As your dog ages, there is an increased risk of health problems and insurance prices reflect that. Thankfully, nearly all insurers offer older dog insurance without any additional hoops to jump through.
Dog insurance is designed to cover the unexpected, so pre-existing conditions can make it hard to find a good deal, but they are out there. For everything you need to know about buying insurance for your older dog, keep reading.
Are there Insurance for Older Dogs?
There is no specific insurance product marketed solely at older dogs. This means that your existing insurance will simply increase its premiums when your dog reaches 7 or 8 years old (depending on the insurer).
This article is designed to lead you through a labyrinth of insurance providers without the jargon, offering you guidance towards simple insurance, at a fair price, for your older pet.
How Much Does Older Dog Insurance Cost?
Dogs are classed as seniors after 7 years old, but some insurance providers will class them as adults at 8+. This can be confusing, but it is generally explained in each year’s insurance quotes, and most good pet insurers will offer help and advice over the phone to explain cost increases as your pets get older.
Another thing to consider is your dog’s breed. Larger dogs have a shorter life expectancy, with St Bernards usually living to around 8 years old, while Jack Russel Terriers, on average, live to around 14.
This tends to be the case for smaller dogs, despite them living longer than larger breeds, because they have more health problems, over a longer life. So as they get older, their premiums get higher and typically cost more than larger breeds of the same age.
Insurance Costs for Older Small Breeds
Based on an 8-year-old Jack Russell called Tony with an appetite for sofa destruction. His insurance was pretty low when we got him (6 years old from a rescue) but it’s since gone up.
When we called the insurer to ask why, they explained it was most likely due to his life expectancy, and the fact he did already have some registered hip inflammation.
From 1-7, Tony’s insurance was $800-1900, but from 7+ it's around $2100 a year, and likely to stay around that price.
For context, his vet bills are covered in full, including nurse visits, health checks and vaccinations. Insurance is slightly more per year than we would pay for that, but when he does need treatment, the costs are covered other than a $400 excess.
Insurance Costs for Older Medium Breeds
We’ve based our medium breed prices on a King Charles Spaniel, which in most cases are well-bred dogs, with few life-threatening conditions that result from their breed traits.
That makes them a pretty simple dog to insure, but like all medium breeds, they tend to be more expensive while they’re younger because they are energetic, active dogs, who tend to get into tricky situations.
For younger medium breeds, a typical premium is between $1030 and $1800, but this increases to about $2000 at 7+.
Insurance Costs for Older Large Breeds
We have an English sheepdog (Callie) who passed away last year. She had 13 incredible years, and when she passed, her insurance paid for everything. Premiums have gone up since last year, like pretty much every other cost in life, but we’ve checked what her premium would be today as a guide for larger breeds:
From 1-7 years, her standard annual insurance would be between $1000 and $1850.
7+, the price remains pretty steady at $1950 a year, even as she outgrew her life expectancy – though this would be more to begin a policy with any preexisting conditions.
How to Compare Pet Insurance and What to Look For
The three main types of insurance for senior dogs are accident, accident and illness, and comprehensive.
Comprehensive insurance covers all eventualities, including most routine veterinary care, and because it is typically sold to more responsible owners, the risk for insurers is lower, meaning it is often actually cheaper than accident-only insurance.
Check out this website to help you compare insurance quickly and easily.
Companies with Dog Insurance for Older Dogs
There are five well-rated pet insurance companies offering reliable insurance for older pets in Australia. All offer insurance for older dogs from $1700 - $2600 per month (when checked for an 8-year-old golden retriever with no existing insurance).
Petsy offers comprehensive insurance to any dog under nine years, with no upper age limit once the insurance begins.
Knose is another, offering lifetime insurance to any pet currently under the age of 9. Their insurance covers routine care and they have excellent customer service.
Fetch will offer some insurance to dogs over 9, but comprehensive insurance must either begin, or transfer from a previous provider before their ninth birthday.
K9 Cover is a specialist older dog insurer, with tailored insurance offers for dogs over 9 years, and comprehensive insurance covering whole-life policies if started before nine.
Pet Insurance Australia
Pet Insurance Australia has the most flexible insurance offers for older dogs, but with slightly higher premiums. If insured before their twelfth birthday, their Pet Essentials insurance offers the basics for most older dogs.
FAQs on Pet Insurance for Older Dogs
Is comprehensive insurance available for older dogs?
You are more likely to find comprehensive cover for dogs while they are young, and this will carry over into old age, retaining all the same privileges. If you are insuring an older dog for the first time, not all insurance companies offer comprehensive coverage, but some will give comprehensive cover to older pets without preexisting conditions.
Does pet insurance for senior dogs cover preexisting conditions?
Pet insurance for senior dogs will not cover preexisting conditions. There are one or two exceptions to this, but premiums are significantly higher on those policies. Instead, look for policies that cover everything else well, and try to put money aside as a form of insurance to cover preexisting conditions.
Is there an age limit for dog insurance?
There is no age limit for dog insurance, but sometimes it can be limited to accident-only, particularly if they reach 14+.
Is routine care an insurance option for older pets?
Routine veterinary care is an optional add-on with most insurance policies, including for older dogs, and generally offers dental treatments, nurse consultations, health checks and vaccinations as part of your insurance. This is more likely if your dog has existing insurance from a young age.
Can my older dog insurance carry over to a new owner?
If you can no longer care for your older dog, it is possible to transfer insurance over to a new owner, and even a rescue centre. Make sure the new owner is aware of this, and contact your insurance provider to agree on a transfer date.
It is Never Too Late to Get a Pet Insurance for Older Dogs
Regardless of your pet’s illness, there is nearly always an insurer that will cover them. They might not cover you for their existing illness, but they will cover for new issues, accidents, and sometimes the cost of memorial arrangements, cremation, or burial.
It’s always worth insuring your dog, particularly when they get older, so if you haven’t yet, remember that the best time to start insurance for your older dog is always today, not tomorrow.