Pet Insurance

Best Pet Insurance For Shiba Inu

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Last Updated: December 1, 2023 | 7 min read | Leave a Comment

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Shiba Inu (pronounced SHEE-bah EE-noo) is native to Japan. The smaller breed was initially bred for hunting, but the breed is known as a great family pet today. The best insurance policy for a Shiba Inu may not match that of a larger dog breed. This is why we’ve dedicated this insurance guide to Shiba Inus.

At 13 to 17 inches tall and weighing 17 to 23 pounds, this breed is as easily susceptible to accidents and illnesses as any other canine. Shiba Inus can be stubborn with whom they respect, making training difficult. Shibas are escape artists, which means they can get into trouble easily, making pet insurance a must.

However, each dog is unique, and your budget isn’t the same as your neighbor’s. So, we’ve compiled a list of health insurance considerations to help you find the best fit for your needs. And like all dogs, they are vulnerable to health issues and accidents, making pet insurance an excellent investment consideration.

At A Glance

Our Rating

Best
Overall

Pets Best

Our Rating

Best For
Older Dogs

Figo

Our Rating

Best For Bilateral Conditions

Trupanion

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

The short answer is yes. A survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance states that 63% of pet owners couldn’t afford unexpected medical care for their pets. Not only does pet insurance allow you to choose the best medical treatment for your pet, but it also provides stability to your finances.

The key thing to remember is to sign up for pet insurance before an emergency arises. You cannot count on coverage for your Shiba Inu pre-diagnosed health issues. So, getting your dog covered as soon as possible is crucial.

Common Health Issues In Shiba Inus

Shiba Inu puppy laying on a sofa.
Shiba Inus generally live 13-16 years.

The health issues below can give you an idea of what to look for regarding symptoms and insurance coverage.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation (or luxating patella) occurs when the kneecap doesn’t sit correctly and essentially floats like it is dislocated. It affects mobility, and symptoms include kicking out, hopping, and exercise intolerance. Sometimes, the kneecap can slip back into place and never happen again. But usually, if it happens once, it’s likely to happen again. Surgery is often the only option to improve the quality of your dog’s life and prevent the issue from recurring.

The average surgery cost to resolve a luxating patella falls between $1,500 and $3,000 per knee. However, this price doesn’t include the cost of diagnosis, pre-surgery blood work, post-surgery treatment, and any complications they might experience along the way. If your dog requires surgery on both knees, you could face a hefty bill.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a chronic condition where the head of the femur bone doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket. This is one of the most common orthopedic conditions in dogs, and it occurs most frequently in large dog breeds.

Surgery is often needed to improve the quality of your dog’s life. And, this procedure ranges from $1,700 to $4,500+, depending on the type of surgery required.

Eye Conditions

Shiba Inus are at risk of several eye concerns, including cataracts, glaucoma, and distichiasis. Depending on the necessary diagnostic testing, you could face $3,800 or more for cataract evaluation and surgery.

Glaucoma is an eye disorder where fluid builds up because there’s improper drainage. The excess fluid increases the intraocular pressure in the eye, which causes retina and optic nerve damage, ultimately leading to vision loss and, eventually, blindness. Glaucoma treatment may consist of medication, surgery, and potentially eye removal and can cost thousands of dollars.

Distichiasis is where the eyelashes grow inside the eyelid and can cause irritation. Depending on the severity, your dog may be treated with eye lubricant to protect the cornea. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the eyelashes and kill the hair follicles to prevent reoccurrence. Surgery can cost $1,500 to $2,000.

Considerations When Choosing An Insurer

Pet insurance paperwork.
There are dozens of pet insurance companies and policies, but coverage varies immensely.

Age Restrictions & Waiting Periods

Most pet insurance companies have a minimum age requirement (typically between six and eight weeks old) before allowing you to enroll your pet. And some companies cap the age at which you can sign up an older dog (14 years old is the most common, although it’s only a few companies). Additionally, some companies may exclude specific conditions from coverage if your pup is above a certain age (e.g., hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgery, and orthopedic disorders).

All providers have waiting periods, which are short periods at the beginning of a new policy until your pet’s condition becomes eligible for reimbursement. Keep in mind that any pre-existing conditions, accidents, or illnesses diagnosed or showing symptoms during the waiting period are excluded from coverage. The average waiting period for illnesses is 14 days, and for accidents, it is less than five days.

Coverage Type

There are two types of insurance coverage to choose from:

  1. Accident-Only – These policies offer coverage for accidents (e.g., torn ligaments, broken bones, etc.), so basically any sudden physical injury. Accident-only plans are typically more affordable than accident and illness policies. This can be a reasonable option for a pet with many pre-existing conditions.
  2. Accident and Illness – These policies are the most popular because they cover both accidents and illnesses (i.e., cancer, arthritis, allergies, etc.), including most unexpected medical expenses. Because no provider covers pre-existing conditions, signing your pet up for coverage as early as possible is crucial.

Some companies also offer a wellness plan (aka preventative care) during enrollment. This commonly covers routine vet expenses (i.e., annual exams, spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, etc.) but varies by provider. It’s typically available as an add-on to an accident-only or accident and illness policy, but some companies allow you to purchase it without an insurance policy. This add-on coverage isn’t technically an insurance product.

