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Compare pet insurance for older dogs

Finding the right insurance when your dog is getting older can be a challenge. Although there’s never a one-size-fits-all pet insurance policy to cover your faithful companion, help is at hand. We’ll run through your options to get the cover your pet deserves.

Finding the right insurance when your dog is getting older can be a challenge. Although there’s never a one-size-fits-all pet insurance policy to cover your faithful companion, help is at hand. We’ll run through your options to get the cover your pet deserves.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Last Updated
10 FEBRUARY 2023
4 min read
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When is my dog considered ‘older’?

Although you probably hate the idea of your pet getting on in life, the average lifespan of a purebred dog is 11.9 years, while for their crossbreed pals it’s around 13.1 years. But you’ll probably notice that your dog starts slowing down at around the age of seven, with middle age coming sooner for some larger breeds.

Whether it’s that they no longer dive into water on a long walk or skid across the laminate floor racing to the front door when they hear a delivery arriving, your pet’s behaviour and health may change as they grow older. Because of this, so will your dog insurance premiums, which may become more complicated and more expensive.

Does pet insurance have an age limit?

Some pet insurance providers do have an upper age limit, but others will let you start a new policy for your pet at any age. Some may also charge a higher excess for older dogs, and remove cover for death by illness, so make sure you check these things when comparing quotes.

Ideally, you should insure your dog from when they’re a pup, usually from the age of eight weeks. This isn’t just to make sure they get the care they need and to protect yourself from big vets’ bills. Most pet insurance won’t cover pre-existing conditions – so it makes sense to start a policy for your pup before they develop any.

How much is pet insurance for older dogs?

Taking out a new policy for an older dog is likely going to be more expensive than insuring a puppy. However, age isn’t the only thing that’s used to calculate your premium. The breed of dog will also be taken into consideration. For example, some breeds are more susceptible to certain health problems than others, while pedigree dogs are particularly vulnerable to certain hereditary conditions.

Finally, the type of policy you take out will play a large part. If you’re insuring against accidents only, you’re likely to get a cheaper quote than you would for a policy which protects your dog against both accidents and illnesses.

Your dog is unique, so their insurance will be too. A quick way to get any idea of how much it costs to insure your dog is to compare quotes with Comparethemarket.

Why is pet insurance for older dogs more expensive?

Unfortunately, just like us, as your dog gets older, the chances of them developing chronic conditions or dental issues increases, and the more likely they are to need medical care. Sadly, common medical conditions in older animals include:

  • arthritis 
  • gum disease 
  • diabetes 
  • blindness 
  • kidney disease 
  • cancer 
  • dementia

These health problems often lead to people claiming on their pet insurance, to help get the care their dog needs – which means higher premiums for owners of older dogs.

How can I get cheaper insurance for my older dog?

While we can’t stop premiums from going up, we can help you find the right quotes for your dog easily and quickly, when you use our comparison service.

Just pop in some details about your dog and we’ll compare dozens of providers in minutes to bring you cheap dog insurance policies that’ll protect your pooch with the care it deserves. If you want to bring down the monthly premium, you might want to try playing around with the excess amount. Just make sure that you’ll be able to afford it, if you need to make a claim.

What types of pet insurance are available for older dogs?

Lifetime pet insurance tends to be the most expensive option, but it can be the best choice for older dogs. If you want to make sure your pooch receives the care they deserve as they get older, a lifetime policy covers your dog for as long as you renew the policy. If you decide to switch policies, most new policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions.

Maximum benefit pet insurance, which insures your dog for a set amount per condition, may help you save on your insurance, but, make sure you get cover for the right amount. Otherwise, you may find you’re only able to claim for part of their treatment cost. Once the limit per condition is used up, you can no longer claim for the condition, even if you renew the policy.

Time-limited pet insurance this sort of cover provides shorter term cover, 12 months from the onset of a condition. Once that period ends, or you’ve used up the cost limit of the policy (whichever happens first), you can no longer claim on the policy, even if you renew.

