Pet Insurance for Older Dogs and Cats

Finding pet insurance for older dogs and cats can be tricky, but we've found ones that'll cover pets older than 9. Filter, compare and click through for a quote.

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Name Product Illness Maximum yearly benefit Reimbursement rate Annual limit per condition Maximum Age (Years)
Medibank Essential Pet Care
$4,000
70%
No limit
No age limit
Get a sweet 16% off your first year. Sign up and use promo code SAVE16 by 2 Feb 2022. T&Cs apply.
PIA Essentials Cover
$6,000
90%
$1,000
11
Highest reimbursement rate out of PIA's policies. Get 2 months free when you sign up.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Our comparison table shows the insurers that currently provide cover for pets older than 9. Though none of them are comprehensive, they can still cover you for both accidents and illnesses.

What types of insurance are available for older dogs and cats?

Happy Senior Labrador Retriever

You'll find that lots of insurers won't cover your pet with their most comprehensive plan if they're older because there's a higher likelihood of illness. However, there might be some circumstances where you can still get cover – for instance if they are still under 9 years old. There are generally 3 levels of insurance you can choose from:

  • Accident-only insurance. This is the lowest level of cover, and therefore usually the cheapest. It covers injuries caused by an accident including broken bones from a car accident, scratches, burns and snake bites. It won't pay for all types of accidents though.
  • Accident and illness cover. This protects your four-legged friend against accidents, sickness and disease. This can include cancer, infectious diseases, hereditary illnesses and skin conditions.
  • Comprehensive cover. If you're able to get comprehensive cover, you usually get similar protection against the accidents and illnesses outlined above, but they come with a higher benefit limit. This is the amount you can claim back for treatment. On top of that, you often get routine care, which can reimburse you for expenses like training, prescription diets, deworming and desexing.

Is there an age limit for pet insurance?

So there isn't an age limit for pet insurance so long as your pet is insured and you keep paying your premium. But if you don't have pet insurance, you generally need to take a policy out before your dog or cat turns 9 or you won't be able to get comprehensive cover.

If your furry friend is over 9, don't worry though. In most cases, you should still be able to get cover; you just won't be able to get a comprehensive policy.

Pet insurance for dogs over 9

It's still possible to get pet insurance for a 9-year-old or older dog, but there are a couple of caveats:

  1. You probably won't be covered for illnesses. Most insurers won't cover your pet for illnesses once they're over the age of 9 so if you're able to, take out a policy before your pet turns 8. If you do that, they'll usually cover you past the age of 9, provided your cover with them doesn't lapse.
  2. Pre-existing conditions won't be covered. If you are able to take out illness cover, note that you won't be able to get cover for any pre-existing conditions. This sometimes means that you won't be covered for all conditions related to those illnesses and injuries. So if your pet shows any signs of a skin condition, all skin conditions will be excluded.

While it's less than ideal to go without cover for illnesses and pre-existing conditions, it doesn't matter how old your pet is – accidents always happen. Even if you can only get accident cover, it's still worth getting some protection for your pet. If they were to get hit by a car, you might have to pay for their surgery out of your own pocket. Worse, you might need to put them down.

What is the best pet insurance for older dogs or cats?

The best pet insurance for older dogs or cats is generally the one that can provide the most comprehensive protection. If your pet is older than 9 years old, this will be tricky to get. However, if you're still able to get comprehensive pet insurance for senior dogs, keep an eye out for the following inclusions:

  • Accidental Injury
  • Tick paralysis – annual sub-limit
  • Emergency boarding fees
  • Lifetime cover
  • Cancer treatment
  • Skin conditions
  • Lab and diagnostic tests
  • Hospitalisation
  • Radiology
  • Medicines
  • Surgery
  • Cruciate ligament conditions
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions (but not pre-existing conditions)

There are a few other important terms to look out for when searching for the best pet insurance policy for seniors. These are:

📌 Benefit limits. This is the maximum amount you can claim for. You get total annual benefit limits (the most you can claim for in total over the course of a year) but you also often get sub-benefit limits. This is the maximum amount you can claim for on specific treatments. For instance, there might be an annual benefit limit of $20,000 but a $1,000 sub-limit for tick paralysis. They can be easy to miss so keep an eye out when you're comparing.
📌 Benefit cover percentage. Sometimes known as the reimbursement rate, this is the percentage of a claim that the pet insurer will pay you. For instance, if you need to make a $1,000 claim for tick paralysis and your insurer has a 80% reimbursement rate, you'll still have to pay $200.
📌 Excess. If the insurer doesn't have a benefit cover percentage, it will most likely require you to pay an excess. In most cases, you can choose your excess. They generally range from $200 to $750.
📌 Waiting periods. This is a specified length of time you need to hold your insurance policy for before they'll actually cover you. They only apply to illnesses and usually range from between 2 and 12 months.

What additional extras are available?

Many pet owners want more than just basic cover for the furriest member of their family. If you are able to get access to more benefits, consider these additional extras for your insurance policy:

  • Illness. This covers issues such as infections, coughs and colds.
  • Cancer treatment. This covers surgery and treatment for your pet in association with cancer.
  • Tick paralysis. This covers treatment for pets that have been bitten and affected by a paralysis tick.
  • Pre-existing and hereditary conditions. This is not covered by the basic policies, but if you insure your pet later in life, it's essential.

Exclusions to look out for with an older dog or cat

Just like any other type of insurance, pet insurance doesn't cover everything. With an older dog or cat, this can really end up costing you a lot of money, so it pays to know what isn't usually covered. Common exclusions include:

  • Pre-existing conditions that your pet was showing signs of or has been diagnosed with before you got insurance
  • Organ transplant surgery, artificial limbs or prosthetics
  • Dental procedures or dental diseases
  • Treatment for diseases for which there is a known vaccine, including kennel cough and parvovirus
  • Preventative treatments and vaccinations like flea/tick control, unless you can get routine cover
  • Behavioural problems, or conditions that were caused by behavioural problems
  • Grooming, including shampoos, baths, dips or any cosmetic surgeries
  • Pet food or supplements, even ones recommended by your vet

You can find out more about specific pet insurance exclusions here
Image: Getty Images

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