Puppy insurance

Enjoy a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

When should I start thinking about puppy insurance?

Having a new puppy in the house is exciting – and distracting. But, along with teething troubles, toilet training and establishing house rules, it’s also a time to consider buying puppy insurance, so you’re covered for any vet treatment they might need.

Although you might be tempted to wait until your puppy gets older before you insure them, there are compelling reasons to get your insurance sorted while your dog is still young.

Keeping a dog could be expensive. The PDSA estimates the cost of owning one at anything between £4,600 and £30,800 over the pet’s lifetime. And if you don’t have pet insurance, those costs could get an awful lot higher: vet bills tend to rise across the board year-on year, and the average pet insurance claim is nearly £800. So, if your puppy gets sick and you don’t have insurance, you could end up seriously out of pocket – a dog hip replacement, for example, can cost an eye-watering £9,000 for both hips.

Then there’s the issue of pre-existing health conditions. Many pet insurance policies exclude these from cover. Choosing a longer-term type of pet insurance for your puppy while they’re young can help you avoid this exclusion. Plus, pet insurance prices tend to increase as your dog gets older and you become more likely to make a claim.

Compare puppy insurance policies with us today to help ensure your new pet is protected and you can afford any care they might need. Our guide also answers any questions you might have about getting cover for your puppy.

At a glance

  • A puppy can cost up to £30,000 over the course of its lifetime. 
  • The average pet insurance claim is nearly £800. 
  • Vet bills are rising at a rate of 12% per year. 
  • There are four main types of puppy insurance: lifetime pet insurance, maximum-benefit pet insurance, time-limited pet insurance, and accident-only pet insurance. 
  • You should get puppy insurance when your pet is between six and eight weeks old. 

What types of dog insurance are there for my puppy? 

There are four main types of puppy insurance:

Lifetime pet insurance – this isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s the most comprehensive. It's usually easiest to get pet insurance by buying a lifetime policy when your pet is young. Your pet will then be covered for life – provided you renew your premium every year. It can include all new and recurring conditions up to a certain cost limit.

Maximum-benefit pet insurance – your puppy will be insured up to a certain cost limit, as long as you renew your policy every year. But, once you’ve claimed up to that limit, your cover for that condition ends. Even if you renew, you can no longer claim for it.

Time-limited pet insurance – this covers conditions up to a cost limit for a maximum of 12 months from the onset of the condition. Once the 12-month period ends, or your cost limit is reached, you can no longer claim for it (even if you renew).

Accident-only pet insurance – this is the cheapest option, but it only covers your pet for accidents, not illness.

What does puppy insurance usually cover? 

When insuring your furry friend, it’s important to know what they’ll actually be covered for. The last thing you want is for your pup to be unwell or injured, only to find out that your policy won’t pay out for the care they need. Your puppy insurance should cover vet bills, but you need to check exactly which ones. Your policy may also include:

  • Dental cover – this might only cover dental work resulting from an accident or illness, so check exactly what’s included.
  • Kennel fees – if you had to go into hospital and couldn’t find anyone to look after your pup, this could cover the cost of kennel fees. 
  • Death by accident or illness – it’s not something you’ll want to think about while your dog is still a waggy bundle of tufty fur, but some policies will cover you up to the value of your pet if they pass away. 
  • Travelling abroad – if you want to take your puppy on holiday, it’s increasingly easy to do so. Getting your pet insured for travel abroad means you’ll be covered for medical costs – and maybe even the cost of your holiday – if anything happens while you’re away. It’s important to note that your policy may have restrictions. For instance, you may be limited to travelling in Europe, so do check what you’re covered for, before you book your trip.

What doesn't puppy insurance cover? 

Policies vary, but you’ll typically find a number of common exclusions. For example, your policy won’t normally cover routine treatments, and you might find that some conditions are excluded. This is important to consider if your pup is a pedigree and prone to certain hereditary conditions.

Check your policy carefully for the following exclusions, and, if necessary, arrange any specialist cover that your pup might need:

  • Routine check-ups 
  • Pre-existing medical conditions 
  • Vaccinations 
  • Flea treatment 
  • Spaying/castration 
  • Puppies under a certain age (six to eight weeks) 
  • Illnesses developing within the first 14 days of taking out your policy 

How much does puppy insurance cost?

Pet insurance needn’t be hugely expensive. 50% of people could achieve a quote of £171 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data for all cover types in June 2021**.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £170.40 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data for all cover types in June 2021**.

Frequently asked questions

How will puppy insurance help?

Although pet insurance for your puppy isn’t a legal requirement, it can help cover costs if they get sick, or are injured in an accident. It can also help with costs if they injure a person or another dog, or damage something.

Find out more about third-party dog insurance.

Which puppies cost most to insure?

According to the PDSA, larger breeds will cost you more over the pet’s lifetime than smaller breeds. But there are exceptions: breeds such as pugs, which are notorious for breathing problems, often end up being more expensive to insure. Similarly, German Shepherds are famously prone to hip problems, which can again prove costly.

How old does my puppy have to be to get pet insurance?

You should be able to get puppy insurance when your dog is around six to eight weeks old. So, you don’t have to wait long before you can compare policies and take out insurance for your own peace of mind.

What health issues affect puppies?

Here are the main conditions to look out for in your new best friend:

  • Infectious diseases – until they’ve completed their vaccinations (at around four months), puppies are at risk from infectious diseases like canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and leptospirosis.
  • Birth defects – these could be abnormalities in any part of the body or organ system and may prevent normal development and growth.
  • Parasites – it's fairly common for puppies to develop these nasty little intestinal visitors, such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
  • Stomach upsets – puppies can be prone to gastrointestinal pains due to stress, illness, too many treats or other conditions.

How can I help keep my puppy healthy?

You should register your puppy with your vet within the first few weeks and arrange a health-check appointment.

On your first visit, your vet will probably ask you about your puppy’s history – where you bought him or her, and if you have any details about their parents. 

Your vet will then give your puppy a thorough physical examination, including:

  • checking your puppy's eyes
  • looking in their ears
  • examining their mouth
  • examining their coat
  • calculating their temperature
  • weighing them
  • listening to their chest (heart and breathing)
  • feeling their abdomen

Your puppy will need their first vaccinations when they’re around eight weeks old.
It’s also a legal requirement to have your puppy microchipped by the time they’re eight weeks old. If you don’t do this, you risk getting a fine. It may also invalidate your pet insurance.

How do I find a good deal on puppy insurance?

To find puppy insurance that suits the needs of your young dog, use our price comparison service.

Simply tell us a few details about your puppy and we’ll show you a range of quotes. That way you can compare prices and policy details and find the right puppy insurance for you.

On average, it takes three minutes to complete a pet insurance quote through Compare the Market, based on data in November 2020.

Which puppy insurance policy should I go for?

When you need to save money, it’s tempting to go for the cheapest policy you can find. But this isn’t always the sensible route. As a general rule, the cheaper the policy, the more exclusions it’s likely to have. When you make your decision, consider your pet’s breed, and how likely it is to have congenital issues in the future. It’s also important to know that only lifetime pet insurance will cover your pet each year. Other types of pet insurance will stop providing cover for particular conditions after a set period, usually 12 months.

What do I need to get a quote?

Insurance providers will want to know some details about your puppy, such as its breed, age, and whether or not it’s a rescue. You’ll also be asked about its size, and whether it’s been chipped and neutered. 

Most insurance providers will also be keen to know how much you paid for your puppy, and if you’re looking to cover any pre-existing conditions. 

Added to that, they’ll want a few details about you, such as where you live, and how much cover you’re looking for. 

Start a quote