Explore Pet Insurance

We all want to ensure our pets are as safe and healthy as possible, but as they grow older, the risk of them needing veterinary care often increases.

While pet insurance can help cover some of the costs associated with these treatments for ageing cats and dogs, you may have limited options and face restrictions when it comes to the policies you can take out.

Read on to find out more about the types of insurance available for senior pets and the level of cover they may offer.

Can I purchase insurance for pets that are seniors?

You’ll generally be able to take out pet insurance for older dogs and cats, but you’ll likely be restricted to basic policies that only cover accidents or offer limited cover for illnesses. Similarly, there isn’t a product specifically called seniors pet insurance, so remember this when looking for a policy.

In most cases, you’ll be able to take out a basic level of cover for pets aged nine and over. Depending on the insurer, these policies may cover accidents only or accidents and some illnesses.

These policies have a lower reimbursement rate than higher-tiered options, so you’ll usually still be required to pay a larger portion of a vet bill. For example, you may only be able to claim up to 60% back for eligible treatments, meaning you’d still pay 40% of the bill.

If your pet is ill and you have an accident-only policy, you’ll need to pay for your vet bills in full.

Senior black and white cat with its owner

Is comprehensive and standard insurance available for older pets?

If you want standard or comprehensive insurance, most providers require you to take out a policy before your pet turns nine. Your pooch or kitty can be protected for life with these policies – as long as you maintain continuous cover past this age.

If you take out this high level of cover before the relevant age threshold, hold this level of cover continuously and remain on the same policy, your pet can be covered for more than accidents only or accidents and limited illness.

You can purchase pet insurance for your animal from eight weeks old and if it’s something you think you’ll need for your pet down the line, you may want to consider purchasing it earlier rather than later.

Does pet insurance for older cats and dogs cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Each provider deals with pre-existing medical conditions differently, but in most cases, they won’t be covered by a policy if:

  • you believe your pet has a health condition – regardless of whether it’s been diagnosed by a vet or not; or
  • your pet has been showing signs or symptoms of a condition before taking out a policy or during the waiting periods.

The above applies to all levels of cover, so it’s recommended to take out pet cover when your pet is young and before they experience health problems – especially if their breed is known to have hereditary issues.

Example. Cindy has a four-year-old pug named Peggy – a breed of dog known to develop breathing problems. Peggy has been fit and healthy and has shown no signs of breathing difficulty, but Cindy decides to take out comprehensive insurance to protect Peggy down the line. By doing so, she’s ensured that Peggy will be protected with their level of cover if she develops a condition.

If Cindy waited until Peggy started developing breathing issues to purchase pet insurance, it would be considered a pre-existing condition and likely wouldn’t be covered.

Some providers also treat temporary and permanent pre-existing conditions differently. For a temporary condition that won’t affect your pet for the rest of its life, providers may temporarily add it as an exclusion to your policy.

For the full terms and conditions on how your insurer treats pre-existing issues in senior pets, it’s best to read the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Old husky at vet

Will insurance premiums for mature pets be more expensive?

While the age of your cat or dog can increase the premium you pay for pet insurance, it’s not the only factor that influences the cost. This is why two animals of the same species and age can attract different premiums from separate providers.

Other factors taken into consideration include:

  • your pet insurance claims history;
  • the breed and species of the animal;
  • where you reside;
  • the gender of the cat or dog; and
  • if the pet has been vaccinated and desexed.

Read more about how pet insurance premiums are calculated.

Why is it harder to find comprehensive pet insurance for senior animals?

Unfortunately, just like humans, pets tend to experience more health issues in their later years. So, insurers wouldn’t be able to pay claims if every pet owner only took out pet insurance when their animal was old or started experiencing health problems.

Since pet insurance isn’t community-rated like health insurance for people, providers can limit and restrict the age of pets they offer cover for.

The best way to get around this is to purchase a policy when your pet is young and healthy, so there’s cover in place if they become ill or injured in later life.

Frequently asked questions

Will my pet be covered by insurance – even after it turns nine?

Your pet will likely be covered by an insurance policy for life – as long as there’s no gap in coverage. For example, you couldn’t cease paying premiums for a year or two and then decide to purchase a standard or premium level of cover again once your pet is nine years or older.

If I have to give my pet up, can my pet insurance carry over to a new owner?

This can vary between providers, but you’ll typically be able to transfer pet insurance to a new owner if you can no longer care for your pet. Doing so is particularly handy if you’re giving up an older dog or cat and don’t want a lapse in its insurance coverage.

An insurer will need the new owner’s contact details and methods of payment, but it’s best to contact them directly for other documentation they may require to complete the process.

Will pet insurance premiums increase every year?

It’s highly likely that pet insurance premiums will increase every year if you stay with the same provider. Pets face more health complications as they grow older and there are other factors such as breed or species that increase the risk for insurers.

You may be able to find a similar policy for a lower price, so do your research when it comes time to renew your premium. Our pet insurance comparison service is one useful tool that can help you compare some policies on the market.

If I have pet insurance, am I required to take my animal to a specific vet?

You aren’t required to take your pet to a specific vet if you have insurance. All licensed and registered vets in Australia will accept pet insurance and you won’t be tied to a specific vet when you take out insurance for your pet. This means you can find a vet that offers service you’re happy with.

Let us help you find pet insurance

Pet insurance can provide you with peace of mind if the worst was to happen to your pet, but it can be overwhelming to know which policy you should consider.

Whether you’ve got a dog in its later years or you’ve just purchased a kitten, we can help you find a pet insurance quote.

Our pet insurance comparison tool allows you to assess a variety of policies from our panel of providers; so you can compare their costs, features and more online and in one place.

Within minutes, you’ll have a range of options to choose from. The best part is this service is free. It pays to compare, so let us help you!

Ready to look for a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

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