As your dog gets older, health issues will inevitably arise. If you consider your pet a family member, make sure it’s protected like one. The sooner you enroll your senior pet in a pet insurance policy, the better the chances they’ll be covered if and when health issues arise — especially since preexisting conditions are typically excluded from coverage.
We at the Guides Home Team have carefully researched the best pet insurance companies with the most robust coverage for your beloved senior dogs. Our guide breaks down senior dog coverage in terms of eligibility, price, customization options and more.
Do You Need Senior Dog Pet Insurance?
According to VCA Animal Hospital, small dogs are considered seniors at age 11, medium-sized dogs at age 10 and large dogs around age 7. No matter when your dog is technically “old,” it will become more prone to weakness, illness and injury as it ages, and will thus require veterinary care.
If your senior dog is not currently insured, consider enrolling in a policy before it begins experiencing health problems. Remember, no pet insurance company will cover your pet’s preexisting conditions. A preexisting condition can be any previous symptomatic illness or injury, as well as any diagnosed and/or treated condition. The sooner your dog is enrolled in an insurance plan, the more coverage you’ll receive.
Spot: Our Pick for Customizable Coverage
Spot offers the most customizable policy when compared to other top providers. It allows customers to choose a monthly premium that works best for their budget while still getting the coverage their older dog(s) need.
Spot pet insurance has comprehensive coverage for accidents, illnesses, emergency care, surgeries, hospitalization, chemotherapy and prescription medications. Spot’s standard plan also covers alternative therapies, such as stem cell therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture.
You can enroll your older dog in Spot’s add-on wellness plan to cover routine veterinary care such as wellness checkups, dental cleanings and blood work. A unique feature of Spot is its approach to preexisting conditions. If your pet had a previous condition and goes 180 days without needing treatment or showing symptoms, Spot will cover it in the future.
Get your quote: Fill out Spot’s online form
To learn more: Spot Pet Insurance review
Figo: Most Flexible Reimbursement Rates
Figo offers the widest range of reimbursements, including a 100% rate option. This means that once you’ve reached your deductible, your vet bills will be fully reimbursed for the remaining calendar year.
Figo Pet Insurance has no upper age limit, so you can enroll your older dog anytime. The company offers three annual plans, four reimbursement rates and four deductible options. This includes a 100% reimbursement option and an unlimited annual coverage option (although the two cannot be used together). All three plans cover surgeries, prosthetics, hospitalization, chronic conditions, emergency services and advanced treatments.
Figo offers a unique Extra Care add-on covering special circumstances pet owners might face, such as lost pet advertising and reward, vacation cancellation in the event of a pet emergency and end-of-life expenses such as cremation and burial. Policyholders also have access to Figo’s Pet Cloud app where they can manage their policy, submit claims and connect with other local pet parents.
Get your quote: Fill out Figo’s online form
To learn more: Figo Pet Insurance review
Wagmo: Most Wellness Plan Options
Wagmo may be a good option for pet parents concerned about the costs of their senior dog’s preventive care, as it offers three wellness plans. The plans start at $20 per month and cover routine services such as vaccinations and checkups.
Wagmo offers three wellness packages — more than its competitors. The plans are tiered, so you only pay for the routine care your dog needs. Depending on the selected tier (Value, Classic and Deluxe), you can be reimbursed for a wellness exam, vaccinations, blood work, flea/tick/heartworm medication and grooming.
Additionally, Wagmo has one accident-and-illness plan covering emergency vet visits, diagnostic testing, surgeries, hospital stays, cancer treatment, hereditary conditions, hip dysplasia and more. Wagmo will reimburse up to $10,000 per incident and up to $100,000 over the course of your dog’s life.
Be mindful of Wagmo’s 15-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses, and 30-day waiting period for cancer treatments. Wagmo also doesn’t cover prescription food, vitamins, supplements or dental surgery.
To learn more: Wagmo Pet Insurance review
Embrace: Our Pick for Savings
Senior dog pet insurance is often more expensive, as older pets are more likely to need veterinary care. Embrace offers several discounts as well as a vanishing deductible to save you money on your policy.
Embrace offers an accident-and-illness and accident-only policy, though dogs 14 and older are only eligible for the accident-only policy. The company’s accident-and-illness plan covers alternative therapies, exam fees, treatments and procedures related to a disease, injury or health condition. You’ll also receive up to $1,000 in dental illness coverage (no dental exam is necessary).
Embrace offers great opportunities to save money with a 10% discount for each enrolled pet, a 5% military discount and a 10% employee discount if your employer offers Embrace. Additionally, Embrace has a vanishing deductible which reduces your annual deductible by $50 each year you don’t submit a claim.
Like Spot, Embrace distinguishes between curable and incurable preexisting conditions. If your dog goes one year without a recurrence of its prior condition, Embrace will no longer view it as preexisting.
Get your quote: Fill out Embrace’s online form
To learn more: Embrace Pet Insurance review
Healthy Paws: Affordable Unlimited Coverage
Healthy Paws is one of the few pet insurance providers that offers unlimited coverage at a cheaper monthly premium. This prevents senior pet parents from worrying about exceeding a coverage limit or having to pay out-of-pocket for costly vet bills.
