Although dog insurance has been obtainable for approximately 20 years, many pet owners have never heard of it and are amazed that such a thing would even exist.
If you have ever had to empty your savings account in order to pay for a dog's surgery or if you have ever had to put a beloved pet to sleep because you couldn't provide medical care, then you can truly testify to the benefit and merit of dog insurance.
As is the case with most other health-related expenditure, the costs connected with an average dog's medical care - preventative, and emergency, are rising all the time.
If you have multiple pets, the outlay of even the most basic care can be financially disastrous. When deciding whether or not to buy a dog insurance policy for your pet, you have to ask yourself a few questions.
Do you consider your pet to be a member of the family? Would you be unable to pay for (potentially) thousands of dollars in medical bills if your pet develops cancer or needs long-term medical care? Would it really break your family's heart to have to euthanize your pet because you didn't plan beforehand for potential health crises'?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then you'll need to strongly consider purchasing a Dog Health Insurance policy for your pet.
Dog insurance is now obtainable through a multitude of specialty companies and just as with your average health insurance plan, the higher the premium, the greater the range of benefits you and your dog receive.
The average dog insurance plan costs anywhere from $20 - $40 per month and has either no annual benefit limit at all or a limit of approximately $15,000 - $20,000.
Many plans offer discounts for coverage of multiple pets. Your deductible will be decided by the plan you choose, but the average is approximately $100 per year.
Since the majority of the medical expenses generated by a dog are related to routine procedures, look for a plan that covers vaccinations, neutering and spaying, annual check-ups and dental care.
You want your dog to be protected in case he develops a serious illness or injury, but these lower-budget procedures can also work out quite expensive. Make sure your pet is covered!
You may be willing to pay for your dog's insurance, but that doesn't mean an insurance company will automatically cover him. If your pet is over a certain age, he may be denied coverage.
Even if you find Dog Health Insurance there are always certain coverage limits and restrictions. Most policies won't cover the treatment of pre-existing conditions or genetic defects. Sometimes cancer is also excluded from coverage (although many companies will add cancer care to the coverage for an additional cost).
Be vigilant of any waiting periods that are written into your dog insurance policy. The waiting period will establish when your dog's coverage actually begins, waiting periods can last anywhere from two weeks to six months.
Once your plan takes effect, you may have to specify a veterinarian from a list of approved providers.
If your pet does not qualify for Dog Health Insurance or if you simply choose not to buy a policy, there are a few money-saving options you can try.
One example is a pet health care discount program (i.e. Pet Assure). When you join the program, you receive a discount (up to 25%) on your pet's medical care as long as you support participating veterinarians. Other benefits, such as prescription discounts and access to product coupons, are also included in the membership fee.
If your uninsured dog needs emergency medical care and you have no money available, ask your vet if their clinic offers any sort of emergency support. Sometimes veterinarians will set aside funds for dogs whose owners cannot afford care, especially if the treatment does not involve long-term care and multiple visits.
If there are no such funds set aside, you may be able to finance the fees. A final choice (and definitely a long-shot) is the humane society or non-profit pet support group that offers financial aid. You have to apply for their limited funds and few applicants actually receive enough money to pay the total of their pet's medical bills.
Dog Health Insurance is definitely the only way to make sure that your dog can receive costly medical care if he needs it.