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Compare senior pet insurance
Find the best policy your senior pet can get.
It’s not too late to benefit from pet insurance if you have an older pet. However, many insurers have an age cutoff for policies with both accident and illness coverage. Even if an existing health problem or age limit disqualifies your pet, you do still have options for healthcare.
When is my pet considered a senior?
Most vets categorize cats and dogs as older pets around seven or eight years old, although this depends on the breed. If you have pet insurance already, you might see your premium rise when your pet hits their seventh or eighth birthday.
However, the usual cutoff age for insuring both accidents and illnesses is 14 years old. Some providers may go as low as 11 years old.
Due to the likelihood of illness, many insurers won’t cover older pets against all risks. However, many offer more basic levels of coverage, such as:
- Guaranteed for life. Protects for both accidents and illnesses throughout your pet’s lifetime as long as you start a policy before the age limit. You’ll find this as a guarantee on a few standard policies, rather than a policy all on its own.
- Accident-only pet insurance. Offers basic coverage for accidents like broken bones or ingesting a foreign object. It comes with an annual payout limit, leaving you responsible for bills after the limit is reached. This is usually the easiest plan to get for senior pets without prior insurance.
- Medical discount plan. Discounts routine and emergency vet services at a flat rate, including treatment for pre-existing conditions. An alternative to pet insurance, most seniors are accepted, but you’re limited to in-network vets to get your discount.
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What add-ons should I consider?
If you want more than the basics for your furry family members, consider these add-ons to your insurance policy. Note that boarding, vacation cancellation and burial coverage may come wrapped as one package.
Check the price for adding each coverage before you buy it, since extra coverage like routine care might be so pricey for older pets that it’s not worth it in the long run.
- Routine care. Keep up with annual exams, vaccines and other pet wellness services without paying for it all out of pocket.
- Boarding. Drop your pet off at a boarding kennel if you need hospital care for a few days.
- Vacation cancellation. Pay for expenses like cancellation fees or nonrefundable airfare if your pet needs emergency attention.
- Burial. Pay for burial expenses if your pet dies or requires euthanasia for humane reasons.
Which providers cover senior pets?
These insurers offer attractive options like low deductibles, high annual limits and coverage for pets at any age. If your pet has curable pre-existing conditions, you might consider insurers who will reinstate coverage after a short waiting period.
Our top pick: Pets Best: Petplan
We picked Pets Best because of its balanced blend of affordable rates, wide coverage for both accidents and illnesses and no age limits on older pets. Plus, your pet might even get coverage reinstated for previous conditions if they’re fully healed.
- No age or annual limits
- Affordable rates
- Includes both accidents and illnesses
- Covers curable pre-existing conditions, like broken bones
Other senior pet insurance policies
|Pet insurer||Age limit||Pre-existing conditions?||Accidents and illnesses?||Annual limits||Reimbursement rate||Lowest deductible option|
|Pets Best||No upper age limit||Yes, only if curable like broken bones||Yes||$5,000 or unlimited||Up to 90%||$100|
|Embrace||14 years for accidents and illnesses, accidents only for over 14||No||Age restrictions||Up to $30,000||Up to 90%||$200|
|ASPCA||No upper age limit||Yes, if curable within 180 days||Yes||Up to $10,000||Up to 90%||$100|
|Nationwide||No upper age limit||No||Yes||$10,000 or unlimited||90%||$250|
|Trupanion||13 years old for accidents and illnesses||No||Age restrictions||Unlimited||90%||$0|
How can I get cheaper insurance for older pets?
Protecting older pets can cost more than with younger four-legged friends.
- Start a policy as soon as possible. Your premium often increases based on your pet’s age when applying. Plus, starting sooner avoids future health problems getting labeled as pre-existing.
- Opt for a basic policy. You pay less for less coverage, such as with an accident-only policy.
- Consider a lower annual limit. Look at the benefits of lowering the maximum amount your insurer pays. But consider the treatment costs for common health problems to avoid cutting off necessary coverage.
- Maintain your pet’s health. Keeping up with checkups and vaccines could help you score a discount for avoiding health claims. Plus, you won’t see the premium hikes that may come with filing a claim.
Is insurance more expensive for older pets?
Yes, pet insurance premiums increase as an animal gets older because it’s more likely for senior pets to get sick than younger pets.
In addition, coverage for older pets may come with extra restrictions. However, you may pay less overall with an accident-only policy.
My pet can’t get coverage. What options do I have?
If you discover that you can’t get insurance for your older pet, you may explore other paths like discounted vet services. Plus, your pet can benefit from living a healthy lifestyle and managing symptoms.
- Qualify for free treatment. You or your pet may qualify for free or discounted treatment programs from local vets or pet charities.
- Use cheap clinics. Research low-cost vets or animal shelters with vet services near you, and stay posted for temporary vaccine popup clinics or events. These clinics may set up at a shelter or park and nix exam fees, offer special deals or bundle vaccine costs.
- Keep pets active. Regular walks and play time keep your pet happy and in shape, which helps prevent weight-related diseases. Slow walks are better than no walks at all.
- Watch their diet. Ask your vet about the best food for your aging furry friend, whether you need to protect their kidneys or help them lose weight.
- Manage symptoms. Older pets may need life modifications to cope with conditions like arthritis. They may need to avoid stairs, extreme temperatures or dog parks to ease symptoms. If you can swing the cost, regular checkups and vaccines can stave off some health conditions.
- Ask about payment plans. In the event of a vet emergency, ask your vet about payment plans or credit options like CareCredit.
- Try a pet discount plan. Even if your senior pet can’t qualify for pet insurance, a pet discount plan could help you save a bundle on vet bills. Plus, most pets are accepted, even seniors.
What if my senior pet has a pre-existing medical condition?
If your dog or cat has a pre-existing condition, you can still qualify for pet insurance. But you may find the existing condition or injury excluded from the policy. In this case, you’ll foot any bills relating to that condition.
A few insurers reinstate coverage for a pre-existing condition that hasn’t required treatment within a certain time frame, typically 6 to 12 months.
Consider pet insurers who offer basic coverage for older pets — there are even a few that allow all-risk policies at a higher cost. For pets who can’t get coverage, look for alternative paths like pet charities, popup clinics or medical discount plans so your pet still gets the medical care needed.
Frequently asked questions about senior pet insurance
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