Why is it more expensive?
As your pet ages they are more likely to fall ill or suffer an injury that could lead to an expensive claim.
To cover the risk, insurers charge more to insure a senior pet, with premiums for older pedigree animals running into the thousands of pounds a year.
If you already have cover the cost will go up as your pet gets older, so you could save by comparing pet insurance quotes to find a better deal.
Be careful before you cancel your existing policy though, because not all insurers cover pets over a certain age, especially if they have existing medical conditions.
At what age is your pet old?
This varies but most insurers will define an old cat or dog as being eight years old or more.
For pets like rabbits it will be lower, usually five years old, but for horses the maximum age can be as high as 20 years old.
Many policies set a maximum age for new policies which is typically eight years old for dogs and ten years old for cats.
No, as long as you keep making your payments your insurance should keep running, even if your pet's age exceeds the insurer's maximum age for cover.
What cover can you get?
You should be able to get cover for things like:
Third party liability*
Loss or theft
Boarding fees if you are taken to hospital
Death by illness or injury
Watch out: Some insurers limit the cover they offer to older pets, for example they may not offer cover for the death of your pet if they die from an illness.
Check the policy documents carefully for any exclusions before you buy. Here is what can be excluded from a pet insurance policy and what could stop your insurer paying a claim.
Here is more information on what is covered by a pet insurance policy.
Contributing to claims
Some insurers insist you contribute towards the cost of the claim above the excess when your pet passes a certain age. This is called co-insurance.
For example: If you have a golden retriever that reaches eight years old, your insurer may ask you to contribute 20% of any claim you make, plus the excess amount.
For a claim to cover vet fees of £350, you might have to pay:
|Excess||20% contribution||Total you pay|
This means insurers can offer you lower premiums because you cover some of the cost yourself. Check the policy carefully to see if co-insurance is included before you buy cover.
How can you get cheaper cover?
The best way to find cheaper cover for your old pet is to compare as many policies as you can. You need to look for:
Insurers that offer cover for your pet's age
What cover is offered and what the claim limits are
Any exclusions like death by illness
Once you have found policies that can cover your pet and offer the protection they need, you should look at price to find the best possible deal.
Are there any alternatives?
If you cannot find affordable cover for your older pet, or other exclusions prevent you from finding insurance, there are other things you can do:
Use a savings account to pay in as much as you can afford to each month to pay for unexpected vet fees. You can compare savings accounts here.
Charities can help with your vet bills if you are on a low income or receive certain benefits, this guide explains which charities could help you
However, you might face other costs that only pet insurance can cover.
For example, if your dog causes injury to someone you could face bills of thousands of pounds.
Third party liability in a pet insurance policy is designed to cover these risks, so it may be worth paying the extra cost to protect against them.