Cats have an average life expectancy of around 14 years, but this is incredibly changeable depending on their habits, breeds, and whether or not you keep them indoors. Indoor cats (housecats) have life expectancies of over 20 years, and our black domestic shorthair lived to 27.

At every stage in a cat’s life, they can be insured, either with accident cover, or accident & illness insurance, but for older cats with pre existing illnesses, it can be tricky to find good insurance.

In this article, I want to try to simplify some of those barriers to pet insurance for older cats, so hopefully you can find the right product for your ageing kitten.

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Are There Available Pet Insurance for Older Cats?

Pet Insurance for Older Cats

Generally speaking, cats are more insurable than dogs, especially cats that are kept permanently indoors, as they have fewer health problems and are much less likely to get into fights, traffic accidents, or pick up infections and viruses from other cats or food.

As with all pets, if you start your cat insurance policy before they turn nine, you will have comprehensive cover for life. However, if you start insurance after that there are limited options for new policies.

Accident cover and limited illness cover are standard on prescriptive policies over the phone direct from most insurance providers in Australia, but RSPCA insurance does offer accident and injury as standard for all cats up to the age of 16 (though this doesn’t include routine treatment unless they begin the policy before they turn nine).

Why Older Cat Insurance Differs from Normal Pet Insurance?

Cats, regardless of breed, are considered to be senior cats at seven years old. This is when their bodies begin requiring higher protein, and more controlled amounts of taurine. For most cats, this will also be the age that they first start to experience routine dental problems and joint inflammation too.

Considering that an indoor cat can live to see twenty, even thirty years old, that’s a long time for insurance companies to be covering vets' bills when preexisting conditions and underlying conditions are increasingly likely. 

This means that premiums rise year on year (not much, but enough to notice) after the age of seven, and it’s very difficult to find an insurance provider to begin a new contract after the age of ten.

Older Cat Insurance

How Much Does Pet Insurance for Senior Cats Cost?

Cats aren’t usually split by breeds when it comes to insurance, though some providers will charge slightly higher rates for long-haired breeds than short-haired breeds, and pedigree breeds are often offered theft protection even at an older age.

  • Young cats and kittens (under one year) can be insured for around $600 - $650
  • Adult cats (1 to 7 years old) are usually insured at $650 - $900, with most of the difference based on where you live, and whether or not they are outdoor cats.
  • Senior cats who have been previously insured can continue their insurance at $700 - $1200 per year as senior cats.
  • For new policies, the costs are about the same, but the cover will be less. 

How to Compare Older Cat Insurance and What to Look For

Senior cats up to nine years old (eight years, 364 days) can be insured quite easily with comparison websites like Compare the market offering simple and accessible advice on simple insurance for cats.

However, once a cat reaches nine years old, comparison sites simply stop including them in their calculations. The only option is to go directly to insurance providers.

Check here for insurance comparisons, for cats 9 years or younger.


Companies that Offer Pet Insurance for Older Cats

RSPCA

RSPCA Pet Insurance offers up to 60% of vet bills for cats up to 16 years old, with annual benefits up to $11,000. Rates will vary depending on circumstances, but eligibility is equal across Australia, making RSPCA one of the most accessible, and easy-to-manage insurance companies for older cats in Australia.

Pet Secure

Pet Secure only offers basic insurance (accident cover and limit illness cover, past the age of nine, but if you insure them before they turn nine, your cats will be covered with no upper age limit for every condition.

Petsy

Petsy has great customer service and understands your needs as a pet owner. Their cat insurance policies only start up to the age of nine but once live you can keep your senior cat insured for life with comprehensive cover.

Knose

Knose is similar to most large insurance providers in that they offer lifetime coverage, as long as insurance is taken out before your cat’s ninth birthday. That can make insuring older cats difficult, but the cover is better than insurance taken out later in life.


FAQs on Pet Insurance for Elderly Cats

An old cat with his owner

Is there an age limit for cat insurance?

The highest entry age for new policies in Australia is 16 years old, but accident-only will cover pets of any age from some providers. The standard age limit for all pet insurance is 9 years for full comprehensive insurance.

How to keep vet bills down for senior cats?

For senior cats that haven’t had insurance, many vets will offer treatment plans, and membership pricing, meaning you can pay $30-$40 per month for routine dental treatment, standard vaccinations and health checks, even if you can’t have them insured.

How much does it cost to look after an older cat?

Caring for an older cat is more expensive than caring for younger cats. Their food is more costly, and as they get much older there are cleaning products and preventative products like puppy training pads that help with litter-tray misses. 

Is routine care an insurance option for older cats?

Routine care is rarely an option for older pets, but RSPCA does offer some vet visits. The best option for senior cats is vet payment plans to keep the costs regular and predictable.

Can my older cat insurance carry over to a new owner?

Cat insurance can be carried over to a new owner regardless of age. Simply get in touch with your insurance provider before transferring ownership if you can’t look after your pet for any reason.

Is comprehensive insurance available for older cats?

Comprehensive insurance is not an option for older cats, unless they are already insured, in which case comprehensive insurance will carry over without any age limit with nearly all providers.

Does pet insurance for senior cats cover preexisting conditions?

Pet insurance for senior cats, like pet insurance for adult cats and kittens, will not cover pre-existing conditions unless they are on a list of accepted pre-existing conditions (conjunctivitis, FIV, and gingivitis are typically accepted preexisting conditions).


Pet Insurance for Older Cats are Essential

Insuring older cats isn’t simple, and it’s better done early, so your insurance premium rolls into old age with your pet, but there are options for reasonably wide-ranging insurance cover for cats up to age sixteen, and limited policies for those older than that.

Australian insurance companies do have a way to go in terms of support for older cats, particularly those from rescues, whose insurance can’t start young enough, but thankfully, there are some great providers with more flexibility. For more information, get in touch with the companies listed above.

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