Boxers are a popular family dog in many households. They can be easily trained; however, they’re known to be stubborn at times too. The best insurance policy for a Boxer may not match that of a smaller (or larger) dog breed. This is why we’ve dedicated this insurance guide to Boxers.
This breed has been in the top 15 most popular dog breeds for the past 20 years, so you are not alone in your love of your Boxer. But, each dog is unique, and your budget isn’t the same as your neighbor’s. So we’ve compiled a list of health insurance considerations to help you find the best fit for your individual needs.
At two feet tall and 48-85 pounds, this breed is just as easily susceptible to accidents and illnesses like any other canine. And like all other purebreds, they are prone to more health concerns than most mixed breeds, making pet insurance an excellent investment consideration.
At A Glance
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- 1 Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
- 2 Common Health Issues In Boxers
- 3 Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
- 4 Who Offers The Best Policy?
- 5 How To Save Money
- 6 Final Thoughts
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
The short answer is yes. A survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance states that 63% of pet owners couldn’t afford unexpected medical care for their pets. Not only does pet insurance allow you to choose the best medical treatment for your pet, but it also provides more financial stability.
The key thing to remember is that you need to sign up for pet insurance before an emergency arises. You cannot count on coverage for your Boxer’s pre-diagnosed health issues. So it’s crucial to get your dog covered as soon as possible.
Common Health Issues In Boxers
Boxers generally live 8-10 years. But, like all purebreds, they’re more predisposed to specific health concerns due to genetics. However, the health issues below can give you an idea of what to look for regarding symptoms and insurance coverage.
Canine bloat is also known as gastric dilation-volvulus or gastric torsion. This life-threatening illness occurs when a dog eats too much or too fast. A buildup of gasses in the stomach causes it to blow up like a balloon and twist, causing the blood flow to the stomach to be cut off. If left untreated, it can result in death within hours.
Because bloat requires immediate medical treatment, your vet bill can quickly reach $3,000 or more. Your dog’s medical care may include an emergency vet visit, shock treatment, sedation, surgery, overnight stay, follow-up exams, and more.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Degenerative myelopathy is a hereditary spinal cord disease that begins to present in a dog’s adult years. It’s similar to the human disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dogs that suffer from DM experience weakening and the inability to control their hind limbs, ultimately leading to paralysis.
A definitive diagnosis of DM is problematic because a vet can only do it postmortem by examining the spinal cord. However, vets suspect diagnosis by a series of expensive tests that eliminate other conditions. Vets may conduct X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, tissue biopsies, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and neuromuscular tests to rule out other conditions like hip dysplasia, IVDD, arthritis, etc.
There’s no medication or treatment for DM to cure or stop the progression. Most dogs diagnosed with DM live six months to three years, but, as mentioned above, it is nearly impossible to diagnose in a living dog. DM isn’t considered painful, but to maintain your dog’s quality of life, your vet may recommend physical therapy, hydrotherapy, a well-balanced diet, supplements, and routine exercise. The diagnosis and preservation of your dog’s quality of life can quickly reach thousands of dollars.
Skin allergies can impact numerous breeds, including this one. According to Healthy Paws Insurance, skin issues are among the most common dog health issues. Depending on environmental circumstances and genetics, a potential vet visit for this chronic condition can cost more than $4,000.
Boxers are predisposed to cancers, including three of the most common types of cancer in dogs (hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and lymphoma).
Hemangiosarcoma is a type of skin cancer that grows in the cells that line blood vessels, commonly on a dog’s spleen, skin, or heart. It’s most often diagnosed in the advanced stage because it’s difficult to catch early on. Treatment is typically tumor removal and chemotherapy, both of which can be extremely costly.
Mast cell tumors are the most common type of skin cancer in dogs. If caught early, it can be successfully treated. Surgery is typically required to have the tumor removed, and your dog may also need radiation and chemotherapy.
Lymphoma is often noticed in swollen lymph nodes in the jaw, behind the knee, and under the shoulders. Chemotherapy is typically the most effective form of treatment for lymphoma in dogs.
If your dog is diagnosed with one of the cancers listed above, you’re most likely looking at surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. The cost of these dog cancer treatment methods can easily add up:
- Surgery for tumor removal: starts at $1,500
- Chemotherapy: $200 to $5,000
- Radiation: $2,000 to $6,000
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow and hip dysplasia are among the most common health issues in large breed dogs, including the Boxer. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) states that genetics plays the most significant factor in joint dysplasia and other joint problems. Be sure to work with a breeder who provides you with healthy hip and elbow scores for your dog and its genetic lines.
Surgery is often needed to improve the quality of your dog’s life. And this procedure ranges from $1,700 to $4,500+, depending on the type of surgery required.
Hypothyroidism is caused by reduced production and release of hormones from the thyroid gland. Symptoms include mental dullness, lethargy, weight gain, hair loss, and repeated skin infections. Vets use tests to diagnose it, including bloodwork and regular monitoring of hormone levels. Thankfully, hypothyroidism is manageable with daily medication.
However, the long-term costs and the diagnostic work beforehand can build up. Some pet insurance policies cover diagnostic work and prescriptions, but not all. The average cost of managing hypothyroidism annually ranges from $300 to $700, with an additional $50 to $150 for initial diagnostic work. Your pup is likely to command a higher average price thanks to its larger body mass.
Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
Age Restrictions & Waiting Periods
Most pet insurance companies have a minimum age requirement (typically between six and eight weeks old) before allowing you to enroll your pet. And some companies cap the age at which you can sign up an older dog (14 years old is the most common, although it’s only a few companies). Additionally, some companies may exclude specific conditions from coverage if your pup is above a certain age (e.g., hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgery, and orthopedic disorders).
