Dog Insurance Comparison Chart: Simplify the Choice

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Every dog owner worries about a potential medical situation and the associated costs. Where you draw the line for medical expenses is a personal decision. Veterinary costs have sky rocketed in the past few years and, with more advanced technologies available for our dogs, the decisions are increasingly complicated and the pressures to spend more are greater. If you know that you are willing to spend thousands of dollars to save your pooches life, or improve their quality of life, but Robert Herjavek* isn’t your benefactor, maybe pet insurance is something to look at. But finding the right pet insurance can seem complicated as well. Let’s try a dog insurance comparison chart, designed to help you sift through all the information available more quickly and simplify your decision.

The Criteria

Every insurance plan consists of components to consider before you make a decision. The plans will also vary according to your personal needs. What I have prepared here is a methodology to help you make a decision, in addition to a comparison of specific products. I have selected products to illustrate this methodology, but you can easily use this chart to plug in products of your own choosing to help clarify your options. The components I have chosen to look at are:

  1. Premium (a monthly or annual fee for the plan)
  2. Deductible (The portion you will pay incase of a claim)
  3. Percentage of costs covered (some plans pay less than 0 of costs incurred by accident, or illness).
  4. Maximum payable per year (a cap or limit on the amount that the insurance company will pay on a claim).
  5. Types of coverage i.e. accident, illness and dental.

The Methodology

I selected four of the top rated pet insurance companies to look at. Then I leveled the playing field by getting four quotes for the same dog for the same premium. The dog was my seven year old miniature pinscher and the premium I chose was between $70.00 and $80.00 monthly. The upshot is this: If you pay between $70 and $80 dollars for pet insurance for a min pin this is what you get. The assumption that makes this analysis valid, is this: if a dog insurance provider can provide a significantly superior product for my dog (specified by breed and age), then it is reasonable to suppose they will be able to provide the best value for your dog (also specified by breed and age, all other things being equal).

The results varied considerably as you will see in the chart below. I also reviewed the written policies, when they were available on the website in an attempt to discern any glaring differences between the plans. I should state, however, that I am not adept at legalese and cannot guarantee the absense of an oversight that might make a difference in value of the product . I entered the basic information, (as interpreted by me), presented by each company, on their website, into the following table:

Dog Insurance Comparison Chart

* $400.00 of annual dental insurance coverage.

The Winner is…!!

Using the criteria selected, Trupanion clearly wins this contest. For a similar premium and deductible (product cost to the customer), they cover 100% of the costs with unlimited coverage. I would like to reiterate that this contest was won, using preselected criteria. I believe that these criteria are reasonable measures of value, but that is an individual consumer preference. You may want to consider other, or additional criteria for consideration.

In addition, it is worth noting that the plans change, sometimes dramatically, with price point i.e. for a higher premium one of the other companies does provide a plan with unlimited coverage. As the premium is adjusted upwards, the other factors (deductible, percentage of costs covered, maximum coverage and type of services provide) change to your dogs (and probably to your) benefit. Most Dog insurance websites have a sliding utility to illustrate the change in services as each of the factors is adjusted. If this premium price point ($70 to $80) is flexible in your world, you may get a plan more suitable to your specific needs by paying more with one of the other companies. Similarly, one of the other companies might offer a better value for you at a lower price point.

Some additional Statistics:

In the U.S., the American Pet Care Association estimated that 16.6 billion dollars was spent on vet care last year. Some average medical costs reported by a CBS News article published in May 2017 are as follows:

  1. Joint injury $3,480.00
  2. Swallowing something bad $1,755.00
  3. Cancer $2,033.00
  4. Gait Disturbances $986.00
  5. Intestinal Problems $857.00
  6. Periodontal Disease $783.00

Research by the American Veterinary Medical Association indicates some average costs to be:

  1. Ear infection $90.00
  2. Dental cleaning under anesthesia $400.00 – $900.00
  3. Neutering $200.00

Some of those statistics are very intimidating. Numerous sources list the average annual cost of veterinary care to be between $500.00 and $1000.00. This includes worming and flea medication.

