Reader question: How much can you expect to pay to insure your dog against vets’ bills in France? I live here and am interested in permanent pet insurance for our puppy
It is not obligatory to insure your dog in France.
In fact, only around 5% of pets here are insured, and this is despite there being some 15 million pet cats and 7.5 million dogs in the country.
However, it might be a good idea if you want to avoid unwelcome surprises down the line.
The cost of pet insurance varies greatly, depending on several factors, including the age and breed of the animal, its medical history, and how comprehensive the coverage is.
Basic plans are the cheapest but usually only cover fees resulting from illnesses or accidents.
More comprehensive plans might include cover for additional veterinary exams, medicine, vaccines and euthanasia.
While basic plans are likely to pay for 50% to 70% of the cost of treatment, more expensive contracts can refund 70% to 100%.
Depending on the level of coverage, the monthly cost can be anywhere from €10 to €80, according to price comparison website Réassurez-moi.
You might be able to add extra options for an additional monthly amount, such as surgery or sterilisation costs, and opting for a higher excess might reduce your monthly payments.
Insurance companies also impose a ceiling on the amount they will pay out (usually between €1,000 and €2,500 per year) so it is important to check the details of the contract.
Reimbursement works the same way for pets as it does for humans when they visit the doctor in France.
You must pay the full cost of the visit to the vet, and your insurance company will transfer a percentage of the amount to your bank account in the following days, once you have submitted a request for reimbursement.
There are several websites that allow you to compare prices, including Réassurez-moi and Les Furets.
Many insurance firms, though, only accept dogs aged between three months and 10 years.
It is important to add that, should your dog cause an injury or damage to the property of somebody outside your household, this is covered by the responsabilité civile element in your home insurance.