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Animal insurance is an important option and may cover your dog’s cancer treatment (or partially) — but be aware that rules concerning pre-existing conditions will generally prevent you from getting coverage once your dog has been diagnosed. So it is imperative to get animal insurance as soon as you have acquired your dog!!

A stitch in time saves nine!!


Naturally, there are considerable differences between the dog owner’s resources, financial and otherwise, available for providing animal medical and end-of-life care. 

Although the cost of providing care for a hospice or palliative-care patient at home is generally lower than the cost of hospitalization, significant expenses are still involved, for surgeries, imaging (x-ray, ultra-sound etc), treatments (for example chemotherapy), medication and other therapies. A vast majority of these costs are covered by pet owners as an out-of-pocket expense. As a result, the financial resources available to some caregivers to cover the costs of animal health and end-of-life-care might be significantly limited. This in turn, and unfortunately, leads many pet owners to prematurely decide upon euthanasia.

Therefore, as the costs for the cure of a terminally ill dog can be exorbitant, it would be paramount for every dog owner to take out animal insurance - before your dog falls ill or has had an accident! Most insurance companies will not accept new clients if the dog is already at an advanced age or has already been diagnosed with an illness. There might also be special clauses about genetically determined diseases typical in a breed. 

Make sure that the insurer you choose also covers annual cancer prevention investigation services such as ultra-sound, blood, urine tests etc. Also make sure that the insurance coverage is high enough to cover eventual costly surgery and chemotherapies or other perhaps more alternative therapies.


Reimbursement by animal insurers in Switzerland:


The following insurance companies offer animal insurance policies and take over most of the costs of surgery, treatments and screening tests Switzerland.
Your veterinary clinic will have worked with different insurance companies many times and can help you coordinate the process of reimbursement.
If you live in another country than Switzerland, contact different insurance companies in your area and ask them about their services and coverage.

Alliance | Helvetia | La Vaudoise (advantageous conditions are granted to members of the Swiss Kennelclub) | Mobiliar | Generali | Animalia | Epona

→ Kranken- und Unfallversicherung für Hund und Katze
However, for every individual case, the question of exactly which costs are covered must be discussed before treatment, both with the veterinarian and with the health insurance company of your pet.



What you as a dog owner need to know


Dog insurance for illnesses and accidents
In general, there are two types of dog insurance policies: basic accident insurance and insurance plans covering your dog for illnesses as well as accidents.

Compare the local pet insurances:
At the time of taking out the insurance your dog must be at least 3 months old and, for the majority of insurers, also under a maximum of seven years old. If your dog is older or younger there is no regular pet insurance available except with the provider Epona.
The costs of dog insurance policies vary dramatically. A cost comparison is therefore necessary – also to determine whether insurance is worthwhile for your four-legged friend.
It is important to compare the services of different dog insurance policies. Make sure that the policy offers all of the services and covers all of the costs you require before signing the paperwork.

Dog insurance: not all of the costs are covered
With Swiss dog insurances any illnesses or accidents which occurred before the start of the insurance policy are not covered.
In general, the following costs are also not covered by dog insurance: surgery for purely aesthetical reasons, dental care procedures, the treatment of hereditary diseases, psychotherapy treatment, damage or injury caused by a liable third person, or illness or injury due to negligence of the dog owner.

Vaccinations and extra services
There are certain components of dog insurance which are only offered by a few insurers. On the comparison-pet-insurance-tool at the end of the chapter you can choose the services you require using the filter criteria. Only the pet insurance plans providing all of the services you are looking for will be displayed.

Vaccinations are not normally covered by pet insurance. The exceptions to this are the Epona Optima dog insurance, Epona Ultima Plus dog insurance as well as the Animalia dog insurance. These insurance products will cover 50 or 60 francs per calendar year for vaccinations.
Travel insurance for dogs is only offered by one insurer in Switzerland, Wau-Miau-Dog Insurance.
Alternative medicine treatments are covered by all Epona dog insurance policies, the Wau-Miau-Dog insurance (covers 90% of costs, up to 500 francs, including acupuncture) and the dog insurance from Animalia (covers up to 50 francs per consultation, with a maximum of 12 consultations).

Dog insurance: waiting period
With Swiss dog insurances you as a dog owner will have to observe a waiting period. This is the period you have to hold between signing the insurance policy and the insurance company paying for any veterinary and treatment costs.
This waiting period is normally one month for normal illnesses and three months for chronic illnesses. In the case of accidents there is normally either no waiting period, or a waiting period of just one month, but this will vary depending on your insurer.

Resource and further reading:
Pet insurance for dogs: → comparison tool