Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs: Key Insights
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Yes, you can still get your senior buddy insured. Be it 10 or 14 years old, there are still many companies offering the best pet insurance for older dogs. For many pet owners, the idea of having an old dog insured seems to be a not-so-practical option. But it only takes one bout of gastric torsion to convince them that financial assistance is a must at times like this.
Comparison of Dog Insurance Companies
|company||Reimbursement||Upper Age Requirement||Annual limit||My Personal Rating|
|Trupanion||90%||14 years old||Unlimited|
|Go Pet Plan||70%-90%||None||Unlimited|
|Healthy Paws||99% (as claimed)||14 years old||Unlimited|
It’s very difficult to get your head around the fact that your pooch is at the brink of a life-threatening disorder and your pocket is on the wringer. It gets crazy from there as bills pile up for continuing treatments and home care. I was slapped with the fact that insurance is needed more than ever when your dog is older. The senior they get the higher risks of health issues – the exact reason why you need to get them insured.
How old is an “old dog”
The basis of how old your dog varies per breed. Some breeds that have short lifespans would be considered senior the moment they reach the age of 4 or 5. Meanwhile, dogs known for their long lives will still be young at such years. But mostly, dogs are considered seniors when they are eight years old.
Large breeds are deemed senior dogs once they reach the age of five. Smaller breeds, which usually have a longer life expectancy, will be senior at the age of seven or eight.
A research on the lifespan of your dog will give you an idea about how old exactly the pooch is. Take note that just because your canine is always sick doesn’t mean he’s already an old bud. The vet or an insurance company can help here if you’re unsure.
Here, Dr. April Miles discusses dog age and how you can take care of a senior doggo:
Why insurance matters
Obviously, pet insurance is important for one thing: financial assistance. Your old pooch will become sicker than usual and they can be caught in accidents. And as you know, vet bills can be as expensive as a night of splurging in New York City. The lack of resources to support this need will stress you out.
Sure thing, you treat your dog as part of the family. If you have health insurance so is he. It’s beneficial for the both of you as you get spared from exorbitant fees and your dog gets the treatment he needs. Paying for the best pet insurance for older dogs isn’t lost money. It’s actually the best thing you can do at this point in the life of your pet.
Based on my personal ordeal with vet bills and a host of hereditary dog issues, insuring your dog as early as you can is a must. Almost all pet insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions prior to your filing. So don’t wait for the need to come before you avail one.
Still, you can find an insurance company that will cover pre-existing conditions on their terms. But it will be steeper than the usual policies –still worth it in my opinion as a pet owner.
Types of pet insurance
I understand that not all pet owners can afford a pricey policy, let alone quarterly check-ups. This is where insurance types come in the picture. Here’s a quick preview:
This is one of the cheapest insurance policies but it’s not the best pet insurance for older dogs that are at the risk of chronic diseases. Maximum-Benefit insurance is a mid-zone type of coverage. Unless you’re willing to take the risk, I still don’t recommend this.
This insurance policy covers an extensive list of health issues while providing lifetime coverage to your doggo. Just make sure that you don’t miss on the premiums and yearly renewal of the policy to avoid problems.
Lifetime insurance goes beyond the maximum age coverage than most policies nowadays. Although this is the most expensive, a lifetime policy is the best insurance available for my pet and yours too.
Like how it’s called, this policy only covers the injuries sustained by your dog during an accident. Although there’s a risk that your dog will actually face mishaps, the biggest enemy here is their declining health.
This type of insurance only covers younger dogs and the accidents they might get into. It’s a no-brainer that this isn’t the best pet insurance for older dogs.
Recommendations for older dog insurance
I won’t deny it, a lot of insurers can be total steals when it comes to their policies. It will cost a banker’s bonus just to have an old dog covered for a year or two. You might even think that such a price is already enough to get you more dogs. But since you love your pooch, you’re going to pay it anyway, not knowing that the premium will soon escalate to heights your pocket can no longer afford.
So to spare you from the insurance nightmare I’ve gone through, I recommend the following companies. They are experts when it comes to older dog insurance. These companies won’t rip you off or try to scam you with too-good-to-be-true promises – in my own experience, at least.
So far, Trupanion is the best insurance available for my pet. They will insure your dog as long as you enroll them before they turn 14 years old. What I love about this insurance company is they cover as much as 90% of the medical cost minus the deductible. All the companies I’ve inquired to can only offer 80%. You’ll probably say, “That’s just 10%, it won’t make a big difference”. But if you’re slapped with a $4,000-fee due to hip dysplasia and a mild case of glaucoma happening in one dog, it does make a BIG difference.
