Service Dog Registration Of America

Does Insurance Cover Service Dogs? What You Should Know

2022-12-01

Service dogs, also known as assistance dogs, are necessary for the lives of people with disabilities. They undergo training to help their owners perform daily tasks like opening a door, retrieving an item, pulling a wheelchair, or reminding their owners to take prescribed medication. These intelligent animals assist people with various disabilities, from diabetes to autism or epilepsy. 

However, just like humans, assistance dogs can get sick or injured. When they do, you're left to consider your options. Vet visits aren't cheap, begging the question, “Will insurance cover service dogs?” This commonly asked question is crucial for service dog owners, and we are here to help answer it. 

Are Service Dogs Covered by Insurance?

Different types of insurance may or may not already cover your service dog. The coverage often depends on how the provider classifies the dog for the essential tasks they perform. 

Health Insurance and Service Dog Coverage

Service dogs require a hefty up-front investment. After all, these animals require years of extensive, specialized training. But what happens when your pup gets sick and requires veterinary assistance? 

If you have a disability, you likely already have your own medical coverage and bills to pay. Unfortunately, health insurance plans don't cover the costs for service dogs, including Medicare and private health plans. You'll need to find alternative financing options for your pup. 

The good news? You can purchase service dog insurance that will save you a lot of money long-term. 

Home Insurance and Service Dog Coverage

The good news for home insurance is that assistance dogs receive the same coverage as any other pet. If they were to attack someone or damage property, the insurer would pay up to your policy's liability coverage maximum. The coverage includes any medical bills or lawsuits that come as a result of the incident. 

If you are a tenant and own an assistance animal (or any pet for that matter), you may want to consider purchasing renters' insurance. It will help tremendously if your dog bites or injures someone and you're found liable. It will help prevent you from being responsible for legal fees, medical bills, and more.

Also, note that your landlord can't deny your assistance animal as long as you have the proper documentation.

Will Insurance Cover Service Dog Training?

Unfortunately, insurance does not provide coverage for service dog training. However, you can deduct service animal training from your taxes as part of your medical expenses. 

Here are some other ways to reduce the cost of training your assistance animal:

  • Flexible Savings Account (FSA). This type of account enables savings free of tax. You'll need your healthcare provider's letter of medical necessity (LMN) to qualify.
  • Assistance Dog Special Allowance Program (ADSA) [For California residents]. This program provides a $50 monthly allowance issued by the government to California residents. It helps pay for food, grooming, and vet care. This allowance is eligible for individuals who use service, signal, or guide dogs. We highly advise you to do some research within your state to see what programs are available to you.
  • Employer Payment Plan. Employers must establish a health insurance plan for their employees. This type of plan can provide flexible payment options to assistance dog owners. It will allow you to use pre-tax income to pay for the costs related to your service animal.

What Types of Service Dog Insurance Coverage Do You Need?

Service dog insurance allows owners to save money, but the type you choose depends on your dogs and your needs. You can choose from several types, such as liability, health, or life insurance. 

Service Dog Liability Insurance 

Liability insurance will protect you from lawsuits and medical bills if your service animal hurts someone or damages property. In such a case, your insurance provider will reimburse you according to your policy's pet liability coverage. 

Keep in mind that assistance dogs will receive the same coverage as other dogs. If you have a pitbull as an assistance animal, the insurance company could refuse to cover it since providers often consider these breeds aggressive.

Service Dog Life Insurance 

Life insurance for any dog is usually quite expensive. Your monthly premiums depend on the dog's breed, location, age, benefit level, and deductible amount. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $900 a year.

It may be worth investing in life insurance for your service dog because of how expensive they are to train. If they pass, this coverage will help you replace the animal minus the sizeable upfront cost.

Pet Health Insurance For Service Dogs

It's best to ensure the health of your assistance dog through pet health insurance. It will be more affordable if your loyal companion becomes ill or injured. A few benefits you and your pup will receive include coverage for the following: 

  • Illnesses
  • Medications
  • Laboratory tests
  • Emergency care
  • And more!

Is pet insurance more expensive for assistance dogs than for normal dogs? Not at all! It costs the same, and there are several plans for you to choose from depending on your budget. 

Payment Plans Through Your Vet Clinic 

This one isn't a type of service dog insurance, but it is a great way to cover expensive veterinary visits for your pup.

Some vet clinics may offer financing options, so it's always worth asking. You can cover the cost of your assistance dog's emergency bill over time through payment plans. Even if these practices aren't standard for your vet, you can often negotiate a payment plan with a long-time vet that knows you and your service animal. 

Register Your Service Dog with SDRA Today!

While your health insurance won't cover your service dog, you can purchase service dog insurance. There are also ways to reduce training costs, like opening an FSA account or undergoing an employer payment plan. 

If you haven't registered your service dog, sign up with SDRA!