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Pet insurance for older dogs

As your dog gets older, it might need more medical attention than it did as a puppy. Vet bills can be expensive, and you can't always plan ahead and save for them.

Pet insurance for older dogs can give you the peace of mind that vet bills are covered, even in emergencies.

We can tell you more about finding the best insurance for your senior dog. Or, select 'Get a quote' if you're ready to compare prices.

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Can I get pet insurance for an older dog?

Yes, you can get insurance for your dog, even if it's older. You might find that it costs a bit more than it would for a puppy though. This is because older dogs are at higher risk for illness and injury.

If your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions, you need a specialist pet insurance policy. Mainstream providers don't normally cover pre-existing conditions.

Should I get pet insurance for my older dog?

It's not a legal requirement, but pet insurance is worth considering.

Vet treatments can be expensive for dogs of any age, but older dogs may need more frequent medical care than younger ones.

A pet insurance policy can help cover these costs, so you don't have to worry if your older dog needs vet treatment.

Pet insurance also covers things other than vet bills. So, even if you could afford medical treatment, there may be other situations that arise unexpectedly that would be covered by pet insurance.

At what age is a dog considered old?

This depends on the size and breed of your dog. Different breeds age at different paces, but in general bigger dogs tend to age quicker than smaller ones.

Here's an overview of when different sized dogs might be considered old:

Size Age
Small breeds (like Yorkshire terriers, Shih Tzus or dachshunds)
10-12 years old
Mediums size breeds (such as springer spaniels, border collies or beagles)
8-9 years old
Large and giant breeds (like golden retrievers, German shepherds or Dalmatians)
6-7 years old

What's covered by pet insurance?

The exact coverage depends on the type of insurance you get and the provider you're with.


What's covered:

  • Vet bills for unexpected illnesses or injuries
  • Emergency boarding fees for kennels if you need to unexpectedly spend time away from home
  • Liability cover incase your dog causes accidental damage to a third party
  • Fees associated with advertising a lost dog, including a reward offered for finding them
  • Loss or theft of your dog

What's not covered:

  • Preventative treatments, including neutering and spaying
  • Dental treatment, although some providers might cover this so check your policy details
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Routine check-ups
  • Treatment for behavioural problems

What our pet insurance expert says

"If your senior dog has any pre-existing medical conditions, you might not be able to find cover from a mainstream provider. These include chronic, hereditary, historic and bilateral conditions. Insurers don't normally cover treatment costs for pre-existing conditions, so you generally have to pay out of pocket. Some specialist insurers might offer partial cover for these costs though, so it's worth shopping around."
Faith Tagg - Confused.com pet insurance expert
Pet insurance expert Confused.com logo

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

There are 4 types of pet insurance. The type you choose depends on what you need your insurance to cover.

Accident only pet insurance covers treatment for accidental injury. You normally have a time frame to seek treatment, or it might not be covered. This type of insurance doesn't cover any illnesses your older dog might get. The average cost for accident-only pet insurance for dogs is £801.

Time-limited insurance is designed to cover each illness or injury your dog gets for a set amount of time - normally 12 months. So, if your dog gets an injury or becomes ill, treatment is covered for 12 months, but not after this. Time-limited insurance costs £1501, on average.

Maximum benefit provides a set amount of money to cover each injury or illness your dog gets. Anything outside of the claim amount won't be covered. This type of policy costs an average of £1451.

Lifetime pet insurance is designed to cover long-term conditions. It covers vet bills, including those for ongoing conditions, for the duration of your dog's life. That's as long as you renew your policy each year. It doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. This tends to be the more expensive option, costing £2331 on average for dogs.

1Based on Confused.com data June - August 2023

Is pet insurance more expensive for older dogs?

Generally, yes - pet insurance costs more for older dogs.

The average price of pet insurance for a dog aged 12-15 years is £3732. This is compared to an average of £2102 for dogs aged 4-7. But the price you pay depends on several factors:

  • The age and breed of your dog. Older dogs are more likely to need medical care than younger ones. Certain breeds are also higher risk for certain conditions that could require treatment. For example, brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is common in dogs with flatter faces like French bulldogs and pugs.
  • The type of pet insurance policy you buy. The more your insurance covers, the more it's likely to cost. For example, accident-only normally offers the least coverage, so it's generally cheaper than other types of policy that come with more benefits.
  • Your policy excess amount. This is the amount you pay towards any claims. Typically, the higher you set your excess, the lower your insurance prices are. Just make sure you set it at a level you could pay if needed.
  • Whether your dog is vaccinated. Vaccinations protect your dog from different illnesses. So, staying on top of their vaccinations will reduce the risk of needing medical care for these conditions.
  • Whether your dog is neutered or spayed. These types of procedures help lower your dog's risk of certain conditions. In female dogs, it prevents ovarian cancer and can reduce the risk of breast cancer. In male dogs, it reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

2Based on Confused.com data June - August 2023

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