Best Dog Health Insurance Companies

Best Dog Health Insurance Companies

Best Dog Health Insurance Companies

What Is Dog Health Insurance?

Having a dog means cuddles and unlimited amounts of love and company. However, dog ownership comes with responsibilities.

You cannot predict the future, and any pet can suffer from an accident or a sudden illness – with some breeds, hereditary and congenital conditions are almost expected at some point in your dog’s life.

Accidents and illnesses come with their own worries, but vet fees and medical expenses can be a huge concern if you have to pay out of pocket.

With costs for medication, examinations, surgery and hospitalizations, it is no surprise that an accident or illness could cost you thousands. That is why many responsible dog owners choose pet insurance to help cover those unexpected costs.

Of course, for some people, insurance isn’t the only way that they can afford hefty vet bills. Savings accounts can be created, and there are even specific companies that offer discounted treatment with a small membership fee.

However, the simplicity of knowing exactly what is covered, how much it will cost you a month, and the deductible or excess that needs to be paid makes dog insurance the best choice for most people.

Dog insurance, as with any other pet insurance, is similar in structure to health, home and car insurance. You pay a set premium each month, with specific coverage included.

If you need to make a claim, you either get reimbursed after the treatment, or the insurance pays at the point of service.

Dog insurance is perfect for people who want to look after their beloved pets with the best care when they are unwell or have an accident.

What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

In general terms, most dog insurance will cover treatment for illnesses and injuries.

Some insurance is accident-only, which means that it only provides cover for treatments relating to accidents.

However, other policies may include coverage for:

  • Accidents
  • New illnesses
  • Dental
  • Routine check-ups and wellness visits
  • Advertising or a reward if a pet goes missing
  • Loss/theft/death
  • Third-party liability cover
  • Pre-existing health conditions (with specific criteria)
  • Prescription medication, food and supplements
  • Tests
  • Emergency examination fees
  • Alternative therapies

Most dog insurance companies will not provide cover for puppies under eight weeks old. Getting coverage for older pets can be difficult too, and often more expensive for both premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Spaying, vaccinations, microchipping and wellness visits are not usually included in standard policies but can often be added as an addition to the policy.

Some companies will cover animals with pre-existing conditions, but there are often caveats – usually a period of time with no symptoms and treatment, or a condition that is ultimately curable.

Things to Consider When Choosing Insurance for Your Dog

Every pet insurance provider will have slightly different policies, costs and coverage options.

Choosing the right one for your situation is a very personal choice.

Cost

The cheapest is not always the best, and it is worth remembering that a lower monthly payment in premiums might translate into higher out-of-pocket fees at the time of treatment.

The cost of dog insurance can be broken into categories:

  • Premium – Like home or car insurance, this is the price you pay for the coverage. This can usually be paid monthly or annually.
  • Deductible/excess – This is the cost of the treatment that you need to pay, while the rest of the treatment is covered by the insurance.
  • Reimbursement – This phrasing applies mostly to US dog insurance policies and describes how much of the total cost of the claim the insurance will pay out (usually between 70% and 90%).
  • Copay – For some policies, especially those for older dogs, the insurance company may need the owner to pay a percentage of the treatment cost as well as the deductible/excess. This is usually about 10%–20% of the total cost.

Paying less monthly is likely to mean that you will end up paying more at the time of treatment – and there may be lower claim limits and fewer coverage options.

Age

Most insurance companies will not insure a puppy until it is of an age to leave the breeder, so in most cases dog insurance is unavailable for pups under eight weeks old.

It is better to insure your dog as young as possible, so that you have coverage in place before you need it – and so that your dog is healthy and full of vitality for lower costs.

Older dogs are often difficult to insure, as many companies will either not offer insurance for an older dog or insist on accident-only cover with a hefty premium, excess and copay. In most cases, insurers will continue with the same level of coverage for an older dog if it was insured before the age limit.

Type of Cover

Each company is likely to have different levels of coverage with several different policies.

The type of coverage that you can expect from the insurance companies include:

  • Accident only
  • Accident and illness
  • Wellness and preventative
  • Travel
  • End of life

Some of these coverage options might be included in the policy, while others might incur an additional premium as an add-on.

Breed

Some insurance companies will not provide coverage for certain breeds – for example, many providers in the UK will not cover any dog listed in the Dangerous Dog Act.

It is also worth considering that specific breeds might have genetic conditions, or predispositions to certain health issues – so this might be something to consider when looking at the coverage.

With mixed breeds, this isn’t as easy to plan for – so more coverage is probably better than no coverage.

Location

As with other insurance types, dog insurance costs can vary by location, with some areas more expensive than others in terms of premiums.

