There are thousands of rescue dogs in shelters across the country that are in need of loving homes. If you’ve been kind enough to adopt one, you can be proud in the knowledge that you’ve given a dog a well-deserved second chance. Though rescue animals always come with a few complications, they’re definitely worth it. Here’s what you should know about insurance for rescue dogs:
How old is your rescue dog?
Insurers need to know your dog’s age before you can apply for a policy. When you adopt a dog, sometimes the animal shelter will not be sure of its date of birth. If the dog was given up for adoption by a previous family, they’ll usually have fuller records than if it was a stray.
If the shelter doesn't know your new pet’s age, the advice from insurers is to ask your vet to give the dog a physical exam and provide an estimation.
What breed is your dog?
Likewise, shelters may not know the exact breed of your rescue dog, especially if they are a wonderful cross-breed, and this is also an important part of a pet insurance application. You are advised to speak with your vet and select the closest match.
Does your dog have any pre-existing medical conditions?
When applying for a pet insurance policy, you will also need to specify whether your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or congenital heart disease - or even a more common condition like an ear infection.
Again, the problem with this is the animal shelter you adopted your pet from may not know if it has any medical conditions. This doesn’t only apply if it was a stray - previous owners might not have known about them either.
Guidance from pet insurance companies is to check with the re-homing centre, or ask your vet to examine your dog for any obvious signs. Be sure to let your insurer know if the vet finds any indication of a pre-existing medical condition.
In the worst case scenario, your pet insurance provider may refuse to give your dog cover. If this happens, make sure to join our Bought By Many group for dogs with pre-existing conditions. The company that provides insurance for this group is happy to cover the dog, including the pre-existing condition, if the dog has not had symptoms, treatment, or seen a vet for it in the three months before the policy starts.
Do you have insurance?
Some charities with rehoming shelters offer free insurance when you adopt a dog with them. For example, the RSPCA will give you 6 weeks of free pet insurance from MORE TH>N with up to £4,000 of cover per condition, while Battersea Dogs and Cats home offers 4 weeks free insurance from Petplan.
Some, like Dogs Trust, offer third party liability insurance up to £1m, which covers you if your dog damages property or if someone is injured or falls ill because of your dog.
However, it’s important to note that these kinds of insurance are either temporary, or incomplete. Third party liability insurance does not cover vet bills. And if the shelter gives you time-limited free insurance, you’ll need to renew it - or get a new policy - when this runs out, to make sure you and your pet are fully covered.
Preventing a lost dog
Finally, another vital part of any pet insurance policy is protection against loss. Rescue dogs are often nervous and unsure when first adopted, especially if they have a history of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this means that many attempt to run away from their loving new owners.
So, as well as making sure your property is getaway-proof, be sure to look for an insurance policy that will cover the cost of leaflets and a reward just in case your dog decides they’re an escape artist.
Our exclusive offer for rescue dog owners
To help make insurance for rescue dogs as simple and affordable as possible, we have negotiated an exclusive 20% discount with a leading pet insurer. Click the link to join the group and access the offer.
Join the Pet Insurance for Rescue Dogs group to get great value pet insurance.
Getting the right insurance is a really important part of adopting a rescue animal. We hope this guide will help make the process as rewarding and enjoyable as it should be!