Can You Get Pet Insurance For An Older Dog?

by Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent
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Can You Get Pet Insurance For An Older Dog?
Pet insurance for senior dogs can help owners save on vet bills for their aging pet. Find out how much insurance costs for older dogs and where to find the best plans.

As your dog ages, getting pet insurance can be trickier. Elderly dogs are more prone to illnesses and injuries, so many pet insurance companies have strict upper age limit restrictions in place.

The good news is that it is possible to pet insurance for senior dogs. We'll go over your options to help you find the coverage your four-legged friend deserves.

Common health problems in old dogs

As dogs age, they might be more susceptible to certain health problems. Some fairly common health issues in older dogs are:

Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the animal’s mobility. It is more common in large-breed dogs, although it can affect dogs of all sizes. The condition can be managed with pain and anti-inflammatory medications, weight control, and appropriate exercise.

Gum disease

Gum and tooth issues can be painful and also contribute to respiratory, heart, and liver infections. Luckily, regular brushing and routine cleanings performed by a vet can help prevent dental disease.

Cataracts

Cataracts in dogs occur when the lens of the eye clouds over. As it progresses, it can lead to loss of vision. Luckily, cataracts are not fatal and most dogs learn to live with the condition. Your dog can also have surgery to remove cataracts and prevent blindness.

Heart condition

The older your dog is, the higher the risk of heart disease. Up to 75% of senior dogs have some type of heart condition. Unfortunately, there’s generally no cure for heart disease but most dogs do well with treatment and medications.

Cancer

Elderly dogs are more likely to develop cancer. The most common types of cancer affecting dogs are lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells) skin, bone, and soft tissue cancer.

Can you get pet insurance for older dogs?

While some pet insurance providers set a maximum age limit on enrollment, others will let you start a new policy for your dog at any age. Some insurance companies also limit the cover they offer to senior pets. For example, with AKC Pet Insurance, newly enrolled dogs at the age of nine or older can only get accident-only coverage.

The best time to get pet insurance is while your dog is still young and healthy, ideally as soon as they turn eight weeks of age. This isn’t just to ensure that they get the care they need and to protect yourself from hefty veterinarian bills. Most pet insurers won’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it makes sense to start a policy before your dog develops any.

What’s the oldest you can insure a dog?

Pet insurers with maximum age limits for new policies often set them at 10 to 12 years old, although there are companies with higher age limits. For instance, Healthy Paws has an upper age limit of 14 years, whereas Companion Protect sets the maximum age restriction at 25 years old. Other companies like ASPCA have no age limits.

How much is pet insurance for an old dog?

In general, pet insurance policies for older dogs are more expensive than younger dogs, costing around $75 or more. Some providers will cover your pet throughout their life, but you’re likely to find the cost of coverage increases as the animal ages due to the larger potential need for veterinary care.

Senior dogs are more likely to suffer from age-related injuries and illnesses. Diagnosing and treating these issues can be expensive, which is why pet insurance providers tend to increase their prices accordingly as your dog ages.

Is it worth having insurance for older dogs?

The value of pet insurance for senior dogs depends on several factors.

If you enroll your dog in pet insurance while they’re young and healthy, it’s usually worth renewing the policy each year. This is the best way to ensure that your pet will always have coverage, even for long-term diseases.

However, while dog insurance is a great decision for most healthy pets early on in life, it may not be feasible for dogs in their senior years if they have several pre-existing conditions. If your dog develops an illness before you buy pet insurance, that condition is considered to be "pre-existing," and no provider will cover the treatment cost of a pre-existing condition.

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to certain health conditions than others, so make sure to do your research and find out what health issues your pet might face as they get older.

What is the best pet insurance for older dogs?

While there are a number of companies that sell pet health insurance for senior dogs, some of the best options include ASPCA, MetLife, Fetch, Embrace, and Healthy Paws.

  • ASPCA doesn't have an upper age limit and offers its Complete Coverage to animals of all ages. This covers illness, accidents, dental disease, hereditary conditions, and behavioral issues. There’s also accident-only coverage if you only want coverage for injuries.
  • Metlife Pet Insurance (formerly known as PetFirst) provides pet insurance with no age cap for new policies. However, you can expect to pay higher premium rates as your dog gets older. The starting price for the company’s most basic policy for dogs is $16.95.
  • Fetch by The Dodo (formerly known as Petplan) offers insurance for older dogs with no upper age restrictions. This plan covers accidents, illnesses, non-routine veterinary exams, diagnostics, surgery, and prescription medication. There is no coverage for preventative care. Basic rates begin at $29.16 for dogs and will increase as your pet gets older.
  • Figo is another pet insurance provider that has no maximum age limit. The company offers three pet insurance plans for geriatric dogs: essential, preferred, and ultimate. These plans cover illnesses, accidents, chronic diseases, hip dysplasia, hereditary conditions, hospitalization, etc. The starting price for dogs is $52.85, with prices going up for senior pets.
  • Embrace sets its upper age limit at 14 years. The company’s senior pet insurance plan covers chronic conditions, genetic conditions, exam fees, dental trauma, emergency care, surgery, alternative therapies, allergy testing, etc. One of the biggest upsides is that the provider might make exceptions for curable pre-existing conditions if your dog goes without symptoms and treatment for at least a year. Coverage for dogs starts at $13.04.
  • Healthy Paws also insures dogs up to 14 years old. The company offers a single plan that covers accidents, illnesses, chronic conditions, hereditary conditions, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic testing, and prescription medication. Basic rates start at $32.83 for dogs but will get higher as your pet gets older.

Where to find the best pet insurance for older dogs

As your dog gets older, the need for health care will become more important than ever. Pet insurance is a great decision as it makes it easier to manage hefty vet bills while at the same time making sure your pet has access to the best veterinary care possible.

Pawlicy Advisor makes it very easy to compare dog coverage from top US pet insurance providers. Simply enter a few details and we will show you what cover is available to you and your senior pet, the policy details, and how much it will cost.


Key Takeaways

  • As your dog ages, they are very likely to need more expensive veterinary care that can seriously affect your family budget. Pet insurance for older dogs is one way you can get the medical care your pet needs.
  • Most insurers place an upper age limit on enrollment at ten to 12 years old, although there are some with higher maximum age limits or no limits.
  • Pet insurance for older dogs is generally more expensive than pet insurance for younger dogs. Pet insurance premiums also increase as the animal gets older.
  • There are a number of insurance companies that sell insurance for senior dogs with no age cap, including ASPCA, Petplan, and Figo. Pawlicy Advisor can help you compare plans that are aimed at older animals to make sure you find the cover you need for your four-legged friend.

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

About the author

Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent

Customer Support - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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