Accident-only pet insurance is best suited to healthy dogs and owners on a budget. It will only cover vet fees for your pet if they have an accident.

Find out more about the different types of dog insurance.

What do I need to consider when insuring an older dog?

It’s harder to get insurance for older dogs, especially a dog with pre-existing conditions, since most new policies will exclude any pre-existing conditions. This means it’s often better to renew an existing policy, rather than trying to find a new deal.

If you’re buying a new policy and you’re thinking about choosing a new provider, look out for:

  • pre-existing conditions – some insurance providers won’t insure an older dog who already has health conditions. Those that will insure your dog will almost certainly exclude any claims relating to those conditions.
  • excess – this is the amount you’d have to pay before being able to claim on your insurance cover.
  • what’s covered – in addition to vet bills, some policies will also:
    • Pay out in the event of the dog’s death
    • Cover bereavement counselling should it be needed
  • third-party liability – this covers any injuries to somebody else or damage to their property caused by your dog.
  • loss or theft – some insurance providers will pay towards the cost of finding a lost dog. Similarly, if your dog is stolen, you might be able to get back some of the purchase price.
  • kennel fees – if you need a professional to take care of your pooch, boarding fees can be expensive. Look out for a policy that can help with the costs.
  • age limits – some insurance providers will set an age limit that could prevent you from renewing in a year’s time. They could also increase the excess, or reduce the cover options for dogs of a certain age. Ask yourself if you’re prepared to look for another quote when your current policy ends.

What’s the best pet insurance for an older dog?

It might be the most expensive, but a lifetime policy could offer the best protection for your older dog. That’s because it’ll always cover them, so long as you keep paying the premiums. If you take it out when they’re younger, it should cover any conditions your dog may develop as they get older.

If you already have a policy for your older dog, it’s arguably most important that you don’t let it lapse. That’s because taking out a new policy for an older dog won’t usually cover any pre-existing conditions that you may need insuring against.

If they haven’t been insured already, and you need cover for pre-existing medical conditions, this will be tricky. You’ll need to look for a specialist provider, which will usually be much more expensive.

Compare dog insurance options

It’s easy to compare dog cover from a range of the UK’s most popular insurance providers. Simply enter a few details and we’ll show you what cover is available to you and your dog, what it’ll cost and the policy details.

Frequently asked questions

How can you get cheaper insurance for an older dog?

You may be able to find a cheaper pet insurance deal if you look for policies designed for older pets. There are providers that specialise in covering older dogs, but keep an eye out for their policy exclusions.

You can also follow our six top tips to drive the cost of your policy down:

  1. Check you have the right level of cover to suit your pet’s needs so you don’t find yourself paying for things you don’t need
  2. Check whether your pet is entitled to free treatment
  3. Keep your pet healthy
  4. Consider spaying or neutering your pet
  5. Check for insurance providers that offer multi-pet discounts
  6. Compare pet insurance quotes

Find out more about how these tips help to get cheaper pet insurance.

Does pet insurance cover euthanasia?

Not all policies cover the costs of putting your dog to sleep and their cremation or burial. It’s best to read your policy documents or contact your insurance company to check if you’re covered.

When should I take an older dog to the vet?

It can be difficult to work out if your pet is showing signs of aging or if they have symptoms of a more serious medical problem.

According to animal charities, these are among the signs that you should take your older dog to the vet:

  • Change in appetite
  • Drinking more than normal
  • Weight loss
  • Smelly breath
  • Lumps or bumps, especially if they’re rapidly getting bigger
  • Develop a cough
  • Changes in behaviour, like becoming aggressive.

How does co-insurance work?

Some policies ask pet owners to pay a percentage towards a claim, sometimes on top of the fixed excess (the set amount you pay towards an insurance claim). Co-payments typically range from 10% to 20% of a claim and this usually increases with the age of your furry friend.

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