The French Bulldog is one of the most popular dog breeds in America. The American Kennel Club describes them as playful, smart, and adaptable. Plain and simple, they are a canine superstar and man’s best friend.
But what is not so clear-cut is the world of pet insurance! So this got us, and many of our readers, to thinking, what is the top health insurance for French Bulldogs?
Let’s look at the common health problems in the Frenchie bloodline, the average treatment costs, and what to look out for in the policy. And we’ll discover whether Frenchies need insurance (and the answer is nearly always yes!) as well as how you can save a little bit of money.
At a Glance
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- 1 Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
- 2 Common Health Issues in French Bulldogs
- 3 Considerations When Choosing an Insurer
- 4 Who Offers the Optimal Fit for your Frenchie?
- 5 How to Save Money
- 6 Final Thoughts
Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
So the million-dollar question is, is dog insurance worth it? And really, the only time it probably isn’t worth it is if you have unlimited funds to pay for any health problems your Frenchie faces. This is not the case for most of us. Many are left with no choice but to surrender their pup and forever regret not having coverage.
Unfortunately, French Bulldogs are not the healthiest of dog breeds. The Royal Veterinary College in the UK conducted one of the most extensive studies on the health of Frenchies. They found that 72.4% of French Bulldogs studied experienced at least one health problem requiring vet treatment, often more. That’s a high percentage, meaning that getting pet health insurance is the sensible thing to do!
Common Health Issues in French Bulldogs
Let’s take a look at some of the most common health concerns this breed faces. Although your Frenchie might not suffer from any of these conditions or only suffer from one, maybe all, it’ll give you an idea about the costs involved.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Disease (BOAS)
All flat-faced dogs are at risk of suffering from brachycephalic syndrome. This refers to a set of upper airway abnormalities caused by the shortened or flatter skull of the dog. These abnormalities can then lead to secondary health problems that affect other body areas, such as the stomach.
Although medication can alleviate the problems, surgery is often required to improve their quality of life. Surgery for each individual abnormality can cost up to $1,000. But if your Frenchie suffers from more than one, it can run into several thousand dollars.
Hip dysplasia is most common in large dog breeds, but the Frenchie is also at risk. This is why it is important to ask for the parent’s hip scores from your breeder, looking for fair or better. Like BOAS, surgery is often needed to improve the quality of your dog’s life. And this procedure costs an average of $1,500 to $7,000 per hip, making this one of the most expensive surgeries.
Patella luxation basically means a floating kneecap. Although this doesn’t sound all that serious, it can be very painful for your Frenchie. Once again, surgery is the only option in some cases to prevent reoccurring problems and improve life quality. The average cost of surgery falls between $1,500 and $3,000 per knee. And this does not include the cost of diagnosis, pre-surgery bloodwork, and complications.
This is a congenital condition that causes the fusing or twisting of a dog’s spine. The typical cost for imaging alone falls between $1,000 and $3,000. The cost of surgery per location (some dogs have several problem points in their spine) can cost between $1,500 and $4,000, making this another potentially expensive procedure.
The French Bulldog is at risk of several eye concerns. These include cherry eye, corneal ulcers, dry eye, entropion, and progressive retinal atrophy, to name just a few. Although you can resolve many issues quickly with medication and good hygiene, some require surgery.
For example, the cost for a vet to assess an eye and provide a course of antibiotic drops can cost around $100. In contrast, surgical procedures to correct corneal ulcers, for example, can cost between $200 and $2,000. And because Frenchie eyes bulge more than other doggy eyes, they are also prone to general eye injuries. Which usually means more expensive trips to the vet than other breeds.
Considerations When Choosing an Insurer
Like most things in life, not all policies or companies are created equal. And it’s your job to separate the good from the bad. Because what’s worse than not taking out insurance? Paying for a policy that you find out doesn’t cover the emergency you are plagued with–this is the worst situation to find yourself in. Let’s take a look at what you should consider in your research.
Enrollment Rules & Waiting Periods
Although most insurance policies offer lifelong coverage, if your Frenchie is too young or too old, you might be turned away by some companies. While there are some exceptions, the majority of policies will not allow new policies for puppies younger than 8 weeks. Several companies also limit enrollment for older dogs. However, they will continue to cover your pooch as long as you have an active policy for them.
Most policies also state that you cannot use it right away. This is referred to as a “waiting period.” This rule prevents owners from taking out a policy only when a problem arises. Waiting periods for illnesses vary, but you will rarely find any that are less than two weeks. For accidents, the waiting periods are shorter, often starting within a few days of enrolling in a new policy. Remember, a waiting period is the minimum length of time you have to wait before filing a claim with your dog insurance company.
