Puppy Insurance: The Best Plans for Your Pup in 2024

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
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 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 January 12, 2024 at 11:00 AM PST

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If your puppy gets sick or injured, pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet bills. 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 or needs emergency care, you can quickly rack up hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical costs. Basic pet insurance coverage typically includes accidents and illness, but most companies offer the option to add wellness protection, which covers things like routine vet visits, spaying and neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, and other types of preventive care.[1]

Pet health insurance plans and vet costs typically get more expensive as your dog ages due to the likelihood of increased health issues, 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.

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.

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.[1] But once your claim is approved, you could be reimbursed for up to 100% of your bill, depending on your plan.

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.[2] 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.[2]

  • 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.[1]

Be sure to read your puppy insurance documents carefully to understand exactly what your plan covers, your reimbursement limit, reimbursement percentage, and deductible. And if you’re not sure, check with your insurance company for more information.

What Is Pet Insurance and How Does It Work?

What Is Pet Insurance and How Does It Work?

Is puppy insurance worth it?

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

Ultimately, the decision to get puppy insurance is a personal choice. It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian, 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.

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How much does puppy insurance cost?

Your pet’s health insurance doesn’t need to be expensive. Insuring your puppy costs $44 on average per month, with Nationwide, Lemonade, and Healthy Paws offering the cheapest rates for accident and illness plans.

Your puppy’s breed, size, age, and location can affect your monthly premium. Insuring a puppy is often cheaper than insuring an adult dog because puppies are less likely to have medical issues or chronic conditions.[3] For example, labs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia as they grow older.[4] Insuring them as puppies helps cut the cost of vet bills in the long run.

Your ZIP code can also affect your rates due to state regulations, the general cost of living in your area, and access to veterinary care.[3]

Accident and illness plans are the most comprehensive and often include unexpected accidents and emergency care, exam and diagnostic test fees, disease treatment, X-rays, and prescriptions. They don’t generally include routine care or pre-existing conditions.

Below are rates from popular pet insurers for a medium-sized, mixed-breed 5-month-old male puppy living in Hartford, Connecticut.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Cost
Lemonade$31
Nationwide$31
Healthy Paws $33
ManyPets$34
Pets Best $34
AKC Pet Insurance$35
Figo $38
MetLife Pet Insurance$38
ASCPA$44
Embrace$49
Spot$49
Trupanion$58
Paw Protect$59
Pumpkin$85
  • To determine the average rate for puppy insurance, Insurify completed the quote process for all the listed insurers using consistent parameters. Our puppy was a 5-month-old male of medium size (31-50 pounds), mixed-breed, and neutered with no prior medical history living in Hartford, Connecticut.

    We specified the policy as an accident and illness plan with a reimbursement limit of $15,000 (if the insurer only offered unlimited, we selected unlimited), a deductible of $500, and a reimbursement percentage of 80%.

What does puppy insurance cover?

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

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/df30ef509c/dog.svg

    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, emergency treatments, and prescriptions.[5]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/00dd026525/paw.svg

    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 get reimbursed for treatment costs if your puppy gets sick.[5]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/cf28042561/shot.svg

    Wellness coverage

    Puppy owners who want to cover services like annual exams, spaying, neutering, microchipping, dental care, and vaccines might want to consider wellness coverage. These plans are designed to help with the costs of preventive 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, more extensive coverage can be particularly useful for the many medical expenses they require, such as shots and exams. And you can always change your coverage when your dog gets a little older.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/101x101/88ac443824/dog-collar.svg

    Special add-ons

    In addition to 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[6]

What doesn’t puppy insurance cover?

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

Pre-existing medical conditions

If your puppy was sick or injured or had a chronic illness 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 and what’s a covered condition when comparing plans.[1]

Breeding

Most plans don’t consider anything related to pregnancy or birth as a covered condition. This means you’ll have to pay any veterinary costs out of pocket if you breed your dog or if it accidentally gets pregnant.[6]

How to compare puppy insurance plans

It’s a good idea to shop around to find the best pet insurance 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: Your monthly premium 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 younger than 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 pet’s breed can affect the price you pay for pet insurance. Some plans charge more for purebred pets due to their higher likelihood of developing hereditary conditions.[1]

Getting the best care for your pup can be expensive. It’s important to research the companies you’re considering when comparing dog insurance plans. You can check out third-party review sites, such as Trustpilot and ConsumerAffairs, for real customer reviews and rankings.

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Puppy insurance FAQs

Getting a puppy can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are some quick answers about puppy insurance to get you started.

  • 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 annual deductible but are eligible for a $1,000 reimbursement on a claim, you’d only receive $900 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.[2]

  • 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.[6]

  • What’s the average cost of puppy insurance?

    The average cost of puppy insurance is $44 per month. The cheapest pet insurance companies are Nationwide, Lemonade, and Healthy Paws. Monthly premiums start at $31, $31, and $33, respectively. 

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

    Yes, the breed of your puppy matters when buying dog insurance. Mixed breeds are typically cheaper to cover than pedigree dogs, which are more likely to be born with genetic conditions and have increased health problems, such as hip dysplasia and congenital conditions.[1]

Sources

  1. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "How to Claim." Accessed February 1, 2023
  2. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Get Your Pet Covered." Accessed February 1, 2023
  3. AKC. "Why Does My Location Affect Pet Insurance Costs?." Accessed January 12, 2024
  4. Purina. "Common Health Problems in Labradors." Accessed January 12, 2024
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts about pet insurance." Accessed February 1, 2023
  6. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "NAPHIA’s Pet Insurance Buying Guide." 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 Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 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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