4 min read

Insuring Your Senior Dog: Everything You Need to Know


By Leslie Ingraham

Published: 10/28/2021, edited: 10/28/2021

Save on pet insurance for your pet

You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.

Our senior dogs are as much a part of our lives as our children and other family members. Just as we do whatever it takes to keep Grandma as healthy as possible for as long as possible, we feel the same about our pups. 

The financial burden of taking care of our older pets can be reduced with pet insurance. Many pet insurance plans restrict the age at which a dog is still eligible for a new policy, as well as how much coverage they can get.

“Economic euthanasia” can be avoided with insurance. A plan that adjusts to the special needs of senior dogs is optimal, but in some cases, just getting basic wellness insurance for these pups is enough. Let’s take a look at what it takes to insure an older dog and why you should.

Can you get pet insurance for an older dog?

The answer is yes – quite a few companies offer insurance for senior dogs, although some may put an age limit on new policies as well as limit coverage on them. Some of the companies that impose age limits include:

Other insurance plans state they have no age limits for new policies, including:

Others may or may not impose age limitations. Some limit coverage to accidental injury only, while others will pay for a part of euthanasia, cremation, or burial expenses. End-of-life alternative treatments for pain and anxiety may be covered as well.

How much does it cost to insure a senior dog?

Pet insurance plans for senior dogs are more expensive than those that have been in place since the pup was a youngster. This is because older dogs tend to have more health issues in general. In addition, plans often reimburse at a lower rate than for younger dogs. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer of some type. Cancer treatments in dogs have improved outcomes, but they’ve also become more expensive. 

Paying $100 or more a month for an older dog policy may seem outrageous until the bills start pouring in. Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine estimates that the healthcare involved in an initial cancer diagnosis can cost several hundred dollars. Treatments like radiation can push the total up to over $7,000. If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, you may be grateful for the coverage the $100 per month premiums pay for. 

Add-on wellness plans are good investments for senior dogs as well. At about $10 to $60 a month tacked on to the regular premiums, they can save quite a bit of money for dental cleanings, vaccinations, alternative treatments like acupuncture and Reiki , and other pricey expenses.

Conditions in older dogs can be expensive to treat.

Pet insurance is a safety net for senior dogs, making vet care more affordable and preventing economic euthanasia. Start comparing insurance plans today to find the right match for your pup.

Tips to lower the cost of insuring an elderly dog

There are a few ways you can save on the cost of insuring a senior pooch:

  • Purchase policies when the dog is young, and they’ll be covered for life regardless of their age.

  • Insure multiple dogs. Most insurers offer a discount for insuring multiple dogs from the same family.

  • Lower your dog’s reimbursement level and raise the deductible. You will see a drop in monthly premiums, although if the dog needs care, you will foot more of the bill for it. Even lowering reimbursement by only 10% can make a difference.

Is it worth it to insure a senior dog?

This is a question only pet parents can answer about their own dogs. Some people find themselves in such dire financial straits that they're simply unable to add pet insurance premiums to their monthly budget. It may be more cost-effective to euthanize the dog than scrape together premiums or pay the cost of treatment. These are difficult and emotional decisions that only a pet parent can make for their dog. 

However, if there's money for insurance premiums, which can range from $10 to $150 or more per month, it may save the pet parent money and/or a lot of grief in the long run. This is especially true as dogs age. 

While it’s costly to insure a dog who's already a senior, it’s far less expensive to insure a young dog, and most pet insurance plans don’t raise premiums as a dog ages. By insuring your dog when they're a puppy, you're ensuring that they won’t be turned down for coverage because of their age (unless they’re too young).

And because most puppies don’t have serious illnesses that can be called pre-existing conditions, you're also avoiding the risk of being turned down for insurance for any pre-existing illness or injury. Many insurers also pay for hereditary and genetic conditions if insurance is purchased when the dog is a puppy.

The difficult decision about whether to insure an older dog may come down to how much can a pet parent afford on a monthly basis, and how much they can pay out of pocket in the event of an illness or injury.

Senior dogs can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog is at risk of age-related illness, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawrfect” plan for your older dog in just a few clicks!

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.