Types of Coverage & Premiums
There are several types of coverage options to choose from. The three main types are:
- Accident-only – As it sounds, this covers only incidents and injuries. Examples of covered instances include poisoning, getting hit by a car, and ingestion of foreign objects.
- Accident and Illness – This covers both accidents and most illnesses, such as cancer, gastrointestinal issues, and allergies. This is the most popular plan as it covers most unexpected expenses associated with your pet’s health.
- Accident, Illness, and Wellness – This is usually the most costly because it covers most accidents, illnesses, and wellness expenses. Wellness coverage allows for preventative care expense coverage, including routine examinations, heartworm and flea/tick preventative, dental cleanings, and vaccinations.
Within each type of plan, there are different levels of coverage, and not every company categorizes them in the same way.
For example, a company might separate its accident and illness plans into silver, gold, and platinum packages. All offer slightly different levels of coverage and have varying limits. Although this is great for personalizing the policy to make it work for you and your budget, it can be confusing. We cannot stress enough that you must read the fine print.
To maintain your coverage, you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average monthly premium cost in 2020 was $49.51 for a dog to be covered with an accident and illness plan. Although this might seem like a lot, it’s nowhere near as much as the surgeries and other emergencies described above can cost. And if it ensures the safety and wellbeing of your French bestie without an unexpected hit to your wallet, it’s worth it for sure.
Deductibles & Claim Limits
Deductibles are the amount that you’ll have to pay before the insurance policy kicks in. Some plans ask for the deductible to be paid annually, while others expect it to be paid per incident or illness.
Being certain about the limits included in the policy is one of the most important things to consider. Most companies will cap the limit that they’ll reimburse you in some way. Insurers have limits that are either by calendar year, by incident, or over the lifespan of your dog, Usually, the higher your premium, the lower your deductible and higher your reimbursement percentage will be.
This is one of the most important sections of the fine print to pay attention to in any insurance policy. Some policies will list conditions or scenarios that they will not cover. While we are not aware of any companies that do this, if you review the policy you are considering and find it doesn’t cover BOAS, hip dysplasia, or any other common health concern for this breed, it may not be the right coverage for your French Bulldog.
Who Offers the Optimal Fit for your Frenchie?
Let’s take a look at some of the companies offering pet health insurance for your pup. Remember that all dogs are unique, so the best-suited plan will be different for everyone.
Best Overall Pet Insurance
- Consistently among the least expensive
- Detailed coverage
- Offers option to reimburse up to 100% of vet costs
- Diminishing deductible (deductible decreases by $50 each year a policyholder is claim-free until it’s $0)
- Coverage for chronic and hereditary conditions including hip dysplasia
Best for Older Dogs
Best for Bilateral Conditions (including Hip Dysplasia)
- One of the only companies with no bilateral exclusions
- If your dog has pre-existing hip dysplasia in one leg, it doesn’t auto-exclude another one in the future
- Express allows claim payments in less than 5 minutes
- Set plan limits with 90% reimbursement and unlimited payouts
- Offers enrollment from birth
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
- 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 24/7 vet support
How to Save Money
Here are a few ways that you can save yourself some money.
Increase the Deductible
You can usually reduce your monthly premium by increasing the deductible amount on the policy (the amount of money you are responsible for). However, you need to be sure that you can afford the deductible should the worst happen.
Some companies offer two methods of payment, monthly or annually. Many companies will add extra interest to the monthly payments in the form of a “transaction fee.” So if you can pay for the insurance policy upfront, you can usually save money.
Are you lucky enough to own more than one French Bulldog, or maybe another dog or cat? If so, some insurance companies offer a discount if you take out multiple policies with them. By rolling them under one company, you could save a few dollars.
Don’t Just Stick to Comparison Sites
Using comparison sites often makes your decision easier by setting out each policy’s key points and price quotes. However, not all companies are covered on each comparison site. So, you could be missing out on better policies and prices by solely consulting comparison sites. Be sure to check out individual company websites, too.
Ultimately, the most important thing to take from this guide is to read the fine print before signing up for a new pet insurance policy. This way, you can ensure it provides you with precisely what you and your Frenchie need, when you need it. Because what works for one Frenchie might not be the best option for another.
Overall, if you have any questions or you’re unsure about the terms of your policy, call the company or speak to your vet. Although your vet probably can’t advise you, they may be able to explain certain concepts in layman’s terms to make your decision easier.