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Finding the Best Pet Dental Insurance

It’s easy to overlook the dental health of your pet. You may figure that chewing hard kibble is enough to control that plaque in your dog’s mouth and prevent other tooth problems. You may assume that since animals don’t exactly brush their teeth in the wild they aren’t as prone to dental problems as humans might be. Or not considering pet dental insurance could just be a simple oversight.

However, pets are prone to a wide range of dental ailments just like humans are, from broken teeth to periodontal disease. If you’re looking for complete health insurance coverage for your pet, you’ll also want to check into dental insurance. Below we’ll cover some basics of pet dental health, what to look for in a pet dental insurance plan, and where to find the best dental insurance for your pet.

Why Pet Dental Insurance is Important

According to VCA Hospitals, over 80 percent of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease. The most common problems in dogs are periodontal disease and fractured teeth. For cats, over half of them over the age of three have some kind of dental disease. The most common dental problems for cats are gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth resorption.      

Since pets obviously can’t tell us how they’re feeling, it’s up to us to keep an eye on their dental health. Signs that the pet is having a dental problem are subtle. They could include head shaking or pawing at their mouths. Chewing may appear difficult and the animal could drop food. They may drool more than usual or swallow with difficulty. They might also have bad breath or their saliva may have blood in it.

Many of these signs might be difficult to detect from what we consider normal animal behavior or condition. After all, dogs don’t always have the most pleasant breath, right? That’s why it’s important to get your pet in for regular check-ups and care with the vet, making pet dental insurance something to consider.

What Pet Dental Insurance Covers

Pet dental insurance typically covers new illnesses and accidents related to the teeth and gums. No pet insurance policy covers ongoing pre-existing conditions. However, if the problem develops after the plan goes into effect, according to Embrace Pet Insurance, pet dental insurance plans often cover: 

  • Extractions
  • Gingivitis
  • Broken, chipped or fractured teeth
  • Stomatitis 
  • Periodontal disease
  • Root canals and crowns

Dental accidents are typically also covered, and dental illnesses are often covered up to $1,000 per policy in a year.

A point about pet dental insurance that could be confusing is what is not covered. Anything that is considered routine dental care may not be covered. Care that is typically seen as preventative or routine includes:

  • Annual dental checkups
  • Teeth brushing by a vet or groomer
  • Dietary dental supplements and dental chews
  • Pet toothbrushes and toothpaste 
  • Routine dental cleaning (with or without a sedative) 

These usually fall under the purview of wellness reward plans and preventative care policies. If you want these to be covered, you should look into pet insurance that covers preventative care.

>>MORE: What does Pet Insurance Cover?

What to Look For in Pet Dental Insurance 

A couple of the most important aspects to look for in pet dental insurance are deductibles, plans, and coverage limits (often called annual benefits).

  • Deductibles dictate how much you’ll have to pay into the plan before you can receive coverage.
  • Plans can range from no deductible (usually carrying a higher monthly rate) to deductibles around hundreds of dollars (usually carrying a lower monthly rate).
  • Coverage limit amounts cover how much you can get paid out, usually as a single amount in a policy year, like $1,000. Some plans also dictate how much you can be reimbursed in terms of percentages. You should consider these benefits in relation to your monthly budgeting goals, as all three can affect monthly payments.    

You should also pay close attention to what each plan covers. For instance, some may only cover accidents, like a broken tooth. Others cover illnesses like periodontal disease. And still others operate as only wellness plans that cover preventative care, like routine cleanings. It’s important to look at specifically the type of conditions and treatments that the plan covers in the policy information.

How Much Pet Dental Insurance Costs

The general cost of pet dental insurance plans is another factor to look into. The fact is, the cost of the plans will vary drastically based on your location, customizable options like deductible, reimbursement percentages, and coverage limits, how many conditions that plan covers, and whether dental coverage is part of overall pet health coverage.  

For instance, Nationwide lumps dental coverage into its whole pet wellness plan. For a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever in Wisconsin, the whole pet wellness plan runs $109.26 per month with a $250 annual deductible. The whole pet with wellness plan covers dental cleaning, retained deciduous (baby) teeth, and gingivitis, while the less expensive major medical plan does not. If you take a step down to the major medical plan, you’re paying $78.66 with the same deductible. 

In this case, you’d be paying an extra $30.60 per month primarily for the added benefit of teeth cleaning, retained deciduous (baby) teeth and gingivitis protection, if you consider the dental benefits alone. It’s important to consider which plan makes the most sense for your monthly budget.                  

Who Offers the Best Pet Dental Insurance

The good news is that pet dental insurance is pretty widespread among the major pet health insurance companies in the U.S. Below are some of the major pet dental plans that you can find:

Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace covers new conditions like broken teeth or periodontal disease. Embrace is somewhat unique in that it covers root canals and crowns. The plan can cover both accidents and illness, which many plans don’t.  

However, Embrace does not cover routine dental care like cleanings. That falls under its wellness rewards plan, which can reimburse you for preventative care.  

Trupanion

Trupanion also covers new illness and injury cases related to dental health. It covers things like extractions and root canals. Trupanion does not cover teeth cleaning, toothbrushes, toothpaste or dental consumables like chews and food. In order for Trupanion to pay for dental care, you must get your pet an annual dental exam and comply with recommended dental care from your veterinarian.  

PetPlan

PetPlan covers a wide range of dental problems, like broken teeth, periodontal disease, extractions and dental treatments like root canals as long as the condition is not pre-existing.  

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Nationwide’s whole pet with wellness plan covers dental cleaning, gingivitis, retained deciduous (baby) teeth and tooth removal, as a few examples. The major medical plan does not cover dental cleaning, retained deciduous (baby) teeth or gingivitis.   

ASPCA

ASPCA’s complete coverage plan includes dental disease. There is also a preventative care coverage add-on that covers dental cleanings.  

American Modern Pet Insurance

American Modern offers pet dental insurance as an optional add-on to its main pet insurance plan.  

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Healthy Paws covers accidental injury to your pet’s teeth. Examples of procedures that are covered include extractions and reconstructions.  

Pet Partners

You can find coverage from Pet Partners for extractions of permanent teeth as part of their main pet insurance plans.

Final Thoughts

  • Dental problems in pets are more widespread than you’d probably imagine, with most cats and dogs over the age of three showing some form of dental problem. So it’s important to look into what dental coverage exists in various pet health insurance plans.
  • Most dental insurance plans cover a wide variety of injuries and illnesses relating to dental health. However, pre-existing conditions are not covered. Preventative and wellness care like teeth cleaning are typically not covered without adding on wellness coverage specifically.  
  • It’s important to consider how different parts of the pet dental insurance plan will affect your monthly payment. For instance, added dental wellness care, deductibles, reimbursement options, annual coverage limits, location, age of the pet and breed can all affect how much you pay per month. Be sure to compare quotes.  
  • Most major pet insurance companies have some type of dental coverage built into their pet health insurance plans. But it’s important to keep in mind that companies cover dental illness, injury, and wellness to varying degrees. Always check the policy to see which treatments and conditions are covered.
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