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Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

What is the Best Age to Get Pet Insurance for Dogs?

By: Brianna Gunter

A mixed breed white puppy sits outside on wood planks.

Having a dog in your life is a rewarding experience that comes with plenty of surprises. And when those surprises come in the form of accidents, injuries, or illness, a good pet medical insurance policy can help save both your wallet and your best friend. This likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard of pet health insurance, but do you know if you’re waiting too long (or jumping the gun too soon) to get it?

In order to get the most out of a dog insurance policy, it’s important to enroll your pal at the right time. For your peace of mind and the health of your pup, here’s what you need to know.

The best age to get dog insurance

Many pet parents don’t start thinking about health insurance for their pal until they wind up facing a surprise injury or serious illness. But if a condition is diagnosed before enrollment, it won’t be covered. Even so, it can be challenging to gauge exactly when a policy will start being valuable to you and your furry friend.

After all, if your dog is still young and healthy, do they really need pet insurance now?

As it turns out, the “young and healthy” perception of a puppy may be just a stereotype. In addition to not having built up immune systems, young dogs are naturally curious about the world and don’t always know what’s best for them. Accidental foreign body ingestions and other unexpected injuries are common, as are a variety of other puppy illnesses.

In fact, Trupanion claims statistics demonstrate the need for pet parents to consider insurance early on.

Trupanion pet insurance claims data

  • 1 in 2 puppies under 1 year have a claim in their first year
  • 69% of puppies go on to have a second claim that year
  • In 2021 alone, Trupanion paid out a total of $39,055,000 in claims for dogs under age three

Does my dog need pet insurance after they grow up?

It can be tempting to drop your pet insurance policy once your dog is grown up and no longer experiencing any early-life illnesses or injuries. But according to Mary Rothlisberger, Trupanion senior director of customer insights, doing so can lead to further trouble as your dog’s health needs change.

“We tend to see the risks and conditions evolve as pet ages,” Rothlisberger says. “Puppies are most likely to eat things they shouldn’t and as they age, new risks come into play such as tearing a knee ligament or developing a tumor.”

Not only will aging pets eventually face more health risks, but previous conditions that were covered under a former policy will be considered pre-existing if you are re-applying for pet insurance later on. This will make it harder if not impossible to get the same coverage.

Is it ever too late to get pet insurance for your dog?

Four black and white dogs look down from atop a cement wall.

The short answer is yes, it is possible to wait too long to get pet insurance for your dog. This is because nearly all pet health insurance companies have age limits on pets, typically between 7 and 14 years. So, in addition to the increased risk of preexisting conditions that comes with waiting to enroll, your dog’s age is worth considering.

Trupanion enrolls dogs and cats of any breed up to 14 years of age. However, once in, they’re covered for as long as you decide to keep the policy. For most pet parents, this means having their pal protected for the rest of their lifetime.

As Rothlisberger notes, it’s a decision made not just for present risks, but for the life of your dog and the surprises that comes with it.

“Trupanion is here for the lifetime of our pets,” she says. “Enrolling your pet young will ensure they’re covered whenever the unexpected might happen.”

Curious about how Trupanion medical insurance for dogs works vs. other providers? Check out our pet insurance comparison.

A dog and cat snuggle

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We’re the official blog of Trupanion—chosen by veterinarians as the #1 pet insurance in America. Here you’ll find useful dog and cat care tips, interesting veterinary insights, and fun pet topics galore.

While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.

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