Choosing whether or not to get pet health insurance is as personal as deciding to get individual health insurance. Choosing to invest in pet health insurance for your German Shepherd is an emotional and economic decision that requires you to consider both the potential health problems your dog might experience and your financial situation.
Pet health insurance can provide peace of mind that you will always afford the medical bills that your German Shepherd might accrue. However, it does come at a monthly cost.
Common German Shepherd Health Problems
Before you decide whether or not you want to invest in pet health insurance, it helps to be aware of German Shepherds' common health problems.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye clouds over due to an excess of protein in the eye. Over time, the protein develops into a hard mass. This human condition often affects German Shepherds as they age. Once cataracts have progressed to a certain point, they will cause blindness.
While there is truly little that can be done to prevent cataracts from occurring, surgery can remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial one.
Degenerative Disc Disease
German Shepherds tend to be tall and muscular. This build requires their spines to have to work hard to support them continually. Coupled with the active lifestyle that German Shepherds like to live, this can lead to the disc's degeneration as the dog ages. This degeneration leads to back pain and difficulty walking.
There are two different treatment paths for German Shepherds who are suffering from degenerative disc disease. The first is pain management and physical therapy. The second option is orthopedic back surgery.
German Shepherds are larger breed dogs who have a love for table scraps and a tendency to overeat. The symptoms of diabetes in dogs is similar to that of humans: dry mouth, excessive thirst, lethargy, and swollen paws. A diabetic German Shepherd can still live a relatively normal life, given that diabetes is treated with medications and regularly administered insulin if needed.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia is the malformation of a joint. In German Shepherds, this can happen to both the hips and the elbows. While this health condition has been mostly eradicated from most German Shepherds lines thanks to responsible breeding, it has yet to be wholly eliminated in the breed. The dogs who suffer from this condition can benefit from effective treatments, which are more widely available now than in the past.
See our article here for a more detailed list (with symptoms) on 11 of the most common German Shepherd Health Issues.
German Shepherd Pet Insurance
Pet health insurance for your pet works in the same way that health insurance works for us. We pay a monthly premium and avoid being hit with a huge medical bill if we fall ill. The concept of having health insurance on our pets is becoming more and more common as pet parents want the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can provide their pets with sufficient medical care when it is needed regardless of the cost.
When you consider pet health insurance for your German Shepherd, the decision should be well thought out. The monthly cost of pet health insurance can be considerable. As such, there are a few things that should be considered. This includes what is included in different policies and how much they will cost you.
What's Included in Pet Health Insurance for German Shepherds?
While the cost of pet insurance for your German Shepherd needs to be considered, it is also essential to understand precisely what is included in the different policies. While there is no standard policy that applies to all pet insurance companies, there are some things that most companies have in common.
Health conditions that are considered to be a result of the genetics of your German Shepherd may not be covered or may only be covered at a lower rate.
Many pet health insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions
Basic pet policies might only cover emergency medical treatment. These policies typically come with little to no deductible, which is beneficial when there is a health crisis, and money is an issue.
Other policies include coverage options for more routine health expenses, including vet visits, diagnostic testing, and vaccinations.
Some of the highest tiered policies, which also come at a high premium, may cover unconventional treatments. These treatments include chiropractor, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and behavior modification and training.
What Will Health Insurance Cost for My German Shepherd?
Shopping for insurance probably isn't a new experience for you. Many of us have shopped for insurance, whether it was health insurance, car insurance, travel insurance, or home insurance. Anyone who has shopped for insurance in the past knows costs can vary greatly depending on many factors. These factors include how comprehensive you want your insurance to be and the rates that each company charges.
This applies to health insurance for your German Shepherd as well. So, although I cannot tell you what it will cost for you to get insurance for your German Shepherd, I can help give you an idea of the basic costs involved using two German Shepherds I know, Koda and Anavica.
I will take four of the most popular pet insurance companies and share the quotes I get for Koda and Anavica.
Koda is a young and lively German Shepherd. He is two years old and has no known health problems. At 80 pounds, Koda is a healthy weight for his age.
Anavica is seven years old. Though approaching her senior years, she is still very alert and healthy. Weighing 70 pounds, Anavica is also a healthy weight.
Figo Pet Insurance
Figo offers three tiers of insurance for German Shepherds. Essential, Preferred, and Ultimate. All three tiers cover similar things, including some level of annual veterinary visits, no upper age limit, chronic conditions, hereditary conditions, knee conditions, dysplasia, emergency services, behavioral therapies, dental, and many more benefits.
Based on 80% reimbursement and a $250 deductible, these are Koda and Anavica's options.
Like Figo, Pet Plan offers three different tiers that include similar benefits in each one. Some of the services that Pet Plan includes in its coverage include diagnostic treatments, imaging, dental, alternative therapies, behavioral therapies, boarding fees, cancer treatments, prescription medication, and much more.
The "Most Affordable" plan has a $500 deductible and 80% reimbursement.
The "Most Popular" plan has a $300 deductible and 80% reimbursement
The "Most Reimbursement" plan has a $250 deductible and 80% reimbursement
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance covers accidents, dental disease, illnesses, behavioral issues, hereditary conditions, etc. They do not cover pre-existing conditions, breeding costs, preventive care, or cosmetic procedures.
Based on a $5000 annual limit, 80% reimbursement, and $250 yearly deductible, the costs are as follows:
Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace Pet Insurance covers many of the same things as the other companies we have listed, including cancer treatments, chronic conditions, genetic conditions, allergy testing, exam fees, hospitalization, emergency care, and physical therapy. While they also don't cover for pre-existing conditions, they do have a caveat to that. If your pet remains symptom and treatment free of a pre-existing curable condition for twelve consecutive months, they will re-evaluate your coverage.
Based on their most popular choices of a $5000 annual limit, 80% reimbursement, the costs change slightly based on the deductible you choose.
As you can see from the example quotes from each of these highly rated companies, the deductible you are willing to meet and the age of your pet both impact the amount of the monthly payment you are going to be required to make.
Another consideration to consider is how your chosen pet health insurance is going to payout. Some Pet insurance companies will allow direct billing from providers, which means you will only be required to pay the percentage of the cost not covered by your health care plan. Other pet insurance companies might require you to initially pay for the care and then reimburse you within weeks or months.
Pet insurance is not right for all German Shepherd dogs or their owners. If you consider investing in pet health insurance for your German Shepherd, ensure that you comparison shop and do your research on how each pet health insurance company works. Doing this will enable you to choose the pet health insurance company that is right for you, your German Shepherd, and your wallet. This article should serve as a guide if you plan on getting your pet insured against all the ailments that might occur. It's a good idea to start your research right away and come to a conclusion regarding your plans.
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