What is dog health insurance?

Sooner or later every dog ​​gets sick or injured. The opportunities are manifold: while romping, a paw gets caught in a root and breaks. The dog chokes down something wrong while walking. A virus is circulating and the dog gets a fever. The dog owner must pay for the treatment at the veterinarian. Unless he has special insurance: dog health insurance. Depending on the provider and the tariff, it covers part or all of the veterinary costs. Taken out in good time, such a policy protects against unexpected expenses and therefore usually proves to be cheap. In addition, the insurance cover ensures that your four-legged friend gets the right treatment. 

What does dog health insurance cover?

The insurance cover depends on the selected scope of services. You can choose between

  • comprehensive insurance that pays for outpatient treatment and medication as well as operations
  • surgical insurance that finances operations and, depending on the tariff, pays for the preliminary examination and aftercare
  • accident insurance for dogs that covers surgeries, medication, and treatments if the cause is an accident

The usual dog health insurance applies if the dog lives with a family, a couple, or a single person as a pet. Breeders need extra insurance. 

Which services can I insure?

The health insurance for the dog pays depending on the contract and the situation, for example

  • the general veterinary costs (examinations)
  • medication
  • Preventive measures (vaccinations)
  • Diagnostic methods (e.g. computed tomography)
  • Operations (surgical interventions)
  • Preliminary examinations and aftercare after surgery
  • accommodation in a veterinary clinic
  • the extraction of diseased teeth
  • homeopathy, acupuncture, laser therapy and
  • the cremation after the death of the animal

Please note that this list represents a selection of possible services. Which one you get in which combination depends on the provider. In many tariffs, certain services are explicitly excluded, such as vaccinations. 

When does the insurance not pay?

The providers refuse to cover the costs if the animal is subjected to a medically unnecessary operation. For example, anyone who has their dog’s ears or tail cropped pays themselves. You must also expect a refusal if a disease to be treated existed before the contract was signed and you failed to inform the insurance company of this. Therefore our urgent advice: Answer all questions from insurers conscientiously and truthfully. If it turns out later that you cheated, you are the injured party in the event of an insurance claim. 

Health and surgical insurance compared: Which dog health insurance is the best?

Whether comprehensive dog health insurance, surgical insurance, or accident protection: All options are justified, depending on the personal situation of the dog owner. You have to weigh up the risks, costs, and benefits and decide on this basis which is the best dog health insurance. Pure surgical insurance, for example, is cheaper than all-around protection and covers the greatest cost risks. However, you cannot use such a tariff to bill for medication or have simple illnesses treated. 

What are dog health insurance premiums based on?

The contributions depend primarily on the desired services. Pure surgery insurance costs are significantly less than full insurance. Other factors are

  • the age of the dog
  • the breed (sometimes also the shoulder height)
  • the existence of an identification (chip or tattoo) 
  • the amount of the deductible

Why does dog breed matter for insurance?

The risk of certain diseases and injuries depends largely on the breed. German Shepherds or Labradors, for example, are prone to hip damage. Bulldog owners should expect their pets to experience breathing difficulties. And the strong Doberman Pinscher tends to have a weak heart. The insurers want to take these risks into account and therefore ask about the breed before taking out dog health insurance. 

What is the deductible all about?

Most providers contractually reimburse the costs of outpatient treatment or surgery up to a certain amount. As the dog owner, you pay the rest yourself. A common deductible is 20 percent per insured event, for example. Dog health insurance without a deductible costs a correspondingly higher premium. Alternatively, providers cap the total amount they are willing to pay in a year. CLARK is only aware of one tariff that does not require a deductible or an annual limit (as of 2020). 

How much does dog health insurance cost?

There is no general answer to this question. The costs depend on several factors (see above).  

Example 1: The full insurance of a young Jack Russel mix costs between 20 and 70 euros per month, depending on the provider. Surgical protection for the same dog is available for as little as 7 euros.  

Example 2: A three-year-old, purebred Golden Retriever costs between 27 and 75 euros per month with full insurance. The monthly fee for pure accident protection starts at around 12 euros. 

Can I influence the contribution without forgoing benefits?

