Puppy Insurance: The Best Plans for Your Pup in 2023

You can get puppy insurance once your pup reaches just 8 weeks old. Plans typically cover expenses due to accidents and illness, but you may be able to add optional wellness protection for routine care.

Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault
  • Experienced personal finance writer

  • Background working with banks and insurance companies

Sarah enjoys helping people find smarter ways to spend their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans.

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Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
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Danny SmithHome and Pet Insurance Editor
  • P&C license candidate in Massachusetts

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Updated February 2, 2023

Reading time: 7 minutes

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If your puppy gets sick or injured, pet insurance can help cover vet costs. Most plans accept puppies that are just 8 weeks old and cover your dog throughout its entire life. From puppy shots to spaying and neutering, vet costs can add up quickly — especially if your puppy has an accident or illness.[1]

Here’s a closer look at why puppy insurance may be a good idea to help protect your new dog and your finances.

What is puppy insurance?

If your puppy gets sick, you can quickly rack up hundreds or even thousands of dollars in treatment costs. Basic pet insurance coverage typically includes accidents and illness, but most companies offer the option to add wellness protection, which covers things like spaying and neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, and other types of preventative care.[1]

Keep in Mind:

Most pet insurance plans require you to pay your vet out of pocket at the time of service and then file your claim.[2] But once your claim is approved, you could be reimbursed for up to 100% of your bill, depending on your plan.

Pet health insurance plans and vet costs typically get more expensive as your dog ages, so it’s a good idea to enroll your puppy in a policy as soon as it’s eligible. Most pet insurance companies accept puppies as young as 8 weeks old, making it easy to start coverage early.

Read More: What Is Pet Insurance?

How does puppy insurance work?

Most pet insurance policies work similarly, though there may be some variation between insurers. The following elements are present in most policies and are something to consider before deciding on a plan for your puppy:

  • Waiting period: You’ll usually have to wait a certain amount of time before your pup is eligible for coverage. Typical waiting periods are 36 or 48 hours for accidents and anywhere from 14 to 21 days for illnesses.[3] Your plan may also have longer waiting periods for specific conditions, like orthopedic issues.

  • Policy limits: You may have limits on your coverage, depending on your plan. These can be overall annual limits or limits for specific types of injuries, illnesses, or treatments.[3]

  • Deductible: You’ll need to meet your deductible before your insurer will pay toward your claim.

  • Claim filing: You’ll typically have to pay the vet at the time of treatment, and then your insurer will reimburse you for some or all of the cost. Once you submit your claim and it’s been reviewed, you’ll be sent a reimbursement via direct deposit or check, minus any deductible amount you owe.[2]

Be sure to read your puppy insurance documents carefully to understand exactly what your plan covers. And if you’re not sure, check with your provider to clarify.

Learn More: How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Do you need puppy insurance?

Puppy insurance isn’t something you’re required to have as a pet owner. But if your puppy gets sick or has an accident, pet insurance can help ensure your pet gets the veterinary care it needs. If you don’t have an emergency fund saved, pet insurance can also help protect you financially if your pet needs expensive surgery or medical treatment.

Ultimately, the decision to get puppy insurance is a personal choice. It’s a good idea to check with your vet, who can help you understand what you can expect to pay for treatments over the life of your dog and how pet insurance may be beneficial.

Read More: Is Pet Insurance Really Worth It?

How much does puppy insurance cost?

Puppy insurance costs about $20 to $50 a month on average, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.[4] But many factors can affect the price, including your dog’s age, breed, and gender. Where you live can also influence how much insurance policies cost since vet treatment prices can vary from market to market.

The type of coverage you choose also may affect your monthly premium. For example, plans that cover emergency care for accidents and treatments for illnesses offer more comprehensive coverage than accident-only policies and tend to be more expensive. Add-ons, such as wellness or preventative care coverage, can also raise the cost.[1]

Check Out: Cheap Pet Insurance for Your Dog

What does puppy insurance cover?

What puppy insurance will cover depends on the type of plan you pick and can vary a bit from company to company. But most insurers offer three types of coverage for pet owners to choose from.

Accident and illness coverage

Accident and illness coverage is the most comprehensive type of policy you can purchase for your puppy. Plan options will vary, but you can generally expect coverage for most expenses related to disease, illness, and accidental injuries, as well as exam fees, diagnostic tests, lab fees, X-rays, and prescriptions.[5]

Accident-only coverage

If you’re on a budget, an accident-only plan might be a good choice, as these plans tend to cost less than accident and illness plans. Keep in mind that while injuries due to accidents are usually covered, you likely won’t be able to get reimbursed for treatment costs if your puppy gets sick.[5]

Wellness coverage

Puppy owners who want to cover services like exams, spaying, neutering, microchipping, and vaccines might want to consider wellness coverage. These plans are designed to help with the costs of preventative and routine veterinary care.[5]

Sometimes, they come as part of more comprehensive plans, but you may also be able to purchase a wellness plan as an add-on. If you have a puppy, this type of plan can be particularly useful for the many shots and exams it needs when it’s young. And you can always downgrade when your dog gets a little older.

