The 3 Most Overlooked Benefits of Pet Insurance


You love your dog like family, so it makes sense that you would provide for their healthcare as you provide for healthcare for your family: by buying high-quality insurance.

Pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular. You may already have looked into some of the most obvious benefits, but have you considered some less well-known benefits of pet insurance? Here are the three most overlooked benefits of pet insurance that may make you see pet insurance in a whole new light.

Less overlooked benefits

Before we delve into the most overlooked benefits of pet insurance, let’s look at some of the things you have probably already thought about. Here are the reasons most people choose pet insurance for their beloved canine.

  • It allows you to budget. The most common reason for choosing pet insurance is the ability to budget your pet’s expenses. Rather than spending a lot all at once when an emergency happens, you can spend a little bit every month.
  • Covers expenses you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pay for. The health expenses your dog suddenly accumulates can sometimes far exceed what you have planned for in a savings account. If the worst happens and your dog needs a lot of expensive care all at once, pet insurance may allow you to perform the treatment you would not otherwise be able to afford. 

The 3 Most Overlooked Benefits of Pet Insurance

Here are three benefits that you may not have thought about when making choices about pet insurance. 

1. Highly likely to pay off for some breeds

If you own an English bulldog, a pug, or a dachshund, pet insurance may be a wise decision for you. The chances of some breeds developing a health issue are extremely high. As a rule of thumb, the further a dog is from its feral appearance, which is a midsize dog with a curly tail and pricked ears, the more likely it is to suffer from some kind of related issue. 

The English bulldog

The English bulldog is an extremely popular breed and has been for many years, thanks to their adorable appearance and childlike personality. Unfortunately, a study on the DNA of purebred English bulldogs found that the breed has very low genetic diversity. This diversity is getting even lower as breeders work to create more wrinkles, new coat colors, and a more compact body type. 

Bulldogs are prone to joint and back problems because of their unique and heavy build. They tend to have heart issues as well. The short-nosed face causes problems with breathing in all seasons, but especially during hot weather. 

The national Bulldog Club of America pushes back against claims that the breed is unhealthy, and urges breeders to screen for potential health problems in order to continue improving the breed. You may acquire a perfectly bred bulldog that is lucky enough to be free of all health problems, but many bulldogs are prone to a range of issues that may come up even in dogs that have been well-bred. 

The breed club encourages breeders to test for heart problems such as congenital cardiac issues and a range of joint problems including patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and issues with the spine. 

English Bulldogs are also prone to tracheal hypoplasia, due to the shape of their neck and head. They may have issues with the thyroid or be prone to eye issues because of their wrinkly skin.

All these issues would be covered by pet insurance, provided the policy is bought earlier than issues actually develop. 

Dachshunds

25% of dachshunds are likely to suffer from some kind of issue with their spinal cord during their life. Often, dogs that experience an issue once will continue experiencing issues throughout their lives. Treatment can be challenging and involves intensive crate rest with medications, or surgery and crate rest. 

Other breeds of dogs with genetically short legs, like corgis, may also be at greater risk for back and joint problems. If you have your heart set on a short-legged breed or a mixed breed dog that has inherited the gene for short legs, pet insurance is probably a good choice.

Pugs

Pugs might be one of the most adorable and personable breeds out there, but unfortunately, the breed is prone to a variety of health problems. In one study, 68% of pugs had at least one disorder. Nearly 9% had a corneal disorder while 7½%  have ear infections. About 25% had some kind of skin issue and a whopping 16.25% had some kind of ophthalmology issue.

The AKC also warns about the prevalence of eye problems in pugs such as corneal ulcers and dry eye. They also reference the difficulty that pugs have with breathing due to their short face and tendency to do poorly in hot weather. Tests required for pugs include a test for the joints (hip and patella included) and a test for the eyes. 

If you are considering one of these breeds or another breed that is prone to health problems, getting dog health insurance early is a good idea. 

2. Great for dogs that are likely to experience problems in life

Even if your dog does not belong to a specific breed that is prone to problems, some dogs may be prone to specific issues anyways. Golden retrievers are generally fairly healthy dogs, but golden retrievers that are neutered before a year of age are significantly more likely to develop a canine cruciate ligament rupture.

