Are Service Dogs Covered by Insurance?

Jul 19,2022

Service dogs are invaluable helpers to people with mental and physical disabilities. Service dogs are trained to mitigate symptoms of anxiety, trauma, mental health disorders, and much more. You are likely to have seen and know people that use guide dogs, diabetic alert dogs, and hearing aid service dogs. Obtaining a service dog can be prohibitively costly in some cases with price ranges starting from five thousand and reaching up to thirty thousand. Fortunately, there are some low-cost options like training a service dog at home and with a local trainer instead of going to a dog training school. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. There is an important question that you might have not found answered online though – are service dogs covered by insurance?

Service Dogs Are a Significant Investment

As mentioned above service dog training can cost thousands of dollars in some cases. A service dog is trained to help a person achieve a better quality of life and deal with mundane tasks that another individual with a disability may find challenging. It is difficult to put a price on a service dog that can play a life-changing role for its partner. Service dogs and their users/handlers are a team and they work together to face life. It is practically impossible to formulate the bond to a service dog into an insurance plan. In short – you will be hard-pressed to find an insurance plan that fully covers your service dog and related expenses.

Medicare, Medicaid, or Private Insurance?

There are no government-backed insurances available for service dogs, although this type of dog is deemed medical equipment. Private insurance companies may offer limited coverage that will be comparable to pet insurance. You might be familiar with Medicare and Medicaid but neither covers service dogs. You might be able to use Medicare to cover some expenses for your service dog like veterinary visits and vaccination. However, you will have to talk extensively with your local Medicare representatives. Most private insurance companies will not agree to cover a service dog. Sadly, the market for service dog insurance is almost non-existent.

You are likely to have to deal with homeowner’s insurance at some point. We want to affirm that service dogs have guaranteed access rights as per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act. For the purposes of this article, that means you cannot be denied housing because you have a service dog or because your service dog is of a particular breed, or because the building has a no-pets-allowed policy. In addition, you cannot be expected to pay additional fees for using a service dog. You should take your time to look for a suitable homeowner’s insurance before you sign the housing agreement. Some housing agents abuse the legislation to extort people with service dogs and put them in unfavorable positions so you should keep that in mind.

Will a Certificate for a Service Dog Help?

Without a doubt – a certificate can help you a lot when you are looking for housing and talking to insurance companies. The law in the US states that you do not need to have a certificate for your service dog while the laws in most western countries are likely to require a certificate. We would encourage you to obtain a certificate like the Good Canine Citizen and a Service Dog Certificate from a training organization as that will serve as a guarantee from a third party that your dog is not likely to cause problems for the property management and neighbors. A certificate will show to the insurance company that you have invested training, time, and money into your dog and that you are a responsible person. We are not saying people without a certificate for their service dogs are not responsible people. What we are trying to convey to you dear reader is that – the insurance company will look more favorably at a service dog with a proven background.

Regular Pet Insurance Might be Your Best Bet

We know that regular pet insurance might not seem the most suitable option for a service dog user, but the reality is there are no better alternatives at this time. Decent pet insurance can help you lower the costs of veterinary checkups, food supplements, vaccination, emergency procedures, orthopedic care, and dental care for your service dog. More extensive pet insurances even come with rehabilitation fees coverage, poison treatment, they cover medication for illnesses and trainer fees for behavioral problems. Many pet insurances come with discounts for pet food which will pay out in the long term.

We encourage you to check your local pet insurance options. Be mindful of the fine print as many pet insurances do not cover damages caused by other pets or people living at home, pregnancy, injury from racing, and conditions resulting from breeding. Most pet insurances don’t cover pre-existing conditions and may not cover treatments related to pre-existing conditions and chronic illness.