Seniors Pet Insurance

Is your pet getting on in age? There are still insurance options out there for them.

Last updated on May 4th, 2022 at 03:11 pm by Bill Tsouvalas

Compare pet insurance for seniors

As your cat or dog ages, unfortunately, so does the likelihood that an expensive veterinary bill or unexpected expense is just around the corner.

Because of this, many companies which ordinarily offer pet insurance services will not offer these same services to older animals.

If your pet is aging, but you still want to give them the same standard of care that they deserve, then you can compare seniors pet insurance options here.

What is seniors pet insurance?

Seniors pet insurance is an insurance product geared towards older cats and dogs, who are beyond a certain age – usually eight or nine years old. For some breeds such as Pugs and Greyhounds, who commonly experience health issues due to their unique physical traits, this age cut off can be even earlier. At this stage in a cat or dog’s life, the risk of accidental injury and illness becomes higher and the potential costs of treating these issues becomes greater also. For this reason, the majority of pet insurance companies will not issue new policies to dogs of this age.

Insurers that do offer senior pet policies will likely limit policies to basic coverage and will not allow pre-existing illnesses or conditions to be covered. Not only will these restrictions be in place, but you will also most likely be required to pay a higher premium to compensate for the increased likelihood of your insurance provider needing to pay out. Furthermore, the percentage of treatment costs covered by your pet’s policy will probably be lower than on a regular policy. For example, the regular rebate amount ranges between 65% to 85% of treatment costs, whereas senior pet policies typically offer rebates of around 65% only.

While these limitations are very common and should be expected, you should note that a select few specialist companies will offer comprehensive coverage for your senior pet, even covering the cost of cancelled holidays in the event that your pet falls ill in some cases.

How does seniors pet insurance work?

Seniors pet insurance works much the same as regular pet insurance in terms of the fundamental function of the policy, however the particular details and conditions of the policy will differ. When you apply for your senior pet’s policy, you will need to disclose any previous or current ailments your pet has suffered from in order for your insurance provider to exclude these from your policy. With your policy confirmed, you will pay your provider a monthly premium for ongoing insurance, or you might have the option to pay for one full year of insurance up-front in exchange for a small discount.

Once your policy is in place, you will be required to wait through a 30-day period, during which certain events such as tick paralysis will not be covered. After this period has elapsed, if and when your pet encounters an issue covered in your policy, then you will be able to claim a reimbursement for a fixed percentage of the cost of treating said issue. For example, your dog might need to have a broken bone mended, after which you will need to pay an up-front cost to the vet of $1,200. Because your policy stipulates that you will be eligible for a 65% reimbursement on these costs, you can claim this from your insurer. Following the approval of your claim, you will be reimbursed 65% of the vet bill, or $780.

What are the different types of seniors pet insurance?

As per regular pet insurance policies, seniors pet insurance comes in a variety of policy types. These categories are typically ‘accident only’, ‘accident and illness’, and ‘accident, illness and routine care’. The table below outlines what these policy types do and do not cover. It is important to note that there are a range of costs which aren’t covered which are not noted but apply to all policy types, which includes grooming, elective procedures, day-to-day care, breeding related costs and unnecessary medications.

Accident only policies are suitable for pets whose health has remained fairly positive as they have aged, as the chances of needing cover for treatment of medical issues will be low. For those pet owners who wish to find a budget pet insurance option, this can be a good choice as well. Paying for your accident only policy, instead of a more comprehensive policy, while saving the difference in price between the two in the meantime can allow you to spend less on your policy.

On the other hand, if your pet’s health has taken a step back as it’s aged, then you will want to consider cover which includes illness also, and maybe even routine care. These policies are generally best for pet owners who are in a strong financial situation and can afford to pay more for the peace of mind that these policies bring.

Policy type Covers Best for
Accident only
  • Accidental injuries caused by your animal or by others.
  • Value for money.
Accident and illness
  • Accidental injuries caused by your animal or by others.
  • New illnesses or conditions.
  • Tick paralysis.
  • Mid-range budgets.
  • Animals who do not need much routine care.
Accident, illness and routine care
  • Accidental injuries caused by your animal or by others.
  • New illnesses or conditions.
  • Tick paralysis.
  • General check-ups.
  • Regular treatment.
  • A comprehensive, all-encompassing policy.
  • Premium budgets.

