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Best Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs

It’s a common misconception that pet insurance for rescue dogs can be difficult, but they can be insured just like any other dog! Here’s a look at some of the best insurance plans for rescue dogs.
Written by
Lauren Rey
Last Update on Jan 16, 2024
Key Takeaways
  • It’s a common misconception that rescue dogs can be harder to insure, this is not the case
  • Rescue dogs can be insured the same as any other dogs, they may just need a veterinary exam if there is no known medical history
  • Pet insurance can help owners save significantly on veterinary bills, in some cases up to 100%
  • There are some pet insurance plans that are better suited to rescue dogs and even offer special perks

The Importance Of Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs

There are so many wonderful dogs awaiting homes in shelters and rescues across the country. 

Rescue dogs come in all breeds, sizes, and ages. Like any dog, they’ll each have their own unique healthcare needs but that shouldn’t get in the way of them finding a loving home. Pet insurance can help remove cost barriers to pet ownership and help owners be financially prepared to handle their pet’s healthcare. 

Some rescue dogs may come with additional health challenges depending on their background, particularly those that may have been neglected. But, there are just as many rescue dogs that were well cared for and had to be relinquished due to owner-related hardships or health problems. 

Overall, rescue dogs are no more or less likely to be healthier or unhealthier than dogs acquired from breeders. All sorts of dogs end up in shelters and rescues, even purebreds. It all comes down to the individual dog. Pet insurance is important for all dogs, whether they were rescued or not!

Misconceptions About Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs

When it comes to pet insurance for rescue dogs, there have been misconceptions about them being difficult to insure due to uncertain backgrounds, but this is untrue. Rescue dogs can be insured just the same as dogs acquired from anywhere else. 

While it’s true that some rescue dogs have uncertain histories, most are thoroughly vetted by the shelter or rescue prior to being put up for adoption. In the event a rescue dog has not been vetted, your pet insurance carrier may require that you obtain a veterinary exam prior to activating your policy. If pre-existing conditions are found, they will not be covered. 

Pre-Existing Conditions And Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs

Unfortunately, no pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions. This is why providers often require a medical records review and/or veterinary exam in order to initiate coverage. If during the review process, any evidence of pre-existing conditions are found, they will not be covered. 

For rescue dogs that have unknown medical histories, this can be a little trickier to navigate, but not impossible. Most insurance providers will require any available records from the shelter or rescue you adopted your pet and a recent veterinary exam. Since their history is unknown, the sooner they are enrolled in pet insurance, the better! 

The Best Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs

While there are no pet insurance providers that offer specific plans for rescue pets, there are some that offer more favorable coverage and in some cases even discounts. 

Trupanion

Maximum Annual Coverage
Unlimited
Reimbursement Choices
90%
Wellness Plan Benefits
$0 to $1,000
App Available
Yes
Types of Pet Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
5 days for accidents and 30 days for illnesses
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Regarded as the #1 Pet Insurance in America, Trupanion offers premium coverage and a fast, direct-vet-pay option to reduce pet owner’s upfront costs. Covered costs include diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and more. Add-ons for supplemental coverage are also available.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide variety of conditions, including dental illness or injury
  • No annual deductibles (per-condition deductible)
  • Unlimited lifetime coverage
  • Fast claims and reduced upfront costs with direct-vet-pay option
  • Reimburses 90% of all covered costs
  • Cons:
  • Exam fees are not covered
  • No wellness plans offered
  • Extended waiting periods: 5-day for accident, 30-day for illness
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

  • Good coverage for all dog breeds
  • Covers a wide range of conditions with no caps
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Behavioral therapy is covered
  • Special “Go-Home-Day” offer for immediate coverage within 24 hours of adopting your pet

Embrace

Maximum Annual Coverage
$5,000, $10,000, Unlimited
Reimbursement Choices
70%, 80%, 90%
Deductible Choices
$100, $250, $500
App Available
Yes
Type of Pets Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
2 days for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, 6 months for orthopedic conditions for dogs
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An industry leader in pet insurance, Embrace offers comprehensive coverage for accidents and illnesses, plus a highly flexible wellness plan for customized coverage. Covered costs include exams, diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and more.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide range of conditions, including dental illness or injury
  • Offers a short, 2-day waiting period for accident coverage
  • Complementary therapies like rehabilitation are covered
  • Provides policyholders with access to 24/7 Pet Telehealth
  • Diminishing deductible perks for every year a pet goes without a claim