All providers have waiting periods, which are short periods at the beginning of a new policy until your pet’s condition becomes eligible for reimbursement. Keep in mind that any pre-existing conditions, accidents, or illnesses diagnosed or showing symptoms during the waiting period are excluded from coverage. The average waiting period for illnesses is 14 days and for accidents is less than five days.
There are three types of insurance coverage to choose from:
- Accident-Only – These policies offer coverage for accidents (e.g., torn ligaments, broken bones, etc.), so basically any sudden physical injury. Accident-only plans are typically more affordable than accident and illness policies. This can be a reasonable option for a pet with many pre-existing conditions.
- Accident and Illness – These policies are the most popular because they cover both accidents and illnesses (i.e., cancer, arthritis, allergies, etc.), including most unexpected medical expenses. Because no provider covers pre-existing conditions, it’s crucial to sign your pet up for coverage as early as possible.
- Wellness – This commonly covers routine vet expenses (i.e., annual exams, spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, etc.) but varies by provider. It’s typically available as an add-on to an accident-only or accident and illness policy, but some companies allow you to purchase it without an insurance policy.
To find the best option for your Boxer, you need to consider what type of coverage you need and your budget.
Premium: Deductible, Reimbursement & Payout Options
The fee you pay for your Boxer’s pet insurance coverage is the premium usually paid monthly or annually. Monthly payments often add transaction fees, so if you can pay annually, it can save you a little money.
According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), the average monthly premium for an accident and illness insurance policy in the U.S. in 2021 was $48.66 for dogs. Of course, this varies for every pet and situation, including yours, so be sure to get multiple quotes from top-rated companies.
The premium is based on several factors: breed (or mix), location, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and payout. The beginning of the list is self-explanatory, you have a Boxer, and you know your zip code, your dog’s age (or best guess), gender, and medical history. But what is a deductible, reimbursement, and payout?
- Deductible – The money you have to pay before your policy begins to reimburse you. This is typically reset each policy period (annually). However, some companies have per-incident deductibles, so you must pay this amount each time your dog suffers a new condition. Each company may have its own spin on this, so be sure to understand your policy because annual vs. per-incident deductibles can impact the amount of money you’re expected to pay.
- Reimbursement – The percentage of a claim that you’re eligible for repayment by the company after you’ve paid your coinsurance. The most popular reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%, but some companies offer other options or restricted options based on the dog’s age or location.
- Payout – The maximum amount a provider will reimburse during the policy period. Lower payout limits mean you may be responsible for more costs if your pet has expensive vet treatment.
Many companies allow you to customize your plan to fit your budget. For example, a higher deductible and reimbursement percentage paired with a lower payout will lower your premium. However, it’s crucial to find a balance between what your budget allows and the worst-case scenario if your Boxer’s health takes a turn for the worst and you have several expensive vet bills to pay.
Exclusions refer to the conditions not covered by your policy. This can include pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, specific dental treatment, and more.
Possibly the most significant concern regarding the Apollo of dogs is that a few companies require additional waiting periods for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Because Boxers are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia, you’ll want to ensure you understand any additional restrictions for it. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you thoroughly read and understand your policy.
Who Offers The Best Policy?
Below are our top pet insurance picks for Boxers based on their breed-specific needs.
Best Overall Pet Insurance
Pets Best is the best pet insurance for Boxers because of its shorter waiting period for hip dysplasia (only 14 days for this common breed health concern), lower average prices, and having no maximum age limits for enrollment. Pets Best also has few exclusions compared to other providers, including coverage for behavioral therapies and optional wellness care.
Best Pet Insurance For Older Dogs
- Excellent value for money
- Offers options for 100% reimbursement and unlimited annual payouts
- Diminishing deductible decreases by $50 each year the policyholder is claim-free until it’s $0
- Coverage includes age and weight-related concerns and hereditary and chronic conditions
Best Insurance For Bilateral Conditions
- One of the only companies with no bilateral exclusions
- Claims can be paid in less than 5 minutes via Trupanion Express
- 90% reimbursement and unlimited payouts for all plans
- Offers enrollment from birth
Additional Options We Recommend
- Premium reduces by $50 per year if no claims are made
- Covers curable pre-existing conditions, dependent on evaluation
- Exam fees included in all policies
- Offers coverage for behavioral therapy and training
- Dental treatment included
- Unlimited annual and lifetime payouts for all plans
- Fastest claim payout, on average, compared to others
- Excellent value and competitive price
- High customer satisfaction ratings
How To Save Money
Some Boxer parents can save money on insurance policies if the following circumstances are met.
Most insurance companies offer two ways of paying your premiums: monthly or annually. In many cases, transaction fees are added to your bill if you choose monthly payments. Therefore, you can minimize or avoid these altogether if you pay your premium on an annual basis.
Many pet insurers offer multi-pet discounts for pet owners who take out several policies for their household’s dogs and cats. Depending on the provider, you could save up to 10% on each pet’s insurance, amounting to significant savings over their lifetime.
As you can see, investing in insurance for your Boxer is frequently worthwhile, but the premium often deters pet parents. However, when you consider the costs associated with common non-routine vet bills for the breed, you realize it can be a more budget-friendly option. Not to mention your peace of mind knowing you’ll never be faced with choosing between your wallet and your best friend’s health or life.
Remember to read the fine print to understand the coverage and limitations before you sign up, no matter which policy you are considering. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, give the pet insurance company a call or speak with your vet.