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When you get a new dog, you have intentions and hopes of having it a long time. Dog insurance is a great way to ensure that your dog will receive the medical care it needs when it needs it without worrying about the cost. What about if your dog is an older dog?
Many pet owners adopt rescue dogs, and many of them are older dogs if not senior dogs. Can you get pet insurance for older dogs? This is a concern of many pet owners or people who are considering bringing an older dog home. Pet insurance companies often have different guidelines regarding pet insurance for older dogs.
Continue reading to learn more about the following pet insurance providers so that you can choose the best one for your needs:
- Spot: Best overall
- Lemonade: Most affordable
- ASPCA: Most experienced
- Embrace: Best for deductibles
- Healthy Paws: Best for chronic conditions
- Figo: Most flexible reimbursement rates
- Wagmo: Best for immediate reimbursement
- Trupanion: Most flexible deductible
- Prudent Pet: Best for dog and cat parents who want basic options
What is Considered an Older Dog for Pet Insurance Purposes?
We all have different opinions about what classifies a dog as an older dog. To pet owners, it might be any dog between 12 and 15 years of age. To pet insurance companies, it might be much younger. A lot of it depends on the pet insurance company.
Many pet owners have the belief that their dog won’t be covered if it’s an older dog. Some insurance companies may deny coverage to senior dogs, while others will offer insurance coverage. Most of the insurance companies that cover older dogs have certain stipulations.
They offer coverage to any dogs that are between the ages of eight weeks and 14 years old. Fourteen must be the magic number because most of these companies will provide coverage to dogs older than 14 if the coverage was purchased before the dog turned 14.
However, many pet insurance companies will not pay for pre-existing conditions. Instead, these companies may pay if the pre-existing condition is not recurring. Embrace, for example, allows your pet to ‘outgrow’ a health condition, meaning – if there are no claims for a length of time, the condition may get covered again. Check with your policyholder for the most up-to-date information.
Pet owners who have senior dogs or dogs nearing their senior years should do research on a pet insurance company and its age limitations and exclusions prior to purchasing the policy.
Common Ailments for Older Dogs
One of the main reasons, if not the only reason, why pet insurance companies don’t like to offer insurance for older pets is because older pets are more likely to develop different ailments and illnesses. Your older pet’s body is more delicate and prone to mishaps the same way our bodies are more prone to them as we age. Some common ailments that tend to affect older dogs or cats include:
- Vision and hearing loss due to tissue degeneration in the eyes and ears
- Joint problems (dysplasia)
- Heart problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Kidney issues
- Liver issues
- Diabetes mellitus
- Dental disease
Below is some information on some well-known pet insurance companies as well as how they handle insurance for older dogs.
Best Pet Insurance for Senior Dogs
Upper age limit: None
Spot Insurance offers pet owners customizable plans and covers a variety of insurance plans, including preventative care, alternative therapies, accident-only, and even behavioral issue services. They will offer coverage for dogs as young as eight weeks of age and have no upper age limit. Cesar Milan, a famous dog trainer, recommends Spot Insurance. If a dog does have a pre-existing condition but is cured and has no issues for 18 months, Spot no longer considers it a pre-existing condition.
Upper age limit: None
Pets Best has no age limit for older dogs. It offers coverage to any pet at least seven weeks of age. They offer a variety of customizable plans including accident and illness, accident-only, and wellness plans. The wellness plan is offered in two tiers with the top paying offering unlimited coverage. In addition to paying for exam fees, it also covers alternative therapies and prescriptions.
Upper age limit: 14 years
Embrace Pet Insurance is known for many things, most notably its excellent BBB rating and the high praise it gets for its excellent customer service. Embrace offers several insurance plans and covers things like alternative therapies, exam fees, behavioral therapies as well as the customary accident/illness coverage, accident-only, and wellness. They will disregard a pre-existing condition if the pet goes one year with no issues from the condition. Once your pet is covered by Embrace insurance, it’s covered for life.
Upper age limit: 14 years
Trupanion Insurance, known as one of the top pet insurance companies, doesn’t allow pet owners the option of customizing plans like some companies but does offer great coverage. They also will cover any dog if it is between the ages of eight weeks and 14 years old. However, the cost of insuring an older dog with Trupanion can be quite expensive.
Upper age limit: None
PetFirst offers insurance for dogs of all ages. Pet owners can customize the policy to meet their needs and budget. They offer three options. Each one has a $250 deductible and an 80 percent reimbursement rate. The difference between each one is the annual payout amount. You can choose a $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000 annual payout.
