VCA Animal Hospitals

Pet Insurance for Dogs

pet_insurance_in_the_dog_2009You never know when the unexpected will strike!  Approximately one in three dogs and cats must visit the vet due to illness or accident every year. Today diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures unheard of a few years ago are now commonplace in veterinary practice. Unfortunately, few of us are aware of the true cost of medical or surgical procedures. Our elation in finding that our 15 year old, much loved pet can have the same sophisticated MRI procedure as our grandmother had following a minor stroke, quickly turns to despair when a bill of several hundred dollars for the diagnostic procedure alone is presented. These are the times when pet health insurance makes sense.

What does pet health insurance cover?

Pet health insurance is designed primarily to cover emergency situations. Frequently vets and owners have to decide on alternative diagnostic and treatment plans solely because of costs involved. When an owner has pet health insurance coverage, these types of concerns become a thing of the past.

However, do not think that insuring your dog will provide an inexhaustible source of payment for every possible veterinary expenditure. Few policies today cover routine vaccinations and general "maintenance" health care such as dental cleanings. The aim of pet health insurance is to provide for the unexpected expenses such as trauma and debilitating disease of advanced age. In many cases the cost of treatment can run to several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

How do I find out about pet health insurance?

pet_insurance_in_the_dog-2_2009Many well known companies today offer pet health insurance policies and in addition there are specialist pet insurers. Most companies allow premiums to be paid monthly or yearly.

If you would like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. We keep brochures from selected companies but others are available and we can advise according to your needs.

How does pet health insurance work?

The principle is similar to our own health insurance plans. Different levels of coverage are available for different premiums. Generally it is cheaper to start insuring when your pet is young and healthy than when older and more prone to illness. Premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually and many companies offer discounts for direct deposits or multiple pets. There is usually a co-payment or deductible amount to pay on each condition and some companies also charge a percentage of the total cost of treatment if the pet is above a certain age. Many policies have the premium rate linked to the age when first insured. Premiums and the deductible tend to increase as the pet gets older.

Is there any way I can compare premiums?

There are several online sites that allow you to compare pet insurance rates and read reviews by policy owners.

Do any companies offer a comprehensive policy?

Few companies cover routine health care such as neutering and dental care. Each company offers different levels of offerings that correspond to different price premiums.

What other factors affect premiums?

Certain breeds are more prone to certain medical condition and diseases..  For example, skin conditions are extremely common in certain breeds. Insurance companies are aware of these conditions and premiums are set accordingly. Be sure to thoroughly discuss your pet's breed and predisposed conditions and what exactly will be covered in the event one of these diseases develops.

Does this mean that when I renew the policy the premium is likely to be increased or coverage restricted because of a diagnosed condition?

This will vary from policy to policy and company to company. We advise that you carefully evaluate what will or will not be covered and what restrictions or premium increases you can expect.

If we can help in any way, please contact us.

Related Tags

insurance, health, premiums

Looking to learn more?

We also offer free, instant access to over 1,500 related articles on your pet's health including preventive medicine, common and not so common diseases, and even informative case studies. We encourage you to read any of these popular articles below or search our extensive pet health library.

Most Popular Articles

About our approach to exceptional pet health care

At VCA Animal Hospitals, our veterinarians take you and your pet's health seriously. With over 600 hospitals and 1,800 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, we strive to give your pet the very best in medical care. We understand your pet is an extension of you, and appreciate the opportunity to share in providing exceptional pet care and quality of life.

* Free initial health exam for new clients only. Not to be combined with any other offer. Not good toward boarding, grooming, prescription and non-prescription medication, and retail items. Not good toward emergency and/or specialty veterinary services. Coupon good for up to two pets (dogs or cats only) per household. Redeemable only at a general practice VCA Animal Hospital. For pet owners who are aged 18 and older.

If you are a new client, you can get a free first exam* on your first visit.

Free First Exam

Get to know us by visiting one of our neighborhood hospitals.

Locate a Hospital

General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.