Pet Insurance for Rescue Dogs: Tips on Insuring a Rescue Dog

pet insurance for rescue dogs

All around the country there are dogs that need a home. It’s an unfortunate epidemic with recent statistics showing that 47,000 dogs were abandoned over a 12-month period. That’s a lot of dogs who don’t have a home.

But what happens when you do decide to adopt one with regards to insurance? Is there such a thing as pet insurance for rescue dogs and can you insure them properly?

Can you insure a rescue dog? Insuring a rescue dog is simple. Some shelters will even give you free and temporary rescue dog insurance when you adopt your new pet. When applying for pet insurance for a rescue dog you need to provide the dog’s age as accurately as possible, breed, and medical conditions. 

How insurance for rescue dogs works 

Rescue dogs are just like any other dogs when it comes to pet insurance. However, there might be complications such as pre-existing health conditions you will need to notify the insurance company of.

The best pet insurance for rescue dogs will be a policy that covers you for all eventualities, including a lost or stolen dog.

It might not be possible to know the exact age of the dog, but your vet or animal shelter should be able to run some tests to give you a rough estimate.

You might also not be aware of what breed of dog you have adopted due to mysteries surrounding his or her background.

Rescue dog insurance is essential when you adopt a furry friend. Image licensed via

Again, the charity or shelter you have adopted through should be able to come up with a reasonable match on the breed, and if they can’t, talk to your vet.

The best rescue dog insurance company will be very thorough in the questions they ask you, and you need to be as honest and accurate as possible.

And a final consideration will be whether the rescue dog has any pre-existing medical conditions. Many rescue dogs will have problems. They might have been mistreated or involved in an accident, or just might be old.

A vet will be able to perform health checks and tests on your dog to check for any obvious signs, but there could be historical illnesses that you will never be able to report depending on how the dog came to be put up for adoption.

Handy Hint: Are you struggling to bond with your rescue dog? Read these 7 tips on how to interact with a scared shelter dog from a real life reader.

Free pet insurance for rescue dogs

Many charities and shelters will give you free pet insurance for your rescue dog that will be active for a few weeks after you adopt a dog. For example, Battersea Dogs Home will give you 4 weeks of free coverage, and the RSPCA have a similar policy, offering 6 weeks of free dog insurance.

But please be aware that these rescue dog insurance policies are temporary. You will need to sign up to full-term insurance or renew your free policy cover once the initial period ends to make sure the rescue dog is fully covered.

To find out what the best policy for insuring a rescue dog is, please visit one of the many comparison websites online to find the most suitable deal to suit your new furry family member.

3 simple steps for insuring a rescue dog 

The steps on insuring a rescue dog should be straight-forward enough, but here are a few tips to help make sure you get the best policy for your new pet.

  1. Ask the charity or shelter if they are offering a free insurance policy.
  2. If not, get health, age, breed, and medical reports completed.
  3. Use one of our recommended rescue dog insurers, supplying them the details above.

It doesn’t happen very often, but some insurers will refuse to offer cover on a rescue dog if you cannot supply this information.

Some will also turn you down if the rescue dog has pre-existing health conditions that exclude it from being offered lifetime cover.

These can include:

I will put together a list of what I believe to be the best companies that offer pet insurance for rescue dogs with these conditions. That should be live in the coming weeks.

When you do apply, please don’t be dishonest with your insurance application or miss off any detail. If you have been found to not be completely honest with your policy details, it could invalidate your cover.

What does a rescue dog insurance policy cover? 

The best insurance cover will be the one that suits your dog at the time of his or her life, plus the overall health condition it’s in.

We would advise seeking a policy that offers lifetime coverage that will take care of any medical expenses relating to accidents, theft, dental treatment and general illness.

Due to the nature of rescue dogs, we would also advise looking at what your insurance will offer should the dog become lost.

Many re-homed dogs will be scared and flighty, so having the peace of mind that you can pay for advertising costs including rewards to help find him or her will be essential. 

insurance for rescue dogs
Ask the insurance company what your policy will cover. Image licensed via

Can I insure an older rescue dog?

If you adopt an older dog then it will mean that your insurance premiums are higher, because it’s stands to reason that the dog will have more medical needs than a puppy.

For older rescue dogs, we recommend you select an insurance policy that will cover dental treatment.

What does rescue dog insurance cost?

Pet insurance doesn’t have to be expensive.

Many of our existing customers have saved huge amounts by using our recommended partners, saving a lot of money on their cover.

As a typical example, you could be paying as little as £3 in the UK or $7 in the US a month to insure your newly adopted dog (prices correct as at October 2018).

That’s not a lot of money to pay knowing your new family member is going to be taken care of should you have to pay for any medical treatment in the future.

How many rescue dogs are there in the UK?

At the top of this article we referenced some research that reported 47,000 dogs had been abandoned over a one-year period.

This research was conducted by The Dog’s Trust as part of their Stray Dogs Survey of 2015 (view the report in full).

For 2015 they found that:

  • 47,596 dogs were left behind in council pounds, where they remained unclaimed by their owners.
  • In total 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by Local Authorities between 2014 and 2015.
  • 5,142 stray dogs were put to sleep by UK Local Authorities between 2014 and 2015, that’s one dog every two hours.

Adrian Burder, the Chief Executive of the Dogs Trust said:

“To learn that over 47,000 unclaimed and unwanted dogs are left in council kennels should shock us as a nation of dog lovers. Abandoning a dog is simply unacceptable and sadly, Dogs Trust’s famous slogan “A Dog is For Life” is as significant as ever – if you are not ready to care for a dog for its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner.”

With thousands of dogs in shelters around the UK, all of whom need a permanent and loving home, we can’t think of a better way in which you could help.

Adopting a rescue dog is something that anybody considering getting a pet should look into, providing you have the ability to care for them, as well as having adequate insurance cover.

Handy Hint: It’s becoming increasingly hard to adopt rescues dogs as the shelters are very strict. This is a good thing, as I explain in this post about rescue dog adoption.

How to re-home a rescue dog

If you have taken the plunge in adopting, we won’t pretend that there aren’t challenges in re-homing a rescue dog.

It can be an exciting time for both your family and the dog, but many of them will be very scared and anxious so it’s essential you’re prepared.

Here are some tips on how to get your new pet accustomed to new surroundings, people, and a way of life.

  1. Not all rescue dogs will be used to being stroked, and it could be stressful for them. Take your time and go at their own pace to keep them relaxed.
  2. Give them their own space and sleeping area where they can feel secure and safe.
  3. Be firm with house rules from the beginning, whether that’s not letting them climb on furniture or be allowed in the kids’ bedrooms.
  4. Reinforce good behaviour such as offering praise when they follow a command such as sitting or being recalled.
  5. Let your new arrival take the time to explore the new surroundings of your home by themselves so they get used to new sounds, smells, and people.
  6. If you have people visiting, let your dog go up to them first, and make sure your visitors are calm – some rescue dogs won’t like being stoked by strange people.
  7. Make sure that your adopted dog is given plenty of exercise on walks and is introduced to the neighbourhood before you even consider letting them off the lead.


Whilst the levels of rescue dogs needing a home in the UK is unacceptable, please don’t rush into adopting. Consider carefully whether it’s the right time for you to adopt and whether you can give the dog the care and attention it will need.

If you have a holiday or house move planned, it’s not going to be good for the dog or you in the long run.

Should you be able to provide a secure and loving home, then please do so. Just don’t forget the essential pet insurance! You can insure your rescue dog, despite not knowing as much about him as you might like!

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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