Their older dogs insurance also covers wheelchairs and prosthetics which are heaven-sent in the case of my dog that has a problematic hip. And guess what; they also cover hereditary and congenital diseases that most pet insurance companies cross out of their policy. And in the event that your doggo passes away, they will also cover the burial cost.
I can go on and on with this insurance company to prove that it’s a champ. But to give you more options, check out the other companies I reviewed here.
2. Go Pet Plan
If you’re looking for an insurance company with no age limit, the Go Pet Plan is an excellent choice. They’ve been in the pet insurance industry for 40 years now which is a testament to their mission of “keeping dog tails wagging”. Although their premiums for dogs age 8 and above are higher, it’s worth it if you have a 15 or so year-old buddy.
As usual, this insurance provider covers hereditary illnesses as well as alternative therapies that might be needed. You can also enjoy an unlimited limit but the deductible would be bigger than usual. The good thing about them is they don’t increase your premiums just because you made a large claim.
3. Pet First
With their flexibility on deductibles, the Pet First could be the best insurance available for my pet. They will allow you to choose between an annual deductible and a per-incident deductible. Such a flexible plan is suitable for older dogs that can be unpredictable in terms of health.
This company covers all hereditary and chronic diseases that are prominently observed among older dogs. However, they don’t give coverage to parasite prevention and conditions related to breeding.
Their annual limit ranges from $2,000-$10,000 with a maximum reimbursement of 80%. Not bad if you want the right bargain of low deductibles but a wide coverage. If you have extra cash, you can add wellness coverage to the policy as well.
4. Pets Best
Is your dog sicker than ever? If you want a coverage that will stay intact despite numerous illnesses and vet visits, you can count on the Pets Best. They won’t terminate your coverage just because your pet is having more health issues. Aside from being an insurance plan, the Pets Best policy also serves as a wellness plan for your dog.
The annual limit of their insurance is between $5,000 and $10,000 and there’s no need for a vet signature to get enrolled. Also, their reimbursements are processed fast for just five days. Sometimes, they won’t even ask for medical records to hand over the claims to you.
Pets Best doesn’t have an upper age limit to their plans which is good for senior canines.
5. Healthy Paws
The best thing about Healthy Paws is they don’t have any lifetime limits to the insurance benefits. As long as you enroll your doggo before his 14th birthday, you’ll enjoy their coverage. However, hip dysplasia, which is common to senior dogs, will only be covered up until the age of six. It’s one reason why Healthy Paws ranked a bit lower on this list and not the best insurance available for my pet.
On the flipside, they have a fairly affordable plan. They claim to give out as much as 99% reimbursements in just two days – excellent compared to other companies that take weeks.
In all fairness, they have a wide coverage that includes specialty hospitals, alternative care, and prescription medication.
Choosing an insurance coverage for older dogs should be based on the typical conditions they face. Senior dogs are prone to various allergies due to their weakening immune system. Their metabolism also slows down which makes them susceptible to obesity, arthritis, hip problems, diabetes, and cancer.
Since older dogs need more TLC, it’s best to enroll them on a plan with a wellness program. It’s also great to choose a policy that covers a wide range of conditions including breeding-related ones.
According to most insurance companies, pet owners file claims for the following condition:
What to remember
A lot of pet owners think that older dog insurance saves them from paying anything. Aside from the premiums, you still have to give your share of deductibles. The bigger the deductible, the smaller the premium gets.
At all cost, don’t sign up for insurance with a very cheap plan. It’s either a time-limited one or an accident-only policy. Both of these don’t give your senior dog any service aside from the limited coverage.
Take note that pet insurance policies aren’t made equal. Always read the fine print before inking it. Also, I recommend that you dive deep to premiums, deductibles, and payouts. It’s not really as technical as you think it is.
In the end, is it worth it?
It is worth it; take it from a hooman who had shelled out thousands of bucks from his savings. But remember that each dog will have varying needs. Be mindful of the risks that your dog is exposed to. I can tell you that lifetime insurance is the best, but the length of coverage doesn’t really serve a lot of purpose for dogs who are already in the late years of their lives. Again, it’s about assessing your and your dog’s situation. The best insurance available for my pet may not be the best for your dog and vice versa.
If you got the best pet insurance for older dogs from the five companies I reviewed here, it’s all worth it. It just takes simple arithmetic to know that older dog insurance is way practical and convenient than shouldering everything in cold cash.
Don’t be fooled by the price, it will surely look steep at first glance. But if you compute the total cost of medications for various diseases, insurance will be worth every cent.
What started out as a way of documenting what I have learned about caring for my dogs has now turned into my passion and mission to share what I discover with as many people as possible. While each dog has their own personality, increasing your knowledge can help create both a happy dog and owner!