Guide to puppy insurance
- Policies are typically offered from the age of six-to-eight weeks
- You're likely to have more choice of policies as your puppy gets a little older - but the longer you leave it, the longer your pooch is without cover
- Pre-existing and/or hereditary conditions will not be covered
Whether you've opted for a pedigree pup or you've chosen a loveable crossbreed, bringing a new puppy home is an exciting time for the whole family.
Your new addition is no doubt adorable and it's hard to imagine him or her remaining anything other than the picture of health.
But, sadly, puppies can become ill, and their excitable nature can also lead to unexpected accidents.
Many owners fail to take the precaution of taking out pet insurance for their new family member, but this can prove a false economy as vets' bills for common illnesses and cuts and scratches start to stack up.
How soon can I get puppy insurance?
Pet insurers commonly offer policies for canines from eight weeks, although in some cases you can insure a puppy as young as six weeks old.
Because more companies will come into the market as your puppy gets that little bit older it's likely that you'll then have more choice of policies and, perhaps, cheaper premiums.
But you'll need to balance that against the extra time that your pooch will be left without insurance cover - younger dogs can be quite vulnerable and you might find yourself paying a visit to the vet sooner than you expected.
Even when your puppy is just a few weeks old, you should remember that it won't be covered for pre-existing and/or hereditary conditions that might affect it.
Certain types of policy are cheaper than others, but there tend to be restrictions on the length of time the insurer funds treatment in the event of a pay-out.
Read our article on dog insurance to find out about the different policies and cover options on the market and decide which might offer the best deal for your circumstances.
Does puppy insurance cover vaccinations?
Young dogs should be vaccinated against illnesses such as canine parvovirus, which can lead to fatal dehydration or secondary infection, and infectious canine hepatitis. These vaccinations are not usually covered by puppy insurance.
However, it's vital to make sure your pooch's vaccinations are up to date as the insurer might not pay out for a condition which could have been prevented by a vaccination.
Bear in mind that keeping your pet's vaccinations up to date might make you eligible for cheaper premiums, as some insurers take this into consideration.
What if my puppy hurts someone or causes an accident?
Dog owners are deemed to be responsible for the actions of their animal.
A good training programme can be worth its weight in gold
If your puppy bites a person or another dog, damages property, or causes an accident such as a road accident, you can be found liable and might have to pay substantial damages.
It's therefore important to make sure your insurance policy includes third party liability cover to take care of any civil claims made against you.
One element that could factor into the cost of your puppy premium is whether the animal has been microchipped.
What's more, it's becoming a legal requirement to do this in more and more parts of the UK. Read more in our article on microchipping for dogs and other pets.
How can I keep my puppy, as well as other people and pets, safe?
A good puppy training programme can be worth its weight in gold.
Puppy training classes are an investment, but one well worth making if it saves you claiming against your insurance policy, which could bump up premiums the following year.
A well-behaved dog is less likely to run into the road and cause an accident, and is less likely to injure someone or cause damage to property.
These factors will reduce your risk of liability and will help keep your young pooch safe and healthy.
By Rebecca Lees