Would Lab’s emergency surgery be covered by pet insurance?



My 11-month-old Lab swallowed a rock that caused a blockage in his bowels requiring emergency surgery. The emergency visit, surgery, hospitalization and after care was $2,750. If I purchase pet health insurance, would something like this be covered and if so how much?


Accidents like this would be covered with pet health insurance once the policy is in force. Usually there is a three day waiting period from time-of-enrollment to when the accidents are covered and between 10 to 30 days for illness coverage (depending on the pet insurance company).

Swallowing foreign bodies, such as rocks, toys, socks, bones, pantyhose, coins, string and an endless array of other objects is common with younger dogs. This is especially true when dogs are bored and left alone for long periods of time. They tend to play with objects and in their exuberance, may swallow the object accidently. If the object cannot pass through the intestines and becomes lodged it will result in death if not removed and treated quickly. Symptoms include not eating, fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.

Be sure your pet health insurance provider does not classify one episode of a foreign body obstruction as a behavioral condition and exclude it from coverage thereafter. Also if your pet had a gastric or intestinal foreign body prior to enrolling, find out if the pet insurance company will have a longer waiting period for a reccurence of this kind. To be eligible for coverage, some insurance providers may require up to a 24 month waiting period if the condition occurred before enrollment.

If you have an 80:20 plan like Pets Best Insurance offers, you can count on an 80% reimbursement after the deductible. So for example, if you had a $100 deductible on an 80:20 plan, in the emergency instance described above, you would have received a $2,120 reimbursement.

If you had coverage with a company that uses a “Benefit Schedule” then the schedule may have a much lesser allowance and you might not be reimbursed as much. Because no one likes a financial surprise, be sure to enroll in a pet health insurance plan that pays a flat percentage of your actual vet costs, not from a schedule of benefits.