Buying US Dog Pet Insurance


"Choosing a US Dog Pet Insurance Policy can be confusing. Fundamentally there are three types of policies: accident coverage; accident plus illness; and accident, illness and wellness/prevention coverage.

Beyond the basic policy type, plans differ by how much you will have to pay for each incident (called the deductible), and unique features of the plan such as coverage for behavior training. The best approach is to request a quote (the 3 companies below will provide a quote online), keeping the monthly payment the same between policies. Then compare the policies from the 3 companies and see which one best meets the anticipated needs of your dog. As a rule of thumb, determine what you couldn't afford if your dog becomes ill or injured. Then buy insurance to protect you and your pet against that problem."


US dog pet insurance is designed to help dog owners pay for unexpected medical expenses. Like health insurance for humans, different policies offer different levels of reimbursement. It's a way to make sure that you can pay for unexpected medical problems.

A quick example demonstrates why this is so important. Suppose you have an 8-month-old puppy who swallows a piece of his chew toy. Your pup is then taken to the veterinary hospital to have the toy removed from her stomach. Her bill for testing, X-rays, surgery, and follow up care could add up to $1500.00. With a US dog pet insurance policy, 80% of the cost would be covered (assuming your policy calls for that level of reimbursement). You would be reimbursed for $1,425 of the cost, less any deductibles.

Features of Pet Insurance for Your Dog

There are fundamentally 3 types of dog insurance:

  • Accident Only Dog Insurance: Covers up to 80% of costs associated with an accident such as hospitalization and surgery.
  • Accident and Illness Dog Insurance: This type of insurance covers problems due to accidents, plus illnesses that are inherited and problems that are the result of an illness.
  • Accident, Illness and Preventive Care Dog Insurance: This type of dog insurance policy covers all of the above, plus typical preventive care such as vaccinations, spaying/neutering, heartworm and flea control and annual checkups.

The notable exception is Pets Best Insurance which covers Exam fees (any veterinarian), accidents and illness, and behavioral consults in all policies.

Each US dog pet insurance company offers different sets of features and deductibles (portion you have to pay). The following list describes the features contained in the typical pet insurance policy:

  • Percentage of the bill covered: Typical policies in the United States provide a reimbursement rate of 80% of the bill. 
  • No Pre-Authorization: Some policies require that you get approvals before receiving care while others to not.
  • Discounts for Multiple Pets: Many policies feature a discount for each additional pet that is signed up with the company.
  • Deductibles: The amount you have to pay before the policy starts to pay. They tend to range from $75 to $300.
  • Coverage Limits: The maximum amount of reimbursement for the lifetime of the policy Most polices set a range of between $25,000 - $100,000.
  • Per Incident Limit: The amount of reimbursement that is paid per incident is $2,500 - $14,000.
  • Veterinarian and Hospital Selection: The best plans allow you to choose any veterinarian or emergency care center.
  • Monthly Cost: Plans start as low as $20 per month after deductibles are met.
  • Wellness Coverage: Some companies offer plans that provide coverage for wellness visits such as checkups and vaccines and heartworm tests.
  • Acupuncture and Chiropractic Visits: Many companies will offer some level of reimbursement for these types of services.
  • Medications: Practically all plans will cover FDA approved medications.
  • Behavior: Some plans will provide reimbursement for consultations and behavioral issues and for related medications.

US Pet Insurance Companies Offering Free Online Quotes for Dog Health Insurance

It pays to shop around and get quotes from more than one US Dog Pet Insurance Company. The following companies will provide a free online quote, making comparison shopping easy:

  • Pets Best:  Pets Best was the first company to offer insurance for dogs. It was founded by a veterinarian who was concerned that many owners couldn't afford the care their dog needed. The company is highly reputable and worth researching. As mentioned above, all policies offered by the company offer some level of wellness/preventative, accident, and illness protection.
  • 24HourPetWatch: 24Hour Pet Watch offers a range of programs to meet the needs of dog owners on a budget. Policies include features such as unlimited lifetime accident coverage. The company offers coverage for hereditary conditions and premiums do not increase as your dog gets older. They are also a top ranking underwriter and broker.
  • Purina Care: Purina Care pet insurance is offered by a subsidiary of Purina. Plans offer comprehensive coverage for most illnesses and injuries, with a choice of annual deductible levels. There are no lifetime claim limits or per incident limits on accidents and illnesses. You have the freedom to choose any veterinarian licensed in the state where you live.

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