Cons:

  • Limited choices for annual coverage, reimbursement rate, and deductible
  • Orthopedic conditions have a 6-month waiting period (unless waived by exam)
  • No direct-vet-pay option
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

  • Good coverage for all dog breeds
  • Covers a wide range of conditions with no per-condition limits
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Behavioral therapy is covered
  • Partners with Best Friends Animal Society on special perks for rescues (in some areas)

Pets Best

Maximum Annual Coverage
$5,000, Unlimited
Reimbursement Choices
70%, 80%, 90%
Deductible Choices
$50, $100, $200, $250, $500, $1,000
App Available
Yes
Type of Pets Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
3 days for accidents, 6 months for coverage of cruciate ligament issues
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Founded by a veterinarian, Pets Best offers customizable coverage and an emergency direct-vet-pay option to relieve pet owners of large, upfront costs in an emergency. Covered costs include exams, diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and more. Wellness benefits can also be added on.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide variety of conditions, including dental illness
  • Customizable coverage, deductibles, and reimbursement rates
  • Offers a short, 3-day waiting period for accident coverage
  • Policyholders have access to 24/7 Pet Telehealth
  • Direct-vet-pay option for emergencies
  • Cons:
  • 6-month waiting period for cruciate ligament injury coverage
  • Bilateral conditions are not covered
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

  • Good coverage for all dog breeds with no upper age limits
  • Covers a wide range of conditions
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Behavioral therapy is covered
  • Special perks like discounts on training and dog toys

Fetch

Maximum Annual Coverage
$5,000, $10,000, or $15,000
Reimbursement Choices
70%, 80%, 90%
Deductible Choices
$300, $500, $700
App Available
Yes
Types of Pet Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
15 days for illnesses and most injuries, 6 months for hip or knee injuries
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A long-time pet insurance provider with a new name, Fetch was formerly known as Pet Plan but still offers a premium plan with customizable rates. Covered costs include exams, diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and more.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide range of conditions, including dental illness or injury
  • Complementary therapies like rehabilitation are covered
  • Covers Telemedicine appointments
  • Covers advertising and reward fees for lost or stolen pets
  • Reimburses 90% of all covered costs

Cons:

  • Extended waiting periods: 15-day for accident, 6-month for orthopedic conditions
  • No wellness option
  • No direct-vet-pay option
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

  • Good coverage for all dog breeds with no upper age limits
  • Covers a wide range of conditions
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Behavioral therapy is covered
  • 10% discount on pets adopted from a shelter

Figo

Maximum Annual Coverage
$5,000, $10,000, Unlimited
Reimbursement Choices
70%, 80%, 90%, 100%
Deductible Choices
$100, $250, $500, $750
App Available
Yes
Type of Pets Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
1 day for accidents, 14 days for illnesses, 6 months for orthopedic injuries
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Pet insurance created by pet owners, Figo offers excellent coverage for accidents and illnesses, plus optional “power-ups” for customizing your pet’s coverage to their unique needs. Covered costs include diagnostics, lab work, treatments, hospitalizations, surgeries, and more.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide range of conditions, including dental illness and injury
  • Customizable coverage with up to 100% reimbursement option
  • A short, 1-day waiting period for accident coverage
  • Access to 24/7 Pet Telehealth and other perks with Figo Cloud
  • Lightning-fast claims service (most processed within 3 days)

Cons:

  • Exam fees are not included in the base plan (only under the “power-ups” menu)
  • 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions
  • No direct-vet-pay option
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

Good coverage for all dog breeds

  • Covers a wide range of conditions with no per-incident caps
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Covers behavioral therapy
  • The shortest accident coverage waiting period on the market

Spot

Maximum Annual Coverage
$2,500 to Unlimited
Reimbursement Choices
70%, 80%, 90%
Deductible Choices
$100, $250, $500, $750, $1,000
App Available
Yes
Type of Pets Covered
Cats and Dogs
Waiting Periods
14 days
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A highly rated, budget-friendly option, Spot offers good pet insurance coverage at a flexible price to fit all budgets. Covered costs include exams, diagnostics, treatments, hospitalizations, surgeries, prescription medications, and more. Wellness add-ons are also available.

