Several dog breeds are mistaken for Pitbulls regularly, but there are only four types of Pitbulls (American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bully). These dogs are surprisingly considered more healthy compared to other purebred dogs. However, no dog is immune to potential health issues.
This is why it’s good to know what potential health threats are associated with the breed so you can find the best insurance coverage for your Pittie. Our dedicated insurance guide for Pitbulls includes the most common health issues for the breed and a list of health insurance considerations to find the best fit for your needs.
As with all breeds, each dog is unique, and your budget isn’t the same as your neighbor’s. At 17-21 inches tall and weighing up to 60 pounds, this bully breed is just as susceptible to accidents and illnesses as any other dog. Fortunately for you, we can help you find the best insurance coverage for your blockhead best friend.
At A Glance
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- 1 Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
- 2 Common Health Issues In Pitbulls
- 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. The critical thing to remember is that you need to sign up for insurance before an emergency arises. You cannot count on coverage for your Pitbull’s pre-diagnosed health issues. So it’s crucial to get your dog covered as soon as possible.
Common Health Issues In Pitbulls
Pitbulls generally live 12-16 years. Unlike other purebreds, they’re not predisposed to as many specific health concerns. However, there’s no certainty in whether your dog will suffer from any issues or not. The health issues below can give you an idea of what to look for regarding symptoms and insurance coverage.
Hip dysplasia is a chronic condition where the head of the femur bone doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket. This is one of the most commonly occurring orthopedic conditions in dogs and is most common in large dog breeds.
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.
Pitbulls can struggle with numerous skin issues, including allergies, itchy or flaky skin, rashes, red bumps, and more. Using a shampoo that is safe and effective for their various skin problems can help keep several issues at bay.
According to Healthy Paws Insurance, skin issues are among the most common dog health issues. A potential vet visit can cost more than $4,000, depending on environmental circumstances and genetics.
Low Melanin Levels
Blue-nosed Pitbulls can suffer from low melanin levels, which can cause skin conditions, heart disease, eye conditions, lower immunity, and put them at a higher risk of developing cancer. If you have a blue-nosed Pitty, you may face more vet bills in your future, making it especially important to insure this breed.
Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
There are dozens of pet insurance companies to choose from, but their coverage isn’t the same. Having many options is nice, but it can make it challenging to decide.
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 cover 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 pooch is above a certain age (e.g., hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgery, and orthopedic conditions).
All providers have waiting periods, which are short periods at the beginning of the policy until your pet’s condition is 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 good 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 Pibble, you need to consider what type of coverage you need and your budget.
Premium: Deductible, Reimbursement & Payout Options
The fee you pay for your Pitbull’s pet insurance coverage is the premium and is usually paid monthly or annually. 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 dog and situation, including yours, so be sure to get multiple quotes from top-rated companies.
The premium is based on several factors: breed, location, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and payout. The beginning of the list is self-explanatory, you have a Pitbull, 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 versus per-incident deductibles can impact the amount of money you’re expected to pay.
- Reimbursement – This is 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 limited 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, higher reimbursement, and lower payout will lower your premium. However, it’s crucial to find the balance between what your budget allows and the worst-case scenario if your Pibble’s health turns for the worst and you have several vet bills needing paying.
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.
Another note is that a few companies require additional waiting periods for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Because Pitbulls 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 Pitbulls based on their breed-specific needs.
Best Overall Pet Insurance
Pets Best may be the best pet insurance for your Pitbull because of its shorter waiting period for hip dysplasia (only 14 days), lower pricing on average, and it has 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 Good Options
- 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 Pibble parents can save money on insurance policies if the following circumstances are met.
Most insurance companies offer two ways of paying your premiums, either monthly or annually. In many cases, transaction fees are added to your bill. Therefore, you can avoid several transaction fees if you pay your premium annually.
Many pet insurers offer multi-pet discounts for pet owners who take out several policies. You could get up to a 10% discount on your pet’s insurance, amounting to significant savings. Some companies only offer multi-pet discounts on additional pets (not the first), so be sure to clarify this point before enrolling in a new policy.
As you can see, investing in insurance for your Pitbull is worthwhile. The premium often deters pet parents. But when you consider the costs associated with common vet bills for the breed, you realize it’s a more budget-friendly option. Not to mention the peace of mind you have knowing that you’ll never be faced with choosing between your wallet and your best friend’s health. Remember to read the fine print to understand the coverage and limitations no matter which policy you choose. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, give the pet insurance company a call or speak with your vet.