Can you get pet insurance for older dogs? YES, but purchasing pet insurance for an older dog can be a real challenge. Many pet insurance companies issue cut off ages, and they aren’t insuring older dogs at all. Some may even boot you from your policy if your dog gets too old, even if you have been paying your premiums! These kinds of practices are heart breaking, and it’s often very difficult for pet parents with aging pups to find insurance.
However, in today’s article we’re going to give you some tips for finding a policy, and we’re even going to make a recommendation for an insurance provider that has no age cut off for dogs. Insurance can be a confusing and often deceptive industry, it’s important that you understand completely what all of the jargon means, or you could have your claims denied.
Beanietoe’s Guide to Pet Insurance For Older Dogs
When shopping for pet insurance, particularly for an older dog, it’s important to be aware of common traps and pitfalls. There’s many hazards here, and it’s important to get a good policy the first time. The reason being is that if your dog does not to use their policy and you find out your insurance policy is not up to snuff, you could be stuck with it! If the reason for using the policy is an illness then your dog will now have an existing condition, and it will be impossible to get another policy after the fact! Here’s what you need to know to pick a good pet insurance policy.
Make sure your plan provides illness coverage
While it may be tempting to purchase a cheaper plan, in many cases these places only provide accident coverage. That means that if your dog gets hit by a car, then the insurance company will cover any emergency care or surgeries that are required. Many times these plans do not cover illnesses though, and that’s why they are cheaper.
This means that if your dog is diagnosed with cancer that you will have no coverage. When selecting a plan, be sure to read the fine print, as most older dogs will require illness coverage and not accident coverage in most cases. This is especially true if you have a breed that is prone to having medical conditions later in life, as in many cases these are very costly.
Make sure your plan covers ongoing conditions
Older dogs are very likely to have conditions that will need repeated care. This could include numerous conditions for which your dog could need expensive treatments or medications, including diabetes, orthopedic issues, cancer, allergies, heart disease or arthritis.
When choosing a plan, be sure that these conditions will be covered in perpetuity and not newly classified as an “existing condition” which will warrant you no coverage. Pet parents should keep in mind that conditions that existed before you got your policy will not be covered by any insurer, but ones that pop up after should continue to be covered. That’s the whole reason for getting insurance, and if an insurance company tells you otherwise, then you should promptly look elsewhere.
Make sure that the plan has no maximum age limit
Believe it or not, there are some pet insurance companies who will drop your pet if they get to old! Don’t stop at making sure you qualify for coverage now, make sure you will qualify for coverage forever. All companies should have this information clearly listed, and if they don’t, or if they are hesitant to give up this information to you, then you should run the other way!
Look out for congenital or hereditary condition clauses
When going over your policy choices you need to be very careful about exclusions. Many pet insurance providers are not very upfront about this, and if your dog has a hereditary or congenital condition it may not be covered, even if you did not know about it.
This could even apply to breeds who are prone to certain conditions that the insurance company may refuse to cover. An example could of course be breeds who are prone to hip dysplasia like German shepherds. Make sure to go over the agreement carefully and ask very specific questions.
Here’s our top pet insurance pick for senior dogs
Now that you know what to look out for and what questions to ask, it can be much easier to begin shopping for pet insurance. You should keep in mind that it will always be more expensive to insure a dog who is older, there’s a higher risk here for the insurance company than with a younger dog. However, you should still be able to get coverage, and our pick is PetPremium. This company offers coverage for all of the items we have talked about thus far, and they have some pretty flexible plan offerings to help you get good coverage while keeping your monthly bill low. They also offer a discount on multiple policies if you have more than one pet which reduces it a bit more.
Beanietoes recommends PetPremium for senior dogs.
- No age limit
- No policy drops due to age
- Accident and illness covered
- On going conditions covered
- Congenital conditions covered
- Alternative therapy covered
- Behavioral conditions covered
- Hereditary conditions covered
PetPremium is a great choice when buying pet insurance for older dogs, because you’ll be able to get a real comprehensive coverage policy that you can be sure will cover everything. As long as the illness or condition occurred after your policy was taken out, you’ll be covered in most cases.
In order to file a claim, you’ll need to save your invoices, and then you can forward these to the insurance company via email or fax and they will reimburse you for the cost. They will actually reimburse your vet directly as well, but you will need to find a veterinarian who will agree to this. Once your claim has been filed, you’ll be able to track it using your online account. Their ease of use, comprehensive coverage and their large collection of information material for pet parents makes PetPremium or top pet insurance company pick. You can go here to get a free quote from them.
How can I get the most coverage for the best price?
The price of your coverage depends on many factors. Some of these factors are difficult or impossible to change such as your dog’s breed or where you live. Goods and services simply cost more in some areas, such as New York, and you’ll pay a higher insurance premium for that. Some dogs are prone to hereditary conditions, and you’ll pay more for that too. While you can’t do a whole lot about these things, you can try to tweak your policy coverage a bit.
PetPremium actually makes this pretty easy, and you can spend a few minutes messing around with their online quote screen until you get a price you like. You can do this by adding or removing certain things or upping your deductible to get a better rate. This will of course all be based on your individual dog and the services you believe they will need in the future. Here’s a mock quote we did for a pup who is 12 year old Australian cattle dog.
As you can see, the accidents only coverage is the cheapest, but this is not a great choice for an older dog. In most cases your older dog will have less accidents, but he will be using more illness coverage. If you purchase an accidents only coverage, then you will not be covered if your dog gets cancer for example. You’ll need to make sure to select total coverage to protect a senior dog.
After making your selection, then you can begin to tweak some other things to lower the price. There’s a few sliders on the quote page which you can move up or down based on your risk tolerance. An unlimited policy is of course the most expensive, but if you don’t think your dog will incur more than $20,000 in medical expenses per year, then you can reduce your monthly rate by lowering this. Even dogs with massive medical bills would likely be hard pressed to spend this much honestly, and you can likely reduce this and still be safe.
How do you know how much you’ll spend? Well, you could take your dog’s breed into account. A dog like a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd could need some expensive orthopedic treatments due to their risk of hip dysplasia, while Golden Retrievers have an abnormally high risk of cancer. Before making a decision, you may want to do some research on what types of conditions your pup may be predisposed to. If your pup is a mixed breed, then it may be worth doing a doggy DNA test to determine what type of medical risks they may be facing due to their genetics.
Do you have a high risk breed? Find out before skimping on your coverage!
Some adjustments are worth more than others. For example, reducing your reimbursement level doesn’t seem to be worth very much. You’ll only save $7 per month to go from 80% to 90%, so that seems worth keeping the highest. Especially if you have a dog breed who is prone to pricey medical conditions.
Raising your deductible to the maximum amount seems to have the best effect. You’ll only be out $500 at the most if something happens, but it will save you a significant amount per month to max this out. This would be a good choice if your dog is otherwise pretty healthy and you’re just worried about massive disasters such as cancer where $500 will be nothing in comparison to the cost of on going treatment. Some potentially pricey pet health conditions your senior dog could face include:
- Gastrointestinal obstructions ($3,000)
- Hip replacement ($4,000-$8,000)
- Cancer ($4,000+)
- Bladder stones ($2,000)
It costs you nothing but a few minutes of time to get an insurance quote and decide whether your dog could use coverage. While it will definitely be more expensive to insure your senior dog, it can be done, and PetPremium will never give your dog the boot just because he’s getting older. It’s a tough job shopping for pet insurance for older dogs, but there are options out there if you’re willing to shop around.