Dog Insurance: 5 Things You Must Know

From an ear infection to a swallowed squeaky, there are tons of reasons why your dog will need to head to the vet over his lifetime.

Invest in pet insurance and you get peace if mind while ensuring those vet visits won’t break the bank.

Medical insurance for dogs was designed to take care of the high and often unexpected costs of vet care from accidents, injuries and other ailments that can plague your pet.

Choosing the best plan is easy if you keep these five points in mind.

#1—Reimbursement Types

Pet health insurance reimbursements are either based on a set benefit schedule or the actual vet bill.

Those based on a schedule will give you a set amount of money for specific procedures, regardless of how much you paid.

Those based on the vet bill will reimburse you a percentage of covered costs, with reimbursement levels generally ranging from 70 to 100 percent.

Dog Parent Tip: Percentage-based plans reimburse you a percentage of the covered costs on your bill, and not all costs may be covered. Some plans exclude vet exam fees and other costs you can review in the fine print.

#2—What’s Covered & What’s Not

The first thing to review with any plan is the list of covered injuries, illnesses, conditions and treatments.

The second thing to review is the list of exclusions, or things that aren’t covered. No plan covers pre-existing conditions.

Dog Parent Tip: Find out how your coverage may change over the lifetime of your dog. Some companies may limit or change coverage if you file a claim or your dog hits a certain age. Review top plans to make sure you know what you’re getting.

#3—Coverage Levels

Some plans cover only accidents and illnesses, while others cover accidents, illnesses and breed-specific hereditary and congenital conditions.

Dog Parent Tip: Some plans may include or offer riders for routine wellness care; others do not. Companies can also offer riders that offer additional coverage for things like vacation cancellations and lost dog advertising.

#4—Price vs. Value

The lowest – or highest – price doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best value.

Put your quotes and plans side-by-side to compare what you’re getting for the monthly premium.

Dog Parent Tip: Deductibles play a big part in the value. Some plans require an annual deductible while others make you pay a deductible for each incident or condition, no matter how many times you head to the vet each year.

#5—Company Reputation

Look for a company that has a solid history and track record for meeting customer needs.

Read reviews. Research the company backgrounds of your favorite pet insurance providers and make sure the dog insurance you purchase today will still be around tomorrow.

Dog Parent Tip: The insurance plans we review are offered by companies we’d choose to insure our own dogs. We opted for companies that stood firm on their own merits, not those that paid to use the name of well-known organizations.


One more tip is to enroll in dog insurance when your dog is still relatively young and healthy, if possible.

As your dog ages, his chances of developing a condition or ailment increases.

And once a condition is classified as pre-existing, you won’t get coverage for that ailment from anyone.

Finally, use our side-by-side chart to compare plans before enrolling — even it takes more time. Getting the wrong coverage in a hurry will cost you more time and money over your pet’s lifetime.

  1. Reply
    Martyna P. 01/26/2016 at 1:57 pm

    You summed up all things that should be taken into account well. Good thing you mentioned the “Price vs Value” thing. Lots of my friends simply buy the most cheap insurance expecting the best results, while I can find faults in the type of insurance they have chosen. They think “I don’t want to spend too much on this”. They’re honestly too lazy to compare different insurances based on different values than money. They aren’t listening to me when I’m telling them that, so I should give them this article to read!

    • Reply
      Fran 04/03/2016 at 4:02 pm

      Yes the price V value is an essential aspect – I have seen loads of cheap cover, but you basically hardly get anything for that. You do get what you pay for, it is well worth going with someone reputable – plenty mentioned on this site.

      • Reply
        Susan Murphy 10/27/2016 at 5:40 am

        I agree. Good advice and thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Starla Brunson 02/16/2016 at 5:40 am

      You should pass this article. I was like that too and it wasn’t because I was lazy, it was mostly because I was, and still am, on a tight budget and I figured that even having a little insurance was better then having non at all. Also the whole insurance language always leaves me confused, frustrated and unsure of what I am actually agreeing to. So I love that this site breaks down everything. It makes it a lot easier to find a quality policy within my budget.

  2. Reply
    Ujjal Karmakar 02/19/2016 at 9:28 pm

    I heard many good things regarding Dog Insurance. It is designed with taking care of the high and often unexpected costs of vet care from accidents, injuries and other ailments that can plague your pet. So it is really good to know that Dog Insurance also works to breed dog.

  3. Reply
    Bronwyn 02/22/2016 at 6:43 am

    Our chocolate lab, despite being a breed that should avoid the sinful dessert, LOVES chocolate. He will get into anything chocolate filled, stuffed or coated. With his strong nose for the food that makes him most sick, I am glad to have come across this page. It is nice to know that there are different coverage levels, which I just read about here, because we can chose a plan for our lab that is catered to breed specific conditions and concerns. This is definitely something that I will be considering. I am also glad in the article it suggested to take your time when considering. I strongly agree as I have been sitting on information from different companies for a while now and finally feel like I have found a great match. Highly recommended!

    • Reply
      Fran 04/03/2016 at 3:59 pm

      It is your job to keep all chocolate well out of reach of your dog! It is toxic to dogs.

