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German Shepherd pet insurance

Emma Lunn
Written by  Emma Lunn
5 min read
Updated: 29 Apr 2024

As the name suggests, German Shepherds originated in Germany and were originally used as sheep dogs. Now popular as both family pets and service dogs for the police and armed forces, this breed of dog (also known as Alsatians) are intelligent, brave and loyal to their owners. However, German Shepherds can be predisposed to a number of health conditions, so it’s a good idea to have pet insurance to help cover the associated costs.

Do I need pet insurance for a German Shepherd? 

In the UK, it’s not mandatory to have pet insurance for a German Shepherd, but the right cover can help you manage the costs of owning a dog. 

Like all other dogs, German Shepherds can get sick or injured which can lead to big vet bills. If you don't have German Shepherd insurance, these bills might be difficult to pay.  

German Shepherd insurance will normally cover

  • Diagnostic costs for illnesses: This includes consultations, examinations, tests, x-rays, MRIs, medication, bandages, surgery, and hospital stays. 

  • Therapies and prescriptions: Any further therapy treatment and necessary prescriptions required. 

  • Alternative therapies: Cover may include treatments such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture if recommended by your vet. 

  • The cost of finding a lost pet: Advertising costs to help find your lost or stolen pet and the cost of a reward.  

  • Third-party liability cover: This will cover you if your German Shepherd injures another person, pet, or damage someone's property.  

  • Euthanasia: If your dog needs to be put to sleep. 

  • Boarding fees: If you're hospitalised for emergency medical treatment, the policy may cover the cost of placing your German Shepherd in kennels. 

  • Overseas travel cover: If your dog becomes ill or is injured while abroad, some policies cover foreign vets fees. 

german sheppard

What types of pet insurance can I get for my German Shepherd? 

There are four main types of dog insurance, all of which might be suitable for a German Shepherd. 

Lifetime Pet Insurance 

Lifetime is the most comprehensive type of pet insurance – and the most expensive. It offers cover for injuries or illnesses without a time restriction per condition. However, there is usually an annual limit on the amount you can claim for each condition. Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered when you take out a lifetime policy, but if your German Shepherd develops an illness or injury, cover for the ailment is provided each year as long as the policy is renewed with the same provider.  


With a time-limited pet insurance policy for your German Shepherd, there will be a fixed amount you can claim for treatment, as well as a time restriction (usually 12 months).  Once this period expires or you hit the cost cap, you cannot claim for that condition again. 

Maximum Benefit 

Also known as 'per condition', maximum benefit pet insurance covers each injury or illness up to a certain financial limit. Unlike annual policies, the limit does not reset each year, allowing you to claim for the same condition continuously until the specified limit is reached, provided the policy is renewed regularly. 

Accident Only 

The cheapest type of pet insurance for a German Shepherd, accident-only pet insurance pays out for treatment if your pet is involved in an accident. This type of policy does not extend to illnesses or diseases and does not include additional benefits.  

How much does pet insurance cost for a German Shepherd? 

The cost of German Shepherd dog insurance depends on factors including: 

  • The type of cover you select: Lifetime pet insurance will be the most expensive, and accident-only the cheapest. 

  • Your pet's age: Insuring an older dog will cost more as they are more likely to develop health conditions. 

  • Your location: Vets’ fees vary by region, and this is often reflected in pet insurance premiums. 

  • Claims history: If you have previously claimed on your pet insurance for your German Shepherd, your premium is likely to go up. 

As an example, in 2022 the average cost to insure a German Shepherd with ManyPets was £457. ManyPets’ typical insurance premium for all breeds was £412, making German Shepherds slightly more expensive than average to insure. 

What common health issues do German Shepherds suffer from? 

Many dog breeds are predisposed to certain health conditions. Common health issues Alsatians often suffer from include: 

Hip dysplasia – this is when your dog’s hip joint doesn’t develop properly, which can cause pain, instability and walking issues. Vets offer a range of surgical and non-surgical treatments for hip dysplasia. 

Degenerative myelopathy – this is a spinal disease which can cause weakness, coordination issues, and paralysis. There isn’t a cure for degenerative myelopathy so vet treatment will be palliative. 

Bloat – also known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), bloat happens when a dog’s stomach fills with air and twists itself, making it vulnerable to organ damage and pain. Vets offer emergency treatment, usually surgery which will then require a few days of post-operative care. 

