Insurance is often recommended to pet owners, in case of a requirement for veterinary treatment, be that for long-term treatment or in the case of an emergency. However, you will notice that as your dog gets older, insurance premiums become far more expensive. Is it possible to ensure the best possible care for our furry friends on a budget?

Why is insurance more expensive for older dogs? 

Most companies will define senior dogs as being 8 years or older. Unfortunately, as our pets get older, they are far more likely to need veterinary attention. Senior dogs are more likely to suffer with conditions such as: 

  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease 
  • Dental disease
  • Cancer 

Therefore, as you are much more likely to claim on your insurance, and treatment tends to be more long term, premiums suddenly become much higher. 

What does insurance cover? 

This will depend on what type of insurance policy you take out:

Lifetime insurance

This is the most comprehensive and priciest option, but will keep your dog covered throughout their lifetime.

Maximum benefit insurance

This will cover your dog up to a certain amount of money per condition. Once you have reached this limit, you may no longer be able to claim for this condition – important to consider with an older dog with possible long-term issues. 

Time limited

This will cover for new conditions that your dog develops over the course of a limited time period. Be aware that after this, any condition that returns will count as a pre-existing condition and won’t be covered.

Accident only policies 

These tend to be the cheapest on the market. That being said, they are best suited to healthy pets that need veterinary care in the unlikely event of an accident. These won’t cover for long term health conditions.

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Will all policies cover older dogs? 

It is important to check this with your current or potential insurance provider. Some insurers have age limits and will not insure senior dogs. 

Is it worth it? 

If you choose not to insure your older dog, you’re not alone. Many opt not to renew their policies once their dogs get to a certain age because the premiums get so much higher. However, the likelihood of your pet needing veterinary attention is much higher too. Remember, there are things that your insurance won’t cover, including preventative health care (vaccinations, parasite control, neutering). 

How can I get affordable insurance for my older dog? 

Insure your dog from a puppy 

This is sensible to do anyway, but by doing this, you ensure that your dog will be covered for all pre-existing conditions, meaning you won’t be caught out by any additional costs.

Multi-pet policies 

If you have more than one dog, this may reduce the overall cost of your policy if they are all insured with the same company.

As mentioned above, cheaper options for insurance include time limited and accident only policies. However, be aware of their limitations!  

What if I can’t afford insurance? 

If insurance simply isn’t an option for you, consider putting aside some money every month in case your dog requires veterinary treatment. If your pet needs long-term medication, consider buying these from online pharmacies with a written prescription from your vet, as it can be cheaper this way. 

Keeping up with your dog’s preventative health care from a young age can help to slow the development of conditions such as dental disease, and neutering can reduce the risk of some cancers that affect older dogs. 

In conclusion… 

When it comes to pet insurance, it’s important to do your research. Find out what policies are available, what they cover, and of course how much money they will set you back. Ultimately, do what you feel is best for you and your furry friend!

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