Conclusion

While the cost of veterinary care may be daunting, there are many other factors to consider with regards to dog insurance. While researching statistics, I discovered that the costs varied dramatically from region to region. Sweeping generalizations about veterinary costs for large geographic areas may not be as helpful as one would like to think. I believe it would be unwise for me to make specific recommendations based on this information alone.

The amount of money that an individual or family is able to spend on their pet health care varies greatly and can be a highly personal matter. Some final factors to consider:

  1. The cost of veterinary care in your specific region. It is worth consulting your local vet regarding rates for their services when making dog insurance decisions.
  2. Your personal or family budget. Be realistic. What can you afford to spend monthly, or annually on your dog?
  3. What is your dogs age and average expected life span?
  4. Do a little Breed specific research. Specific ailments occur more frequently in some breeds than others. If you have a particularly healthy breed, you may luck out re veterinary expenditures.

Regardless of your decisions, making at least some of them in advance should reduce the stress around this subject and in the long run may save you some money. Hopefully even enough that you can buy and care for another dog or two!! Whatever you decide here’s a toast to your dogs good health and long life!

*Robert Herjavek is an internet billionaire and dog lover

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. I can relate to this article post too well, I worry myself about my own dog’s health since he is becoming older in age. I have always fed my dog all natural dog food grain-free in hope to lengthen his health and his life.

    I am not able to afford 70.00 or more per month for dog insurance, so can you suggest what I could possibly do for my dog’s health in the near future?

    1. Hi Jeffrey, don’t worry, you face the same challenges as many dog owners out there.  First of all, let me say that there are products with less expensive premiums out there (Even the companies that I reviewed have some lower priced plans)  You may want to take a look at some of these.  If that is still not an option for you, then I think you’re definitely on the right track with the high quality dog food.  Providing the best preventative care for our dogs should always be the first line of defense.  Make sure your flea and tic medications and immunizations are up to date.  Get your pooches nails clipped regularly.  Bush their teeth (if they’ll let you) and most importantly give them regular exercise and fresh air.  Only a small percentage of dog owners have health insurance, so don’t loose sleep over it!  I hope that helped.  Have great day!

  2. Hello there! I just adopted a puppy and I love him so much. I’m scared that he might get injured or sick and I don’t have the money to treat him. I didn’t know that there’s dog insurance and I found your article really informative and helpful. I will surely get an insurance for my dog with Trupanion. But I have a question how much do you think is the monthly payment?

    1. Hi John, congratulations on your new puppy.  Aren’t they wonderful and great fun?  I know that your dogs health can be very worrisome.  I would check the sites that I reviewed in this article and probably start with Trupanion.  They’re fairly easy to navigate and once you input your dogs specifics (basically age and breed) they will provide you with several options based on a sliding scale.  I hope this helps and all the best with the new puppy.

  3. Hi Brad,
    I enjoyed visiting your website. It is clean, well organized, the use of images is appropriate and you share lots of very good information for pet owners. I am sure you will have all the success you deserve!
    Your Review of Dog Insurance Comparison Chart is great and useful especially for those who are looking for an affordable insurance plan for their pets.
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you for your comments regarding my site and my post.  They’re very encouraging.  I’m glad that you found the comparison chart helpful.  The dog insurance world can be convoluted and complicated for those of us who are not versed in that type of language.  Have a great day and good luck to you as well!

  4. Pet care is so expensive! Seems like every time I take my dog to the vet I drop $200-$300 easy. Do you know if any of those companies cover dogs with pre existing issues? My dog has a slight tear in her ACL and I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t want to accept her. Dreading having to possibly pay for knee surgery one day.

    1. Hi Katie, It’s true, spending $200 – $300 at the vets doesn’t take much.  I’m sorry to hear about your dogs ACL, but there is a company called Pet Assure that says on their website ” No Exclusions!  Every in-house medical service is covered, even pre-existing conditions.”  Some of the other companies will also cover pre-existing conditions, with certain conditions.  There is coverage out there.  Please let me know how you make out.  Good luck.

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