Pet insurance is essential if you don’t want to pay a large vets bill every time your dog becomes ill or has an accident. What breed your dog is will affect the cost of insurance.
This is because different breeds tend to have different genetic dispositions to certain health conditions. Some of these conditions will be expensive to treat and require ongoing care. Its these medical ailments which push up the cost of pet insurance.
According to Pets4Homes these are the top five most expensive dogs to insure.
(MORE: Pet insurance for puppies)
Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux, France’s native mastiff, is a large breed prone to a wide range of potential health problems, many with a hereditary element. The average lifespan of the Dogue de Bordeaux is just seven or eight years, with dogs reaching the age of 10 only in rare cases.
The combination of size, a short lifespan and the likelihood poor health makes the Dogue de Bordeaux the most dog expensive to insure.
As the name suggests, Great Danes are big. All other factors aside, this makes this breed pricey to insure.
As with all larger dogs, Great Danes are prone to health issues and a shorter lifespan. In particular, they are likely to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, gastric dilatation volvulus (where the stomach twists) and certain cancers.
Although not a giant breed, the English bulldog is another dog with a short lifespan, typically six to eight years. Typical health conditions experienced by bulldogs include breathing troubles associated with the dogs' facial structure, and complications because of their layered skin.
Many of these issues come about due to unethical breeding and in-breeding, and a lack of diversity in the gene pool for this breed. English Bulldogs can be expensive to buy too as bulldogs tend to deliver small litters, with pups often delivered by caesarean section.
Bull Mastiffs are large but gentle dogs which become attached to, and protective of, their owners. They are likely to suffer separation anxiety more than many other breeds. They have a relatively short lifespan of about seven or eight years.
Bull Mastiffs’ shorter faces mean they often suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome which causes breathing problems. Hip, elbow and joint problems are all common too, as well as a range of skin conditions.
Newfoundlands are another giant breed with a relatively short lifespan. They tend to be prone to hip and elbow problems, dental issues, obesity, infections, bloats and parasite infections. The cost of treating a large dog with these conditions can be high, so this breed is another one that’s pricey to insure.
What else affects the price of insuring your dog?
It’s not just the breed that affects the price of insuring your dog. Size is another big factor – proven by the fact that four out of the five most expensive breeds to insure are ‘giant’ breeds. For large dogs, surgery can cost up to twice as much and they’ll need higher doses of medication too.
The more health issues a certain dog is prone to, the more it will cost to insure. Whatever the breed, pedigrees tend to have more genetic illnesses compared to crossbreeds, and so cost more to insure.
Age is another factor – older dogs are more likely to become ill, so they are more expensive to cover than younger pups. Where you live can also have a big impact on the price you pay for pet insurance. In the UK vet treatment typically costs more in London and the South East than elsewhere.
Levels of insurance cover
The cheapest dog insurance policies only cover accidents. So, if your dog is hit by a car, it will cover the costs but you’re on your own if he or she develops a health condition.
‘Time-limited’ policies offer a set amount of money towards treatment for an illness or injury over a 12-month period. But the pay-outs will stop when you reach either the cost limit or the time limit – whichever comes first.
A ‘maximum benefit’ policy will pay out a set amount in your dog’s lifetime for each illness or injury. If the condition still needs treatment when you’ve reached the cap, you’ll need to pay for it yourself.
A ‘lifetime’ insurance policy is the most comprehensive cover option, and therefore the most expensive. It gives you a maximum claim limit, per condition, per year. You’ll be covered for new and ongoing conditions if you keep renewing the policy each year.
Emma Lunn is an award-winning freelance financial journalist who specialises in money and consumer affairs. She has more than 17 years’ experience writing for national newspapers, trade and consumer magazines, and specialist websites. She has a particular interest in writing about property and mortgages, and enjoys explaining complex issues in an easy-to-understand way.
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