Checking location is also important where certain providers only pay out to veterinary surgeries that are part of their network. Make sure that your local vet office is in that network.

Best Dog Insurance Companies in the US

1. Pet Assure

Pet Assure was developed to provide help with vet fees for those who struggle to get ‘normal’ coverage.

Cover Options

Pet Assure isn’t traditional pet insurance. For a small monthly fee, Pet Assure customers receive 25% off all vet services, which covers all medical procedures including pre-existing conditions.

Fees

No deductibles, just a monthly membership fee starting at $9.95.

Annual Limit

None.

Pros

  • Great for simple and reliable discounts
  • Covers all ‘usual’ vet treatments, including preventative, dental and wellness
  • Perfect for animals with pre-existing conditions that cannot get ‘traditional’ coverage elsewhere

Cons

  • A limited number of providers are signed up to the service, which means that some specialist treatments may not be available with the discount
  • 75% of costs still need to be met by the pet owner

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

This type of coverage is best for pets that cannot get more traditional dog insurance, such as those with pre-existing conditions, older dogs, or those used for work, racing or breeding.

Visit Pet Assure

2. ASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers quite varied options for dog insurance, including add-ons for wellness and preventative medicine.

Cover Options

The ASPCA offers both accident-only, and accident and illness cover, with a wellness add-on available.

The accident and illness option covers microchipping, as well as food and supplements, while the Premium Preventative Care option covers dental, vaccines and check-ups.

Fees

Premiums start at $9.95.

Depending on the premium paid, the deductible is anywhere between $100 and $500, with 70% to 90% reimbursement.

Annual Limit

The annual limit is between $3,000 and $15,000, depending on level of coverage.

Pros

  • The ASPCA covers pre-existing conditions if the pet is symptom- and treatment-free for at least 180 days
  • There is a 10% discount available for multiple pets insured under the same policy

Cons

  • Reimbursement can take up to 30 days, which is considerably longer than some other providers

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

This is a great option for dog owners who are looking for comprehensive cover with reliable payouts. However, it can take longer than other providers to receive the reimbursement.

Visit ASPCA

3. Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws offers comprehensive coverage with the lowest price on the market – and this includes senior coverage.

Cover Options

The accident and illness cover includes hereditary, congenital and chronic illnesses, as well as specialty treatments like alternative therapies.

There is no coverage for wellness and preventative treatment, any illnesses or injuries relating to breeding, or behavioral issues.

Fees

The deductible ranges from $100 to $500, with reimbursement between 70% and 90%.

You can choose a copay between 10% and 40%.

Annual Limit

No maximum limit on payouts either annually or per condition.

Pros

  • For the level of coverage available, Healthy Paws has one of the lowest premiums available
  • The senior coverage is better than other providers, with no additional costs based on age

Cons

  • The coverage is less flexible than other providers
  • There are no wellness add-ons available to cover preventative visits

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Healthy Paws is the best choice for dog owners on a budget.

Visit Healthy Paws

4. Embrace

Embrace offers customizable policies with more treatment options, including homeopathic and alternative, alongside coverage for prescription medication and dental treatment.

Cover Options

Accident-only and accident and illness, alongside additional wellness coverage options.

Cancer, chronic illnesses and wellness exams are all covered, as are mediations, tests and physical therapy. Dental trauma is also included.

The accident-only coverage is available to newly insured pets aged 15 years or older, covering bloat, foreign object inhalation, accidents and injuries, as well as any prescription needed to treat these.

Cover Fees

The customizable policies mean that you can choose the deductibles, annual limit, reimbursement and copay to suit your needs.

Embrace offers a Wellness Rewards program, where you can set aside a specific budget to cover preventative treatments like grooming, flea prevention, spaying and neutering, training and microchipping.

For senior dogs on the accident-only policy, the fees are set as $100 deductible and 90% reimbursement.

Annual Limit

The annual limit on almost all plans can be chosen by you.

For the Wellness Rewards program, the annual limit can be anywhere between $250 and $650.

For the accident-only policy for senior dogs, the annual limit is $5,000.

Pros

  • The truly customizable nature of the policy makes this a really flexible option
  • Discounts are available for multiple pets

Cons

  • The customization and coverage can be confusing

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

This is best for a pet owner who wants more control over the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Visit Embrace

5. 24PetWatch

Part of the microchipping company PetHealth Inc., 24PetWatch combines low deductibles and a range of insurance and wellness plans with quite extensive coverage options.

Cover Options

There are four different policy types available. The main differences between them are the annual limit and premium amounts.

All offer both accident and illness cover, which includes examination and diagnostic treatments, hospitalization, hereditary and congenital illnesses, alternative therapies and surgery.

