As a human, you can not live in Germany without health insurance, yet taking out a policy for a dog is optional. Pet health insurance comes in handy when your furry friend needs the help of the vet or inpatient facility. The costs can easily ramp up to thousands, and insurance will pay for it.
As a dog owner, you should be aware of possible costs that can occur when your pet is sick. While you don’t pay at the hospital for your own medical bills, you must do it for your dog. In case of the absence of health insurance, all expenses must be covered out of pocket.
Because of the possible financial obligations, dog health insurance is highly recommended for dog owners in Germany, especially if your dog is prone to health problems or has previously experienced some issues.
Depending on the insurance plan, it covers outpatient, inpatient veterinary care, accidents, illnesses, and operations, including surgeries or radiological treatments. In this article, we explain the main points you need to know about dog health insurance in Germany, the vet prices, and whether your dog needs this policy or not.
To learn more about pet insurance in Germany, read a dedicated article.
What is dog health insurance and why do you need it
Health insurance for pets, e.g., dogs and cats, works almost the same way health insurance for humans does. The biggest advantage of dog health insurance is that you don’t have to be afraid of the high bill from the vet if something happens with your dog, as it pays for the visits to the vet.
Many dog owners opt for dog health insurance (Hundekrankenversicherung) to avoid paying unexpected vet bills.
However, often only healthy dogs can get coverage. If it’s not the case, you can take out surgery insurance.
Dod health insurance is great for accidents because it often doesn’t cover routine procedures like vaccinations, castrations, or sterilizations.
Therefore, you should consider getting at least a dog surgery or accident insurance which can eventually save you thousands of euros.
An average dog health insurance costs about €20 per month and usually covers the following:
- Outpatient and inpatient treatments
- Stay in a vet clinic
Are you moving to Germany with your dog?
Coverage of the dog health insurance
When taking out a dog health insurance policy, you can choose whether you want full (100%) coverage or a partial plan. Hence, the more is covered, the more expensive insurance is.
Generally, the costs are usually covered partially or in full for the following:
- Outpatient treatments
- Inpatient treatments
- Pre-treatments or aftercare
- Inpatient stay
Often only 80% of the treatment cost is covered. So you might need to pay a deductible of 20%. Some companies will cover veterinary expenses up to a certain annual amount – for example, €2,500.
Additionally, dog health insurance policies usually have other features, including:
- Coverage limit: Depending on the company, there may be a limit on how much you can get reimbursed every year, for example, up to €2,000.
- Choosing a vet: Some policies might give you only a limited choice of vets and vet clinics in your area. However, some might keep this choice up to you.
- Coverage abroad: Dog health insurance can be valid outside of Germany. That’s very helpful if you are planning to travel with your pet.
- Alternative treatment methods: Some insurers might cover non-traditional healing methods like osteopathy or homeopathy.
Types of dog health insurance
Before you sign up for dog health insurance in Germany, you also need to know that there are several types available. They all range in coverage and prices.
Hence, there are three main types of dog health insurance in Germany:
- Full dog health insurance – the full protection covers costs for surgeries and the costs for treatments and medications.
- Dog surgery insurance – covers only surgery costs and, depending on the plan, pre- and post-examination (e.g., stay in the veterinary clinic). It doesn’t cover expenses for treatments caused by regular illness but pays for high veterinary costs in the event of an operation.
- Dog accident insurance – accident policy covers only operations and treatments which are the result of an accident. Routine operations and treatments aren’t included.
Costs of vet treatments in Germany
Does dog health insurance actually make sense in Germany? Well, to answer this question, we need to look into how much money it can save you.
It’s not a secret that healthcare is expensive in Germany, and veterinarian care isn’t an exception. However, the significant difference here is that as a human, all your medical bills are covered by health insurance, while as a dog owner, you are responsible for paying for the vet bill unless you have insurance.
The pricing of vets in Germany is controlled by the state. They can’t charge more than a basic rate which is regulated by the German government (GOT). However, they are free to charge up to three times this rate. And for emergencies, vets can charge up to four times.
Hence, how much you will pay will depend on the particular vet and vet clinic. Below are the current rates of vets in Germany as of November 2022:
|Consultation & general examination
|Follow-up treatment (same treatment case)
|Joint orthopedic surgery/arthroscopy
|Night in the hospital (excluding food costs and treatment)
|Pregnancy examination (ultrasound)
You can see the complete price list for vet treatments in this official document.
Examples of some more expensive but common dog treatments:
- Leg fracture: from €1,000
- Abdominal surgery: from €1,200
- Chemotherapy: from €1,000
Also read our guide on the cost of owning a dog in Germany.
Is dog health insurance mandatory in Germany?
