It started off as a lovely but boring Sunday. I took my two Samoyeds to the local dog park, and they had a wonderful time running and playing with their dog friends. Then out of nowhere, I heard my youngest dog shriek—a dog had stepped on his tail. He took off running before I could grab him, and his tail snapped. In an instant, blood was streaming down his legs.
I rushed him to the emergency vet. As dog owners know, emergency vets are never cheap. In this case, surgery would cost nearly $3,000. But I have excellent pet insurance that covered nearly the entire cost.
I’ve learned time and time again how essential pet insurance is. If you’re wondering if it’s necessary to get pet insurance for Samoyeds — or how pet insurance works — here’s what you should know.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a form of insurance you can use to offset the cost of treatments for your pet. The vast majority of companies only cover dogs and cats. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), there is just one company — Nationwide — that will insure other small animals and exotic pets, such as guinea pigs, rabbits, reptiles, or birds.
Before purchasing pet insurance, you should know that pet insurance policies work differently than human health insurance.
Most pet insurance companies work through reimbursement. You’re responsible for paying for your pet’s treatment at the time of your visit. Once you get home, you can submit a claim online or through the mail. If the company approves your claim, they will send you a check or deposit the money directly into your bank account.
That can mean having to pay thousands for emergency care, and it can take several days or weeks to get reimbursed. If you don’t have that kind of cash handy — and few do — consider getting a credit card that you keep active for emergencies.
Although there are some companies that will pay your vet directly, they’re rare, and typically only work select veterinarians.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
As you’re shopping for Samoyed pet insurance, you’ll find that there are many pet insurers out there. Companies tend to offer three kinds of plans:
Accident-only coverage is the least expensive form of pet insurance. In fact, the NAIC reported that accident-only policies cost about 60% less than accident and illness plans.
Accident-only coverage will pay for the treatments or procedures for injuries that occur due to accidents, such as a broken limb while playing fetch or a bite wound from another dog at the park. It does not cover diseases like cancer or kennel cough, nor will it pay for treatments for hereditary or congenital conditions.
Some companies have age restrictions on their accident/illness policies; if you have a senior pet, you may only be eligible for an accident-only plan.
Accident-only plans typically have annual and lifetime limits, and you also have to pay a deductible.
Accident and Illness
Accident and illness policies are the most common form of pet insurance. They cover treatments for both accidental injuries and diseases. Cancer, hip dysplasia, bite wounds, and broken limbs would all be covered under an accident and illness policy.
Like accident-only plans, accident and illness plans usually have an annual and lifetime benefit limit, and you are responsible for paying the deductible before your insurer will start covering treatments.
Wellness policies are available by themselves or as an optional add-on to accident or accident and illness plans. You can use a wellness plan to get reimbursed for preventative care, such as:
- Wellness visits
- Heartworm preventatives
However, these policies aren’t insurance, and they function very differently than pet insurance plans. With a wellness plan, the company covers a portion of certain routine expenses, up to a per-procedure maximum. For example, they may pay up to $50 for vaccinations and up to $25 for microchipping. Usually, they’re capped at about $500 in reimbursement per year.
What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?
Although pet insurance can be helpful, it does have limitations. Particularly when it comes to Samoyed pet insurance, it’s important to understand what pet insurance doesn’t cover.
No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. Any condition your pet had before the policy’s effective date — or that showed clinical symptoms during the waiting period — is excluded from coverage.
- Congenital heart conditions
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
If your pet has shown any of these issues, pet insurance will not cover future treatments. However, treatments for other illnesses or accidents may be covered.
The earlier you enroll your pet, the better. Younger animals are less likely to have health issues, so enrolling your Samoyed in a pet insurance policy while they’re young ensures you have coverage for any issues that develop later on.
Unfortunately, not all pet insurers will cover senior pets. According to the NAIC, pets over the age of 12 are usually not eligible for coverage. There are some companies that do offer plans for older pets, but the premiums will be significantly more expensive.
Samoyeds can live a very long time; the length of a Samoyed’s lifespan can be as long as 15 years, so make sure the company you choose will cover an older pet.
Certain Conditions and Treatments
When purchasing insurance, be sure to read the fine print. Some insurance companies have strict exclusions, such as not covering hip dysplasia or ligament issues in any pet enrolled after the age of three. Or they may require annual dental and wellness exams before they will pay out claims.
The company will also outline what conditions and treatments aren’t covered. For example, many companies exclude alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal treatments, or massage therapy.
Pet insurance policies typically exclude expenses related to breeding and pregnancy. If you have a dog you intend to breed, be sure to review potential policies and find out if complications related to breeding or whelping are covered.
How Much Does Pet Insurance for Samoyeds Cost?
If you’ve decided to buy pet insurance for your Samoyed, you may be wondering how much it costs.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average monthly premium for an accident-only policy for a dog is $19.93 per month. For a plan that includes accident and illness coverage, the average premium is $48.66.
Samoyeds are not particularly common in the U.S. — Samoyeds are #55 on the AKC’s popularity list — so the premiums to insure them may be different. To give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost for your Samoyed, we requested quotes from these leading pet insurance companies for accident and illness policies:
|Healthy Paws*||$42.83 (unlimited annual benefit)||$76.18 (unlimited annual benefit)||Limited coverage available||Not eligible|
|Pets Best*||$32.18 (unlimited annual benefit)||$40.63 (unlimited annual benefit)||$99.10 (unlimited annual benefit)||$142.31 (unlimited annual benefit)|
As you can see, premiums can vary a great deal between companies. Your premiums may vary from the results we got because your premiums are personalized; your rates are determined by factors like:
- The age of your pet
- Whether your Samoyed is purebred or a mixed breed
- Your location
- The benefit amount you choose
- Reimbursement level
- Deductible amount
Pet Insurance for Samoyeds
Now that you know the ins and outs of Samoyed pet insurance, you can decide whether to buy a policy for your pet. If you want to insure your pet, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare rates from multiple pet insurers to find the best deal. Not sure where to start? NAPHIA has a searchable database of pet insurance companies you can use to find leading insurers.