Special add-ons

In addition to the standard coverage options, some puppy insurance companies may offer special add-ons. These can include:

  • Coverage for your puppy when traveling overseas

  • Liability protection if your puppy causes property damage or injures someone

  • Reimbursement for a missing dog reward, plus cost of lost dog advertising

  • Boarding cost reimbursement if you need emergency medical treatment or are hospitalized and can’t care for your puppy

  • Pet community membership[1]

Check Out: Pet Dental Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

What doesn’t puppy insurance cover?

Puppy insurance can help you cover many vet expenses related to accidents and illness, but plans typically won’t cover a few things, including:


Pet insurance plans are primarily designed to cover accidents and illnesses. This means your pup won’t be covered for routine care, like dental work, tick treatments, or vaccinations, unless you add a special wellness plan to your basic pet insurance. Insurance also won’t cover special maintenance, such as grooming or nail trims.[1]

Pre-existing medical conditions

If your puppy was sick or injured before you signed up for pet insurance, the cost of treatment for that specific illness or injury likely won’t be covered — even if you switch companies. Many pet insurance companies also have their own list of exclusions, so make sure you understand what’s considered a pre-existing condition when comparing plans.[1]


Most plans don’t cover anything related to pregnancy or birth. This means you’ll have to pay out of pocket if you breed your dog or if it accidentally gets pregnant.[6]

See Also: Home Insurance Breed Restrictions

How to compare puppy insurance plans

It’s a good idea to shop around to find the best plan for you and your puppy. Since getting an online quote is usually quick and easy, you should get at least three quotes. You can also check with your employer to see if it offers pet insurance benefits.

Here are a few important things you’ll want to consider when comparing quotes:

  • Coverage options: Most insurers offer coverage for accidents and illnesses, as well as wellness coverage and other special coverages.

  • Plan premiums: What you’ll pay each month can vary depending on the insurance company and type of plan you choose. Look for any discounts that may be available, such as multi-pet and bundling discounts.

  • Claim submission: Research each insurer you’re considering to see how simple the claims process is and what typical turnaround times are for reimbursement.

  • Your dog’s age: Since you’re signing up a puppy, you likely won’t run into any issues with age limits unless it’s under 8 weeks old. But if you’re planning on signing up a senior pet on the same plan, you’ll want to ensure it’s eligible.

  • Pet species: Dogs are always covered by pet insurance, but if you have another pet that you want to include on your policy, such as a rabbit, you’ll want to make sure it’s covered.

  • Pet breed: Your puppy’s breed can affect the price you pay for pet insurance. Some plans charge more for purebred pets than mixed breeds due to their higher likelihood of developing certain medical conditions.[1]

It’s important to research the insurance providers you’re considering when comparing plans. You can check out third-party review sites, such as Trustpilot and ConsumerAffairs, for real customer reviews and rankings.

Check Out: Compare Pet Insurance

Puppy insurance FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about puppy pet insurance.

  • How does a puppy insurance deductible work?

    A puppy insurance deductible is the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. For example, if you have a $100 deductible but are eligible for a $1,000 reimbursement on a claim, you’d only receive a $900 reimbursement from your insurance company.[2]

  • Can puppy insurance be backdated?

    No, puppy insurance can’t be backdated. You’ll also likely have a waiting period after purchasing your plan. Waiting periods can vary from just a few days for accidents to a few weeks or longer for illnesses.[3]

  • Is puppy insurance the same as pet insurance?

    Yes. Puppies as young as 8 weeks old are typically eligible for pet insurance. Your dog will stay covered on the same plan unless you switch plans or insurance companies. However, as your pet ages, your policy and vet expenses may increase.[1]

  • What’s the average cost of puppy insurance?

    The average cost of puppy insurance is about $20 to $50 a month, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.[4] Your unique policy price depends on many factors, including the type of coverage you choose, where you live, and your dog’s breed.

  • Does the breed of the puppy matter when buying insurance?

    Yes, the breed of your puppy matters when buying insurance. Mixed breeds are typically cheaper to cover than pedigree dogs, which are more likely to be born with breed-specific conditions, such as hip dysplasia.[1]


  1. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "NAPHIA’s Pet Insurance Buying Guide." Accessed February 1, 2023
  2. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "How to Claim." Accessed February 1, 2023
  3. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Get Your Pet Covered." Accessed February 1, 2023
  4. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Section #3: Average Premiums." Accessed February 1, 2023
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts about pet insurance." Accessed February 1, 2023
  6. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Industry Data." Accessed February 1, 2023
Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault

Sarah Archambault enjoys helping people figure out smarter ways to use their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans. She’s created and edited content for Credit Karma, Experian and Sound Dollar, along with banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies.

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny SmithHome and Pet Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny SmithHome and Pet Insurance Editor
  • P&C license candidate in Massachusetts

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

Featured in

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