Upper age limit: 10 years
Nationwide Insurance offers pet insurance to any pet that’s at least six weeks old but no older than ten years old. Any pet older than ten will be denied coverage. It offers a comprehensive plan called the Whole Pet with Wellness Plan. While it’s more expensive than the standard pet insurance plan, it offers excellent coverage that includes low deductibles and a high reimbursement rate. They do also offer wellness plans.
Why it’s Important to Get Pet Insurance for Older Dogs
In the same way that our bodies wear out as we age, the same can be said for pets and dogs. As they age, their bones become weaker and more brittle. This puts them at risk of arthritis, dysplasia, and joint problems in general. They don’t have the strength and stamina they had as pups. Their bodies just can’t perform the same as when they were pups.
Unfortunately, they don’t realize this and continue to try to romp around as they did as pups. Yet, they’re more prone to illnesses and injuries, which require veterinary care. Insuring them is very important because they’ll probably see a vet more often than a young dog. Having pet insurance on older pets allows the owner the option of providing insurance coverage on their pet regardless of age.
There are few things sadder than having to have a dog put down because of an expensive vet bill the owner just can’t afford to pay. Having your older pet covered by pet insurance makes it possible to provide care to your pet until its last day.
When the animal has been insured with the company from the time it was a puppy, it’s much easier to get continued coverage into its golden years. While health issues can affect any older dog, some breeds are more susceptible to certain health issues.
- German shepherds, Labradors, and St. Bernard are more susceptible to hip dysplasia and arthritis. Doberman pinscher, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dachshund, and Boxer are more prone to developing heart problems.
- Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Boxers are more prone to certain types of cancer.
- Shih Tzus, Pugs, Bulldogs, and similar flat-faced breeds are prone to develop corneal dystrophies, which can lead to blindness.
- Collies, Golden retrievers, Great Danes, and German shepherds are prone to certain digestive problems.
- Bull terriers, English Cocker spaniels, and German shepherds are more susceptible to liver issues.
An interesting fact noted by the American Kennel Club is that more than half the number of pet deaths is due to cancer. In fact, cancer occurs in pets at the same rate as it does in humans. There are just so many ailments that can affect your dog as it gets older. As the dog ages, it also typically takes longer for it to recuperate from an illness than it did as a pup. This can also lead to other health issues.
When choosing a pet insurance company for your senior dog or a pet nearing those years, many factors should be considered other than just the fact that your senior dog will be covered. While we all tend to look for the cheapest we can find, the cheapest is not always better- it’s just cheaper.
It always makes us feel better when we can save money but finding out you’ve been paying for insurance that doesn’t cover everything you thought it did is not a good feeling. Here are some important factors to take into consideration when choosing a pet insurance company for your pet.
- Cost of premiums
- What their policy is on pre-existing conditions
- What is the annual payout amount?
- What are their exclusions?
- What is their claims process like?
- What is its rating with the BBB?
Our motto with pet insurance is to insure early, because you never know what may come up. However, it’s not too late, since so many health issues arrive later in life for our dog companions. Be sure to at least get a pet insurance policy as they go into their later years, since cancer treatments, diagnostic tests, therapies and more are all very expensive, but can be used to successfully prolong your pet’s life and their quality of life.
Here at 365 Pet Insurance, our research team looks to examine all pet insurance policies and comes up with reviews based on:
- Plan options
- Customer service
- Species available
- Wellness benefits
We’ve created a 5-star rating system to score pet insurance brands based on a 100-point scale. To develop a list of the best pet insurance plans, we looked into plans, rating coverage, claims handling, reimbursements, deductibles, and limitations.
Each factor is weighted differently based on the following factors:
- Monthly Pricing (25 points): How each pet insurance company charges for their plans is a crucial part of the decision-making process of the customer. Affordable rates and comprehensive coverage are the defining characteristics of providing the best pet insurance.
- Coverage (20 points): We scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Providers offering broader coverage and more unique treatments received more points. Pet insurance policies are not offered by all companies for older pets. Providers who have an age limit on the pets they cover were deducted points.
- Plans (15 points): Pet insurance providers offer accident-and-illness plans, accident-only plans, wellness add-ons, and pet preventive care add-ons, so customers can choose the right plan for their pets. We also factored in costs to achieve the most comprehensible review for your pet’s needs.
- Customization Options (10 points): You can ensure your pet only gets what they need by customizing your policy. A higher score was earned by providers who offered a greater range of annual limits, deductibles, and reimbursement rates.
- Customer Service (10 points): We scored companies based on their website accessibility and usability, mobile apps, and grating points to companies with the most customer experience options.
- Industry Reputation (10 points): We assessed each company’s industry reputation by reviewing up-to-date BBB ratings and accreditation information, as well as their years of experience in the industry.
- Waiting Periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident and illness waiting periods scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
Our team revisits each company’s information at the end of every month to make updates and ensure the information is as accurate as possible.