deductible.  While we may never need it, they are covered just in case and we have peace of mind knowing this.

Whether you choose to purchase pet insurance or not, knowing what to look for when considering the options makes this task seem a little less overwhelming.

From one dog owner to another, I hope the above information helps you make better-informed decisions when you find yourself on the path to getting pet insurance for your dog.

Kelly Fails
KindleFire Great Danes & Beagles  – Conformation & Performance
Online Store & Merchandise Manager for the National Canine Cancer Foundation

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