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Even before you get a puppy, you start thinking about the essentials, right? Add insurance to that list. That adorable little guy deserves to be taken good care of like you would a baby. And if you neglect it, you might end up looking at some pretty steep vet bills.

The Importance of Puppy Insurance

There’s food, toys, adoption fee to shell out for already. So wouldn’t you want to make sure that if there is a medical emergency, the last thing to worry about is money?

Even if not, there are vaccinations, neutering and spaying to pay for anyway. And god forbid if there are allergies or inconsistencies in the food there will be more stuff to deal with. Then there is the inevitable risk of health risks depending on the pup’s breed.

It’s possible that there are conditions you are not even aware of just yet. So, getting insurance for your pet is crucial. Now, there are a few reasons why it is wise to do this while he or she is still a pup.

Timing

The cost of pet insurance policies varies based on the age and breed of your dog. It also depends on your location. But lucky for you, the premium is lower when the pet is still young.

That is also because most pet insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions that might show up in the future. So, it is a smart move on your part to get insurance cover before these symptoms start showing up or worse, an illness is diagnosed.

Reimbursement

Then there is the matter of food. If a foreign body enters the pup’s system and things spiral out of control, sometimes surgery is not an option. And these things are expensive.

If you are thinking of ducking it, you should know that this is quite common among puppies. In such cases, the average cost of a surgery is over $1,000. But if your puppy is insured, you can get reimbursed for 70 to 90 percent of that cost based on the type of policy you take out.

Routine Care

Then you must think of routine care which includes procedures like vaccinations, neutering and spaying. These are relatively costly but if you pick the right insurer and policy, you might just be okay.

Chronic Conditions

And finally, there are conditions like allergies, diabetes and cancer which are chronic. Treatment for these conditions can cost you a bomb and if you don’t get your puppy insured, you will fall in financial hard times.

If you take out the policy before these conditions are diagnosed, you will be reimbursed for most part of the treatment for the rest of your dog’s life.

What You Can Expect after Getting Pet Insurance

The whole idea of pet insurance is to help you keep the medical expenses to a minimum when there is an accident or an illness. This makes sure that your vet bills are the least of your problems when your pet is in pain and needs your complete attention.

Unfortunately, the treatment for common illnesses and injuries is relatively more expensive. And that’s not even taking into account the regular consultations and medications you will need after getting emergency care.

But there are plenty of pet insurers in the US that offer a range of policies to cover accidents and illnesses along with your puppy’s wellness. You can make this choice based on your financial situation and the needs of your pup depending on their age and breed. You must learn about the possible health risks their breed is exposed to so that you can make an informed choice.

After that, you must also look at the insurer and gauge their familiarity with the surprises that might come up along the way. Some insurers are great for routine care, others are considerate in the way they define pre-existing conditions and some offer discounts if you have multiple pets. So, it’s a bit of a balance between what works for you and your pet at the same time.

You can either go for specific coverage or get a comprehensive coverage and get some add-ons. This entirely depends on the type of policies the insurer of your choice is willing to offer. It takes a little bit of research but it is worth every penny.

The Average Cost of Dog Insurance in 2021

As mentioned earlier, this final tally depends on a few factors. Irrespective of the age and breed of the puppy and your location, we can give you a few numbers so that you have an idea of the kind of costs you are looking at.

The average costs are more for dogs when compared to cats by about 60 percent for most accident and illness policies. And if you don’t insure your dog while they are still a puppy, those numbers easily go up because the older they get the more health issues they are likely to develop.

You will have to pay monthly premiums which could be anywhere from $10 to $100. But if you are looking at a decent coverage plan, you should be ready to shell out $30 to $50 every month.

It has been observed that the average cost for dogs is also rising by the year. In the past five years, dog insurance for accidents and illness policies has gone up by 25.9 percent and for accident-only policies the figure is 24.9 percent. That’s two more reasons to get on it right away.

Based on the policies offered by the top 11 pet insurers in the US, your monthly premiums for dog insurance are likely to cost approximately $42. And if you take the other variables like breed, age and location into account, this is what it looks like.

