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Pet insurance for older dogs

If your pooch is approaching pension age, they need a little extra TLC. 

Making sure you have the right pet insurance for them should make things easier, but this can be confusing. 

We look at the different types of pet insurance policies and what they mean for older dogs. 

Older retriever dog who's enjoying a dip


Can I get pet insurance for an older dog?

Yes, you can get pet insurance for your dog, even if it's older. You should also be able to get cover if your dog has a pre-existing medical condition.

Generally speaking, the older a dog is, the more likely they are to develop certain illnesses and conditions. This means that pet insurance for older dogs tends to be higher than for puppies. The specifics vary between insurers, so it's always worth shopping around and comparing pet insurance quotes.


Is it worth insuring an older dog? 

It’s worth insuring your dog if you don’t think that you’d be able to cover the cost of their medical care. It's worth bearing in mind that pet injury, illness or health conditions can be expensive for dogs of any age. 

Treatment for dogs can reach thousands of pounds, so it's worth weighing up your options when considering cover.

The risk of illness or injury is more likely as dogs get older. Some common conditions include: 

  • Gum disease
  • Joint problems
  • Cysts – or fatty lumps
  • Cancer
  • Eye conditions
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Eye site problems or blindness
  • Dementia

A good insurance policy should help you cover the cost of any medical treatment your dog might need. 

Compare pet insurance quotes


Is there an age limit for pet insurance? 

If your pet is insured and you’re paying your premiums, you should find most policies will cover your dog’s lifespan. 

If you’re starting a policy, you might find your insurer sets a minimum and maximum age limit. The minimum age is usually around 8 weeks, though some providers go as low as 6 weeks.

Some firms don’t set a maximum age limit, others may not insure dogs that are older than 5 years old. If in doubt, check in with the insurer.


Why does it cost more to insure an older dog? 

Insurance prices are all based on risk. The greater the risk of a claim, the higher the policy price is to reflect that.

Older dogs are more prone to health conditions, which means you’re more likely to make a claim. This means insurers tend to bump up their prices to cover the cost. 

By comparing policies, you can make sure your older dog gets the best cover for a competitive price. 


What type of insurance should I get for my older dog? 

There are 4 different types of pet insurance policy:

  • Lifetime
  • Maximum benefit,
  • Time limited
  • Accident only

Lifetime pet insurance is usually the most comprehensive policy. It's sometimes more expensive, but it should insure your dog for life if you renew your policy each year. 

The policy should cover any new illnesses or injuries that might develop. It also covers long-term or recurring illnesses. 

Time limited or 12-month policies cover different illnesses or injuries for a set amount of time, usually around 12 months.

There’s also a certain amount of money available for each separate illness or injury. 

If treatment exceeds a certain amount, you have to pay for it. And if it lasts longer than 12 months, you might have to pay extra. 

Unlike the time limited policy, a maximum benefit policy sets aside a certain amount of money to cover any illness or injury – but there’s no time limit. 

But once the full amount is paid out, they don't pay out again. 

Accident only provides a set amount of money to cover costs due to injury only. Illnesses aren’t covered with this type of policy. 

Your insurer should be able to advise you on the best cover for your pet. 

Remember, when you speak to your insurer, make sure you fully disclose any recent injuries or conditions. If you don’t, they may not pay out if you need to make a claim. 


What should I make sure my pet insurance policy covers? 

There are some key things to look out for in your insurance policy. For example, whether it covers pre-existing conditions.

Make sure you declare any pre-existing conditions

You might find that your insurance only partially covers the condition so you might need a specialist policy.

Check your excess

This is the amount you pay before you can claim on your insurance. For example, if your excess was £250, and you took your dog for dental work and it cost you £30, you might not be able to claim for it.  If they had an operation that cost over £1,000 you could make a claim, because it’s over the excess limit.

Consider features beyond medical treatment

There’s not just injury or illness to think about -some policies offer bereavement counselling if your pet dies. Some policies even cover advertising costs if your pet goes missing. These thoughtful extras can make a big difference.

Check the policy wording

Make sure you know exactly what you're getting for your money so there are no surprises later on.