Dog insurance is a pretty confusing subject, and what’s more confusing is that some insurance does cover elements of training – but not all of them do.
Dog insurance has grown in popularity as more pet owners recognize the importance of ensuring their furry companions’ well-being and want more peace of mind. Rising vet bills have made the potential for unexpected illnesses, accidents, and other health-related issues financial nightmares.
Often times, behavior issues and health issues are intrinsically linked, as pain is a huge trigger for a lack of confidence or reactivity. Because of this, some behavioral modification plans are covered under the pet insurance policy – it just depends on what type of insurance you have.
But where is the line drawn?
Understanding Dog Insurance
Dog insurance is a type of pet insurance that specifically caters to the health and well-being of dogs. The main purpose of dog insurance is to help cover the costs of veterinary care, particularly in the event of accidents or illnesses. Policies vary in coverage and cost, depending on the insurance provider and the chosen plan.
General dog insurance plans cover accidents and illness. Accident coverage is designed to cover expenses related to accidents, like injuries from car accidents, poisoning, or ingestion of foreign objects. Illness coverage provides protection for the medical conditions your dog may contract. This includes coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications necessary for the treatment of accidents and illnesses. However, it typically doesn’t include preventive care or vaccinations.
For this, you will need comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is an insurance policy that covers more than just the basics. It often includes preventive care, such as vaccinations, dental cleanings, and routine checkups. Some comprehensive plans may also provide coverage for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.
Does Dog Insurance Cover Training?
In general, dog insurance policies do not cover the costs of “basic” training. This is because dog training is considered a non-medical expense and falls outside the scope of what pet insurance is designed to cover. So your puppy classes? No, agility sessions, no…
However, some insurance providers offer additional coverage options, they’re called “riders” or “endorsements,” that can be added to a policy for an extra cost. These riders can extend the coverage to include a number of additional services, but riders that cover behavioral training and obedience classes are rare. But in all honesty? If you’re paying for a health insurance plan, it’s worth extending it to cover behavioral therapy, such as aggressive behavior. And with severe behavior and training becoming more and more of an issue, and training prices being very high for these sorts of issues, it’s truly worth considering.
What Dog Insurance Does Cover
Preventative dog training may not be included in standard dog insurance policies, but what does pet insurance cover? Good news! Here’s a list of some common coverages found in dog insurance policies (though do make sure to read yours carefully!)
- Diagnostic Tests: Many dog insurance policies cover the costs of diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork, X-rays, and ultrasounds, which help determine the cause of a dog’s illness or injury.
- Surgeries: Surgical procedures, such as tumor removal, fracture repair, or emergency surgery by a licensed veterinarian due to an accident, are generally covered by dog insurance.
- Medications: Prescribed medications for the treatment of covered illnesses and injuries are typically included in dog insurance policies, and this does usually extend to chronic conditions, but may have a limit.
- Hospitalization: health problems that require hospitalization due to a covered accident or illness, the costs associated with their stay, including room and board, may be covered by your pet insurance policies, but it’s prudent to check.
- Alternative Therapies: Some comprehensive policies may provide coverage for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or hydrotherapy, when deemed medically necessary.
- Hereditary and Congenital Conditions: Many dog insurance policies offer coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions, such as hip dysplasia, heart defects, or eye disorders. However, providers generally exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Rehabilitation: Post-surgical or injury-related rehabilitation, including physical therapy, may be covered by some dog insurance policies, provided it is prescribed by a veterinarian.
- Dental Treatment: Some comprehensive policies include coverage for dental care, such as cleanings, extractions, and treatment for dental diseases like periodontal disease.
- Euthanasia and Cremation: In the unfortunate event that your dog needs to be euthanized due to a covered illness or injury, some policies may cover the costs associated with euthanasia and cremation or burial.
- Preventive Care: Comprehensive policies often include coverage for preventive care, such as vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, heartworm testing, a wellness plan, and annual checkups.
Unfortunately, pre-existing conditions, as well as property damage, will not be covered by most pet insurance plans – but the latter you can usually elect for if you add in a general liability policy, and remember that any dog training or care location should also have professional liability insurance, so if something happens in their care it is their responsibility to cover it and not the dog owner.
Understanding Pet Insurance Better for Pet Owners with Behavioral Issues
With pet care costs rising, having peace of mind for pet owners is going to be their number one priority. It can be hard to find a reliable insurance company that covers veterinary bills, but by doing your due diligence you can find a pet insurance provider that can help cover behavioral conditions as well as physical therapy for an additional fee.
Unfortunately, pet insurance plans likely won’t cover training costs for behavioral issues, but they will still be valuable when dealing with a licensed veterinarian that will be able to work with your insurance company.
If your dog however is diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian and it is deemed appropriate that they need behavioral training for conditions like anxiety and aggression, then pet owners will rest assured knowing they are usually covered.
There is also a difference between obedience training and behavioral training. Obedience is when your dog is being taught by a dog training business to sit or stay while behavioral training focuses on teaching your dog to stop reacting a certain way, like excessive barking.
Coverage from your pet insurance provider will only cover training programs that are given by a US or Canadian-approved professional. So not every dog training business will be capable of receiving your insurance, so double-check with both your pet insurance company as well as the dog training business you’re looking at working with.
Insurance Doesn’t Cover Everything… But It Helps.
While standard dog insurance policies don’t cover training, they do provide valuable coverage for various medical expenses related to accidents and illnesses. It’s crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of any dog insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered. By doing so, pet owners can make informed decisions and select the best insurance plan for their beloved canine companions. The goal of pet insurance is to add peace of mind to pet owners so they won’t have to worry about rising medical care costs for their furry friend.
The rising cost of pet care has made pet owners prioritize finding reliable insurance companies that cover veterinary bills – and cover them consistently, whether it’s for emergency care or a Urinary tract infection. While pet insurance providers can help cover behavioral treatment and physical therapy for an additional fee, they usually don’t cover training costs or ‘preventative’ training with a professional trainer, or helping your dog become qualified as service dogs.
However, if a licensed veterinarian diagnoses a pet with a behavioral condition and deems it appropriate for them to receive training (usually for severe behavioral problems such as reactivity, separation anxiety etc), pet owners can rest assured knowing they are covered by most policies.
It’s important to note that pet insurance coverage only applies to training programs given by approved professionals, so do double-check with both the pet insurance company and the dog training business.
It’s also good to note that waiting periods may apply before your full coverage comes into effect. If you want to get your pet insured to get training that is covered by your insurance provider, then you may have to wait a while before you are fully covered as that waiting period is to try and help insurance companies rule out a pre-existing condition.
What If I’m Not Covered?
Being in a situation where money isn’t there and your dog needs help, it can be so impossibly tough.
If you’re not able to cover your training, or looking at astronomical costs with board and trains, there are always more affordable options for training, and actually? They’re often more effective. So…
If you need help training your dog affodrably, I can absolutely help!
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!
Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!