Insuring a New Puppy? Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted by Billy Francis

Bringing a new puppy into your home is a joyous occasion, and the start of a lifelong bond between you and your best friend. But a new dog, and especially a new puppy, brings additional responsibilities. Pups need plenty of care, attention, food and supplies in their early years. And of course, they will need veterinary care to cover everything from vaccinations to accidents. Insuring your puppy from the moment he becomes part of the family offers numerous benefits that may not be available as he gets older, and can help cover the cost of care for your canine companion from as early as birth through the rest of his life.

Why Pet Insurance Is Important for Puppies

The cost of protecting your new puppy can add up quickly. The Wall Street Journal reports that owners will typically spend around $250 for an annual pet exam, $100 for their first vaccinations, and anywhere from $400-$1,400 for spaying, depending on the breed. Add your pup’s health needs to the additional costs of getting a new puppy, and you can expect your new pal to cost you between $1,100-$2,000 within the first year. And that’s not even including unforeseen accidents and conditions that may bring Fido to the vet’s office!

Pet insurance can help you manage these initial – and in many cases, unavoidable – costs of care. For example, Pumpkin has a puppy insurance plan that promises 90% cash back on covered vet bills. They also offer a preventative care package that covers annual wellness exams, vaccines and lab tests.

The Benefits of Insuring Early

Beyond the protection and peace of mind that pet insurance provides, there are a few reasons why pet parents should sign up their new pup for coverage as soon as possible.

  1. No Pre-Existing Conditions - Dogs can develop a range of health conditions as they age, either due to breed, health or other issues. If these conditions manifest before you try to get Fido insured, they are considered pre-existing. Generally, pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, which means the high costs of treating your pup’s cancer or diabetes, to name just two examples, will be entirely your financial responsibility. Of course, new puppies won’t have any pre-existing conditions on their medical exams, which means they’ll be covered for issues that may develop in the future. Insuring your dog early can be a literal lifesaver should a lifelong health issue pop up once he is covered.
  2. Lower Premiums - Many pet insurance policies are based on age, so the younger Fido is, the cheaper his policy will likely be.
  3. Pups Will Be Pups - Like any new baby, puppies are curious creatures who will have no reservations about eating foreign objects. According to MetLife, foreign body surgeries are very common among puppies, with the average vet bill costing $1,060. Depending on the plan you choose, you may be able to get up to 90% of that bill back.
  4. Covering Puppy Needs - Remember those vaccinations and checkups that your best new bud will need? You can sign up for a wellness plan with many insurance plans that covers services that your puppy will need, like vaccinations, spay and neuter, and heartworm prevention. Nationwide’s Pet Wellness Plan covers routine care like vaccinations, heartworm prevention and deworming as well as microchipping, all starting at just $12 per month.

How Much Will Puppy Insurance Cost?

Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance costs vary greatly depending on a number of factors. A higher deductible will mean lower monthly premiums. Your monthly bill will depend on the policy you choose and how comprehensive you want Fido’s coverage to be. Your pup’s breed may also impact your monthly costs.

Pet owners can spend anywhere from $10 to over $100 per month on their pups, while most fall policies fall within $30 to $50 per month. It’s important to shop around to find the right policy for your dog’s needs as well as your budget. We’ve compiled a list of the leading pet insurance companies here.

It's never too soon to think about protecting your pup.Photo by mbfrye from Pixabay

What to Consider When Getting Insurance for Your Puppy

The right insurance policy is tailored to your puppy’s individual needs. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve addressed the following concerns:

  • When does coverage begin? Not all puppy insurance plans begin at birth. Fetch by The Dodo, for example, provides insurance to puppies from six weeks old, while Nationwide offers coverage beginning at birth.
  • When does coverage end? Because you’re starting while your dog is young, make sure to select a policy that offers lifelong coverage and includes coverage for chronic conditions. Puppy pet parents may want to consider Trupanion, as they never automatically increase premiums just because your pet gets older. This means that the rate you get for your new puppy will be the same rate you pay for your senior dog.
  • Policy exclusions: Read the fine print when shopping for policies. For example, some insurance companies don’t cover hereditary conditions. If you have a large pup, she will be at greater risk for hip dysplasia as she ages. You’ll want to ensure that this coverage is not excluded from your policy. Healthy Paws is one insurer that includes hip dysplasia coverage at no extra cost for puppies and dogs up to five years old.
  • Coverage: The most common type of pet health insurance covers accident and illness, which generally includes lab fees, treatments, and medications. You can opt for accident-only coverage, which is the most basic and therefore the cheapest option, but offers only limited protection for injuries. Unlike health insurance for humans, pet insurance doesn’t typically cover preventative care like routine exams and vaccinations. Fortunately, many insurers offer wellness plans that cover these costs, which is especially useful for puppies. A wellness plan can typically be purchased as an add-on to an accident and illness policy.
  • Price: Your monthly bill (premium), co-payments at the vet’s office, and deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket before coverage begins) are all expenses you will be responsible for as a policyholder. There are myriad options available, so look for a plan that meets your monthly budget and offers the best protection at the price you can afford.

What Policies Are Tailored for New Puppies?

There are numerous pet insurance companies that offer policies and plans with your pup in mind. For example, Pumpkin’s puppy insurance offers extensive accident and illness coverage that doesn’t decline as Fido gets older, 90% cashback on covered vet bills, and no breed restrictions. They also have an optional preventative care pack for puppies that covers one annual wellness exam fee, four puppy vaccines and one yearly fecal test. Trupanion’s puppy insurance doesn’t have payout limits, so your pup can go to the vet as often as she needs. They also cover 90% of covered vet bills, including emergencies and surgeries. Embrace provides accident and illness coverage for pups starting at six weeks old, and offers a unique reward for healthy pups: for every year you don’t receive a claim payment, your deductible will decrease by $50.

Which puppy pet insurance does Fido use? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Lydia Torrey on Unsplash.