If you’re like me, you love your puppy! Ours is an extension of our family. We treat her like a child. We want to protect her and keep her safe, just as we would for any of our “real” kids. We also want her to have health insurance, just to make sure that we can afford any major veterinary bills. But, finding cheap insurance for dogs isn’t necessarily easy!
Many policies come in two basic varieties: Percentage or Fixed Benefit. Let’s briefly discuss the difference:
- Percentage: If your dog has an illness or condition, and he goes to the vet, this type of policy will reimburse you for a percentage of the vet bill. For instance, let’s say that your puppy has cancer. You incur a veterinarian bill of $5,000. You will make the payment directly to the vet. Your insurance company will then reimburse you for a percentage of the bill. Of course the higher the percentage is that you get reimbursed, the more it will cost you to buy the policy. If you want cheap puppy insurance, you should elect a policy that reimburses a lower percentage.
- Fixed Benefit: With this plan you will be reimbursed a fixed amount, regardless of how much the treatment costs. Let’s use the same example of your dog getting cancer. Let’s also say that under this plan the company will automatically reimburse you $2,000. Now if the vet bill is $5,000, your insurance company will reimburse you $2,000 and you will have to cover the remaining $3,000. Then again, if the vet bill is only $1,000, you will actually make a profit after the insurance company pays you the fixed benefit of $2,000. To get the cheapest dog insurance rates with this type of plan, you want a policy that has low fixed benefit payments.
Another factor that can determine the rate is what the policy actually covers. Plans and policies vary by a great deal, but some of the most common types of coverage plans for your dog includes:
- Exams and X-Rays: If your puppy needs to be examined and x-rayed, this type of coverage will be covered.
- Prescription Medicines: We all know how expensive this can be! Many plans will include prescriptions.
- Chronic Conditions: Let’s say that your dog is suffering from arthritis. This chronic condition will continue to exist, but your pet will need regular visits to the vet. With this coverage those visits and ongoing treatments are covered.
- Wellness Exams: Most policies include reimbursement for regular wellness exams at the vet. Many of them allow one exam per year.
Of course there are many other types of insurance coverage for pets. The point is this: the more types of coverage your policy has, the more that it will cost you. If you are just looking for the least expensive type of policy, you will want to limit the types of coverage.
As far as dog insurance companies, there are several national ones with great reputations to look into. Some of the better known ones are Nationwide and ASPCA. You will want to contact several of them and actually read the various types of policies and coverage plans that they have to find cheap insurance for dogs.