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Does Pet Insurance Cover Cruciate Surgery? 2024 Update

Jessica Rossetti

By Jessica Rossetti

border collie dog near pet insurance form

Pet insurance can come in handy when your pet has an accident or illness. Surprise vet bills can be incredibly expensive, and insurance can offer relief so you can focus on getting your pet the treatment that they need rather than on the cost.

Depending on your policy, your insurance may cover cruciate surgery, or ACL surgery, should your dog need it. Typically, this would be included in your policy and not cost extra. However, companies and policies vary, so be sure to read your contract thoroughly to make sure you know what it includes.

Read on for more information about pet insurance and cruciate surgery.

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What Is Cruciate Surgery?

Cruciate surgery is the surgical repair of the cruciate ligament in dogs. It’s technically the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. When a dog tears this ligament, it’s usually due to an accidental injury that occurs while running or jumping. The ligament helps bind the thigh bone to the shin bone. When dogs tear it, their knee can become unstable, and it can cause extreme pain.

A torn ACL is a common injury, but it’s also expensive to repair. Around $1.3 billion each year is spent on ACL surgeries for dogs by pet owners.1

Pet Insurance and Cruciate Surgery

Dog Surgery
Photo Credit: Alefunky, Pixabay

Most pet insurance will cover ACL surgery, but limits and conditions can apply. With very few exceptions, pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. This means any condition that your dog had before you purchased your policy. If your dog has a history of ACL surgeries, limping, or leg injuries, a future ACL surgery may not be covered for them.

Many pet insurances have a waiting period for cruciate surgeries. These can vary from 14 days to 1 year. After the waiting period, ACL surgeries will be covered, provided that the dog did not experience anything that would qualify as a pre-existing condition during that period.

To find out which pet insurance policy will be the most convenient for you and your pet, we recommend checking and comparing different options. These are just a few of the top-rated pet insurance companies you can take a look at to get an idea and make a choice.

Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:

Most Affordable
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
Most Customizable
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Best for Direct Payments
Our rating: 4.0 / 5

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Does Cruciate Coverage Cost More?

Typically, no. With some companies, you have the option to purchase accident-only coverage. This means your dog will be covered for accidents but nothing else. Treatments for illnesses and diseases won’t be covered. These policies are generally cheaper than comprehensive coverage and may include cruciate surgeries after a waiting period.

Comprehensive coverage does include cruciate surgeries after a waiting period.

Will Pet Insurance Pay for the Entire Cruciate Surgery?

woman having pet insurance form
Photo Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

Pet insurance will cover a percentage of the cost of the cruciate surgery. This is the reimbursement percentage that you can choose when you’re selecting your plan. Many reimbursement percentages are 70%, 80%, or 90% of the vet bill. Your monthly premium price changes depending on which option you choose. Not all these options are available from every company.

You also have a deductible to meet with pet insurance, and if you haven’t met it for the year when your dog needs surgery, you’ll have to pay it when you’re reimbursed. If your dog’s surgery is $800 and you have a $100 deductible, your reimbursement percentage would be based on $700.

Is It Worth Having Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is another monthly or annual bill to pay, but it can help offset the huge costs of vet bills in emergencies. Many dog owners like the peace of mind of knowing that their dog is covered in case of an accident or sudden illness.

Over time, visits to the vet can really add up. If you're looking for a good pet insurance plan that won't break the bank, you may want to look at Lemonade. This company offers adjustable plans customized to your pet's needs.

If expensive vet bills are not difficult for you to pay, you may not find an added bill each month to be necessary.

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Final Thoughts

Pet insurance will cover cruciate, or ACL, surgery in dogs but usually not until after a waiting period is over. If your dog has a history of knee trouble, the surgery could be determined by your insurance to be necessary due to a pre-existing condition. In this case, the surgery likely won’t be covered.

Be sure to read the fine print of your policy to know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t. Cruciate surgery is expensive, and pet insurance can be helpful in these situations.


Featured Image Credit: Pixsooz, Shutterstock

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