- Labrador insurance premiums range between $25 and $80
- Common health issues in Labradors include hip dysplasia and lipoma, among others
- Check policies for Labrador Retriever-specific exclusions hidden in the fine print when choosing the policy
- Labradors are one of the most popular breeds in the US and commonly insured
In the 1700s, Labrador Retrievers were famous for helping local fishermen retrieve fish that escaped hook, thereby racking up their fish count. Today, mostly they laze around, play, act goofy and rack up credit card bills!
Why should you consider pet insurance for your Labrador?
Labs are one of the most popular breeds on the planet. But, with great dogs comes great responsibility; pet insurance can make that responsibility easier to handle, and just may end up being one of the most significant safety nets for you and your Lab.
Unexpected accidents, medical illnesses, and other situations usually come unannounced. Veterinary rounds, surgeries, and medications can cost pet owners up to thousands. Insurance provides an umbrella of protection when you’re faced with unexpected medical costs.
Labradors are unique in every way and they come with their own particular health risks, so getting the right insurance is important.
The Banfield Wellness plans are on the costly side compared to some, but they are extremely comprehensive. Regular pet insurance is recommended to cover those unexpected veterinary bills, but pet owners often underestimate the cost of routine care which is not covered by traditional pet insurance. All dogs are recommended to have certain preventative treatments, such as vaccinations and parasite prevention, which are hugely important to health and wellbeing. The expenses can mount up, however, so a wellness plan such as the Banfield options can give more financial certainty and allow the provision of optimal care without monetary constraint.
Dr. Lizzie Youens, Veterinary Surgeon
Common health issues prevalent in Labradors and approximate cost to treat them
Labradors are healthy pups in general, but just like all other breeds, they are unfortunately predisposed to a few health conditions, genetic and non-genetic. For example, Labradors’ hips and joints are susceptible to health problems. We’ve broken down the possible health issues a Lab may face in their lifetime and the approximate cost to treat them.
Please note that these costs are ballpark ranges. The cost may increase depending on the severity of the condition and the treatment strategy chosen.
|Health issue and risk factor as compared to other breeds*
|Approx treatment cost
|Hip Dysplasia (2.5 x risk compared with other breeds)
|$1200 – $2500
|Lipoma (fatty mass) (2.5 x risk)
|$500 – $1000
|Kennel Cough (2.3 X RISK)
|$200 – $500 for the test. Additional $200 – $250 for medication
|Wounds (2.2 x risk)
|$3000 – $3000
|Moist dermatitis (1.7 x risk)
|$100 – $500
|Arthritis (2.8 x risk)
|Upto $1000 yearly
|Obesity (1.6 x risk)
|Lameness (1.6 x risk)
|$500 – $2500
|Ear infections (1.5 x risk)
|$100 – $500
|$1500 – $7000 (depending on severity)
How much does pet insurance for a Labrador cost?
Here’s a table comparing Labrador insurance quotes from major insurance providers.
Please note that this is just a ballpark figure. The monthly premiums will change depending on the age of the dog, and state (e.g. average premiums are higher in New York compared to Beverly Hills, CA)
|AVERAGE MONTHLY PREMIUM
|$100 – $1000
|$45 – $70
|70%, 80%, 90%
|$100 – $500
|$25 – $50
|70%, 80%, 90%
|$200 – $1000
|$40 – $60
|70% – 90%
|$200 – $1000 (per condition)
|$50 – $80
|80% – 100%
|$100 – $500
|$45 – $80
|70%, 80%, 90%
|$100 – $750
|$50 – $80
|70%, 80%, 90%, 100%
|$50 – $70
Different kinds of insurance focusing on different aspects
The cost of pet insurance varies depending on the type of pet insurance, coverage, deductibles, reimbursements, etc. Let’s take a look at the main types of insurance options for your Labrador –
1. Accident Only
Accident-only coverage covers the cost of emergency veterinary care and treatment for an unexpected accident such as being hit by a vehicle, bite wounds, cuts, broken bones, swallowed objects, and toxic ingestions. This coverage typically comes with the lowest premiums.
2. Accident and Illness
This type of insurance policy is one of the most popular options amongst pet parents as it provides comprehensive coverage of accidents, but also medical illnesses such as diabetes or cancer. Costs covered can include hospitalization, surgery, and more.
With the rising competition in the pet insurance market, some companies have introduced plans that allow pet owners to pay flat monthly fees to cover regular care such as vaccinations and annual exams, flea and tick medication, heartworm prevention, and dental cleanings that can help keep your pet from getting sick.
4. Catastrophic Illness Insurance
Catastrophic illness insurance is limited to particular illnesses that may require long-term hospitalization or advanced treatment techniques such as cancer.
Several pet insurance companies offer coverage in addition to illnesses and accidents that may cover additional costs such as wellness, rehabilitation, alternative therapies,, cremation or burial, and more.
Pet insurance for a Labrador puppy vs an adult/mature Lab
Regardless of the breed of the dog, it is always advisable to buy pet insurance when your pet is a puppy. Pet insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, so the earlier you insure your dog, the less likely any future health condition they suffer from will be considered pre-existing. Bigger dogs like Labradors take a longer time to mature. This can mean several medical conditions such as heart diseases, and kidney and liver issues can start appearing when the dog is around 1.5-2 years of age. Some genetic conditions, however, such as hip dysplasia, can start to show symptoms from only a few months old, so can rapidly be counted as a pre-existing condition unless insurance is taken out in puppy-hood.
