If you have a furry friend, odds are that you already know that pet insurance exists. But did you know that pet dental insurance also exists? Pet dental insurance can help you pay for your pet’s oral health needs, including routine cleanings, disease and any possible surgeries. Investing in dental insurance for your pet can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if your pet runs into a major dental care need.
Does Pet Dental Insurance Exist?
Pet dental insurance does exist. However, you can’t purchase a stand-alone dental insurance plan for your pet in the same way that you can purchase an individual dental insurance plan for humans from companies like Humana or Ameritas. Some insurance providers offer dental insurance for your pet as added coverage with a regular pet insurance plan. Some plans offer dental coverage as a standard policy inclusion, while others require an added premium for dental coverage.
Most providers only cover injuries and reconstructions and don’t cover dental disease. Unfortunately, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease within the first 3 years of their lives, according to research from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Therefore, you will likely need to pay for dental disease care for your pet at some point in your pet’s life, which may not be covered by your pet insurance plan if you don’t specifically seek dental coverage.
Petplan, Embrace Pet Insurance, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Trupanion, Progressive and Nationwide are a few examples of insurance companies that offer pet insurance with dental injury and illness coverage along with their policies. Providers such as Figo and AKC Pet Insurance only offer some coverage for tooth extractions after an accident.
Each insurance plan and provider offers a different way to cover dental issues for your pet. You’ll need to read your policy to see what types of instances and dental needs are covered and which are not. Certain providers may not offer reimbursement for the invoice but instead will offer reimbursement in accordance with the geographical average for what your pet had done at the vet.
Dental insurance plans for your pet usually come in 3 different options: accident-only plans, illness plans and wellness plans. Accident-only plans offer coverage for dental accidents or injuries after a traumatic accident (for example, being hit by a car). Illness plans offer coverage for hereditary diseases that result normally and not as a result of an accident (for example, periodontal disease). Wellness plans sometimes offer coverage for routine cleanings and basic, preventative dental care needs. Some policies don’t offer coverage for pre-existing conditions or diseases. In addition, only certain providers offer insurance for exotic pets.
What is the Annual Maximum?
When you sign onto a pet insurance plan, your plan usually will include an annual maximum that caps the total amount of benefits you can claim from your insurance provider in a single year. If your pet has health or dental needs that exceed your annual maximum, you’ll be responsible for paying for any remaining care needs out of pocket. When the new year arrives and you renew your plan, your annual maximum resets and you can use your coverage again.
For many pet insurance plans that include dental coverage, the annual maximum that you can claim for a single year is $1,000. While that may seem like a lot if you don’t have $1,000 in emergency savings, any pet owner who has needed to seek emergency veterinary care knows that many emergencies require more than $1,000 worth of treatment. Be sure to read and review your policy terms as well as the average cost of common pet health treatments in your area to determine whether investing in an insurance plan for your pet will be financially beneficial for you.
How do you File Claims?
You file claims for pet insurance just like you would for your own homeowner’s insurance, car insurance or other type of nonhealth insurance. Some providers handle their claims differently from others, so make sure you know how your provider handles them before you need to use your coverage. It’s important to keep in mind that most plans do have copays and deductibles that you must pay before your insurance kicks in and starts paying for any treatments your pet needs.
Most pet insurance providers work on a reimbursement model. This means that when your pet needs treatment, you’ll be responsible for paying any veterinarian bills you receive at the office. Then, you’ll submit your proof of payment to your insurance provider, which will then review your coverage and ensure that the treatments you’ve received are covered on your insurance plan. The insurance provider will then provide you with a reimbursement according to your policy terms and limits and less your deductible and any applicable copays.
Before you receive reimbursement, you’ll need all invoices and documentation for the vet visit that you want covered. Some providers require you to take a photo of the documents and email the photos, while others will require you to mail or fax copies. Make sure you know exactly what your provider requires so you don’t miss out on claiming benefits you’re entitled to.
Select pet insurance companies offer special accounts that allow you to use a specific debit card for veterinary-related expenses. This allows you to access benefits faster and prevents the need to save thousands of dollars in case of an emergency. However, these types of policies are less common when compared to reimbursement-based policies.
Who Needs Pet Dental Insurance?
If you don’t have an adequate emergency fund that can cover a medical emergency for your pet, you should consider investing in a pet insurance policy that includes dental-care coverage. Oral care is essential for a pet’s health, as dental diseases can be deadly. Oral disease from inadequate oral care can lead to the lungs, kidneys or even the heart being affected.
At the end of the day, whether or not you’ll benefit from pet insurance depends on balancing monthly costs versus the cost of an emergency treatment. No matter what, your pet will need the care required, so it’s really a matter of whether you can afford to pay for the care out of pocket. You never know what could happen, especially because you can’t communicate with your pet and may not be able to tell whether there is something seriously wrong until it’s too late, and the vet bill has grown exponentially.
Insurance is also great for people who have multiple pets because healthcare for more than a single pet can be expensive. Dental insurance also can keep you on track with your pet’s regular care needs. If you have the insurance, then you’ll be more inclined to take advantage of it, which can result in increased wellness examinations and being on top of your pet’s health. Just like humans need to go to the dentist for teeth cleaning twice a year, pets need to receive regular routine care to avoid more expensive issues down the line.
Those who do not brush their pet’s teeth regularly or use certain dental chew toys need dental insurance. Plaque and tartar buildup can be detrimental in the future if left untreated. The buildup can lead to infected teeth, gingivitis and even periodontal disease.
Benzinga’s Best Pet Insurance
If you don’t have pet insurance, you might want to research coverage for your furry friend. Consider starting your search with a few of Benzinga’s favorite pet insurance providers using the chart below.
- securely through Chewy Care Plus's websiteBest For:Annual Check UpsRating:
- securely through Wagmo's websiteBest For:EmergenciesRating:
- securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's websiteBest For:Families with multiple pets
Limitations apply. For terms and conditions, visit pumpkin.care. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (NPN#19084749) (“Pumpkin”) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Preventive Essentials is not an insurance policy, and is not available in all states.
Where to Find Dental Care for Pets
If you’ve recently begun searching for dental insurance for your pet, don’t get frustrated if the first few providers you consider don’t offer dental options. Though many pet insurance companies don’t provide any type of insurance coverage for your pet’s oral health needs, there are options available. PetFirst might be a great option for you if you’re searching for pet insurance that includes a comprehensive range of dental care needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does any pet insurance cover dental?
There are pet insurance plans that cover dental care. However, most plans do not offer it. If a provider does offer dental, it usually makes that clear as it is an incentive for pet owners. Some plans do offer coverage for accidents and illnesses that result in the need for tooth extraction but do not extend to regular dental care needs.
Does pet insurance cover periodontal disease?
Most pet insurance companies do not cover periodontal disease. PetFirst is one of the only insurance providers that does offer this coverage at the time of writing.