No coverage is offered for accidents or illnesses resulting from breeding, fighting or racing.

There is no dental coverage or payment for non-medical euthanasia.

A wellness add-on is on offer, which covers payment towards routine exams, dental cleaning, microchipping, vaccinations and spaying or neutering.

Fees

The minimum deductible is just $100, and reimbursement is set at 80%.

Annual Limit

The maximum coverage available is $20,000.

Pros

  • Chronic conditions are well covered
  • Coverage for accidents starts the next day

Cons

  • Pets over 10 years of age cannot be covered and the policy will be cancelled

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

This insurance is best for pets who have ongoing chronic conditions.

Visit 24PetWatch

6. Hartville

Hartville is partnered with the ASPCA and offers customized policies to suit all budgets and needs. There are no annual limits to payouts for accidents and illnesses covered.

Cover Options

Accident-only and accident and illness coverage are available.

Coverage includes alternative treatments and end-of-life services, medications and supplies like bandages, surgery and hospitalization, as well as tooth extractions and tests. It also covers examinations, consultations and even behavioral treatments and microchipping.

As an add-on, preventative care is available, covering things like vaccinations, spaying and neutering, as well as flea and heartworm prevention.

Fees

The deductible ranges from $100 to $500.

Reimbursement is set at 70% to 90%, depending on the policy.

The reimbursement for preventative care is fixed, depending on the treatment.

Annual Limit

The annual limit for care starts at $2,500 and can be unlimited, depending on the policy chosen and amount of premium paid.

Pros

  • For ongoing illnesses or injuries that need more support, the uncapped annual payouts can be a real advantage
  • Hartville also offers a 10% discount for additional pets

Cons

  • Premiums increase as your pet ages

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Transparent pricing and claims make this a suitable option for those who need clarity in their insurance policies.

Visit Hartville

Best Dog Health Insurance Companies
Best Dog Health Insurance Companies

Best Dog Insurance Companies in the UK

7. Waggel

Waggel has a very succinct tagline: ”Pet insurance sucks, so we changed it.”

The award-winning insurance provided by Waggel is not limited for senior pets, and customers can get benefits and perks from being a member.

Cover Options

Accident and illness, vet fees, behavioral issues, complementary therapies, theft or straying, third-party liability, death from accident or illness and dental treatment for illness or injury.

Dogs who are named in the Dangerous Dogs Act and those used for breeding or fighting are not covered, and there is no coverage for routine treatments like vaccines and spaying.

Fees

The excess you choose, alongside the annual limit, will determine the monthly premium you pay.

The excess can be between £0 and £250 per condition, which is referred to as a 'claim contribution'.

There are no copay options, and as with most UK pet insurance options, the reimbursement is up to a set amount.

Annual Limit

The annual limit can be between £1,000 and £10,000.

Pros

  • Members get discounts and benefits like hand-picked rewards for pets and consultations with nutritionists and behaviorists
  • Waggel also offers 24-hour access to free video calls with vets
  • The claim process is simple and can be completed online

Cons

No coverage for existing conditions

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Tech-savvy owners looking for perks with their insurance.

Visit Waggel

8. Bought By Many

Bought By Many has been voted as the Best Pet Insurance Provider in 2021 and offers a wide range of insurance options to suit all budgets and needs.

Cover Options

Accident and illness coverage varies slightly depending on the policy type chosen.

The cheapest monthly premium is on the Value plan, which offers the same coverage for basic accident and illness-related treatment, with a £3,000 annual limit on vet fees.

There is a Pre-Existing Condition plan that covers pets who have an ongoing condition. As long as they are three months free of any treatment, medication or vet advice, policy holders get £500 in coverage for the first year, £1,000 in the second year and up to £7,000 in the third year if there are no claims.

The Complete plan also covers dental treatment as standard.

No Bought By Many policies cover dogs that are used for guarding, racing or are named in the Dangerous Dogs Act, and it only covers the first six months of any behavioral-related treatments.

Fees

The excess can be between £0 and £99, making it one of the cheaper options at the point of payment. Pets under nine can be insured with no excess, but for dogs over nine, a 20% copayment applies.

Annual Limit

Depending on the policy chosen, the annual limit for fees is £3,000 to £15,000.

Pros

  • There is a multi-pet discount of 15% available
  • The Pre-Existing Condition plan is a rare offering from insurance providers
  • Higher public liability coverage than other providers

Cons

  • Some of the exclusions can be a bit complicated so you need to read the small print

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Dogs with a pre-existing condition will be covered under the specific plan.

Visit Bought By Many

9. More Than

More Than offers a range of coverage options and can pay the vet directly rather than reimbursing you after the fact.

