Pet Insurance for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

As a result of the huge expenses that come with owning a pet, the demand for pet insurance for dogs is on the rise around the world.
Pet Insurance for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 18 November, 2023

In the US, there are an estimated 89.7 million pet dogs. As such, and as a result of the huge expenses that come with owning a pet, the demand for pet insurance for dogs is on the rise around the world. If your dog bites someone, or needs emergency medical attention, having pet insurance can save you a lot of money.

Pet insurance for dogs.

In most countries, taking out pet insurance is not compulsory, though in some regions you may need to take out third-party liability insurance to cover medical costs. Such laws aim to force owners of aggressive dogs to take responsibility for the safety of their fellow citizens.

Pet insurance for dogs

To be able to take out pet insurance for your dog, you need to meet a number of criteria. This usually includes a fully up-to-date vaccination certificate, getting your dog fully licensed and registered, and getting them microchipped, to make it easier to trace them.

Despite covering a variety of different expenses, pet insurance isn’t actually all that expensive. On average, most companies will only charge around $40 a month. However, this will vary depending on the animal, and the level of coverage you choose.

The cheapest and most basic insurance is third-party insurance, which covers damage or injury to a third party. However, it doesn’t cover injury to family members, or anyone living at the same residence.

Dangerous dog breeds

Because of the increased risk of them attacking other people, third-party insurance is normally mandatory for potentially dangerous dog breeds. Most dangerous breeds are very large, weighing more than 45 lbs, with a robust build and a strong jaw.

Owners of dangerous dog breeds will also need to present a valid license, authorizing them to own this type of dog. In order to get a license, the owner will usually need to present their criminal record, so that authorities can ensure they can be trusted to look after this type of animal.

Ideally, third-party pet insurance should cover around $150000 worth of damages and medical expenses.

Tips for taking out pet insurance for dogs

  • The best insurance policies will also cover legal proceedings in the case of an accident. During these proceedings, the insurance provider will ensure their client’s well-being, covering expenses during the trial, and any compensation that is required.
  • Good pet insurance will also cover medical costs and emergencies for your pet anywhere in the country. Some will even provide travel insurance, both for short holidays and long trips abroad.
A black dog lying down.
  • Remember, the cost of the policy isn’t a guarantee of quality. The prices can vary greatly from company to company. We would recommend weighing up your options carefully, considering not only the price of the insurance, but also the different expenses that are covered, and the guarantees on offer.

Different policies

  • The best policies will offer cover for medication, treatment for congenital and inherited disorders, surgery, and tests.
  • In general, insurance companies don’t cover preventative treatments. However, good policies will usually cover around 85% of the price of a veterinary consultation. For example, if the consultation costs $100, the insurance company will pay $85, while the owner will only pay $15.
  • Ideally, your pet insurance will cover any lab tests, even something as simple as a blood test.
  • Some policies even offer coverage if your pet goes missing. For example, they will pay for printing missing posters, as well as publishing advertisements in the press or online.
  • Many companies will also pay for your pet to stay in kennels in the case of an emergency, e.g. if you have to stay in hospital for an extended period of time.
  • The best insurance companies will also offer customer service and support, including veterinary consultations over the phone, nutritional advice etc.
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When you think of dog insurance, you probably think that it's only good if your dog attacks someone else, be it a person or another animal.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.