Healthy Paws offers one accident-and-illness plan covering procedures and treatments related to a covered injury, sickness or condition. Its coverage is unlimited, so you won’t exceed any set amount per incident or annually. According to Healthy Paws, claims are processed in 48 hours, which is faster than many other providers.
Senior dog owners should be mindful that Healthy Paws does not allow new enrollment for dogs 14 and older. It also removes customization options from your premium if you’re enrolling a pet 6 or older. Based on sample quotes we pulled for a medium mixed dog in Raleigh, N.C., a 6-year-old dog would have 70% reimbursement and a $500 deductible, a 7-year-old dog would have 70% reimbursement and a $750 deductible, and any dog 8 and older would have a 50% reimbursement rate and $1,000 deductible.
Get your quote: Fill out Healthy Paws’ online form
To learn more: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance review
How Much Does Pet Insurance for Senior Dogs Cost?
Several factors can affect your monthly pet insurance premium for a senior dog.
- Age: As your dog gets older, it becomes more pricey to insure because it’s likely to experience more health issues. If you’re enrolling an older dog for the first time, your monthly premiums will be higher than average. We pulled sample quotes for a medium-sized, mixed 11-year-old dog, and the monthly cost ranged from $95 to $150.
- Breed: Your dog’s breed can also influence your pet insurance premium, as certain breeds are more susceptible to certain conditions. For example, German shepherds are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia and therefore more expensive to insure.
- Location: Where you and your furry friend live can also affect your policy’s price. Pet insurance providers consider how much your local veterinarians charge for their services, as well as any insurance regulations your state follows.
Common Health Problems for Senior Dogs
Your dog could encounter any number of health problems due to its age, genetics or a combination of both. According to the American Kennel Club, the most common conditions older dogs develop include the following:
- Cognitive decline
- Kidney disease
- Vision loss
Other common diseases seen in older dogs include diabetes, urinary incontinence, and periodontal (dental) disease.
The American Veterinary Medical Association found that almost 50% of dogs over age 10 will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer diagnosis and treatments (such as radiation and chemotherapy) can be incredibly costly, so it’s wise to get a pet insurance policy before your dog gets ill.
The Bottom Line
As your dog’s age increases, so does the amount of money required to maintain its health and overall care. Sadly, pet owners are often faced with the difficult decision of paying out-of-pocket for costly treatments or saying goodbye to their beloved furry friends. Finding the right pet insurance provider for you and your senior dog will help cover future costs and alleviate your worry.
If you feel you’re late in insuring your senior dog, enrolling now before its health declines will still be beneficial. A pet insurance plan with no upper age limit and a vast range of coverage is ideal for your dog. We recommend getting quotes from each provider on this list so you can make the best choice.
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Our review of pet insurance companies is based on in-depth industry research that includes reading hundreds of customer reviews, simulating the quote and purchasing process, speaking to representatives on the phone to assess the customer service experience and surveying 1,000 dog and cat owners nationwide to determine the most important elements of pet insurance coverage. We have scored each provider on a 100-point scale based on those elements.
Here are more details about each factor and how they’re weighted:
- Monthly pricing (25 points): How much each company charges for its pet insurance plans is an important part of a customer’s decision. The best pet insurance companies combine comprehensive coverage and plan options with affordable rates.
- Plans (15 points): The top pet insurance companies offer accident and illness plans, accident-only plans and wellness or preventive care add-ons to give customers the option to choose a plan that’s best for their pet.
- Covered treatments (15 points): With this factor, we scored companies based on the treatments and procedures they cover. Companies with a breadth of included treatments and unique coverages received more points than providers with more standard or general policies.
- Customization options (10 points): Customizing your policy is a valuable way to ensure you only pay for what your pet needs. Providers with more annual-limit, deductible and reimbursement-rate options earned the highest scores.
- Customer care (10 points): We scored companies on their website accessibility and overall usability, customer service availability, mobile apps (if any), money-back guarantees and veterinarian telehealth options, awarding points to the insurers with more customer experience offerings.
- Industry reputation (10 points): To determine each company’s industry reputation, we reviewed up-to-date ratings and accreditation information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored companies on their years of experience in the industry and their state availability.
- Waiting periods (10 points): Companies with shorter accident, illness and orthopedic waiting periods between the sign-up and coverage start date scored higher than companies with longer waiting periods.
- Eligible age (5 points): Some companies don’t offer policies for pets that are over a certain age. We deducted points from providers that have age limits for covered pets.
We use our rating system to compare and contrast each company against key factors to help us determine the best pet insurance companies in the industry. Additionally, we keep our research up to date and revisit our reviews on a regular basis.
Angela Bunt is an accomplished editor with more than a decade of experience writing, producing and editing content. She has a breadth of knowledge spanning the home, travel, music and health industries, and she is a proud New Hampshire homeowner. In her spare time, Angela enjoys live music, watching the Real Housewives and hanging out with her dog, Jim.
Dr. Kate Boatright is a small-animal veterinarian in western Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013, she has worked in both general practice and emergency clinics. In 2021, she moved to part-time clinical practice to pursue her passion for educating veterinary professionals and pet owners through speaking and writing. Dr. Boatright enjoys discussing mentorship, the unique challenges facing recent graduates, wellness and the spectrum of care. In her remaining time, she stays busy chasing her toddler, running, reading and watching movies with her husband and cats.