Dog Health Insurance: Surgical and Comprehensive Protection Compared

Take good care of the dog and protect yourself from high costs

Around 11 million dogs live in Germany, and the number continues to grow. If you have a furry housemate, you’ll quickly notice that not only do dogs need time, food, exercise, and love, they also need to go to the vet. If the case is complicated, four-digit amounts can add up quickly. Therefore, it makes sense to take out dog health insurance.

Dog owners are better off taking out a policy when purchasing their new pet; they usually have to wait three months before they can send the first invoice. An exception usually applies after an accident: then the dog’s health insurance pays without a waiting period.

dog health insurance


  • Test Results of 61 Dog Surgical Insurance Policies 09/2021

  • Test Results for 65 Comprehensive Dog Health Insurance Policies 09/2021

Dog health insurance and dog surgery insurance compared

Dog owners can take out two types of animal health insurance for their dog: surgery cost insurance (OP insurance) or comprehensive health insurance. Stiftung Warentest offers comparisons for both variants of dog health insurance.

dog health insurance compared

  • Test results. The Stiftung Warentest tables show the contributions, conditions and benefits of 61 canine surgery insurance policies and 65 comprehensive dog health insurance policies. Our comparison contains the policies of all active providers on the German market, from Agila to Uelzener to VTV. Only the subscriber Tiergarant was not willing to provide us with the necessary data. We evaluate the level of performance of all offers. It goes from very high to low.
  • decision support. Our dog health insurance test will help you decide what is best for you: surgical insurance or comprehensive health insurance. You’ll find out what the best dog health insurance is for you, and you can use sample treatments to see what veterinary costs you can expect. The table shows how much the insurer reimburses in the respective rate. We also tell you what to pay special attention to when entering into a contract (key word: fine print).
  • example dogs. With just a few clicks, you can find cheap, high-yield dog insurance policies for three example dogs: a 6-month-old Jack Russell Terrier (as an example for a very young small dog), a 3-year-old large mongrel dog ( as an example of a young large dog) and a 7-year-old Labrador Retriever (as an example of an older large dog, also considered by many insurers to be one of the most disease-prone breeds). This is how you can determine the winner of your personal test.
  • Magazine article. If you unlock the topic, you will get access to the Finanztest 9/2021 test report PDF.

What Does Dog Surgery Insurance Do?

If a dog needs an operation, for example after an accident, dog surgery insurance covers part of the costs. Preparation for the operation and aftercare in the first few days after the operation are also usually included. Operations can cost several thousand euros. Surgical insurance with a very high level of benefits reimburses most of the veterinary bill for a wide range of treatments or even covers the costs in full.

Very high to low performance level

17 of the 61 surgical insurance plans in the test offer a very high level of benefits, and another 16 a high level. To assess the level of benefits, we determine for each rate the amount at which the insurer participates in two model operations and, among other things, we assess the type and number of illnesses excluded from insurance coverage. We also take a close look at the terms of the contract. The good news: With surgical insurance, high-performance deals for a young dog are available for less than $200 a year.

Advice: Anyone traveling with pets should choose a policy that also offers adequate protection for veterinary expenses abroad. Most insurers provide worldwide foreign travel protection, which is valid for a trip duration of between one and 24 months, depending on the rate.

What does dog health insurance do?

Anyone who chooses the “full version” of dog health insurance will be reimbursed for the costs of operations and non-surgical medical treatments, such as hospital stays, medications, physiotherapy and veterinary exams. Even without an operation, it can be very expensive, for example, if a dog has to go to the veterinary clinic for several days with severe gastroenteritis.

15 comprehensive insurance policies with a very high level of benefits

For comprehensive dog health insurance, we rate the level of service as very high 15 times and 37 rates offer a high level of service. But the extensive protection also comes at a price: premiums are more than three times higher than for pure surgical insurance. Rates with a very high level of performance for a three-year-old large mestizo cost between 728 and 2,432 euros per year. For a senior dog, which also belongs to a breed that is particularly susceptible to diseases, for example the seven-year-old Labrador Retriever, rates with a very high level of performance cost between 983 and 4,963 euros per year.

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