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Would it be wise to get pet insurance for a new puppy?

Posted 08.24.15 by Emily Lindsey

The doctors and staff are thrilled that you visited The Pet Hospitals for your new puppy’s first wellness checkup. Our goal is to partner with you to keep your puppy healthy and happy by preventing the preventable. This includes wellness examinations, nutrition and behavioral counseling, administering appropriate vaccines, and recommending preventative products against parasites that are common to our area. We think purchasing pet insurance for a new puppy is a very smart idea.

Wellness care costs are an expected expense in caring for your pet. The good news is The Pet Hospitals strives to make wellness care affordable.

But, what about those unexpected accidents and illnesses that occur?  More and more pet owners are purchasing pet insurance to help bridge the gap between the quality of healthcare they want for their pet and what they can afford out-of-pocket.

There are 2 reasons to purchase pet insurance now while your puppy is young:

  • Premiums are lower
  • Since pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by pet insurance, it is in your best interest to purchase a policy early.

Examples of common acute and curable conditions that we diagnose and treat in puppies are:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting – new foods, new home stress, intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion.
  • Foreign body ingestion – socks, rocks, toys, etc.
  • Fractures
  • Respiratory infection/pneumonia
  • Broken tooth
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Ear infection
  • Lameness
  • Skin disease

 

Here are several actual claims for acute, unexpected conditions during the first year of life with coverage from Trupanion:

  • Harry, a 12 week old King Charles Spaniel puppy jumped from stairs fracturing his elbow requiring surgery. Trupanion paid $2,005 toward the cost. Ben and Julie, Harry’s owners said, “The peace of mind we had from knowing Trupanion would stand behind their promises allowed us to focus on Harry and his recovery without financial stress.”
  • Ruby, a Golden Retriever/Newfoundland cross became lame when she was 5 months old. X-rays showed that she had advanced hip and shoulder dysplasia requiring multiple surgeries. Trupanion paid $13,139 of the cost. Jennifer, Ruby’s owner says, “Ruby lives a happy albeit slow life. She is my absolute joy and I owe my continued time with her to Trupanion.”
  • Achilles, a Shih Tzu puppy developed a nervous system infection that cost $5,340 to treat and resolve. Trupanion reimbursed Achilles’ owner, Jacqueline, $4,500. She says, “After I’d had the insurance for a couple of months, I thought to myself, why am I paying for insurance for a puppy when I won’t need it for years? I called Trupanion to cancel the insurance and the agent recommended a higher deductible to lower my premium from $55/mo. to $29/mo. Just two weeks later, Achilles became ill and after extensive testing was diagnosed with eosinophilic meningitis. “Boy, was I grateful I was talked out of canceling the policy! My puppy was nursed back to health and we continue enjoying him.”

puppy insurance

It isn’t just acute problems that can occur in a puppy’s first year of life, but also chronic conditions. These are conditions where long-term treatment will be needed, sometimes the rest of the dog’s life. The costs over time can be significant. Some of these are also hereditary/congenital conditions. Look at these examples from Embrace pet insurance company:

  • Bailey, a Labradoodle, diagnosed with hip dysplasia when 8 months old and has been undergoing underwater physical therapy every 2 weeks at a cost of $85 each visit – all covered by an Embrace policy.
  • Bijou, a Shiba Inu, was insured right after adoption at 12 weeks of age and was diagnosed at 5 months of age with luxating patellas and a cruciate ligament tear. Embrace has covered $4,000 in fees for surgery, pain medications and physical therapy. Treatment is likely to continue long-term.
  • Angus, an English Bulldog was insured at 3 months of age and when he was 7 months old started having skin and ear infections which turned out to be secondary to underlying allergies. He was also diagnosed with entropion and cherry eye – both repaired surgically. Embrace has paid $6,500 to treat his skin and eye issues. Since the allergies are chronic, Embrace will be helping pay for treatment for the rest of his life.
  • Rambo, an English Bulldog was insured at 12 weeks of age. When he was 16 weeks old, he began vomiting, coughing and developed pneumonia – all related to brachycephalic airway disease (common in this breed). Embrace has already paid out the maximum the policy will cover this year – $10,000 for hospitalization and surgical repair of these issues. It’s possible he will have issues with this condition to some extent the rest of his life. The good news is that the $10,000 benefit renews annually.

Embrace pet insurance company says that 38% of insured puppies have a claim filed during the first year of coverage.

The Pet Hospitals have certificates available for puppies 8 weeks of age and older for a free 30-day policy from Trupanion. If we haven’t given you one already, be sure and ask for one at your next puppy wellness visit. It has to be activated within 24 hours after a doctor examines your puppy.

Just about every pet insurance company has a 30 –day money back guarantee allowing you to cancel and get a full refund as long as you haven’t filed a claim yet.

 

Here are links to the websites of the companies that The Pet Hospitals believe offer excellent coverage for pets:

Trupanion

Petplan

Embrace

Healthy Paws

To learn more about pet insurance, you can also visit Dr. Kenney’s blog at:

Your Pet Insurance Guide

*** I’d like to thank Dr. Steve Weinrauch, the Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion pet insurance company, for providing the claim examples used in this article.
I’d also like to thank Laura Bennett, the Founder and CEO of Embrace pet insurance company, for the statistics and claim examples used in this article.
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