Service dog insurance: Service dogs are usually life-changing for people with disabilities. While a service dog and a typical pet form bonds with their families and people generally, a service dog is specially trained to mitigate a physical or psychological disability.
In fact, in order to be seen as a true service dog, the animal must be able perform a task that the owner cannot perform themselves due to their disability.
These mitigators could include navigating for a blind owner, example, a Seeing Eye dog. Other tasks service dogs often perform include turning on and off lights, alerting an epileptic owner if they are about to have a seizure, opening doors, or helping their owner with routine tasks that couldn’t be done otherwise.
Even though these dogs are highly trained to help mitigate their specific owner’s disability, they are still just like regular dogs because they can get sick, injured, or have a need for veterinary attention. That leaves owners with the same questions as pet owners—including whether to get pet insurance for their service dog.
Why Service Dog Insurance Is a Good Option
Real service dogs are bred for temperament, intelligence, and suitability to the task they are expected to perform. As a result, they are often bred from top working lines that are more expensive than the average puppies.
Normally, the average service dog also undergoes between 1-2 years of training before it can ever be placed with a disabled owner—who also has to undergo some training before taking possession of the dog. Although the dogs are highly expensive to train, breed, and maintain, most medical insurance policies don’t cover the cost.
Service dogs provide critical abilities for a disabled person. For many owners, they would be unable to leave their homes or function in the society if they are without their dogs. If their dog is sick, hurt, or cannot perform the job, that affects the disabled owner in ways that can be very critical.
Just like it is to have a family pet, if you love your dog, you’ll want to make sure you can adequately provide for its needs. Pet insurance can help you achieve that.
Service Dog Insurance You’d love to Get
Although your own medical insurance does not cover the cost of getting a service dog, but once you have one, you can protect this investment with an insurance policy for the dog.
Pet insurance companies offer different plans to suit your needs. Insuring your service dog helps you provide regular veterinary care, including diagnostic tests, supplements and emergency services. This way, your service dog can continue to work by your side for as long as possible.
There are a variety of pet insurance plans and service dog insurance coverage that may be an option for you. All of them work much like the plans you might get for yourself.
Like insurance policy plans in humans, they also have policies and premiums. Pet insurance plans also limit how much or what they will cover. They include:
A service dog is still like regular pets that might acquire sickness, get an injury or even need medical assistance of a vet.
Sadly, not all medical insurance plans will cover the cost of obtaining service animals. Although service animals have great value, insurance for service dogs are mostly not included in the list of health insurance company. This is because they are prohibitively expensive for most people to buy and own.
There is a State and Federal medical coverage offered by Medicare and/or Medicaid that meets many of the ongoing healthcare needs of your service dog.
All the same, none of these programs covers the cost of a service dog insurance coverage. As a matter of fact, there is no health insurance, even from private companies, that covers service animal expenses.
It is pertinent for pet owners to be aware of the service dog homeowners’ insurance policy. Here are some necessary facts about dog ownership and homeowner’s insurance:
• The American Veterinary Association data reveals that about 40% of American families own a dog.
• That means over 43 million households, with an average of 1.6 dogs per household. The Humane Society estimates the numbers to be over 83 million.
• Based to CDC records, people bitten by dogs annually has an estimate number of about 4.5 million. A serious medication is needed by 1 out 5 bitten individual.
• An insurance value of a dog bite is an average of over $29,000. Insurers can get a total cost value of $470 million yearly.
• Perhaps the receiving of dog bite insurance decreases, the value of those claims progressively increase.
• Reported claims of dog bites related cases are mostly located in California and Illinois.
• Many insurance institutions deny or cancel the scope of insurance in cases that the homeowner has a specific dog breed due to the “breed profiling” law in some states.
Does health insurance cover service dogs?
Not usually. Major insurance providers typically do not cover the price of a service dog or its training, but some smaller providers may offer partial or incomplete coverage.
Still, this means getting a service animal is usually a self funded — which is why finding a nonprofit help can go a long way in helping you stay out of debt.
Will Medicaid or Medicare pay for a service dog?
Sadly, neither Medicaid nor Medicare cover the costs of obtaining or caring for a service dog. However, you can use your SSI or SSDI income to pay for your pet.
And if you have recently received disability payments, you may also be able to use your back benefits to get a service dog or pay for its training.
Will the VA pay for a service dog?
Not in full, but some of the costs that comes with owning a service dog may be covered by your Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. To take advantage of this opportunity, you should schedule a meeting with a mental health provider to begin the application process.
If approved, the VA provides comprehensive coverage for your dog’s health and wellness as well as prescription medications or veterinary care your dog might need.
How can I pay for pet care if my service dog gets sick or injured?
Outside the normal costs of maintaining a dog, there are times when it will need additional medical care. While your personal insurance may not cover it, there are a few ways you can get help.
Health savings accounts. Since your assistance dog is performing a medically-required service, its medical bills can be covered by your health savings account (HSA). If you spend over 7.5% of your income before taxes on medical expenses for your service dog, you can file to have that money deducted on your taxes.
Nonprofit funding. Some nonprofits can also help if you find yourself unable to pay for veterinary bills.
VA benefits. You can apply to have your service dog’s vet care and prescription medication subsidized by the VA.
Should You Get Service Dog Insurance?
Service dogs makes life easier for people with disabilities; in some cases, their dogs make it possible for them to live a more normal life.
After the huge financial investment in the dog and training, it could be a good idea to also protect that investment by getting insurance for illness or injury. It definitely will help a disabled service dog owner re-enter their daily routine sooner rather than later.