How To Choose The Right Insurance For Your Dog
As a pet owner, you have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to looking after your dog. Keeping them fit and healthy is often a matter of a good diet, plenty of exercise, and keeping them up to date with their vaccinations. However, there are going to be times that your dog is going to need vet treatment for illness, injury, or a chronic condition, and that can be expensive. That’s where pet insurance comes in. You can cover the costs of treatment for your pet should anything happen to them.
However, not all insurance policies are created equal. You need to look beyond the monthly premium and make sure that you get the right policy for you and your dog.
Level of coverage
Different policies have different levels of coverage. Some will give you a certain level of coverage per condition, others will cover veterinary fees for a year up to a limit. This means that you might not be covered long-term if your dog develops a chronic condition that needs ongoing treatment.
Loss, theft, and death cover
Good pet insurance policies aren’t just about the medical side of things. Some include coverage if your pet is lost or stolen. You receive a certain amount of money to cover advertising the loss and a reward for the safe return of your pet.
Of course, should the worst happen and your pet passes away, some policies cover the burial or cremation urns for pets as part of your coverage. Others do not. So even though it’s a very difficult thing to think about, decide if this is important to you to have on your policy.
Kennel and boarding fees
It’s not just your pet’s health that you need to consider. What would happen to your pet if you were ill or needed to be in the hospital for a while? If there are family or friends who could look after them for you, that’s great. But not everyone has this. So, your pet insurance can cover kennel or home boarding fees for a pre-defined period while you are ill.
If your dog causes damage or injury you, as its owner, are legally liable for this. For example, if they cause a car accident or chew through your neighbor’s fence. Check the level of liability coverage and legal fee cover on your policy so that you’re confident that you won’t be out of pocket if someone decides to bring a legal case against you. Even a failed case can cost you a lot of money in legal fees before it’s settled, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recover that money back.
Up to 50% of dogs have some form of gum disease as they age. Usually, pet insurance policies don’t include preventative dental treatment or procedures required due to a lack of proper dental care.
However, if your dog’s teeth are damaged due to an accident or as a side effect of another illness or medication, then treatment for this should be covered under your policy.
Many pet owners get caught out with this one. If you’re looking to change your insurance provider, check to see what the terms of their pre-existing conditions are. If your dog has been treated for a certain illness before, then they may not be covered for it again on the new policy. You will also have to declare any previous illness or treatment.
Some insurers will provide coverage but it may be limited in terms of the amount you can claim and the length of time.
Direct veterinary payments
When you’re dealing with vet bills costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, you want your insurance company to pay the vets directly, rather than simply reimburse you.
Good customer service
Before choosing a pet insurer, take some time to do some research. Check out customer reviews and testimonials to get a feel for the company. If there are a lot of people complaining of poor customer service or the insurer not paying out, then this should be a red flag and you should look elsewhere.
Finding the right insurance policy for your dog is very important. Insurance policies differ considerably so you should take the time to work out exactly what you need from it. Consider your budget, lifestyle, and the age, breed and health of your pet. Don’t assume anything when it comes to your policy, check the fine print in every quote you get, so you don’t end up with a costly misunderstanding.