For a dog prone to injuries in a location where vets are expensive, you might be paying about $70 a month. If you are looking at more coverage then, well, the premium will be higher. But you could try and reduce the deductible or increase the reimbursement amount.

For the most common breeds, this is what the monthly premium estimate looks like.

  • Golden Retriever: $40.56
  • Bulldog: $39.00
  • Labrador Retriever: $37.44
  • German Shepherd: $34.32
  • Beagle: $34.32

This is based on the assumption that the dog is three years old, male and healthy.

The Thing about Pre-Existing Conditions

Now, when it comes to pre-existing conditions, there are a few tricky policy details to pay attention to. Pets are family (not like family) and this has led to a lot of people rightfully deciding to buy insurance for their little ones. But if you want the best care, you must know that at the heart of this whole pet insurance industry is one central problem.

Most insurers do not offer coverage to pets with certain chronic and incurable pre-existing conditions. That’s why you should get your dog insured while they are still a pup and the conditions haven’t cropped up.

These conditions are typically defined as a problem that has been diagnosed before your insurance policy comes into effect. That’s because insurers, understandably, consider it covering such conditions to be a liability. They will end up paying a lot for your pet’s care.

While pet insurance policies do not cover any pre-existing conditions, there is a little rider there. If you get your puppy insured, you can still get a little relief on the treatment. How?

Because these conditions are defined as curable and incurable. You can relief on the former after a waiting period if the condition is deemed to be curable by your insurer. And if you got the policy before the condition is diagnosed, well then you can fix the health problem and get coverage for the treatment.

Some of these curable conditions might be:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Other gastrointestinal problems

In fact, if you pick the right insurer and the right insurance plan, you should be able to get full coverage after your dog is cured. But the situation is a little different when it comes to chronic pre-existing conditions.

These cannot be fully cured and your dog is likely to suffer for the rest of their life. There is no policy that covers such conditions because of the financial liability. But, you can get some assistance if you pick the right insurer and policy option.

Some of the common chronic conditions in pets are:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Certain breathing problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Disc problems
  • Hyper and hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Certain kidney ailments
  • Eye cataracts
  • Patellar luxation
  • Torn cruciate ligaments
  • Skin diseases
  • Cancer (this includes sarcoma)

And the treatment for these conditions can cost you thousands of dollars. But you can easily avoid draining your bank account by getting insurance for your dog while they are still a pup. It is a neat solution to all the problems lurking in the future.

How to Pick an Insurance Plan

Broadly speaking, there are four types of insurance policies: accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime.

Accident Only

These policies only cover the vet’s fee if there is an unexpected injury during the policy period of 12 months. It is an affordable option and is a good one to have for smaller health issues. But you must read the fine print for time and financial limits specific to the insurer.

Time Limited

This is when there is usually a 12-month time limit on each new health issue. But you can choose a certain amount and make a claim. If you max out before the end of the term, well, it’s as good as not having a policy. In fact, that condition might even be considered pre-existing and you might not get coverage for it in the future.

Maximum Benefit

This is between the cheapest and the most expensive option. There is a financial limit for each new health issue but there is no time limit for the coverage you get for that condition. So, you can make a claim for the same condition over and over again as long as the term of the policy hasn’t expired.

Your only problem is if the condition is not cured before your policy runs out. In that case, it will be deemed a pre-existing condition that will not be covered in the future. This is a problem when you get to buying a policy only when your pet is older because their premiums are anyway higher than usual.

Lifetime

These are some of the most expensive policies even for a pup. But that is because they are also some of the most comprehensive ones. This will cover your pup’s medical insurance for their whole life but you must renew it every year.

There will be a financial limit on all new conditions and if you max out before renewal, you won’t get coverage for that condition any longer. But once you renew the policy, the financial limit is reset if there is any other problem.

In Conclusion

Now, this is just an umbrella view of each type of policy which means you must read the fine print of your specific policy terms. And as is the case with everything else, the premiums are higher for older pets. See why it is important to get puppy insurance rather than old man (well, dog) insurance?

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