Such a rupture can be very expensive to repair surgically. Furthermore, golden retrievers that get neutered before they are a year old are more likely to develop several types of cancer, including lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors. Cancer and cruciate tears can both be extremely expensive to treat, so if your golden retriever was neutered before a year of age, pet insurance may be a good idea. 

Dogs with short legs, regardless of the breed, may be more prone to neck and back problems as well as joint issues throughout life. Dogs with bulgy eyes may be more likely to develop ophthalmological issues. Some common breeds and there mixes, like pit bulls and Labradors, often experience skin and dietary allergies, which can be very expensive to diagnose and treat. 

If you are adopting a dog from the shelter that already appears to have dry skin, you may want to go ahead and buy a policy before the problem gets worse.

3. Allows you to maintain a separate emergency fund

One of the most common criticisms of pet insurance is the question, why not just maintain a savings account for your pet? In working out the numbers, some pet owners determine that they could save enough on their own to pay for even expensive care for their dog by saving the same amount as they would pay in premiums to a pet insurance company.

However, what you may not think about is what could happen if you want not only the best medical care but the best alternative care for your dog. Insurance sometimes covers alternative care such as acupuncture, but many types of alternative care may not be covered. 

By paying the premiums for insurance and also maintaining a separate savings account, you can offer your dog the best of both medical care and holistic supplemental care. 

What to look for in pet insurance

The pet insurance that is ideal for one person’s situation may not be perfect for the next. You need to think about your particular needs when deciding what to look for in pet insurance. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind and determine whether they are important to your situation.

  • Does it cover conditions that are common to particular breeds? Some pet insurance policies exclude conditions that may be especially common for a particular breed. If you are buying pet insurance in order to cover conditions common to your dog’s breed, such policies will be worthless to you.
  • Allows you to pick your own veterinarian. Human health insurance policies often require you to get care within the plan, but you can find excellent pet insurance plans that let you pick the veterinarian you want.
  • Does not discriminate by age. You may decide to pay higher premiums to insure your dog later in life, but you want to make sure that the policy will cover every problem that might arise with an aging dog.
  • Reasonable deductibles. If you end up having to pay more than you can afford when your dog needs a procedure despite pet insurance, you may still have to deny your dog important care. In other words, you want to make sure that insurance will cover procedures with a deductible you can afford.

Pitfalls of pet insurance

As wonderful as pet insurance can be, there are some potential problems. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when choosing pet insurance for your dog.

  • Higher cost per month than you can afford. Sometimes pet insurance plans raise their premiums each year, or raise costs because of the care of your pet has previously received. If a plan ends up costing more than you can afford each month but you can’t afford to switch to a new plan because of your dog’s pre-existing conditions, you can find yourself in a difficult place. Make sure to choose a plan that you can afford.
  • Excluding pre-existing conditions you didn’t know about. Perhaps you have adopted an adult dog from the shelter or perhaps your dog has never shown any signs of a problem, but suddenly becomes symptomatic. If your veterinarian finds that the problem has been in existence for some time without you knowing about it, your plan may not cover it.
  • May not cover the medications you need. Carefully check the insurance policy that you are looking at to decide whether it will cover the necessary medications. If your dog ends up needing some expensive medication regularly, like insulin or chemotherapy, you may not be able to pay out-of-pocket and many insurance policies may not cover it.

Summary

It can be challenging to take care of your fur baby in the best possible way. Pet insurance is a great way to provide you with peace of mind and make paying for your dog’s medical care a lot more predictable and easier.

If your dog belongs to a breed that is prone to medical problems or if your individual dog may be prone to problems for some reason, pet insurance may be an even better choice for you. Be aware of possible pitfalls and shop for a pet insurance plan that works for your family.

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Coral Dawn Drake

My fiance, Justin, and I live with our two little dogs, Sofie and Lisa, and three chickens in Gainesville, Florida. Justin and I are homebodies who occasionally enjoy a good adventure. I love living in Gainesville, and I love Florida. I can’t imagine anywhere more beautiful or strange than this hot, marshy place where people are guaranteed to be nothing other than themselves. Justin is always reminding me to relax. Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m always busy. Making art or editing photos, digging in the yard or trying to grow some new moss or plant. There never seems to be enough time to do everything that I want to do. Life is so, so full and I want to plunge into every second of it.

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