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Can I buy Life Insurance for my Dog?

Pet insurance is a relatively new product on the market. A few decades ago, the notion of buying a life insurance policy for a dog or cat would seem absurd. In the modern age, however, people spend a substantial sum on their furry companions and are willing to pay a lot of money to keep them healthy. Veterinary medicine has become substantially more sophisticated in recent years, with expensive treatment options like chemotherapy, dialysis, or other advanced medical care available for pets. With the rising cost of veterinary care, pet insurance may be a wise decision.

If you can buy health insurance for your dog, can you also buy life insurance?

If you’re wondering whether you can buy life insurance for your dog or cat, the first thing you should do is clarify what you mean by “life insurance.” For humans, life insurance is a way of providing financial security to surviving family members in the event of the insured’s death. Human life insurance acts as replacement income. Most people who are not the primary income for the family do not require life insurance. Similarly, pets do not have an income to replace. In that regard, there is no such thing as life insurance for dogs.

On the other hand, some animals are worth a lot of money as property. For example, show-winning dogs or highly successful race horses can be worth several thousand dollars, even hundreds of thousands depending upon the breed and the animal’s show history. If you have a highly prized dog, you may be able to insure the animal at its value.

When buying pet insurance, you must understand that the pet will be insured at its “replacement” value or the value it is appraised at. Sometimes this will be the value you initially purchased the pet for, other times it will be based on additional appraisals. While your beloved pet may be priceless to you, the insurance pay-out will only reflect the objective value of the animal.

Generally, dog life insurance is provided through the same companies as provide pet medical insurance, and you can probably buy both at the same time. When shopping for pet insurance, review the coverage and see if there is any coverage afforded on the medical policy for replacement costs; if there is, then life insurance is already included as part of your pet’s insurance policy.

What does Pet Life Insurance cover?

Usually pet life insurance will cover a limited number of causes of death, such as accidents or sudden terminal illness. Hereditary diseases will usually not be covered, nor will death caused by old age. Most policies will only pay for the cash value of the pet, but some will also provide a small death benefit to cover costs like euthanasia, burial or cremation, and even grief counseling for the owner. The more coverage your pet’s insurance provides, the higher your premiums will be. Coverage will also have an applicable deductible.

Are there any other cases where insurance covers pets?

Depending on what other types of insurance you carry, you may have limited insurance for your pets. Pets are excluded from homeowner’s insurance and cannot be insured as property through those policies, but they are covered by the liability portion of your home insurance. That means that if your dog bites someone or causes damage to a person’s property, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage caused by the pet.

Alternatively, if your dog is injured due to someone else’s negligent action, their insurance may be responsible for your veterinary bills or the replacement cost of your pet. For example, if your pet is hit by a car, the car owner’s insurance may cover for your pet’s value. Note, however, that the person who hits your dog is not always at fault for the accident; depending on the circumstances of the accident and the leash laws in your state, you may actually be found at fault for the incident even if your dog is injured or killed.

Also, some vehicle policies are now including coverage for animals who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. This is a relatively new feature to insurance and is not available in all areas, but if you travel often with your dogs it may be worthwhile to ask your insurance company if this is a coverage you can add to your policy.

Finally, if your pet is part of a business that you run, the animal may be covered at its appraisal value through your business insurance. For example, if you are a professional dog breeder, you may be able to cover the dogs. This is something you will need to discuss with your business insurance, however.

If you have a very expensive pet and will need reimbursement for the pet in the event of sudden loss of life, pet life insurance may be a worthwhile investment. Generally, however, the policies are very expensive and have limited usefulness.

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