To find the best option for your Shiba Inu, you need to consider what type of coverage you need and your budget.

Premium: Deductible, Reimbursement & Payout Options

The fee you pay for your Shiba Inu’s pet insurance coverage is the premium usually paid monthly or annually. Monthly payments often add transaction fees, so if you can pay annually, it can save you a little money.

According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), the average monthly premium for an accident and illness insurance policy in the U.S. in 2022 was $53.34 for dogs. Of course, this varies for every dog and situation, including yours, so be sure to get multiple quotes from top-rated companies.

The premium amount depends on several factors: breed (or mix), location, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and payout. The beginning of the list is self-explanatory; you have a Shiba Inu, and you know your zip code, dog’s age (or best guess), gender, and medical history. But what is a deductible, reimbursement, and payout?

  • Deductible – The money you must pay before your policy begins to reimburse you. This is typically reset each policy period (annually). However, some companies have per-incident deductibles, so you must pay this amount each time your dog suffers a new condition. Each company may have its own spin on this, so be sure to understand your policy because annual vs. per-incident deductibles can impact the amount of money you’re expected to pay.
  • Reimbursement – The percentage of a claim that you’re eligible for repayment by the company after you’ve paid your coinsurance. The most popular reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%, but some companies offer other options or restricted options based on the dog’s age or location.
  • Payout – The maximum amount a provider will reimburse during the policy period. Lower payout limits mean you may be responsible for more costs if your pet has expensive vet treatment.

Many companies allow you to customize your plan to fit your budget. For example, a higher deductible and reimbursement percentage paired with a lower payout will lower your premium. However, it’s crucial to find a balance between what your budget allows and the worst-case scenario if your dog’s health turns for the worst and you have several expensive vet bills to pay.

Exclusions

Exclusions refer to the conditions not covered by your policy. This can include pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, specific dental treatment, and more.

Possibly the most significant concern regarding Shiba Inus is that a few companies require additional waiting periods for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Because Shiba Inus are at an increased risk for patella luxation, you’ll want to ensure you understand any additional restrictions. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you thoroughly read and understand your policy.

Who Offers The Best Policy?

Below are our top pet insurance picks for Shiba Inus based on their breed-specific needs. When you are ready, we’ve made a free quote form that provides customized policy quotes from top pet insurance companies when you fill in your pet’s details. You can better understand the coverage needed by entering your pet’s specific characteristics.

Best Overall Pet Insurance

Pets Best

  • No age limits or restrictions
  • Thorough coverage
  • Some of the lowest prices in the industry
  • Offers an Accident-only plan

Pets Best is the best pet insurance for most Shiba Inus because of its wide-ranging coverage. They include hereditary and congenital conditions that not all insurance companies cover. These include patella luxation and eye health issues. Pets Best also has few exclusions compared to other providers, including coverage for behavioral therapies and optional wellness care.

Best Pet Insurance For Older Dogs

Figo

figo logo
  • Excellent value for money
  • Offers options for 100% reimbursement and unlimited annual payouts
  • Diminishing deductible decreases by $50 each year the policyholder is claim-free until it’s $0
  • Coverage includes age and weight-related concerns and hereditary and chronic conditions

Best Insurance For Bilateral Conditions

Trupanion

  • One of the only companies with no bilateral exclusions
  • Claims can be paid in less than 5 minutes via Trupanion Express
  • 90% reimbursement and unlimited payouts for all plans
  • Offers enrollment from birth

Additional Options We Recommend

Embrace

embrace logo
  • Premium reduces by $50 per year if no claims are made
  • Covers curable pre-existing conditions, dependent on evaluation
  • Exam fees included in all policies
  • Offers coverage for behavioral therapy and training
  • Dental treatment included

Healthy Paws

  • Unlimited annual and lifetime payouts for all plans
  • Fastest claim payout, on average, compared to others
  • Excellent value and competitive price
  • High customer satisfaction ratings

Lemonade

lemonade logo
  • AI-driven claims process
  • Not available in every U.S. state
  • Ability to bundle with homeowners or renters insurance policies
  • Optional wellness coverage

How To Save Money

Some Shiba Inu parents can save money on insurance policies if the following circumstances are met.

Pay Annually

Most insurance companies offer two ways of paying your monthly or annual premiums. Transaction fees are often added to your bill if you choose the monthly payment option. Therefore, you can minimize or avoid these altogether if you pay your premium annually.

Multi-Pet Discount

Many pet insurers offer multi-pet discounts for pet owners who take out several policies for their household’s dogs and cats. You could get up to a 10% discount on each pet’s insurance, amounting to significant savings.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, investing in pet insurance for your Shiba Inu is frequently worthwhile. The premium often deters pet parents. But when you consider the costs associated with common non-routine vet bills for the breed, you realize it can be a more budget-friendly option. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll never be faced with choosing between your wallet and your best friend’s health or life.

Remember to read the fine print to understand the coverage and limitations before signing up, no matter which policy you are considering. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, call the pet insurance company or speak with your vet.

Small dog sitting on a white modern chair wearing stethoscope and glasses

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing, availability, and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

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