Pet insurance for older dogs

Just like a human, your pet dog is more likely to develop health and dental problems as it gets older. That means the likelihood of trips to the vet is correspondingly higher, which in turn increases the likelihood that you’ll need to make claims on your Pet Insurance. This is why pet insurance premiums tend to rise as your dog ages. 

When is a dog considered ‘older’?

A dog’s lifespan can vary enormously depending on their breed, size, gender and luck. Dogs can live into their late teens, while some breeds are lucky to make it to 10 years old. Generally speaking, non-pedigree dogs have a life expectancy of around 13 years, while pedigrees have a slightly shorter average lifespan. 

When it comes to older dog insurance, your provider has to consider the age at which dogs tend to start running into health problems. While there may be slight differences between insurers, most tend to view dogs aged eight and above as ‘older’ animals. Bear in mind, this may be qualified by different parts of your policy – for example, there may be areas where coverage changes from the age of five. 

When does Pet Insurance for older dogs stop?

Generally, you can still claim on dog insurance for older dogs as long as the policy was taken out before your pet reaches the stated upper age limit. If you don’t allow the policy to lapse, and continue paying the premiums, your cover will usually carry on past the maximum age. 

However, coverage in some areas of the policy is still likely to stop or change when your dog reaches a certain age. For example, many insurers are unlikely to cover the costs of burial or cremation for a dog over a specified age, and many will also apply co-payment for vet’s fees. 

What is co-payment?

Co-payment, also known as co-insurance, means you and your insurers share the cost of your pet’s vet fees if a claim is made. The pet owner pays the excess as well as a percentage of the fee, while the insurer pays the balance. The percentages paid by each side can change according to the age of the dog.

Can you get cover for any pre-existing conditions?

You should be able to get older dog insurance for a pet with a pre-existing health condition from some insurers, though they are likely to exclude that condition from the coverage offered. 

What age restrictions apply to our Pet Insurance for older dogs?

We offer three types of Pet Insurance policy: 

  • Lifetime is our most comprehensive policy. It provides cover for new conditions or accidents that occur over the course of your dog’s whole lifetime as long as the policy is renewed and the premiums are paid. 
  • 12 Month policy – this provides cover for the twelve months after a condition occurs as long as the policy remains in force. Your dog has 12 months of cover from the onset of each new condition up until the financial limit has been reached or 12 months has passed, whichever is sooner. 
  • Accident Only covers your dog’s treatment in the event of an accident up to the cover limit.  

For all three types of policy, your dog has to be at least eight weeks old to qualify. There is no upper age limit on policies and we won't stop providing cover when your pet gets older, so long as an existing policy isn’t allowed to lapse and you continue to pay the premium. 

There are qualifications to this: 

Cover for the death of your pet does not apply if your dog is aged eight or above. For dogs aged below eight, there will also be a deduction on the amount paid when your pet passes away, is put down, stolen or strays as shown in the table below.

Age of pet at the date the pet dies, is euthanised, stolen or strays Deduction from price paid, fixed amount or amount shown in the schedule
Up to 1 year old Amount minus 0%
Over 1 year and up to 2 years old Amount minus 10%
Over 2 years and up to 3 years old Amount minus 20%
Over 3 years and up to 4 years old Amount minus 30%
Over 4 years and up to 5 years old Amount minus 45%
Over 5 years and up to 6 years old Amount minus 60%
Over 6 years and up to 7 years old Amount minus 75%
Over 7 years and up to 8 years old Amount minus 90%
Over 8 years old Amount minus 100%

No payments will be made for theft and straying, and funeral or cremation costs, for a dog aged eight or over at the time of the loss. 

Under Lifetime policies, when your pet reaches the age of five, a co-payment will apply for veterinary fees in addition to the policy excess.

Find out more about our Pet Insurance and view our key documents which include the product features and the limitations and exclusions that apply.

Can we cover your pet?

Choose from 6 levels of cover

Defacto rated pet 5 stars

Our Lifetime Pet Insurance has been independently rated 5 Stars by Defaqto.

Defacto pet 3 stars

Our 12 Month Pet Insurance has been independently rated 3 Stars by Defaqto.

Moneyfacts pet

Commended by MoneyFacts' Pet Insurance Provider of the Year Awards 2018.