Bringing home a cuddly puppy can be such a joy, but many pet owners don’t realize how much that new dog can cost them—particularly if an unexpected accident or illness occurs. Furthermore, puppies can be rambunctious, often chewing things they shouldn’t, eating items that can upset their digestive tract, or running loose without the training of an older dog.

When you match these qualities with the astounding price of emergency vet visits, anyone who wants to take on the responsibility of a puppy should also consider being financially responsible by getting pet insurance.

Some might laugh off pet insurance as a frivolous expense, but if your puppy experiences any emergency, it can cost you thousands of dollars. Paying $10 to $50 a month for pet insurance makes a bit more sense when you consider the risk. Some policies cost more, but they can cover a percentage of nearly all vet expenses in some cases.

What is the best dog insurance for puppies?

  • Petplan
  • Embrace
  • Figo
  • Pets Best
  • Nationwide

What is dog insurance?

Just like medical health care coverage for yourself, dog insurance guards against you incurring a massive amount of debt from any unforeseen accidents, broken bones, or other health issues your puppy might experience.

Some people assume that vet bills are substantially less than a human visit to the doctor, but this is not always the case. With several ailments, the cost can run you into the thousands. Around 12 million pets are diagnosed with cancer each year and the cost of vet bills from that dreaded diagnosis averages over $2,000.

For Puppies

Many pet insurance plans will only cover puppies at eight weeks and older. Eight weeks is still quite young, but if you have a puppy that is six or seven weeks, or breed dogs and want them covered as soon as possible, a couple of weeks can make a difference.

We looked into pet insurance plans that are rank high in quality, have high customer ratings, and also cover puppies from six-weeks-old, if possible. A couple of standout companies activate coverage for eight-week-old pups, but we picked them for some of the benefits they provide.

When looking for a puppy insurance plan, you want to factor in whether the company will cover potential hereditary or congenital conditions, especially if the dog is a purebred (which can be more likely to develop inherited conditions like hip dysplasia).

How does dog insurance work?

Dog insurance works similarly to your own health insurance, although perhaps a bit less complicated. When you enroll your puppy with an insurance plan, they will ask you some questions, such as the dog breed, age, and where you live (some ZIP codes have higher rates due to vet costs and population density).

You will be given a waiting period before your puppy’s insurance policy is active. Companies do this to prevent customers from enrolling their dog right after an accident or illness happens, which would be considered fraud.

Once your puppy’s insurance is active, you either visit any licensed veterinarian or one in a network if your policy requires it and file a claim to be reimbursed from the insurance company. The vet visit must fall within the covered services your insurance company covers. For example, not all policies will pay part of wellness care or reimburse for heartworm preventative.

You will also have to pay your deductible before the company covers any of your puppy’s vet costs. Just as with human insurance, this is similar to paying a copay at an appointment. With some policies, you will have a yearly deductible, instead of per-visit, and you pay everything until you meet that number.

The insurance company will then reimburse you for charges beyond that. For example, you might have to pay the first $250, regardless of whether that price is through one visit or several vet appointments, and after that, your policy covers up to 90 or even 100 percent of the charges.

Overall Best Dog Insurance for Puppies

Petplan

If you need pet insurance for a puppy, Petplan is one of our top picks. Petplan allows coverage for puppies to begin at six-weeks-old (eight weeks is typical for pet insurance), and they have a variety of policy levels to help you either pay a lower, budget-friendly monthly fee or have higher coverage if you prefer. So, you can enroll a young dog and decide for yourself how much you want to be insured, or roughly how little you want to spend with Petplan each month.

With Petplan, you can select from a maximum yearly reimbursement of $10,000, $14,000, or $22,000 depending on what you want to pay each month or how much risk you want in coverage for your pup. You also get to choose from deductibles between $50 to $200, again helping your monthly cost. Petplan reimbursement levels can be either 80 percent, 90 percent, or even 100 percent.

Petplan covers puppies and dogs for most conditions you might need a veterinarian, such as imaging (ultrasounds, MRI, etc.), cancer, non-routine dental issues, and diagnostic treatments. They also reimburse for holistic treatments—a fantastic option for pet parents who like alternative therapies.

Petplan also covers hereditary and chronic illnesses, which is also a plus for insuring a puppy when you might have yet to discover an ongoing condition. Petplan claims they reimburse your pet’s medical bills in only 5-14 days, and they have an A+ financial rating, which we also like for peace of mind.

Keep in mind that Petplan does not cover pre-existing conditions or routine preventative care, though. If you want regular (non-emergency) vet visits partially reimbursed, you might want to look around for another provider.

7 More Highly Rated Dog Insurance Plans

Embrace

Embrace is one of our favorite overall dog insurance companies for a few reasons. They offer a diminishing deductible feature for healthy pets, cover alternative therapies for dogs, insure behavioral care, and have a rewards system in which you can earn credit to have things such as dental and grooming covered.

