Congratulations on welcoming a new puppy into your family! You’re in for a lifetime of joy, laughter, and fun. However, puppies are a big responsibility. Expect your life to change in a variety of ways as your pup learns to navigate your home and the world at large.
Part of this learning process is getting into mischief, which includes the occasional accident or illness. Being prepared for these pitfalls is key to keeping your pet safe and maintaining your sanity.
Getting pet insurance coverage for your puppy can help you protect your pet and your wallet when the unexpected strikes, but be sure to do some digging before you pick a policy. Here are 6 things to consider before selecting a pet insurance plan:
What Is Puppy Insurance?
Puppy insurance, commonly known as pet insurance, is an insurance plan that may assist with costs related to your pet’s health and wellness. A pet insurance plan provides reimbursement for a portion of eligible veterinary costs for your new puppy, covering things like accidents, illnesses, and even preventative care. Aside from assisting with costly veterinary bills, pet insurance provides some comfort, knowing that you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your pet’s healthcare because of costs.
Some brands even offer additional coverage options aside from base accident and illness plans. For example, AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) offers wellness and hereditary coverage add-ons at an additional cost that cater to your pet’s unique needs. They also offer pre-existing condition coverage in most U.S. states after 365 days of continuous coverage.
1. Puppies Are Expensive and Accident Prone
The first year of a pet’s life is expensive, especially with veterinary and pet care costs on the rise. In their first year, a puppy will require their vaccines and boosters, regular vet checkups, and possibly a spay or neuter.
With additional services like grooming, microchipping, and professional training, the yearly cost of owning a puppy could be in the thousands. In 2022, the average cost of owning a puppy during their first year of life was estimated at $4,800.
As we previously mentioned, puppies are mischievous and energetic, so there’s a chance they’ll get injured while exploring the world around them. Emergency medical costs can add up quickly, with the average cost of an emergency vet exam falling between $100 and $200. That is just to have the vet examine your pet. Any testing and treatment will result in additional costs!
2. How Do I Choose Puppy Insurance?
The most important factor in choosing pet insurance for your puppy is the breadth of coverage. As mentioned above, the first year of a puppy’s life is full of medical expenses, expected and otherwise, so having puppy insurance that covers preventative care as well as accidents and illnesses is important, and more beneficial to your puppy’s health than an accident-only plan. Don’t be afraid to compare a quote from multiple companies before making your final decision.
3. Is Puppy Insurance Worth It?
Every year, 1 in 3 pets will require emergency medical attention. The average cost of unplanned pet emergencies is $1,500, but many treatments cost more. Even common emergencies—like your dog eating something they shouldn’t—can cost almost $3,000 if surgery is required. Less common, but more severe situations like a cancer diagnosis can be more than $4,000. Pet insurance helps you prepare for these expenses, providing reimbursement of up to 90% so that you don't have to decide between a pet's health and your financial well-being.
However, pet insurance isn’t just for emergencies. You can get coverage for your pet’s recurring medical needs like flea and tick prevention, vaccinations, oral care, and routine checkups, so the value is baked in.
4. What Does Puppy Insurance Cover?
Each pet health insurance plan will offer different coverage options. Some are one-size-fits-all, but brands like AKC Pet Insurance are aware that each pet has a unique set of needs. They offer Accident and Illness Coverage that provides reimbursement for diagnostics and treatments performed by a licensed veterinarian, including lab work, physical therapy, ultrasound, and X-rays. Coverage also includes prescription medications. With optional add-ons like wellness coverage and exam coverage, you can build the perfect plan for your unique pet.
Vaccinations are Critical in the First Year of a Puppy’s Life
Your puppy doesn’t have a strong immune system right away, so getting their puppy vaccinations and boosters is critical. Plus, many dog-friendly public places require vaccinations for entry. Keeping up with your new puppy’s vaccination schedule can get expensive, but some pet insurance add-ons offer coverage for vaccinations and deworming.
Your Puppy Will Require Flea and Tick Prevention
Regardless of where you live, flea and tick prevention is imperative for keeping your puppy safe and your home free of pests. If you elect to get prescription-strength flea and tick preventatives, pet insurance plans like those offered through AKC Pet Insurance will provide coverage for this monthly essential at an additional cost.
Breed-Based Health Issues
Depending on your new puppy’s pedigree, they may inherit some breed-specific medical issues. Even mixed breeds can carry some of the traits that lead to inherited health issues.
For example, many breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, which will require medical attention and potentially result in expensive surgery for your dog. These hereditary and congenital conditions can pop up unexpectedly, so it might be in your best interest to get these covered at an additional cost.
Peace of Mind If Your Pup Gets Lost Thanks to Microchipping Coverage
There’s nothing scarier for a pet owner than losing their new friend. Puppies may explore and get separated, or simply run off while they’re being trained. In cases like this, microchipping is the perfect way to ease some of that stress, and many pet insurance companies, including AKC Pet Insurance, offer coverage options that include microchipping.
5. What Are the Pros and Cons of Puppy Insurance?
Before you leap into a new plan and its accompanying monthly costs, you should weigh the pros and cons of getting your pet covered.
Here are some of the benefits of pet insurance to keep in mind:
You Can Work with Your Favorite Veterinarian
AKC Pet Insurance plans are 100% reimbursement based. Because of this, you don’t have to worry if your preferred vet accepts the plan or not. Take your new puppy to your preferred vet, or if this is your first pet, feel free to work with multiple vets until you find the perfect fit. You can rest assured that regardless of the clinic you visit, your coverage will remain intact if the cost is eligible.
Most Pet Insurance Plans Are Customizable
Pet insurance companies, like AKC Pet Insurance, strive to meet the needs of pet owners so they can focus on giving their furry friends the best healthcare possible. To do that, they make their plans customizable, so you can get as much coverage (and the type of coverage) your pet needs. You can choose your own deductible and coinsurance amount, and even select a plan with no annual limits.
If your needs change as your pup ages, you can adjust your plan mid-policy period, and have the option of paying monthly or annually.
You Can Have Multiple Pets on One Account
If you have other pets in your home and would like to get pet insurance coverage for them as well as your new puppy, choose an insurance provider that offers multi-pet discounts. Pet insurance is an investment in the health of your furry family members, and insurance providers like AKC Pet Insurance offer discounts if you have multiple pets on your account*.
*Not available in all states. New and current policyholders may receive a 5% multi-pet discount if they get coverage for more than one pet or add an additional pet to an existing policy.
6. How Do I File a Pet Insurance Claim?
We can only speak for ourselves here… Filing a claim with AKC Pet Insurance is easy, and reimbursement is fast. Pay your vet bill and submit a claim to your customer portal, or by fax, mail, or email, including all necessary documentation. If all appropriate information is provided, eligible claims are usually reviewed and reimbursed within five business days. All eligible expenses are reimbursed via direct deposit or mailed check.
A puppy is a wonderful addition and the perfect way to round out your family, so enjoy your pet’s early years knowing that you’re protected from the unexpected. Get a quote through AKC Pet Insurance today and take the first step in safeguarding your puppy’s future.