The insurance premium of a Lab pup is considerably cheaper compared to an adult or a mature dog. Spot has the most customizable plan whereas Healthy Paws has a great unlimited coverage option. Did you know, Trupanion does not increase premiums as your dog gets older??
Getting Lab pups insured while they are young will not only give you enough time to research and choose the best plan but will also provide more lifetime value for your pet insurance. Pet insurance will give you more financial protection if they develop a serious health condition in the future and will enable you to provide them with the best health care with no compromise.
Factors that affect the cost of buying pet insurance
Understanding factors that affect pet insurance rates will steer you in the right direction when it comes to making adjustments and planning effectively in advance to reduce costs. Here are some of the factors that affect the cost of the monthly premiums.
Age of the dog
The younger the Labrador, the cheaper the premiums. At a young age, a puppy’s likelihood of being diagnosed with serious medical conditions is lower, unless it is an accident or a preventable illness like parvovirus or rabies. For most pet health insurance companies, premiums increase with the age of the pet but generally remain lower if they have been insured since they were young. Eventually, you’d be paying a lower premium compared to a pet parent whose Lab has been enrolled at an older age with some potentially pre-existing conditions.
Breed of the dog
A Labrador’s predisposition to genetic hip and joint conditions makes them more prone to these health conditions than many other breeds. Insurance premiums for them can be more expensive than usual.
Health history of the dog
Your insurance provider will ask to know the medical history of your Labrador and may do a background check with your veterinarian. If your pet is known to have pre-existing health issues, they are generally excluded from coverage.
Say you decide to get insurance for your Lab after they are diagnosed with hip dysplasia. This will be considered a ‘pre-existing’ condition and will not be eligible for coverage.
Nearly every policy has a coverage limit. This is a limit on the amount of money an insurance policy will pay in the event of a claim. You can choose this amount before you buy the insurance, but remember, the higher the coverage limit, the higher the premiums. The limit may be an annual one, or may be per-condition.
A few companies, like Trupanion and Healthy Paws, do not limit your coverage with caps or financial ceilings of any kind.
This refers to the % of the claim you are eligible to be reimbursed for. The most comprehensive pet health coverage will reimburse 80% to 100% of your total vet bill. Higher the reimbursement %, the costlier the premium.
Deductibles are the portion of the bill the pet parent is responsible for. Some policies have an annual deductible, meaning, a fixed cost will be deducted once annually in the event of a claim. On the other hand, some companies have a per-condition lifetime deductible, meaning, you pay a certain deductible amount for the condition, for the lifetime of your coverage. This will be applicable to every new medical condition diagnosed in your dog.
A lower deductible typically comes with higher premiums.
Other Important things to look out for while buying pet insurance for a Labrador
Insurance waiting period
The waiting period is the time between the date on which the policy is purchased to when the coverage begins. The waiting period could range from as low as 2 days and may go up to a month, depending on the emergency. The waiting period for accidents usually ranges from 2 days to a couple of weeks; for illnesses, it’s typically around 2 weeks.
Hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia often come with waiting periods between 6 months and a year.
Checking what a pet insurance company won’t cover is vital to taking out the right policy for your Lab. For example, Fetch covers vet examination fees whereas Trupanion excludes them.
This is typically the first thing we must look at while buying pet insurance. Every insurance provider focuses on different kinds of medical emergencies such as illnesses, wellness, rehabilitation, accidents, etc. It is recommended to get an initial veterinary check for your Lab done and speak to your vet before picking one that best suits your and your dog’s needs.
Inclusions can be tricky to understand in some conditions. For example, dental coverage will vary from company to company. Most of them will only cover dental work resulting from an accident. Any cosmetic or aesthetic work may not be covered. Similarly, routine cleanings, removal of deciduous teeth, endodontics, caps, crowns, fillings, root canals, etc may not be covered.
Some companies provide discounts when you buy insurance for multiple pets whereas some policies provide discounts to pet owners for routine procedures like spaying, neutering, vaccinations, etc.
Caps on illnesses or accidents
Pet insurance companies often have caps on the amount you’d be eligible for per condition. Anything over and above the cap would be paid out of pocket by the buyer.
Reviews of the company
Expert and customer reviews are one of the best ways to get an insight into a company’s services. Make sure to read reviews of the companies while scouting for pet insurance.
It is also advisable to speak to other Labrador pet parents to know more about general preferences in terms of pet insurance.
What is covered and not covered?
With Labradors being a purebred, you may want to research what kinds of breed-specific conditions they may be at risk for and ask the pet health insurance company if it can be covered.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend on premiums, pet insurance provides a wide array of coverage for wellness, accident, illness, etc; all of which can be expensive to treat. A comprehensive plan would come to your rescue in the following events –
- Alternative Treatment
- Blood Tests
- Chronic Conditions
- Congenital Conditions
- Diagnostic Treatment
- Emergency Care
- Hereditary Conditions
- Prescription Medications
- Specialty Care
Unfortunately, exclusions are also an important part and parcel of pet insurance that must be accounted for. Exclusions are typically found in a section titled “What’s Not Covered” on the insurance company’s website. The following may be a part of it –
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Pregnancy and C-sections
- Birth of puppies
- Death of a pet
- Theft of a pet
- Bilateral conditions if your pet has already suffered the condition on one side of the body
- Preventable diseases like Parvovirus, Rabies, Kennel cough which could have been prevented through appropriate vaccinations
- Breed exclusions. Some insurance coverages may not be applicable to certain breeds due to their higher predispositions to some medical conditions
- Optional procedures such as anal gland expression, declawing, tail docking, etc
- Spaying and neutering
- Preventative medications such as flea and worming medication
- Dog training