5 min read
Insuring Your Puppy: Everything You Need to Know
By Adam Lee-Smith
Published: 10/20/2021, edited: 10/28/2021
Save on pet insurance for your pet
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
Puppies seem indestructible when you first bring them home. Whether they're play-fighting with other pups or bouncing off your furniture, puppies keep on truckin' regardless of what life throws at them. That said, accidents happen, and it's always better safe than sorry when it comes to your fur-baby's health.
Despite the importance of insuring a puppy, very few pet parents bother getting insurance, even for adult dogs. According to industry industry statistics, only 1% to 2% of the 90 million pet dogs in the US have proper insurance.
It's likely many pet parents don't bother getting insurance for their woofers when they're puppies and then forget about getting them insured as they get older. So, while insuring your puppy may seem pointless, it often sets them up for lifelong protection. Plus, many pet insurers will help pay for those pesky first-year vet bills.
Why should you insure a puppy? How much does pet insurance usually cost for a puppy? Let's take a look.
How much does it cost to insure a puppy?
The cost of insuring a puppy depends on their breed, the insurance plan, and medical history. The cost also depends on technical pet insurance jargon like deductibles, copay rates, and maximum yearly payouts.
Insuring a puppy doesn't have to be a financial burden, and there are a number of affordable pet insurance providers operating across the US.
If you're looking for the cheapest pet insurance possible, you can expect to pay between $20 and $40 per month. Embrace Pet Insurance offers average premiums of $30 to $40. Meanwhile, Figo's premiums range from $20 and $40 per month, with its website advertising average rates of $1.50 a day.
Again, this pricing varies depending on where you live and your dog's breed. Generally, a mixed breed puppy will be the least expensive to insure, as they're less likely to develop hereditary conditions.
Pet parents with a mixed breed fur-baby who want to keep costs down could opt for injury-only pet insurance. As the name suggests, these plans only cover injuries and don't cover any other sort of illness. As a result, these plans tend to be at least half as expensive as complete coverage plans and can cost as little as $5 per month.
Is it worth insuring a puppy?
If you're on a tight budget, you might be wondering whether it's worth insuring your puppy. Pet parents who want their doggo to have a long and happy life will want to get them insured as soon as possible.
Puppies are more fragile than we think and could develop a number of serious inherited ailments. Plus, puppies can be clumsy and easily injure themselves while roughhousing with their canine compadres.
What kinds of conditions and injuries can affect your puppy's health? And how much can you expect to pay to treat them? We've broken down some of the costs of common illnesses and accidents in puppies below.
Examples of common hereditary conditions and their costs
Mitral valve disease
Purebred puppies are prone to a range of hereditary conditions that can develop during puppyhood. For example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boston Terriers, and other toy breeds sometimes suffer from mitral valve disease. Mitral valve disease is a form of heart disease that causes heart failure by the age of 6 on average.
Insuring your Spaniel from a young age means you're covered from the high cost of drugs of treatment for mitral valve disease later in life. The only curative treatment for mitral valve disease is surgery, which can cost a staggering $30,000 for small dogs. Surgery isn't always required, and the condition can be managed with medication, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred to over $1,000.
If your dog is uninsured and develops something serious like mitral valve
disease, the ailment won't be covered on a new insurance plan, as it's
considered a pre-existing condition.
One of the most common hereditary problems dogs face is hip dysplasia, with an incidence rate as high as 70% for some breeds. Hip dysplasia affects German Shepherds and Labradors, as well as mixed breeds. Hip dysplasia costs $2,500 to treat on average.
Hip dysplasia occurs while a dog is growing and results in a malformed hip. It's most commonly diagnosed before 2 years old, with preliminary screenings starting at 4 months old. So, by getting your dog insured from puppyhood, you can protect your bank account from unexpected bills due to your dog developing hip dysplasia.
Insuring your puppy means you can get coverage before a hereditary
condition crops up. Almost all pet insurers don't cover pre-existing
conditions, and your insurance premium will be sky-high as a result.
Many companies won’t cover common conditions like hip dysplasia,
regardless of whether it’s pre-existing or not. Luckily, some insurers,
such as Healthy Paws,
help cover the cost of hip dysplasia if your dog is under 6 years old
at the time of enrollment and the condition isn’t pre-existing.
Hereditary conditions in dogs can be expensive to treat.
Dogs can experience symptoms of hereditary conditions from an early age. Insuring your puppy as soon as “pawssible” is essential for preventing high vet care costs. Start comparing insurance plans from leading insurers like Healthy Paws and Embrace and save over $270 a year.
Examples of accidents and their costs
Pups are curious critters, and as a result, accidents can happen. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are expensive to treat without insurance.
One example, posted on Healthy Paws' website, perfectly illustrates the need for puppies to get pet insurance. The graphic shows a puppy chewing and swallowing part of their favorite teddy bear. The cost of removing a foreign object, according to Healthy Paws, is approximately $3,250 without insurance. However, with insurance, Healthy Paws will cover $2,757 of that cost.
Pet insurance is vital, whether you're worried about your purebred pupper developing a hereditary condition or your pooch is just a little clumsy. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you won't have to fork over thousands of dollars for expensive and avoidable vet bills.
How old does a puppy have to be for insurance?
Every insurance company is different, but most offer coverage for puppies from 6 to 8 weeks old. This means most pet parents can start searching for insurance as soon as they bring their puppy home. Getting insured immediately gives you the best chance of avoiding expensive bills to treat hereditary conditions or accidents.
It's worth noting that insurance companies have waiting periods before your pup is fully covered. Depending on the insurers, these waiting periods usually last from 14 to 30 days after you've signed up. Special waiting periods may apply for certain conditions. Waiting periods ensure people don't sign up for insurance just to treat a serious ailment, which would put pet insurers out of business.
If your dog is at risk of developing hereditary condition, check out our pet insurance comparison tool. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like Pets Best and PetPlan.