Pet Insurance for Senior Pets: Addressing the Needs of Aging Animals


Ru Chen

- Updated February 19, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • As pets age, they are more susceptible to age-related chronic conditions and illnesses
  • Pet insurance can be an invaluable financial safety net
  • Choose a pet insurance company that offers add-ons for senior pets
Pet Insurance for Senior Pets: Addressing the Needs of Aging Animals

While every pet owner prefers their pets to gracefully, healthily enter their golden years, senior pets require more visits to the vet. It’s heartbreaking to watch our beloved pets go through age-related health issues and conditions. Often, the medical attention they need results in expensive bills.

Pet insurance ensures your senior pet receives the special care they need without creating an overwhelming burden for the family. Let’s go over the benefits of pet insurance, how to choose the best coverage options for your aging pet, and other essentials you should know.


Increased Veterinary Costs

While a routine vet visit costs between $50 and $200, a senior pet may require extra care, which increases the costs. Aging pets become more susceptible to health issues. These conditions often result in the need for continuous treatment, medication, specialized care, and regular checkups at the vet. These expenses can be overwhelming for pet owners as they accumulate over time. If an acute condition occurs, the pet owner may not be able to afford the emergency expenses.

For example, diabetes is more common in dogs and cats than many pet owners expect. Diabetic supplies can cost $50 to $200 additional pet care costs every month.

When it comes to developing cancer, studies have shown that one in five cats get cancer and the chances are one in four for dogs. Cancer treatments for pets cost around $4000, but chemotherapy can rise over $10,000 depending on the results of the treatment and the needs of your pet.

Here are some common conditions of aging pets, as well as their estimated costs of treatment.

  • Arthritis: $200 to $3,000
  • Dental issues: Up to $1,000
  • Diabetes: $50 to $200 a month (ongoing)
  • Cancer: $4,000 to $10,000
  • Kidney disease: $400 to $3,000
  • Dementia: Up to $500
  • Species- and breed-specific conditions

Diagnostic tests and comprehensive checkups can also cost hundreds of dollars every single time you take your pet to the vet. When adding all of these costs together, the total expenses can be a hefty sum that is too expensive for the average pet owner.

That is where pet insurance comes in as a valuable tool to assist pet owners in paying for their pets’ medical expenses.

Benefits of Pet Insurance

While different policies have different benefits, coverage, and drawbacks, here are the typical advantages of obtaining pet insurance for your senior pet.

1. Financial protection

With the help of pet insurance, you can make decisions about your pets’ care without dreading the medical and veterinary expenses. Pet insurance can provide financial protection in case you need to pay any veterinary bills due to unexpected illnesses and accidents. The amount of reimbursement you receive will depend on your chosen policy, insurance provider, and the type of pet expense.

Usually, insurers require you to pay the vet bill upfront and then submit the invoice plus relevant information to the insurance company. The claims process is generally streamlined and convenient, and it should not take too long before you receive a reimbursement check for a portion or all of the vet expenses.

Many pet insurance companies have also begun offering other services, such as access to a virtual vet so you can obtain emergency veterinary advice and pet prescriptions without needing to visit a vet in person.

For senior pets, you may need additional coverage to offset the costs of managing chronic conditions and age-related health problems. Insurance companies also might not cover conditions that your pet already undergoes treatment for, so be sure to ask the insurance company about coverage details if you are already paying for a pet treatment.

2. Access to comprehensive care

If you have pet insurance, you might be able to obtain access to comprehensive and specialized care for your senior pet. Certain procedures may be harder to afford or secure if you do not have pet insurance.

Comprehensive care, visits to pet specialists, and preventive exams can all improve the quality of life and overall health of your pet. The key is to choose an insurance policy that covers your pet breed, species, and age, especially if you own a more unusual or exotic pet.

3. Prepare for emergencies

Pet insurance is a great way to help pet owners deal with potential emergencies. While you might be able to obtain a loan or dip into your emergency fund for your pet’s medical needs once, continuous treatment costs can be unsustainable for many pet owners. This is particularly the case for aging pets with chronic conditions that may require frequent medical attention, ongoing treatment plans, diagnostic testing, and more.

With pet insurance for senior pets, you can better manage your finances and be prepared in case there is an emergency vet visit. Some pet insurance companies grant insurance payouts and reimbursements more quickly, whereas others offer greater compensation. Make sure you research your options before choosing your pet insurance company to find the one that best aligns with your unique financial situation and pet needs.

4. Proactively deal with your pet’s health issues

Even if your pet is currently healthy, pet insurance can still be helpful. As pets grow, they become more prone to certain health problems. Regular checkups can help prevent or reduce the negative impact of illnesses, chronic conditions, and age-related deterioration in health.

Some types of conditions and disease can be more easily treated or managed if they are found early. Treatment can also be cheaper if the age-related condition like cancer has not spread throughout the pet’s system. Pet insurance incentivizes pet owners to take their pets to the visit more often without financial stress, which can prove invaluable for pets.

