Puppy insurance

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When should I start thinking about puppy insurance?

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

Having a dog can be expensive. The PDSA states that it could cost between £4,600 and £30,800 over the animal’s lifetime, depending on the size and breed. And if you don’t have pet insurance, those costs could get even higher – vet bills tend to rise each year, with the average pet insurance claim being over £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, could cost an eye-watering £10,000 for both hips.

It’s also worth remembering that pet insurance prices tend to increase as your dog gets older and you become more likely to make a claim. There’s also the issue of pre-existing health conditions. Many pet insurance policies exclude these from cover. You can avoid this by choosing a longer-term type of pet insurance for your puppy.

Compare puppy insurance policies with us today to make sure your new pet is protected. Our guide also answers any questions you may 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 over £800.
  • More pets are being abandoned as people struggle with the cost of looking after them 
  • There are four 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’s the best pet insurance for puppies?

The best puppy insurance is the policy that suits your dog and your budget. You’ll find four main types of puppy insurance:

Lifetime pet insurance – not the cheapest option, but the most comprehensive. If you buy a lifetime policy when your pet is young, your pet will 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 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 symptoms. Once the 12-month period ends or you reach your limit, you can no longer claim for that condition (even if you renew).

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

What does puppy insurance usually cover? 

It’s important to know what your insurance will actually cover. You don’t want your pup to be unwell or injured, only to find that your policy won’t pay out for the care they need. Your puppy insurance should cover vet bills, but you need to check which ones. Your policy may also include:

  • Dental cover – this might only cover dental work resulting from an accident or illness, so check what’s included.
  • Kennel fees – if you have to go into hospital and can’t find anyone to dog-sit, this could cover the cost of kennel fees.
  • Death by accident or illness – pedigree puppies can now cost upwards of £2,000. Some policies will cover you up to the value of your pet if they pass away.
  • Travelling abroad – you’ll want to make sure you’re covered to take your puppy on holiday. Getting your pet insured for travel abroad means that you’ll be covered for medical costs – and maybe even the cost of your holiday – if anything happens while you’re away. Your policy might well have restrictions though. For instance, you may be limited to travelling in Europe, so check what your insurance covers before booking.

What doesn't puppy insurance cover? 

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

Check your policy for the following exclusions and, if necessary, arrange specialist cover:

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

How much does puppy insurance cost?

How much you pay for your puppy insurance will vary, depending on what breed you have and where you live.

But pet insurance needn’t be hugely expensive. 51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £136 per year for their dog insurance[1].

[1]51% of our customers were quoted less than £135.96 for their dog insurance in September, 2022.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I insure my puppy?

Pet insurance for your puppy isn’t a legal requirement, but it could cover costs if your dog gets sick or is injured in an accident. It can also help cover the cost if your puppy injures someone or another dog, or damages something.

Unfortunately, pets – like people – are prone to getting sick and having accidents. And vet bills can be extremely expensive. With the right insurance in place, you won’t have to make decisions about your puppy’s health based on finances alone.

Find out more about third-party dog insurance.

Which puppies cost most to insure?

Large breeds cost more than smaller breeds over the pet’s lifetime, according to the PDSA. But there are exceptions – breeds like pugs, which are notorious for breathing problems, can be expensive to insure. And German Shepherds are prone to hip problems, which could 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.

Ideally, you should get pet insurance as soon as you can, as you may not be able to get cover for a condition once it’s developed.

What health issues affect puppies?

Here are some common conditions to look out for:

  • Infectious diseases – until they’ve completed their vaccinations (at around four months), puppies are at risk from infectious diseases such as canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and leptospirosis.
  • Birth defects – these could be abnormalities in any part of the body or organ system and might 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 or even too many treats.

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 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 their eyes and ears
  • Examining their mouth
  • Examining their coat
  • Taking their temperature
  • Weighing them
  • Listening to their chest (heart and breathing)
  • Feeling their abdomen.

Your puppy will need its first vaccinations at around eight weeks old. It’s also a legal requirement to have your puppy microchipped by the time it’s eight weeks old. If you don’t, you could be fined and it may also invalidate your pet insurance.

Does pet insurance cover dental care?

Some pet insurance policies will cover you for dental accidents and emergencies, but most don’t cover routine dental care. You might be able to add it as an extra though.

How do I find a good deal on puppy insurance?

To find puppy insurance that suits your dog’s needs, use our price comparison service.

Which type of puppy insurance should I go for?

When you need to save money, it’s tempting to go for the cheapest puppy insurance policy you can find – but this could be a false economy. As a 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 develop congenital issues.

It’s also important to know that only lifetime pet insurance will cover your pet each year. Other types of pet insurance will only cover certain conditions for a set period, usually 12 months.

What do I need to get a quote?

Simply tell us a few details about your dog 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 September, 2022.

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