Other common conditions that may affect your German Shepherd are: 

  • Arthritis  

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Lameness 

  • Skin disease 

  • Tumours 

How does age affect pet insurance for German Shepherds? 

German Shepherd insurance costs will be impacted by your dog’s age. In general, the older your German Shepherd gets, the most expensive pet insurance will be. This is because older pets are more likely to suffer from health conditions.  

With some pet insurance providers, if you want to buy a lifetime policy you’ll need to take it out before your dog reaches eight-years-old. However, as the dogs ages it will continue to be covered under an existing policy, as long as it’s renewed each year. 

Other providers offer different policy terms as your pet becomes a senior dog. For example, once your dog reaches a certain age some insurers will insist on a ‘co-payment’ arrangement where the policyholder pays a certain percentage of any claim amount in addition to the excess.  

For example, with ManyPets once your dog is over nine-years-old, you’ll need to pay a compulsory excess plus 20% of every claim. 

Can I get pet insurance if my German Shepherd has pre-existing conditions? 

You’ll need to tell the insurer if your German Shepherd has any pre-existing health conditions when you take out a policy. 

Some insurers won’t cover pre-existing conditions. Others will offer cover but either exclude the condition or increase your premium in order to cover it. 

There might also be the option to take out specialist pet insurance. These specialist policies will cover most of your dog’s existing health problems, but they are likely to be more expensive because of the likelihood of needing further treatment. 

With a lifetime pet insurance policy, if your German Shepherd develops an illness, cover for the ailment is provided each year as long as the policy is renewed with the same provider.  

Which insurers offer pet insurance for German Shepherds? 

All the mainstream pet insurers offer insurance for German Shepherds kept as family pets. 

You should compare German Shepherd quotes to make sure you get the right policy at the best price. 

You might need specialist insurance if your German Shepherd is a ‘working dog’. For example, it might work for security purposes, as a police dog, gundog, search and rescue dog, sheep dog or detection dog. Premiums can be higher as your dog is more likely to be injured as a result of the work. 

Some insurers that offer working dog insurance include: 

  • Agria 

  • BASC 

  • Cliverton 

  • NFU Mutual 

  • PetGuard 

Factors to consider when choosing the best pet insurance for a German Shepherd 

There are several things to think about when buying pet insurance for a German Shepherd. 

The type of cover: Lifetime policies are most expensive but offer the most comprehensive cover, and continual coverage if you keep renewing the policy. 

Age: You can normally buy insurance for an Alsatian puppy once it is five or eight-weeks-old. Older dogs can be harder to cover and once your dog reaches a certain age some insurers will insist on a co-payment (sometimes called ‘co-insurance’) arrangement.  

Excess: Most pet insurance policies have an excess – this is the amount of money the policyholder pays towards any claim. An excess can apply to any section of cover, most commonly the vets fees and third-party liability sections.  

Switching providers: Be aware that while changing pet insurance companies may appear to be cheaper, the new policy is unlikely to cover your pet for any pre-existing conditions. 

Waiting period: Some insurers will only accept claims after a certain number of days from the start date of the policy. This is known as an exclusion or waiting period. It’s normally 14 days but can be up to 60.  

More than one dog: Many insurers offer multi-pet insurance

Working dogs: German Shepherds used for security, herding, search and rescue, or hunting will cost more to insure. 

Pet insurance for dogs also comes with some common exclusions. These include: 

  • Pet vaccinations, regular vet check-ups, and preventative treatments  

  • Parasite control for fleas, ticks, and heart-worm  

  • Microchipping, which is a legal requirement 

  • Routine dental check-ups and treatment  

  • Neutering or spaying 

  • Cremation and burial 

  • Training and obedience classes 

Why compare pet insurance with MoneySuperMarket  

Save time 

MoneySuperMarket makes it easy to compare policies from a huge panel of pet insurance providers saving you the time and hassle of researching each provider individually. 

Save money 

Quotes are sorted from the least expensive, so you can quickly find a pet insurance deal that fits your needs and budget, and save money on your insurance premium. 

Get tailored quotes 

With a wide range of policy options, you can find pet insurance that meets your unique needs and provides the coverage you need for you and your pet.  

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