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Pet insurance for older dogs

Find cover for dogs of an older age

The need to care for your pets doesn’t change as they age, but the vets’ bills might increase. Our guide explains what pet insurance is available for an older dog, and why getting cover could be a wise move.

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 22 January 2021

An old tired French bulldog is petted by its human

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Our pets are super important to us. Having a fluffy extension to your family is always a wonderful addition – and you want to do the best to care for him or her. But as our four-legged friends get older, vets’ bills can add up. It can be a good idea and cost-effective to look into senior pet insurance, to make sure both you and your pooch are covered if anything should happen. Let us help you find the best pet insurance for older dogs.

How old is a senior dog?

Most insurers will tell you that a senior dog is around eight years old or older. If your dog is a puppy, then compare quotes on standard dog insurance.

Is there an age limit for pet insurance?

There isn’t a set age limit for pet insurance for dogs, it depends on the insurer. Some will insure your pet from any age, whereas others may be less inclined to insure an older pet.

Make sure you check the terms of the policy when you’re comparing quotes to make sure that the insurer will cover your dog if they are aged eight or over.

Some larger breeds are considered senior dogs at a younger age, compared to their smaller counterparts. If you’re unsure, just call the insurer to check.

The good news is that if you continue to pay your premiums once you’ve got your policy the insurer will continue to cover your dog, even after the age limit has been reached.

What types of insurance are available for older dogs?

  • Lifetime. This policy will be renewed every year (as long as the premiums are paid) and will have an annual limit per condition. So, if the cover limit was £3,000 and your dog developed and was treated for asthma, costing you £2,000 in vet bills, this amount would be reset every year and your pet would continue to be covered for asthma
  • Maximum benefit. A lifetime allowance is given for this policy. So, you could be given a £50,000 limit for a certain condition your pet may have, for life
  • Time-limited pet insurance. This insurance lasts 12 months after your pet has had an accident or injury to cover costs. This isn’t always the best option if you’re looking after an older dog, because any pre-existing medical conditions won’t be included when it comes to renewing your policy
  • Accident only cover. This is the most cost-effective option – it covers your pet for any recent accidents only. If your dog has a pre-existing medical condition this wouldn’t be covered, so it may not be suitable for an older dog

What should I pay attention to when buying pet insurance for an older dog?

There are a few important things to look out for when you’re looking into pet insurance for older dogs.

The top tip is not to let your dog’s policy lapse. It’s harder to get a new policy for an older dog, so the easiest and sometimes most cost-effective method is to make sure your policy is renewed each year.

But if you are looking for a new policy, here are a few extra tips:

  • What’s the excess? If something happens to your senior dog, then the excess is the amount you’ll have to pay before you can claim on insurance
  • Pre-existing health conditions. If your older dog already has a health condition, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get them insured under a new policy. But don’t worry, some pet insurance providers will take a specialist approach and still insure your dog
  • Some extras. If your pet passes away, some insurance policies will pay out or may even offer to cover bereavement counselling.

How much is pet insurance for older dogs?

This all depends on the age, breed, health and size of your beloved pet. For example, larger breeds require more anaesthetic during a procedure, so will incur more cost.

The average annual policy for a Retriever Labrador over eight years old is around £722, but for a Jack Russell it’s around £522.

If you’re looking to cover an older dog, it may be a little pricier, but is worth considering, as it is likely to be cheaper than a surprise vet bill, prescription or ongoing treatment.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared, so ask your vet what type of conditions your breed tends to get when they reach an older age. You can then assess which pet insurance is right for you and your dog.

The most expensive dog breed to insure is a Boxer (£1,266 a year), and the least expensive is a smooth coat chihuahua (£261 a year)

Data collected by Stickee, accurate as of September 2020

Why is pet insurance more expensive for older dogs?

A dog’s health is likely to change as they get older, just like a human, and this can be difficult to predict. As they age their insurance will get a little pricier too.

Older dogs are likely to be prone to certain health conditions, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Gum disease
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Dementia

Annual pet insurance premiums are more expensive for older dogs, with 12 year old dogs costing an average of £1,019

Data collected by Stickee, accurate as of September 2020

How can I get cheaper cover for an older dog?

The best way to get a cheaper policy for your dog is to do your research. When you’re looking for polices, make sure you include insurers who cover older dogs as these will likely be more suitable for you and your beloved pet.

Check out the policy exclusions too, because you want to know the cover you’re getting provides the right protection for your pet.

Find out what the excess is – this is the initial amount you must pay on any claim. A higher excess can keep premiums down, but make sure it’s affordable for you if you need to make a claim.

Compare quotes for older dog insurance

Finding a better deal for dog insurance is straightforward with MoneySuperMarket.

You can compare quotes from our leading panel of providers and insure all your pets on one policy to get a multi-pet discount.

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Ready to save on your pet insurance? Or need to know more before you get a quote? We’re here to help.

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