How Does Pet Insurance for Service Dogs Work?

A group of Assistance Dogs sitting on a grassy bank and all are protected with service dog insurance.

Service dogs that support people with disabilities are our heroes. So what happens when they’re out of action? Just like any dog, they can fall ill, get injured and develop significant dental problems. Pet insurance for service dogs can cover vet costs to treat these ailments and more. In this way, insurance cover for your service dog helps secure quality vet medical care and helps you financially.

So how does pet insurance for service dogs work? In this article Blue Badge helps answer some top pet insurance questions to give you the tools to choose whether it’s worth having for your Assistance Dog.

A black service dog brings its owner, who lives with limited mobility, their remote control

What is pet insurance for service dogs?

Pet insurance for service dogs is similar in some ways to Medicare or, even more closely, to private health insurance for humans. It helps pay the gap for our animal’s vet treatment – treatment that in the human world would be government subsidised.

Government subsidised human health care

In Australia, we’ve several government funded schemes that help pay for human medical care. For example, we have Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to assist with paying for doctor visits, tests, surgery, medication and other treatments.

For those of us with disabilities, the NDIS also helps pay for certain medical requirements.

No government subsidisation for vet care

Imagine not having these subsidies and needing to pay for medical expenses entirely out of pocket. In many ways, this is the situation for our service dogs (and ordinary pets).

When they need to go to the dentist, the doctor, the optometrist, the ENT or many other medical specialists they go to the vet. Vets use expensive equipment and undertake years of training like doctors do. They need to charge accordingly to cover these costs, pay staff and make a living.

A service dog is treated by vets and the bills will be reimbursed by the cover it has for service dog pet insurance

Service dog insurance helps reduce pet euthanasia

Sadly, not everyone can afford to pay for vet costs when they head into triple figures or more. Some people end up having to put their pet to sleep because that’s the only option they can afford.

Others don’t have to go as far as that but end up with animals who aren’t living their best lives since they don’t get treatment that could have given them a better health outcome.

No insurance cover for your service dog or pet

Without insurance cover for your service dog or pet, or significant savings to cover vet fees for big ticket items, in precarious health situations it’s them that suffer the most. Of course, as the owner this can be such a sad position to be in too.

The vets who train to treat our service dogs and pets also suffer because they can’t provide the care they would like to. In fact, pet health can affect vet mental health greatly.

A Labrador retriever with a cast on his leg is getting ready to go home after vet treatment for which the costs will be covered by its pet plan

How does pet insurance for service dogs work?

As you can see, the benefit of have pet insurance for service dogs helps both the owners and the animals (and vets). So how does service dog insurance work?

Choose your level of cover

Blue Badge Insurance offers three levels of service / Assistance Dog cover. We also provide these same three tiers of cover to pets and therapy animals.

The three levels of cover each help to pay for a broad variety of vet costs, with the top level providing the most comprehensive cover.

The three levels of cover are:

1. Accident cover

Accident cover is the entry level of cover. You pay for it via a premium charged each month or annually, in return for a range of benefits within a $5,000 Annual Defined Benefit Limit (how much you can claim each year).

This can be claimed for health accidents and third-party property damage, including prescribed medication, radiology, pathology, operating theatre costs, hospitalization, non-elective euthanasia and many other medically required non-elective procedures.

A group of people standing next to a two Assistance dogs with glistening healthy auburn fur

2. Accident and illness cover

This next tier is the mid-range service dog insurance and pet insurance offering. The Annual Defined Benefit Limit for accident and illness pet insurance is doubled in value at $10,000. This plan, called the Classic Plan, comes with several benefits.

It helps pay for vet bills for accidents and illnesses as well as hereditary conditions after a waiting period. Similar to the first tier, it also includes third-party liability, prescribed medication, radiology, pathology, treatment for tick paralysis, non-elective euthanasia and a range of other vet tests and treatment costs.

3. Accident, illness and dental cover

The top tier, also known as the Deluxe Plan, has the highest Annual Defined Benefit Limit of the three plans, at $15,000. This is because it covers all the accident and illness related vet costs covered in the first two tiers but it also covers pet dental problems.

Our dental cover includes a broad range of potentially costly pet oral health problems. It covers abscesses, gingivitis, tooth removal when medically needed, cavities, tooth fractures, dental disease due to infection and more.

A woman sitting on a bed with her Assistance Dog as she completes a service dog pet insurance claim via her Blue Badge Insurance portal

How to make a service dog insurance claim?

When your service dog or pet needs to go to the vet for an unplanned / unexpected visit then you’ll pay for the vet costs and afterwards you can claim them back from your insurance provider.

Claim online or on the phone

You can do this by logging into your online portal (we provide you with one when you buy a pet plan) and upload copies of the vet bills and receipts. If you can’t do it online for any reason, then you can also phone us.

The benefit of doing it yourself online is that you can do it any day of the week and any time that suits you, not just office hours.

A claims consultant will assist you

Once you’ve submitted your claim, then a claims consultant will contact you and let you know if any other documents need to be uploaded. After receiving all the required documentary evidence, Blue Badge Insurance takes two or so business days to process your claim after making sure it’s valid (because sadly some people try submitting false claims).

At this point we’ll reimburse you by paying your money directly into the bank account you’ve listed on your policy.

A support worker with a woman who lives with autism sit with their Assistance Dog and their puppy on a blanket in a park. Both the dog and puppy have the protection of service dog pet insurance to help pay for vet costs

How do I know which pet insurance to choose for service dogs?

Dogs and cats have a range of illnesses they can be prone to, just like humans. Some of the health conditions they get are even the same or similar to those we get. Diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney failure, cancer and obesity are just a few.

Match your pocket and your pet

Deciding which level of cover your service dog or pet should have is your choice because it needs to suit you. Each level of service dog insurance cover costs a little more each month but also covers more unforeseen vet costs.

Align it with your dog’s breed

A good approach to take when choosing the appropriate level of insurance cover for a pet or service dog is researching that breed. Different dog and cat breeds are known to have certain health problems that they’re more prone to getting.

For example, Labradors often experience obesity and hip dysplasia while Poodles are more prone to heart disease than others. Siamese cats are likelier to experience food allergies whereas Maine Coon cats can be prone to heart disease.

Find out more about the Labrador Retriever since it’s the favourite service or Assistance Dog breed. Then further explore which are the best service and guide dog breeds.

Assistance dog puppies playfully bite one another during training for their service duties and are luckily protected by insurance cover for service dogs

Learn more about service dogs that support disability

So much time, love, attention and financial resources go into raising a service dog. Find out about what goes into nurturing and preparing each pup for their unique job:

We hope this article has helped you understand how pet insurance for service dogs works.

Discounted service dog and pet insurance

At Blue Badge Insurance we understand that your service or Assistance Dog is crucial to your daily activities. That’s why we aim to reimburse you for vet costs quickly so you can give your dog the care it needs without hesitation.

Learn about getting up to 25% off Assistance Dogs Insurance and up to 15% off pet insurance using your disability parking permit. Click below to get a quote before deciding whether you’d like to get pet or service dog insurance.

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