pets Insurance

Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs of 2023

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Having a senior dog can be uniquely rewarding. But helping your pet age with grace isn’t always affordable.

The expenses can add up with an older dog. According to the American Kennel Club, older dogs should see the vet every six months for a wellness check, as opposed to every year or two for younger adult dogs. Special diets or prescriptions in their older years can become costly over time. Adaptive equipment at home like ramps or stairs could help improve your senior dog’s quality of life, too, but add to the costs.

Pet insurance premiums tend to reflect these realities, too. According to data from MarketWatch and PetInsurer.comthe average price to insure a mixed, medium-breed dog is about $29 per month at one year old, while the cost of insuring the same dog at 10 years old would cost an average of $77 per month.

Not all companies offer the same coverage for the same price. To get the best pet insurance for your senior dog, you’ll want to get a few quotes and compare them. To help you get started on the process, CNBC Select has picked some of the best pet insurance companies for senior dogs based on maximum age limits, premiums and customer satisfaction. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best pet insurance companies.)

Pets Best Pet Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Available in all 50 states, Pets Best is a standout for its affordable rates. While wellness policies are available, Pet’s Best focuses on accident-only policies and accident and illness policies.

  • App available

  • Standout features

    Pet’s Best offers coverage to cats and dogs as young as 7 weeks old, and has no maximum age limit. An option to pay your vet directly is available.

  • Affordable premiums for accident and illness and accident-only coverage
  • Deductible options as low as $50
  • No maximum age limit

  • Only two levels of annual maximum coverage are available: $5,000 and unlimited

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Pets Best offers some of the most affordable premiums for our sample senior dog and offers accident and illness and accident only policies in addition to wellness coverage. Most exam fees are covered, and Pets Best doesn’t have an upper age limit for enrollment. Plus, there is a 5% discount available for people with multiple pets.

MetLife Pet Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Metlife pet insurance offers a variety of limits on maximum annual coverage, reimbursements limits, and deductibles to make policies fit your budget. Discounts are available to shelter personnel, military members and healthcare workers, as well as a monthly internet purchase discount for buying online.

  • App available

  • Standout features

    Standard policies include coverage for hospitalizations, surgeries, diagnostic tests, exam fees, and holistic care for new accidents and illnesses.

  • Holistic care and alternative therapies are included in a standard plan
  • Wellness plans are available

  • Unlimited annual coverage is not available

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Metlife Pet Insurance policies are friendly to older pets and offer an affordable sample premium compared to the others we quoted. This pet insurer offers chronic care coverage and no lifetime or per-incident limits in addition to exam fee coverage. A number of discounts available can help to further cut costs, and the availability of family plans allows pet parents to manage all of their pets under one policy.

Spot Pet Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Spot Pet Insurance offers accident and illness and accident-only coverage for cats and dogs. It has a variety of choices of reimbursement rates, annual limits (including an unlimited policy), and deductibles to cater your coverage to your needs and budget. The option to cover preventive care procedures and exams (including a dental cleaning and wellness exam) for an extra fee is available.

  • App available

  • Standout features

    There are no upper age limits for new enrollments to Spot and plans include coverage for microchipping. Spot also offers access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline to address questions about wellness and health concerns.

  • Accident and illness plans are available, with wellness options available
  • Access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline included with coverage
  • 10% discounts for additional pets

  • Pets must be eight weeks old to enroll
  • A 14-day waiting period applies for coverage

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Spot Pet Insurance doesn’t have any upper age limit for enrollment, and its accident and illness and accident-only policies both pay for exam fees. The company scored the highest of those that we reviewed for customer satisfaction with the Better Business Bureau, earning an average of 3.82 out of 5. Spot accident and illness policies cover more than just things like emergency hospitalization, X-rays and skin, ear and eye infections — this pet insurance policy also covers microchipping, prescription medications, and alternative therapies.

It is possible to get pet insurance for a senior dog. While some pet insurance companies have upper age limits (generally age 14), some companies don’t have a maximum age for enrollment.

Pet insurance for a senior dog can be worth it, especially if your dog accumulates some unforeseen expenses. It’s worth noting that pet insurance for a senior dog will be more expensive than it would be for a younger adult dog. And, pet insurance generally doesn’t cover any pre-existing conditions that may have already come to light in your senior dogs’ older years. However, it could help to treat future conditions, including accidents and illnesses, depending on the type of policy you choose.

Some companies limit pet insurance to pets under age 14. Other pet insurance companies don’t cap the maximum age for enrollment. However, you’ll want to consider the cost of coverage and what a policy covers. To insure an older pet, get several quotes and compare them to see if it makes sense. Setting aside money dedicated to your pet’s expenses in a savings account could be a strong option for older pet owners.

Insuring an older dog can be more complicated than insuring a puppy or even an adult dog. To get the best pet insurance for your older dog, consider companies without upper age limits, and pay attention to the types of policies available, reimbursement rates, deductibles, and maximum annual coverage limits. The sooner you enroll your senior dog for coverage, the better, because fewer preexisting issues will be excluded.

To determine the best pet insurance companies, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of pet insurance companies that cover senior dogs and compared them based on various factors.

While narrowing down the best pet insurance companies, we focused on a sample premium for an example pet. Sample premium data was based on a dog that is:

  • 9 years old
  • Beagle mix
  • 25 pounds
  • Living in zip code 10017

We collected data for these sample policies with the following qualities (or as close to them as possible):

  • $5,000 annual limit
  • $500 deductible
  • 80% reimbursement rate

We also gathered data on the maximum age for new coverage, the type of plans available, whether or not the plan covers veterinary exam fees and options for deductibles, reimbursement rates, and maximum annual coverage limits. We considered the number of discounts available, any applicable waiting periods, and ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

From there, we sorted our recommendations by the best overall and runner-up, best for wellness, and best for unlimited annual coverage.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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