A guide to pet insurance for dogs

Updated 16 April 2024
Read time: 7 mins
article author
Written by Elle Padgham



We hate to think about anything happening to our much-loved canine companions such as accidents, illness or our dog getting lost. Life happens however, and the unexpected can occur at any time - and when it does, it counts to have all protections in place to help cover the costs, give your dog the best care and make the situation as stress-free as possible. 

What exactly does pet insurance do, however? What does it include, and do we even need it at all? 

Read on for our guide to pet insurance for dogs and how having the right policy can give you, as a dog owner, peace and reassurance.


What is pet insurance for dogs?


Insuring your pet simply means you pay a regular premium to a pet insurance provider so that if unexpected costs arise related to your dog, you’ll receive compensation. 


Having pet insurance for your dog means you’ll be helped to cover costs, for instance, if your dog dies, gets ill or injured and needs veterinary treatment. Depending on the terms of the cover, you could also receive financial help if your dog needs to stay in a kennel, have important surgery, or gets sick or hurt when overseas.


vet linda holding a dog


 Types of pet insurance


There are various types of pet insurance for dogs available, so you can choose the one most suited to your dog’s needs and/or your financial situation.


  • Lifetime cover pet insurance
  • The most common type of pet insurance will cover costs for the span of your dog’s lifetime, and is the most comprehensive form of pet insurance. You’ll usually pay yearly for each year of your pet’s life, and it may get more expensive as they get older.


  • Non-lifetime cover pet insurance
  • Sometimes called annual cover, you will pay out yearly on a rolling basis. Choosing this type usually costs less and you can shop around each year for the best deal - however the cover is generally less comprehensive and might not include the protection you need.


  • Accident only pet insurance
  • This is the most basic type of dog insurance, and only covers if your pet has an 

    accident (for instance, if they’re hit by a car) but doesn’t cover treatment for illnesses or health issues.


    What does dog insurance usually cover?


    Pet insurance for dogs covers all kinds of scenarios, and though you hopefully won’t need to use it for long stretches of time, it is useful to have the security for when things can and do happen. As well as paying for veterinary treatment, most insurance policies cover the following:


  • Death by accident or illness
  • If your dog sadly passes away prematurely, perhaps by accident or an unexpected illness, you can get back the cost of what you paid for your dog. 


  • If your dog goes missing
  • If your dog gets lost or goes missing for a certain period of time, some pet insurers contribute costs towards missing pet posters or reward money. For some policies, this extends to the theft of your dog.


  • If you travel with your dog overseas
  • Some pet insurance companies cover the costs of treatment should your dog get ill or harmed when on holiday or travelling overseas.


  • Costs for kennels or dogs’ homes
  • If you need to leave your dog in a kennel for a period of time, perhaps because you’re going into hospital, some insurers will help you pay for this.


    • End of life costs

    It’s usually covered by insurance if your dog has come to the end of their life and a vet deems it kinder to put the dog to sleep than have them endure continual pain. Cremation or burial costs may not be covered, however. 


    There are also scenarios that a typical dog insurance policy does not usually cover, such as the following: 


  • Treatment for recurring illnesses.
  • Whether you receive cover would depend on the illness or health condition, but many are not included in a standard insurance policy.


  • Dental treatment.
  • Dogs’ dental work is only covered by some providers, and it sometimes depends if the teeth are affected by illness.


  • Complementary treatments.
  • Treatments such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, osteopathy (recommended by a vet) are usually not provided as standard. 


    However, be sure to shop around. There are some providers, such as Waggel, that do provide cover for the above scenarios as part of their standard policy. They even cover dogs with some long-term illnesses including diabetes and cancer - something that can be hard to find in other pet insurance brands.

    Other scenarios that usually aren’t covered by standard dog insurance policies include: 


  • Pregnancy/breeding
  • The vet bills for a pregnant dog, or a dog used for breeding, aren’t usually covered.
  • Third-party liability
  • If your dog harms someone or damages property, the costs of legal fees are usually an add-on rather than included in standard policy. 
  • Routine or elective treatments
  • Things such as grooming or cosmetic treatments, preventative measures or routine check-ups aren’t usually covered by insurance.
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • If a dog has a condition brought on by an accident, illness or injury before the policy begins, those costs won’t be covered. Check the terms of your chosen pet insurance provider to see exclusions and inclusions. 

    When you’re choosing a pet insurance provider, read the full terms of the cover to check what’s included from top to bottom - this way you’ll find a policy of the most value to you and your pooch.


    girl hugging golden retriever dog


    Why should you get pet insurance for dogs?


    Keeping a pet can be costly, and insurance certainly adds to that bill - but the benefits of owning a lovable dog companion are endless, and (we think you’ll agree) far outweigh the expense. To make your decision easier, some providers offer extra perks alongside standard cover.


    With Waggel’s standard pet insurance policy, for instance, you’ll also receive added features such as free discounts and offers, a 24/7 video vet service, online behaviour consultations, the ability to make fully digital claims, and donations to a charity of your choosing.


    We know nothing can prevent the emotional distress of something happening to your dog - but it’s reassuring to know that if something unexpected happens, they will have access to the right health care and protection - and you will at least receive compensation to make the process easier.


    Dog and pet insurance FAQs


    Let’s answer some further commonly asked questions about getting pet insurance cover for your dog…


    Is dog insurance worth it?


    Most dog owners see their pooch as a much-loved and valued member of their family, so though there’s a cost to getting your pet insured, we think it’s very much worth it for the peace of mind in keeping your dog safe and healthy. 


    It could be even more worth it if you have an old dog, a dog with a specific health condition, a pedigree dog that may be of high value (therefore more likely to be stolen), or if your dog’s breed is predisposed to health issues. 


    If you aren’t sure you can afford a big yearly pay-out, there are other ways of paying, such as monthly or quarterly, which might make it more economical for you.


    Do you need pet insurance for a dog in the UK?


    No one is required to get pet insurance, and it’s not illegal if you don’t get it. As experts and enthusiasts in the health and wellbeing of dogs, we are big advocates of getting the right pet insurance. If you take the risk of paying out for your dog if and when they need it, it could end up costing you much more in the long run. If you can’t pay for vet treatment when the time comes, this could put your dog at significant risk.


    Can I get pet insurance for an older dog?


    Older dogs can be insured just like younger dogs can - but it can often cost a bit more, as they’re more likely to need ongoing veterinary care. 


    Our friends at Waggel offer award-winning pet insurance cover fuelled by a love of pets, tech and doing things differently. Check out their dog insurance policies for peace of mind in keeping your dog safe, happy and healthy. 

    Comments (2)

    Hi, I’m looking to cover my 3 dogs, Storm who’s 6, Flint and Wurzel who are 6 months. They are all German shepherd’s. Thankyou

    Vanda - Feb 17 2023
    Pooch Admin

    Hi Vanda many thanks for your comment. If you head over to they can help you set up your insurance. If you need any help regarding our products feel free to email Thank you!

    Team Pooch - Feb 17 2023

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