5 min read

Insuring Your Adult Dog: Everything You Need to Know

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Save on pet insurance for your pet

You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.

Overview

When your pooch is in the prime of their life, it's hard to imagine anything slowing them down. However, our canine compadres aren't invincible, and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a household with a canine fur-child visits the vet an average of 2.4 times a year.

Regardless of your hound's age, getting pet insurance should be a high priority. The sooner you insure your dog, the better protected they'll be against the unexpected. Read on to find out everything you need to know about insuring your adult dog.


How much does it cost to insure an adult dog?

There's no clear-cut answer to how much it costs to insure an adult dog. Your monthly premium will change depending on your location, your dog's breed, and whether your pup has any pre-existing conditions. Generally, you can expect to pay more to insure a purebred dog than a mutt. 

Prices will also vary depending on your deductible, copay, maximum annual payout, and other insurance jargon. Optional add-ons, which cover everything from alternative medicines to deworming, can also affect the cost of your pet insurance monthly premiums. 

On average, you can expect to pay approximately $28 and $47 per month for pet insurance. That said, premiums can range significantly and could be as high as $150 and as low as $10. For example, ASPCA Pet Insurance can cost anywhere from $36 and $133 a month. Meanwhile, AKC Pet Insurance costs an average of $35 per month without any add-ons. 

If you're on a tight budget and unsure about getting full coverage for Fido, consider accident-only pet insurance instead. As the name suggests, these plans only cover accidental injury and don't cover any medical conditions or routine procedures. As a result, these plans are significantly less expensive and cost roughly half as much as standard plans.


Is it worth insuring an adult dog?

Until your dog gets into their twilight years, you might not be too worried about potential medical expenses. However, life is unpredictable, even for doggos, so staying one step ahead is essential. 

Purebreds are especially important to insure, as hereditary conditions could occur at any time. If your dog isn't insured when a medical condition crops up, your insurer will consider it a pre-existing condition and won't cover it. 

Even if you have a mutt, they're not exempt from medical emergencies, whether it's an injury or a serious ailment. To get an idea of how vital insurance could be to your woofer and your wallet, read on to learn about a few common conditions and injuries and their costs.


Examples of common conditions and their costs

Hereditary cancers

Many pure-breeds are more susceptible to cancer due to their genetic make-up. Many dog breeds have a predisposition to developing lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, and others. 

Most of these cancers can occur at any point throughout a dog's life. Cancers are very expensive to treat without insurance. The average cost of treating malignant lymphoma without insurance is approximately $8,000. Mast cell tumors cost an average of $5,000 to treat without insurance. 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder among both pure breeds and mixed breeds. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. It's most common in large breeds between 4 and 10 years old. 

Hypothyroidism can't be cured but can be managed through supplements and monitoring. The average cost of treating hypothyroidism without insurance is approximately $1,300.


Examples of common accidents and their costs

Cranial cruciate ligament injury

According to Healthy Paws, the average cost of foreign object removal is approximately $3,250 without insurance and roughly $490 with insurance.

Injury to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is a common traumatic injury seen in larger breeds like Labradors and Rottweilers. The cranial cruciate ligament connects a dog's femur to the tibia and is similar to a person's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Injury can be caused by everything from repetitive stress or a jump gone wrong.

A cranial cruciate ligament injury can happen at any time and can be expensive to treat. A cranial cruciate ligament injury often requires surgery. The average cost of treating a cranial cruciate ligament injury without insurance is approximately $3,000. 

Foreign object removal

The most common accident pet parents face is the ingestion of a foreign object. Adult dogs will often swallow an object they're not meant to, whether by accident or on purpose.


Other considerations and resources

Waiting periods

Most pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. To avoid high veterinary care costs, secure pet health insurance today and save up to $273 each year.

Before getting pet insurance, you'll want to understand the ins and outs of the plan so you don't get any nasty surprises. One of the most important terms to know is "waiting period".

A waiting period is how long your pet insurance takes to activate after you've signed up. Waiting periods stop people from signing their pets up for insurance just to treat a sudden illness or injury. 

Usually, you'll have to wait 14 to 30 days for your insurance to begin covering illnesses. Waiting periods for injuries tend to be much shorter. Some accident-only policies go into effect the same day of enrollment.

Cancellations

Do your research before you sign up for pet insurance and decide you don't like the plan or want to change to another company. Some companies offer trial or cooling-off periods, during which you can cancel your policy without incurring any charges. 

It's also worth noting that outside of a cooling-off period, you won't be able to adjust your policy, including deductibles. Some companies also only offer annual plans rather than month-by-month plans. As a result, you'll be liable to pay your monthly premiums for the remainder of the contract if you cancel outside of your cooling-off period. 

Read the fine print carefully to ensure you're happy with the terms and conditions before applying for a policy. Always inquire about cooling-off periods before signing up. 

Accessibility and reliability

While money often informs decisions about insurance, it's also worth looking at how a company operates. One example is Figo, an up-and-coming insurance provider that offers modern solutions to common problems. 

Those who sign their pups up with Figo receive an app where they can talk to a vet 24/7, access their dog's medical records, and submit claims. Some pet parents would be willing to pay a few extra dollars a month for a more streamlined service. 

It's also worth reading reviews to learn how pet insurance companies handle and process claims. You might find some companies have a history of making it difficult to make claims. Check online reviews, and talk to other pet parents to learn about the claims process.

Alternatives to pet insurance

There are several pet insurance alternatives that people turn to instead of pet insurance. Popular alternatives to traditional pet insurance include pet care credit cards and pet care savings accounts. However, these options will always end up costing you more money than pet insurance. 

Another lesser-known option and one of the best alternatives to traditional pet insurance is a community health sharing plan. These plans involve joining a group where each member shares the cost of veterinary bills with reimbursement from the insurance provider. 

Community health sharing plans can seem a little complicated at first, but they can be a good way of reducing your vet bills. Check out our guide on Eusoh for more information.


The sooner you insure your dog, the better protected you'll be.

Paying for vet care out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. In the market for pet insurance? Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet.

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