You can enroll a puppy in a plan with Embrace as early as six-weeks-old—again, slightly younger than the typical eight-week minimum with most pet insurance companies. Embrace reimburses for vet exam fees, which is a plus, as you can have routine care for your puppy covered instead of only the most extreme emergencies.

Embrace also does not have any breed-specific exclusions, which is ideal for puppy breeders. They can carry the policy all through their lifetime, too, as Embrace does not have a lifetime cap on your dog’s coverage.

One more perk we like with Embrace is that they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Sure, you might not use insurance benefits during that time, but if you decide to try out the policy with wellness care in the first month, you can see if their reimbursement schedule and customer service works well for you.

Figo

With Figo, you can begin a policy for a puppy as young as six weeks of age. After the age of eight, you will need to follow your veterinarian’s suggested senior dog wellness testing to maintain coverage. For young puppies, we like their coverage, though.

Figo also has a flexible selection of benefits to either give you more coverage or a smaller monthly payment. You can pick from a yearly maximum that Figo will payout of either $10,000, $14,000, or an unlimited plan.

You can also pick your deductible of $50, $100, $200, or $500. Figo provides reimbursement levels of either 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, and 100 percent. You get some wiggle room with your policy coverage and monthly fee here.

Veterinary exam fees are part of your reimbursed costs with Figo. This puppy insurance also works with cloud-based software to keep track of your doggie’s vaccinations, health records, and you can submit your pet insurance claim through their smartphone app.

Pets Best

A dog insurance policy with Pets Best can start for puppies as young as seven-weeks-old, and even better, they have no upper age limit. So, if you’re happy with their service, you can keep them for your dog’s entire life.

Pets Best also has a 24-hour helpline seven days a week (something several companies lack). We also love Pets Best for dogs that may end up having chronic health conditions or lots of veterinary bills, because this insurance company has no yearly or lifetime limits on their benefits.

Pets Best also provides routine care coverage for your puppy, so if you want a plan that will reimburse for a portion of your regular vet visits, they are worth considering. Pets Best has an overall excellent rating from TrustPilot, too, for a little extra peace of mind.

This dog insurance company also offers you a variety of plans to select from to either give you more coverage or a lower monthly fee. They do quote your price based on your puppy’s breed and your location along with the coverage you want, but this is typical among pet insurance.

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Formerly called VPI, Nationwide doesn’t just cover your house or car, they also have pet insurance. Nationwide is one of the most comprehensive dog insurance plans, and its robust reputation has strong financial backing.

Nationwide will cost you a little more than some companies, but if you are uncertain about going with a pet insurance company you’ve never heard of, Nationwide is worth considering. With this price, you get a vast array of conditions covered with their dog insurance, including allergies, blood tests, heartworm prevention, cancer, spay/neuter surgeries, and even holistic therapies like dog chiropractic and acupuncture.

Hip dysplasia also falls under their plan, which is fantastic for those with purebred puppies. Nationwide offers both “whole pet wellness” and a “major medical” program as well as two annual deductible options to work with your budget.

Nationwide will cover puppies as young as six-weeks-old. Unfortunately, they have a max-age enrollment of 10 years, but if you are looking for a policy for your puppy, Nationwide could be an ideal option to start with for full, comprehensive coverage.

They have an illness waiting period of 14 days, and while accident coverage usually begins in less time, Nationwide’s waiting period is universal. So, both accident and illness coverage will start two weeks after you enroll your puppy in it.

AKC Insurance

The AKC (American Kennel Club) provides pet insurance, and they understand issues with purebred dogs, which is why they made our list. AKC will only begin puppy insurance at eight-weeks, slightly later than the previously mentioned plans, but their association with purebred dogs gives them an advantage when it comes to hereditary conditions. You can add on coverage for things such as hip dysplasia, as well as wellness and preventative care.

One of our favorite benefits from AKC pet insurance is its unique 30-day certificate. This feature enables you to have coverage for your puppy much sooner than other pet insurance companies. While you are waiting for your official policy to become active, you can activate this 30-day certificate of temporary coverage.

Within only one day, you will have accident coverage, and in only five days, illness insurance. This amount of time is unusually fast to get dog insurance active, so if you want your puppy covered immediately, this could be your closest bet.

AKC insurance has outstanding ratings on Trust Pilot and is a company with far fewer negative reviews than we’ve seen with others.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws runs a more typical age enrollment for puppies, with eligibility at eight-weeks-old. They don’t enroll dogs before that two-month mark, but Healthy Paws is one of our favorite dog insurance companies for a few reasons.