Unlike dog liability insurance, dog health insurance isn’t mandatory but highly recommended in Germany.
If you know that your dog is prone to some diseases and health problems, you should take out health insurance. At the same time, if the dog is overall healthy and the breed isn’t considered to be vulnerable to some illnesses, then you don’t need this policy.
For example, breeds that have a high risk of health problems include:
- German Shepherd
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- French Bulldog
How much does dog health insurance cost in Germany?
The price of dog health insurance depends on the coverage you choose. Rates also differ depending on the breed type, the animal’s age, and your dog’s health history.
Generally, you shouldn’t pay more than €30-40 per month for the protection. Depending on the scope of services and the dog’s age, the insurance can also cost more than €100 per month. Here are the main factors that play a role in the pricing of dog health policies:
- Insurer: rates vary significantly from one insurance company to another.
- Type of insurance: is it full, accident or surgery cover? They all have different price ranges.
- Age of the dog: insurance costs increase with the age of the animal. Pre-existing conditions can also make the rate more expensive.
- Contract term: if you choose a longer duration, you might get a discount.
- Payment: you might get a cheaper rate when paying for a year instead of monthly billing.
- Deductible: a higher deductible can make the policy price much lower and the other way around. Therefore, the most expensive insurance is without any deductible.
Here is an example of how much different coverages might cost:
- Full coverage from €16.96 per month
- Surgery coverage from €4.37 per month
- Accident insurance from €9.20 per month
Best pet health insurance in Germany
So if you have decided that dog insurance is necessary insurance for your pet, here are the best providers:
- Coverage of 80% of the cost
- Price: from €5,15 per month
- Coverage abroad
- Dangerous breeds included
- No deductible optional
- English website and service
- Choose between several plans
- No waiting times for emergency treatments
- Up to 100% of the costs are covered
- Personalized cover for dog or cat
- English website and service
- Get the exact price of the coverage on their website
The insurer Luko offers the best pet health insurance to any dog or cat owner, as they cover all breeds and even accept animals with pre-existing conditions. However, treatments for pre-existing conditions are not covered by the policy.
The coverage starts as low as €5,15. You can choose several add-ons and premium covers for your dog up to the full coverage.
Luko covers 80% of the costs for unexpected, necessary surgical treatments of the dog. You can choose between 0% and up to 20% deductible. The lower the deductible, the more expensive the premium gets.
This insurance also covers your dog abroad; the length of the stay isn’t important. It can be a short trip abroad, or you can even live in a foreign country.
Here are the main features and benefits of dog health insurance from Luko:
|80% of the cost – up to €20,000
|The costs of the vet are covered up to 3 times of the base rate
|From €5,15 per month
|English website and service
|Dogs with pre-existing conditions
|Yes, but issues associated with previous illnesses aren’t covered.
|Accommodation in a veterinary clinic or veterinary practice
|Yes, 12 months & worldwide
|No deductible optional
|You can reduce the 20% deductible to 0%
|From the 9th week, max. seven years (7 years and 364 days)
1. Insured amount
How much can you claim with Luko’s per health insurance?
- In the first 12 months, you can only get back up to €1,000 per claim
- In the first 24 months, this amount increases to €2,000
- And to up to €20,000 per claim after the first 24 months
What isn’t covered by the Luko dog insurance
Not everything will be covered by the insurance coverage, following cases aren’t insured:
- Treatments that have been started before the conclusion of the contract
- Treatments or operations to correct congenital, genetic, or developmental abnormalities
- Procedures designed to establish the respective breeding or breed standard
Generally, a basic dog health insurance doesn’t pay for:
- Outpatient and inpatient treatments
- Necessary diagnostics such as X-rays, ECG, ultrasound, blood and tissue samples, urine and stool diagnostics
- Laser therapy
- Homeopathy and acupuncture
- Treatments of allergies due to hyposensitization
- Chiropractic and osteopathy
However, you can easily include all these treatments by choosing an add-on when signing up. In that case, Luko covers 80% of the costs for inpatient & outpatient treatment at the veterinarian, such as necessary diagnostics, allergy treatments, laser therapy, and others.
To cover non-included treatments, you can take a premium plan with the following features:
1. Necessary diagnostics
- X-ray, ECG, ultrasound, blood and tissue samples, urine and stool diagnostics, CT, laser therapy, and much more
2. Veterinary expenses
- Οutpatient treatment costs at the veterinarian up to 3 times the rate according to the scale of fees for veterinarians (GOT)
3. Yearly prevention
- For health checks, chip implementation/tattooing, vaccinations, worming, flea and tick prevention, dental prophylaxis, castration, or sterilization.
Read more about pet insurance in this article.