As a dog owner, I never thought to buy dog health insurance until I enrolled my dog in Running Paws, a cageless doggy day care in New York City. Running Paws is an amazing athletic dog club which offers all day play, fitness sessions, 24 hour care, grooming, training & agility.
My Jack Russell Terrier (Jack) is a regular there. When I first enrolled Jack, I was encouraged by Running Paws to get pet health insurance. I thought, “Why on earth would a dog need insurance?” Two weeks later, I understood why.
Dogs Are Like Kids
Like kids, dogs get scrapes and bruises while playing. Jack loves to play rough. He came home one day with a major scratch. It turned out, Jack decided to roughhouse with a Rottweiler. Jack doesn’t see himself as a 13 pound dog. He clearly believes he is equal to a Rottweiler – in size and strength.
When I saw his major scrape, I wanted to take him to my personal vet. Without dog insurance, a simple trip to the vet costs me $95 – and that’s just for the initial exam. At AMC, an initial exam can cost $500. I decided not to buy insurance and nurse his wounds with some antiseptic based on my dog health guide I purchased.
When My Dog Got Pneumonia – It Cost A Fortune
Several months later, Jack got sick. I had no idea what was wrong with him. All I know is that I took him to the dog run that day. He was his usual rambunctious self – frolicking with the big dogs and having the time of his life. When we came home, I noticed he was shivering. I knew something was wrong.
I rushed to my vet to see her on an emergency basis. She was not available. I then went to AMC. They took Jack’s temperature and informed me that he was indeed ill. However, without any sort of pet insurance at a minimum, the exam would cost me $500. I didn’t have that kind of money.
Nothing Under $1,000
I raced back to my vet, East Side Animal Hospital. I insisted my vet see us. She did. She approximated the bill to be over $1,000. Jack was diagnosed with pneumonia. He had to stay overnight. The final cost was $900. Had I purchased dog health insurance, the cost would have been less. How much less? Was it worth my purchasing a dog health insurance plan?
I Decided to Buy Health Insurance
The vet recommended I purchase dog health insurance from ASPCA. ASPCA dog health insurance has 4 plans to choose from. Level 1, the cheapest dog health insurance, costs $12.50 per month. Level 2 costs $31.29, Level 3 costs $53.48 and Level 4 costs $87.77 per month.
Choosing The Right Insurance For Your Pet
Each level allows for 80% reimbursement. However, there is a limit to what’s covered depending on which level you purchase. Obviously, the more you pay, the more services are covered. Still, for the basic plan, if your dog is not that active, $12.50 a month is a steal. Level 1 of the dog health insurance covers all accidents, all hospitalization related to accidents, x-rays and surgery related to accidents.
As an owner of an overly active Jack Russell Terrier, I definitely need some sort of dog health insurance. After Jack had pneumonia and I had no way of paying the out-of-pocket cost, I actually now welcome the idea of purchasing dog health insurance, and I definitely encourage all dog owners to get some sort of pet health insurance.