Healthy Paws has no caps on coverage, whether per-incident or lifetime and they have unlimited lifetime benefits. You get to select your deductible from $100 to $500, and Healthy Paws reimburses either 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent. All of these options help give you a break with the monthly cost of pet insurance or provide you with more coverage if you want it.

Healthy Paws also processes their claims rapidly, and the company claims they do so in 99 percent of cases in only two days. Another perk is that you don’t have to use a vet in a network. Any licensed veterinarian works with their plan.

Healthy Paws will not cover a pre-existing condition, and they don’t reimburse for spaying/neutering or preventative care such as heartworm medication. So, if you want the most comprehensive plan, they might not be right for you. However, if you want a reasonably-priced plan with a variety of coverage and deductibles, and one that reimburses quickly, they are worth checking out.

PetPremium

Like many dog insurance companies, PetPremium offers a variety of coverage levels and deductibles to give you a choice between a lower monthly cost or a higher amount of benefits. PetPremium offers yearly limits of $2,500 to $5,000, and you get to select your deductible amount from $100 to $500. Your reimbursement level with PetPremium can be 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent of your veterinary bills.

If you are looking for more affordable puppy insurance, they also have an “accident only” policy to reduce your costs. Puppies must be at least eight-weeks-old to have live coverage with PetPremium, but this insurance has one of the broadest plans we’ve seen for hereditary and congenital conditions, as well as reimbursement for alternative therapies and behavioral issues such as anxiety or compulsive licking.

PetPremium also covers preventative care, so you can get part of your typical vet visits reimbursed. Within their preventative care, they also give you the choice of two different plans.

Their “basic plan” takes care of the general issues many dog owners will experience at one point or another, such as dental cleaning, heartworm testing, and some vaccines such as Rabies. PetPremium’s add-on “prime prevention care” reimburses for all of the “basic” plan, as well as blood tests, urinalysis, flea and heartworm prevention, and the Bordetella Vaccine/Titer for dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is dog insurance beneficial for puppies?

As we mentioned, puppies might be young and usually healthy, but youthful dogs can get themselves into trouble more often than mature canines. Puppies can accidentally ingest harmful substances or objects in a matter of minutes, and they are typically less trained around traffic and other animals than older dogs.

If you want to take on the responsibility of owning a puppy, you should consider protecting your finances with pet insurance for your pup. You don’t want to find yourself in love with a furry little companion, and then unable to cover vet fees if an accident or illness occurs.

What does dog insurance cover?

Each policy will be slightly different when it comes to dog insurance, and the amount of coverage you select will also dictate what falls under your plan and what does not. If you pick an “accident-only plan,” you will likely have to pay for emergency illnesses and things like heartworm prevention on your own.

More comprehensive puppy insurance plans will cover the full gamut of potential conditions, such as blood tests, gastrointestinal problems, congenital disabilities, hip dysplasia, accidents, illnesses, surgeries, cancer, dental disease, and even allergies. Always ask what your insurance will cover and what does not fall under the plan when enrolling your pup with a policy.

Does dog insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Most pet insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions, but some will PetsBest and Embrace state that they do in some places, so ask about your dog’s situation when looking to enroll. Some companies will cover curable pre-existing conditions but will not reimburse for chronic issues.

How soon can you use your pet insurance?

Most pet insurance companies will require a waiting period of typically around two weeks between enrollment and the policy going active. To prevent fraud, pet insurance companies require this waiting period, and sometimes the accident coverage will become effective before the illness coverage. For example, your puppy might be insured for accidents after five days but will have to wait 14 days before illnesses get reimbursed by insurance.

Are there any restrictions on which veterinarian I can use?

The pet insurance policy will dictate whether you can use any licensed veterinarian, or if you must select a vet in a network. Ask the company when you go to enroll your dog. More often than not, you will be able to use whatever licensed vet you trust, but it is still worth checking before you sign up.

Conclusion

Puppies can bring you a lot of joy, but they can also cost a lot of money—especially if they get themselves into trouble often or take off running around your block or neighborhood. Pet insurance is not only protecting your dog but also guarding your finances. Most people can swing something like $20 to $30 a month, but incurring another bill that may cost several thousands of dollars is not always the case for everyone.

Ideally, you should enroll your puppy as soon as you get them. Accidents can happen at any time, and young dogs can get into things that can make them sick faster than you might believe. If your pup is not insured and a medical issue arises, it will be too late to sign them up for insurance. The standard waiting period is around 14 days, but with some conditions like hip dysplasia, insurance may not cover the ailment for up to a year of active enrollment.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to sign your new furry family member up with pet insurance. Most companies now make it easier than ever to file your puppy’s claim online and even over a smartphone app. Within a matter of days, you could have your vet bills reimbursed and sometimes even heartworm and flea medication. If you have a new puppy or are looking to get one, start calling around today to get quotes and compare the plans that work best for you.

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