Frequently asked seniors pet insurance questions

What’s the difference between seniors and normal pet insurance?

The difference between these two products lies primarily in the fact that regular pet insurance is a general product available to nearly all animals, whereas seniors pet insurance is available only to older cats and dogs over the age of eight or nine. Further, seniors pet insurance does not offer as wide a scope of coverage, and often incurs a higher premium paired with lower reimbursements in the event of a claim.

Is it worth getting insurance for a senior dog or cat?

It is definitely still worth taking out a policy for an old dog or cat, considering the high potential costs you might have to otherwise pay out when dealing with a pets’ health problems in its old age. Issues such as arthritis and joint problems can be particularly detrimental to the health of older animals, so having insurance policies in place to help you to cover the cost of treating these can be hugely beneficial.

What is the best insurance for senior dogs and cats?

The best pet insurance policy for older dogs and cats is a lifetime insurance policy initiated when your pet is still of a young and healthy age. By taking out a lifetime insurance policy, your provider will continue to insure your pet into its old age, as long as you regularly renew your policy without letting it lapse. This way, you can circumvent the tendency for most companies to offer only limited coverage or no coverage at all to your pet, and be sure that you pet will receive the best care that it needs.

Which pet insurance does not increase with age?

Unfortunately all pet insurance premiums increase as your pet ages over time. This is because as animals age, the likelihood that they will require medical treatment increases, just like humans. Because animals age much more quickly than humans, this increase in likelihood and associated cost is much more rapid. Furthermore, as veterinary services increase over time, so do the average claims paid out by insurers. This means that insurers must in turn pass this cost on to pet owners renewing their policies as their pets age.

Is it worth getting seniors pet insurance?

Seniors insurance coverage for your pet is well worth it, especially if you are somebody who values financial organisation and your peace of mind. By insuring your pet, you can potentially avoid unexpected and expensive vet bills, as your insurer will cover it. This allows you to focus more on caring for your pet during this stressful time, and less on your finances, as these costs are covered.

How do I compare seniors pet insurance?

The easiest and most effective way for you to compare different seniors pet insurance policies is to use Savvy’s online comparison tools. Two main points of comparison that you may wish to start with are the premium cost and the total coverage offered by policies, both in terms of insured events and the maximum amount your insurer is willing to pay you out following a claim.

Top tips for reducing your seniors pet insurance premiums

Your pet’s breed

By thinking carefully about the breed of your pet before you adopt or purchase it, you might be able to save money on your senior pet insurance even as your animal ages. Certain breeds such as Pugs and Greyhounds are considered far more susceptible to illness and therefore demand higher premiums for insurance coverage. By choosing a pet of a breed which is not considered to be ‘high risk’ you may save money.

Routine care

Consider whether or not adding on coverage for routine care will be a good investment for you. It is easy to add up the expected costs of routine care such as dental treatments and vaccinations for the coming years. Once you have calculated this amount, you can compare it against the prospective cost of adding routine care to your insurance policy. If this amount turns out to be higher than the cost of extended coverage, then it might be a good idea to expand your pets’ policy, and save yourself some money going forwards.

High excess

In order to reduce your monthly premium, you can enquire as to whether or not your current or prospective insurer offers you the chance to opt for a higher excess payment in the event of a claim, in exchange for lower monthly premiums.

Lifetime policies

Insuring your pet from a young age and keeping their policy active through consistent renewals will save you money down the line. This is because taking out new policies on aging animals can often be expensive and will not account for any of their pre-existing medical conditions.

Practice care and caution

Remember that prevention is the best cure. By being attentive to the primary needs of your pet such as ensuring that your pet maintains a great diet and that any seemingly small health issues are addressed early, you can potentially reduce the costs of claims over time, and therefore enjoy a lower premium across the lifespan of your pet.