I’m Adopting an Older Dog. Should I Bother With Pet Insurance?


Dog being examined in vets office.

Image source: Getty Images


It could end up being a wise investment.

Key points

  • Pet insurance often won’t cover pre-existing conditions.
  • In spite of that, a policy for an older pet could be a lifeline.

There’s a reason so many older dogs wind up in shelters or rescue situations. As animals age, health issues can pop up. And sometimes, those issues can be prohibitively expensive to deal with. In the absence of having enough money in savings, sometimes, pet owners feel they have no choice but to surrender an older dog they can no longer afford to care for.

If you’re adopting an older dog, you’re doing a wonderful thing. Giving an aging animal a home so it doesn’t have to live out its days in a shelter environment is a pure act of kindness. And often, older dogs thrive in a loving home environment, which means your newly adopted friend may end up sticking around longer than you expected.

Of course, taking in an older dog means potentially bearing the high cost of caring for it. And so it’s important to make sure that fits into your budget. At the same time, you may want to consider buying pet insurance for your dog — even if you’re convinced a policy won’t cover too much of its care. In fact, you may be surprised at how much pet insurance comes to the rescue in the course of owning an older dog.

The upside of pet insurance for an older animal

Much of the time, pet insurance won’t cover a pre-existing condition. And if you adopt an older dog, chances are, that animal will have at least one or two existing issues, even if they’re fairly minor and under control.

You might therefore assume that pet insurance is a waste of money for an older pet. But actually, it could end up being a very smart investment.

See, you never know when an animal might develop a new health condition that requires costly care or surgery. And without pet insurance, the expense there could be prohibitive.

Now you may be thinking, “At that point, wouldn’t a vet be against subjecting an older dog to invasive care?” And the answer? Not necessarily.

If you adopt a 14-year-old dog who develops an illness that surgery only has a small chance of curing, and the surgery itself comes with risk, then chances are, a vet will recommend supportive care to keep the animal comfortable and nothing more. But in some cases, an older animal might require surgery or extensive care that’s less risky and extends its life by a solid year or more, all the while maintaining its quality of life.

That’s the sort of treatment you’ll want the option to move forward with. And pet insurance could, at that point, be your ticket to affording that care.

It’s all about gaining protection and peace of mind

Buying pet insurance is a good way to help ensure that money doesn’t have to be a barrier to giving your pet the best care — and life — they deserve. And so if you’re welcoming an older dog into your home, it pays to shop around and see what insurance options are available to you.

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