Cover Options

There are four plans available, from Accident Only to Premier.

Accident Only plans have the cheapest premiums but offer no coverage for illness-related treatments. Premier is a lifetime plan with comprehensive coverage.

More Than dog insurance includes coverage for third-party liability and accidental damage in all policies. Dental problems relating to an accident are covered, as are complementary treatments (apart from Accident Only plans).

Fees

The excess for claims is set at £100 per claim, with a copay of 10% to 20%.

Each level of plan offers more benefits and coverage. The Premier plan, which is the five-star Defaqto-rated policy, offers all the coverage and the biggest annual limit (as well as being a lifetime plan rather than time-limited or condition-limited).

Annual Limit

  • Accident-only: £2,500
  • Basic: £1,500 to £3,000
  • Classic: (per condition) £4,000 to £8,000
  • Premier: £12,000

Pros

  • Well-rated by reviewers
  • Access to advice via vet calls

Cons

  • Limited to using one of 50 vets listed as ‘in-network’
  • Claims can be slow to be assessed

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Owners who use an ‘in-network’ vet and don’t mind waiting for reimbursement.

Visit More Than

10. Petplan

This reputable insurance company is considered to be the best in the business, and while premiums might be more expensive than some of the newer insurance providers, Petplan professes to pay out 97% of all claims.

Cover Options

Accident and illness, vet fees, complementary and standard treatments, as well as death from injury and illness, help to find missing pets and coverage for quarantine.

Does not cover routine or preventative treatments, or issues arising from breeding. New policies will not be created for dogs over the age of eight.

Fees

The excess, depending on policy, is between £85 and £110. From when your dog reaches 10 (or seven for high-risk breeds) there is a 20% copay added.

Annual Limit

The annual limit for total claims is between £3,000 and £12,000.

Pros

  • Insurance available for dogs from six weeks
  • Up to 30% discount available on renewal for every year without a claim

Cons

  • Expensive for older dogs already covered
  • No coverage for euthanasia or cremation

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

This is good coverage for healthy young dogs with no congenital or hereditary issues.

Visit Petplan

11. Direct Line

Direct Line does not offer lifetime plans, but the premiums on both policies available are amongst the lowest on the market. They can even pay the vet directly rather than reimbursing you after the fact.

Cover Options

Both the Essential and the Advanced plan cover vet fees for examinations and treatments relating to most illnesses and injuries, including dental accidents.

The Advanced plan also offers coverage for up to £1,000 per year for dental treatments, as well as help towards the cost of euthanasia.

Add-ons for these policies include coverage for death from injury or illness, advertising, and reward for a lost or stolen pet, loss from theft or straying, boarding fees, third-party liability and travel cover.

Fees

The excess for each condition is set at £70. There are no copay requirements for pets of any age.

Annual Limit

The Essential plan is limited to £4,000 per condition, while the Advanced plan is up to £8,000 per condition.

Pros

  • Fixed excess means you always know what you need to pay
  • Comprehensive coverage options with add-ons available

Cons

  • No lifetime policies available
  • Monthly costs get more expensive with add-ons, which are included in the price from other providers

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Pet owners who like straightforward, simple cover options.

Visit Direct Line

12. VetsMediCover

Designed to be simple and give dog owners peace of mind, VetsMediCover also covers pre-existing conditions in some of their policies.

Cover Options

There are two different plan types available, Annual or Lifetime. Both cover the same treatments for accidents and illnesses, including rewards for loss or theft, euthanasia, prescription medication and prescription food, dental and hereditary conditions.

It does not cover working, guarding or racing dogs, or breeds named in the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Fees

The excess is set at £90, which puts it at the higher end of out-of-pocket expenses.

As your dog ages, you will be expected to pay extra towards the total cost of treatment. From age four, it is 10% and from age six it is 20%.

Annual Limit

The Annual plan offers up to £2,000 coverage in the policy period. The Lifetime plan has a £10,000 annual limit.

Pros

  • Pre-existing conditions are covered as long as the pet has been symptom-free for more than 24 months
  • Simple claim system

Cons

  • No preventative or wellness treatment coverage
  • Not available for dogs over eight years old

What Pet/Pet Owner This May Suit Best

Owners with younger dogs who want simple coverage options without too much hassle.

Visit VetsMediCover

Final Thoughts

Finding the right dog insurance to suit your needs – and the needs of your four-legged friend – is not as simple as looking for the cheapest quote.

Pedigree dogs are likely to cost more in insurance because they are more likely to get stolen, and some breeds are more prone to certain health conditions.

Whatever insurance you choose, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that treatment for your pet is covered no matter what they get up to is priceless.


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