Can You Get Pet Insurance for an Older Dog?

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  • Older dogs can start to develop health issues due to their age.
  • It's important to have pet insurance to help cover the cost of their care.
  • While you might face higher premiums if you buy pet insurance for an older dog, the option should still exist.

Old age won't necessarily mean your dog isn't eligible for coverage.

Adopting an older dog is one of the kindest things you can do. Older pets are notoriously harder to place -- mostly because people don't want to risk getting attached to an animal only to have it potentially pass away shortly thereafter.

But if you're willing to take in an older dog, then you might end up getting a number of great years with your new best friend. You might also incur a host of expenses related to adopting that dog that result in quite the hefty credit card tab, from having to buy food and treats to purchasing supplies to covering different preventive medications.

But one expense you don't want to skimp on when adopting an older dog is pet insurance. While you might assume that there's no sense in buying pet insurance for an older animal, or that you won't qualify due to your dog's age, you'd be wrong in both senses.

Pet insurance for an older dog can easily pay off

The average lifespan for dogs is between 10 and 13 years of age, according to PetMD. But your dog might easily live until 14, 15, or beyond with excellent care. And the last thing you'd want is for money -- or a lack thereof -- to be a barrier to giving your dog the best care possible.

That's why it's so important to get pet insurance for an older animal. Will you potentially pay more for it because of your pet's age? Yes.

Pet insurance companies take different factors into account when calculating premium costs, and the more risk they think they're going to bear, the more they're apt to charge you. Since health issues tend to arise and escalate as pets age, it stands to reason that your monthly premiums might be more expensive than what you'd pay for, say, a two- or three-year-old animal.

But because older pets tend to grapple with health issues, it's important to have pet insurance coverage so you're not saddled with unaffordable veterinary care bills. And you definitely don't want to land in a position where your pet ends up needing life-saving treatment, but you're forced to pass on it because you can't swing the cost financially.

Will pet insurance even cover an older dog's medical treatment?

Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance generally will not cover pre-existing conditions. So if you adopt an older dog with arthritis, for example, that condition won't be covered if you put pet insurance in place.

But let's say you adopt a 10-year-old dog with no known health issues, and a year later, he develops diabetes. If your dog didn't have diabetes at the time of your pet insurance application, then there's no reason your insurance policy wouldn't cover treatment for that condition.

All told, pet insurance is an important thing to have any time you bring an animal into your home. And in some ways, it's even more important to buy pet insurance when you're welcoming an older dog into your life.

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