Pros:

  • Covers a wide range of conditions, including dental injury and illness
  • Customizable annual coverage, deductibles, and reimbursement rates
  • Affordable plans for all budgets
  • Policyholders have access to 24/7 Pet Telehealth
  • No upper age limits
    Cons:
  • 15-day accident coverage waiting period
  • No direct-vet-pay option
Additional Details

Why we picked them for rescue dogs:

  • Good coverage for all dog breeds with no upper age limits
  • Covers a wide range of conditions
  • No restrictions on genetic or hereditary conditions
  • Covers behavioral therapy
  • Covers Telemedicine appointments

Disclaimer: As with all insurance, pre-existing conditions are excluded, changes in coverage or eligibility can occur, and waiting periods typically apply. Discounts may also not be available in all areas. Check individual policies in your state for more details.

Choosing The Right Insurance Coverage For Your Rescue Dog

When shopping around for pet insurance for your rescue dog you’ll want to consider their unique needs. If your dog is a specific breed, it’s a good idea to research some of their breed’s most common health conditions and make sure they are covered. 

It’s also important to consider what kind of background your rescue dog came from. If they came from any kind of traumatic past or were found as a stray, policies that include behavioral therapy or training might be beneficial in case they need any help adjusting to their new life. Likewise, policies that include dental care are always a good idea, especially if you’re adopting an older dog that might not have had regular dental care in their previous home or as a stray. 

Overall, look for a plan with good coverage at a price that fits your budget. You can also ask the shelter or rescue where you adopted your dog if they have any partnerships or promotions with specific pet insurance companies. You may be able to find introductory offers, discounts, or other special perks for rescue dogs. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Possible To Insure Older Rescue Dogs?

It is possible to insure an older rescue dog, even if they are a senior. You’ll want to look for plans without upper age limits (a few are outlined above). Premiums will be a bit higher as they rise with age but pet insurance is still a worthy investment for an older dog. Just like us humans, as our pets age, they tend to experience more health issues.

How Do Insurers Handle Pre-Existing Conditions In Rescue Dogs?

All pet insurance providers require a medical records review and/or veterinary exam to screen for pre-existing conditions that will be excluded from coverage. When it comes to rescue dogs, they’ll likely require any records that are available from the shelter or rescue group, plus a veterinary exam. Since health issues can still arise that may not have been symptomatic at the time of the veterinary exam, it’s best to get them insured sooner rather than later!

Does Pet Insurance Include Wellness Checks For Rescue Dogs?

Depending on the type of pet insurance plan you choose, wellness visits may or may not be included. Many pet insurance providers offer wellness coverage add-ons or preventative care packages in addition to their standard accident and illness policies. If you choose this type of coverage, then you can expect things like wellness checks (annual exams, routine health screenings, etc.) to be covered.

Is Pet Insurance Universally Accepted By Veterinarians?

You can use pet insurance at any veterinary clinic. There are no in-network or out-of-network doctors to worry about like in human health insurance. This is because most pet insurance works on a reimbursement model – meaning you will pay upfront for your pet’s healthcare and be reimbursed by the insurance.

If your pet insurance provider offers a direct-vet-pay option like Trupanion, you may find that not every veterinary clinic is able to process that type of payment. However, this does not mean it’s not accepted, you’ll just have to pay upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement like with traditional pet insurance.

Do The Benefits Of Pet Insurance Justify The Cost For Rescue Dogs

Every dog can benefit from pet insurance, regardless of where they came from. Unfortunately, dogs of all breeds and backgrounds experience unexpected accidents and illnesses throughout their lifetime. Pet insurance can help owners save significantly on their pets’ medical bills. With rescue dogs in particular, those with unknown histories or any history of neglect may benefit even more from pet insurance, especially plans that offer behavioral and dental coverage.

Find out more

With 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry, Lauren is well-versed in the world of pet insurance. She’s a content writer for several online pet publications and loves to help pet parents stay informed. When not researching the latest pet news, you’ll probably find her off on an adventure with her rescue dog Pickles.