5. Peace of mind

Finally, pet insurance can give pet owners valuable peace of mind. Just knowing that you have additional financial protection can help you worry less about finances. This means focusing on supporting your senior pet without stressing over the financial costs. For many pet owners, the benefits of pet insurance greatly outweigh the cost of the premium.


Coverage Options for Senior Pets

Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans. It helps cover a portion of pet expenses based on what type of insurance policy you have. If you have a senior pet, you might need to get special coverage options that are more suitable for aging pets.

Like with health insurance, pet insurance can vary greatly depending on your chosen insurance provider and policy. Here are the common options you might encounter for elderly cats, dogs, and other senior pets.

Chronic Condition Coverage

Since senior pets are more likely to suffer chronic conditions, chronic condition coverage is an important type of pet insurance to have. Chronic conditions often include kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis. With chronic condition coverage in your pet insurance policy, you could receive coverage for:

  • Ongoing treatment
  • Medication
  • Veterinary visits
  • Other expenses relevant to your pet’s chronic condition

Wellness Coverage

A wellness plan for pets typically includes coverage for routine care. This means:

  • Pet vaccinations
  • Dental cleanings
  • Annual exams

Preventive healthcare becomes increasingly more important as pets grow older since their chances of falling ill become greater. A wellness plan can help reduce the costs of preventive care, lessening the expenses of taking care of an aging pet.

Alternative Therapies

Alterantive therapy options may be beneficial to your senior pet. For example, some pet owners wish to try out acupuncture, physical therapy, and hydrotherapy for pain management and mobility improvement, two key goals for older pets.

Some pet insurance policies include coverage for alternative treatments. This increased scope of coverage provides additional options for senior pet care that could have valuable results of relief and comfort.

End-of-Life Care

Unfortunately, many pet owners need to start thinking about end-of-life care for their aging pets. When choosing a pet insurance plan for your senior plan, look out for a plan that includes coverage for hospice care, euthanasia, as well as burial/cremation expenses.

What does pet insurance not cover?

When choosing a pet insurance policy, it’s good to know what conditions are typically excluded from coverage. Here are some common exclusions of a standard pet insurance policy.

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Treatment costs that you are already paying prior to your coverage start date
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Behavioral issues
  • Breeding expenses
  • Routine grooming

Customized Coverage

The best insurance is a policy customized to your pet’s unique needs and your financial circumstances. Look for insurance providers with customizable coverage and numerous optional add-ons so you can tailor the policy to address your pet’s age-related needs.

To help you get started with choosing a pet insurance suitable for your aging pet, here are our top recommendations.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance

Pumpkin Pet Insurance was founded in 2020 and has since risen to become one of the best pet insurance companies in the country. It’s reliable and doesn’t have age restrictions, making it a great choice for many senior pet owners.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers common accidents, illnesses, as well as diagnostic tests and advanced care. This includes surgery, specialized care, cancer treatments, alternative treatments, and digestive issues. In addition, Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers hereditary conditions, dental diseases, behavioral issues, and other things that are commonly excluded by insurers.

With so many expenses that are not covered by other pet insurance companies, Pumpkin Pet Insurance stands out as an excellent choice for pet owners of aging pets.

ASPCA Pet Insurance

ASPCA pet health insurance offers affordable options and allows you to visit any vet in the US (including specialists). Their versatility makes them a great option for pet owners who want to ensure they can deal with any new conditions that an aging pet may sustain.

In addition, ASPCA offers a no risk, 30-day 100% money back guarantee. If you are worried about whether a pet insurance policy aligns with you and your pet’s needs, ASPCA can alleviate your concerns.

Wagmo Pet Insurance

Wagmo is known for having the fastest reimbursement times in the industry without requiring paperwork. If you’re in a financial situation where it’s important you receive fast reimbursements of any covered vet expenses, Wagmo might be the best pet insurance company for you.

Wagmo’s wellness plans also start at $1/day, making them affordable and flexible for pet owners who aren’t sure how long they will need certain types of pet insurance.

Plus, if your beloved pet is a fan of BarkBox, Treatibles, and other pet brands, Wagmo offers numerous discounts that members can take advantage of.

Embrace Pet Insurance

Founded in 2003, Embrace Pet Insurance has a long history of helping pets get personalized coverage. The insurance company offers policies in all 50 states and D.C., which means you can receive coverage no matter where you live in the United States.

Embrace Pet Insurance offers a 24/7 pet health support line that is even available during holidays. This helps ensure your aging pet is getting the medical attention and help they deserve even during the holidays when it is harder to receive veterinary assistance.



Seeing time affect our furry companions, aquatic friends, and beloved pets can be a difficult and emotional process. Pet insurance for senior pets can go a long way in making it easier for both pet and the pet owner. It allows owners to provide their pets with the best medical care while offsetting the financial burden of the medical expenses. A pet insurance policy with options for senior pets can help cover:

  • Treatment for age-related conditions and illnesses
  • Preventive care
  • Medication

Remember to choose an insurance policy that aligns with your older pet’s needs. Check out our reviews of the best pet insurance companies to get started.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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