Getting your pup insured when it’s still young is often a solvable problem, but getting it insured in its later years is an entirely different beast of a task. If you hadn’t insured your dog until it grew old for whatever reason, you’d be faced with several additional issues that you must consider.
While it’s true that your dog will considerably benefit from pet insurance when it’s elderly, almost all options – the ones still available – will be much more taxing for your wallet.
Before deciding on a particular pet insurance provider, you need to weigh in your alternatives, your priorities, the age, the state of your beloved pet, as well as the annual fees which you can afford.
But isn’t this applicable to all types of insurance policies and all kinds of dogs? What makes older dogs different? Is it that big of a deal?
Well, it turns out that it is.
Why does a Dog’s Age Matter?
It’s actually quite simple – the older the pet – the worse its health. The worse the health, the higher the probability of accidents, certain conditions, or other negative situations. The more accidents and illnesses, the more frequent vet visits become—the more visits to the vet, the more money spent on treatment.
You see where this is going?
Pet insurance for younger pets does reimburse you for all treatments included in the insurance plan you’re paying for. However, in the case of older pets, the insurance company would spend at least double, if not more of the amount of money usually spent on younger animals.
In other words, older dogs are more expensive to treat and maintain, which is why many pet insurance policies either charge more for older pet insurance or don’t insure them at all.
Of course, this shouldn’t make you immediately panic. First of all, you need to know whether your dog is considered to be old, to begin with. While rabbits are usually considered old at 5 years, horses at 15 years, cats and dogs are generally regarded as old at around 8 years of age.
But there’s more. Small dogs are only considered old at 11 years, whereas medium dogs are considered old at 10, and large dogs are considered old at 7 years. It’s all a bit complicated, true, but what we’re going for is that many factors influence your dog’s age status.
Make sure it falls under the senior dog category before looking for available insurance policies.
What Insurance is Available for Older Dogs?
When it comes to choosing a pet insurance policy for your older dog, you first need to see whether a pet insurance company covers older pets at all. Some don’t. Those that do, however, usually offer a limited number of insurance plans. The most common ones are the following:
Accident Only Pet Insurance
The cheapest type of insurance you can opt for is accident-only pet insurance. Oftentimes, the accident-only is the single insurance available for older pets, as the insurance providers wouldn’t want to be forced to cover all veterinary expenses related to the dog’s failing health.
Also, be aware that some policies come with an annual maximum pay-out limit, a limit per number of accidents, or a time limit for treatment per particular accident. What all of these amount to, basically, is that older dogs are more prone to accidents, so an insurance plan can cover only a limited amount of expenses.
Time-Limited Pet Insurance
As the name itself implies, this type of insurance covers both accidents and illnesses, but only within a limited time frame – commonly one year. As soon as that year expires, you will have to renew the policy.
Furthermore, this type of insurance often comes with financial limits. If the set limit per condition is surpassed, you would have to cover the remaining expenses for treatment yourself.
Maximum Benefit Pet Insurance
A good mid-range budget option, this type of insurance sets a particular cover limit for every one of your dog’s injuries or conditions. As long as you’re with the same provider, the set amount of expenses will be covered. Once treatment exceeds this amount, you will cover the rest of the expenses yourself. Just be aware – pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by this type of insurance.
Lifetime Pet Insurance
Lifetime pet insurance is the most expensive option, as it covers all types of expenses, barring pre-existing conditions (at the time of setting up the insurance plan). Accidents, illnesses, and all other types of inconveniences are covered, regardless of the dog’s age. However, the price is significantly higher compared to the other options, while the number of insurance providers offering lifetime insurance for older pets is noticeably sparse.
Older Dog Insurance Companies: Rating
Almost all pet insurance companies have a policy for older pets, but we selected the few we believe are the best you can find.
Embrace is already a renowned pet insurance company that offers a variety of insurance plans designed to cater to all kinds of pets.
Whereas the only type of insurance they offer for dogs above the age of 15 is accident-only, in case your pet was insured with Embrace before its 15th birthday, the insurance will remain in place for the rest of the dog’s life, with no need for renewals.
PetsBest is another great insurance option for your elderly dog. It offers a wide variety of insurance plans for old pets, which is excellent. The flipside, however, is that they are significantly more expensive than insurance plans for younger pets.
Of course, prices depend on many factors, such as breed, sex, and location, so there are many variables to consider.
Finally, there’s Spot. It’s another first-class option, with no upper age limits whatsoever, but, as with PetsBest – Spot is known to be on the pricier side. So, while you may find a suitable lifetime pet insurance plan with them, it will most probably cost you a bit more annually. If you can afford it, though – it’s a great alternative.
What does Older Dog Insurance Cover?
Depending on the plan, some providers even cover euthanasia or death as a result of illness or accidental injury, whereas others cover advertising and/or reward for lost or stolen pets. Some even cover hospital boarding fees or holiday cancellation expenses due to a pet’s illness or accident.
Embrace’s insurance, for example, is accident-only insurance, meaning that it won’t cover illness or pre-existing conditions of any sort. What it would cover are things like broken bones, swallowed objects, poisonings, cuts, and similar accidents.
PetsBest and Spot, while also not covering pre-existing conditions, will cover a wider range of conditions, such as heart-related illnesses, cancer, digestive problems, and many others.
At the end of the day, it boils down to your particular pet and the insurance plan suitable to your needs.
Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs
So, which plan would that be?
Best case scenario, you’d want to go for something that’s both reliable and budget-friendly. For that reason, we recommend Embrace. Even though it offers accident-only insurance for elderly dogs, that’s only if you set up your first plan after your pup’s 15th birthday.
Had you set the plan up a month before that, you would be able to reap the benefits of all types of insurance at an affordable price. What’s not to like?