  4. Reply
    Momi Nul 03/20/2016 at 1:15 pm

    You summarized all things that should be taken into consideration well. Great factor you described the “Price vs Value” factor. Plenty of my buddies simply buy the most inexpensive insurance policy anticipating the best outcomes, while I can find mistakes in the type of insurance policy they have selected. They think “I don’t want to invest too much on this”. They’re genuinely too sluggish to evaluate and contrast different insurance coverages based on different principles than money.

  5. Reply
    Amy H. 03/22/2016 at 6:05 pm

    Price vs. value is basically what I’ve been reading these articles to determine. I need enough coverage for it to be worth the cost. While I know from experience that random, costly accidents pop up pretty often (at least once a year for me and my pit bull!), it’s still hard to fork over that money every month. I need to be sure it’s going to cover the most likely scenarios, which is why I love the comparison tools.

  6. Reply
    comment_blog 03/22/2016 at 10:16 pm

    The comparison of price and value that the article cover . But i do not have anything to say, because the article writer join things together, which he should have split into different categories. But the information in the article is informative and okay to learn things about.

  7. Reply
    Jessica Edwards 03/26/2016 at 4:50 am

    There have been some time where I definitely would have liked to take my pet to the vet to have them checked out and I simply did not have the money to do it so it regrettably got put off while we just waited it out to see what happens. It would have been so much nicer to have the insurance and the peace of mind in being able to go to the vet right away with any problems or concerns that came up.

  8. Reply
    Fran 04/03/2016 at 2:47 pm

    Always think about what you are prepared to pay before taking out insurance. I have to take my dog to the vet tomorrow, I think it might be her anal glands that are causing her discomfort, but nevertheless I am prepared to pay a few hundred without claiming (hopefully it is not this much!). This keeps my monthly costs down. However, could I not afford this price I would have a smaller excess on my insurance.

  9. Reply
    Nicki 04/06/2016 at 12:39 pm

    Before Healthy Paws, I got insurance with a company that wonted money for everything. My dog fell why we was out on a walk and injured his leg leading to him needing surgery on his Cruciate Ligament and the company I was with told me he had not been hit by a car therefore he was not covered !. I could not believe my ears, he had not been hit by a car! no he hadn’t but he was in terrible pain and could out any pressure on his leg. Its safe to say I cancelled that pet insurance and never saw the point go having it again in the future. However after reading all the information on this site and seeing that they compare the top 6 companies! and all the great reviews I have decided to take out pet insurance on my little border terrier. She has skin allergies and unlike most companies Pet Insurance University did not take this as a reason to not help us. I ended up going with HEALTHY PAWS, and they have been AMAZING! The plan I chose let me choose my own vet which is a bonus as my dog is shy and timid around men. So being able to go to our regular vet was something that helped me along the way. Her allergies where not a problem and due to the great care we received I convinced my mother to insure our 10 year old (the one who had the surgery) And she is also more than happy and wishes she found this company originally ! Thanks to Healthy Paws my border terrier has the best care for her skin condition and is treated with the best care! I no longer have to worry about bringing her to the vets and worrying because I no she is covered. I recommend Healthy Paws to all my friends and I always will

  10. Reply
    Erin Floyd Smith 10/27/2016 at 5:03 am

    Thank you for laying this out for me! It’s tough to know how to find a good pet insurance plan and this article is very helpful. I’ve been through those situations when my dog got sick and I suddenly had to figure out how to cover the cost. Much better to be prepared.

  11. Reply
    Susan Murphy 10/27/2016 at 5:38 am

    Pet insurance is as much about peace of mind as it is about money. You may pay insurance premiums for years and never make a claim. But think about whether you could afford a huge vet’s bill if your pet fell ill or had an accident in the short term.

  12. Reply
    Sunny 11/06/2016 at 12:54 am

    Ooh, this will work as a great checklist! You can use these points when looking around pet insurance websites, so you know exactly what you’re getting. I especially agree with #4, Price vs. Value, because a lot of times people think that just because something costs more, it gives you more. And that’s not always true…take Healthy Paws for example. It gives you the most coverage (by a lot!) but it is around $20 cheaper than some other insurances.

  13. Reply
    Farhan Qureshi 11/08/2016 at 12:56 pm

    Very good article and i must say your point on pet insurance are very helpful they gave me enough insight
    to the topic that i can now get a pet insurance for my dog :-)..

    • Reply
      Pet Insurance U 01/04/2017 at 12:22 am

      Farhan, glad we could give you insight on pet insurance. We do everything we can to educate individuals. We are glad this has lead you into getting your dog covered. Thanks!!!

  14. Reply
    Kamrul Kayes 11/10/2016 at 3:56 pm

    Very good article and i find it helpful for me.

    • Reply
      Pet Insurance U 01/04/2017 at 12:19 am

      Kamrul, glad the article has helped. It is important to keep your pet covered. Just trying to keep pet owners as yourself educated.

  15. Reply
    Cathy Willems 07/30/2017 at 3:18 am

    Need a quote for my two shih thus, please.

    Does Healthy Paws cover well visits.

    How much is the monthly premium on my two dogs; any discount?

  16. Reply
    coman 09/18/2017 at 4:53 pm

    How to buy this pet insurance?

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