There are a few tricks you can use to lower your dog health insurance premiums: 

  1. Agree to pay once a year instead of monthly. This reduces the effort for the insurer and may have a favorable effect on you.
  2. Bind yourself to your provider for more than a year when you sign up (special termination is still possible if the animal dies).
  3. Ensure your dog while it is young and healthy. Insurers often accept puppies from eight to twelve weeks of age. 

Many providers grant discounts on the contributions if you take out dog liability insurance together with the dog health insurance. Read our online guide to liability insurance for dogs: How to ensure animals correctly. 

What should I consider before taking out dog health insurance?

The tariffs differ significantly. When making an online comparison, you should pay particular attention to 

  • that in addition to comprehensive dog health insurance, there are also tariffs that only apply under certain conditions (accident protection or surgical protection)
  • which GOT rate the provider will pay in the event of an insurance claim: The veterinarian may double or even triple the basic fee rate according to the GOT (see above). Some insurers only reimburse the simple fee rate
  • which upper limits apply per year: Many providers cap their services with a total annual amount or annual limit
  • whether and to what extent the contribution increases with the age of the dog
  • how long the wait is
  • how high the deductible is per insured event 
  • whether you can decide for yourself which veterinarian you go to in the event of an insurance claim 
  • whether post-op treatment will be paid for 
  • how well your dog is protected abroad
  • whether you can have a male dog neutered or a female dog spayed for health reasons

Do I have to expect a waiting time?

In general, after taking out insurance, there is often a waiting period during which the insured cannot call up any benefits. With dog health insurance, there is a waiting period of three months in many tariffs for illnesses. The treatment of an infection, for example, can be reimbursed at the earliest four months after the conclusion of the contract. If, on the other hand, the dog has an accident shortly after the insurance has been taken out, the treatment will usually be covered. Here the insured event was not yet foreseeable.  

Is there dog health insurance without a waiting period?

Many dog ​​owners want immediate protection from dog health insurance. However, such tariffs without a waiting period are few and far between and are usually associated with higher contributions or limited benefits. You should have a healthy suspicion when you come across offers when comparing dog health insurance that promises everything at once: A cheap dog health insurance policy with no waiting period, no deductible, and no health issues, which reimburses all costs, almost certainly has one or more catches. 

What is the waiting time for? 

Some consumers see the waiting time as harassment. However, most experts and consumer advocates disagree with this view. Because with the waiting time, the insurers protect themselves from applicants who have already suffered damage and would like to pass it on to a company. The measure ultimately benefits the community of insured persons: If the insurance companies were to offer immediate protection when the dog is already ill, they would have to pass on the additional costs to the contributions. It would therefore not be possible for any company to offer cheap dog health insurance. 

My dog ​​is quite old. Can I still get dog health insurance?

Some insurers accept new customers whose dog is up to nine years old. In general, the older the dog, the more susceptible it is to illnesses and the higher the premiums when you take out dog health insurance. 

Can I insure another dog?

If you already have dog health insurance for your first dog, you can easily ensure a second one. Dog health insurance for 2 dogs costs more premiums. However, the providers usually grant a discount. Before you sign, get an estimate. It may be cheaper to take out a separate policy with another provider for the second dog. 

How do I submit the costs to the insurance company?

The vet bills for his services. Normally, you lay out the invoice amount, submit the invoice to the insurer and, depending on the contract, get all or part of it reimbursed. Theoretically, it is also possible for the veterinarian to settle accounts directly with the insurance company. But many vets don’t like that very much. 

is there a test Which dog health insurance is the test winner? 

Certain media and organizations occasionally subject the countless tariffs to a test. It is hardly surprising that a different dog health insurance policy is almost always chosen as the test winner. First of all, the insurance market is constantly changing. Yesterday’s very good dog health insurance may only be mediocre today. And secondly, every test depends on the criteria on which the procedure is based. If you want to save time when comparing prices and services, it is best to research several such tests. Then compare the best dog health insurance policies yourself. Or consult an expert for advice. 

When can I cancel dog health insurance?

You can give ordinary notice or exercise a special right of termination. Ordinary termination takes place with a notice period of three months to the end of the contract. For example, if your dog’s health insurance expires on June 1st, the cancellation must be received by the end of February. Otherwise, the contract is automatically extended. 

For example, you can cancel “out of turn” if your dog has died or if you had to hand it over. You can also cancel the contract if your dog runs away. In this case, the insurer wants to see a certificate that you have deregistered the animal from tax.