Do pet insurance premiums increase with age?

28 November 2023 - 3 min read
Man and dog staring at each other

It might come as a surprise to find your pet insurance premiums increasing as your pet gets older, especially if you’ve never needed to make a claim.

There are good reasons for it though – let us try to explain why pet insurance gets more expensive for older dogs and cats.

The cost of keeping ageing pets healthy

Your pet insurance premiums are set by the level of risk your insurer calculates for your pet. It’s affected by things like previous claims, diseases that are common in your pet’s breed, and – yes – their age.

Sadly, there isn’t a no claims discount for your dog or cat like you get on your car insurance. Even if they have a history of perfect health, the fact is the risk of them becoming ill is greater the older they get.

Conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are more common in senior pets, which can mean more frequent vet visits and potentially expensive treatments.

 This increased risk means pet insurance providers increase your premiums to account for the higher likelihood of claims being made as your pet reaches their senior years. 

Is it worth insuring an older cat or dog?

You might be tempted to cancel your pet insurance if it’s becoming more expensive as the years pass – but just consider this first. It’s all proportionate: it’s more expensive because your pet is more likely to need expensive veterinary treatment. If you cancel the policy you’ll have to pay the entire vet bill yourself.

If you don’t have dog insurance or cat insurance and your dog or cat needs expensive treatment, you might face the heartbreaking dilemma of considering euthanasia because it’s more than you can afford.

The right cover for older pets

At ManyPets we have no upper age limits for pets we can insure. That means that if you’re not currently insured with us you could get a quote and switch to us if you like our policies. We’ll even waive the 14 day ‘wait period’ at the start of the policy if your pet has been insured for at least 12 months.

For older pets we ask for a 20% co-payment on any claims for pets over the age of nine. That means you’ll be asked to contribute 20% of the claim cost as well as your excess if you do need to claim. That might sound like a bad thing, but it actually really helps to keep the premiums cheaper for older cats and dogs.

All our policies are lifetime pet insurance, so they have an annual vet fee limit that refreshes each year when you renew, so your pet won’t run out of cover for conditions even if they reach a grand old age.

How to afford pet insurance as your pet ages

One really important thing you can do is take out cover while your pet is young and healthy. It’ll be cheaper when they’re younger and if you choose a lifetime policy you won’t end up with conditions being excluded as they age like you would with a time-limited policy.

Another really great strategy is to account for higher premiums while your pet is young. Work on the assumption that they will increase and pay a little extra each month into a savings account. That way, when they do increase, you can dip into the savings to pay the higher premiums without it having a big impact on your household budget.

If you’re struggling with higher premiums, get in touch with your insurer before you consider cancelling. They might be able to let you choose a higher excess or to lower your level of cover so it’s a bit cheaper. Just be aware that if you increase your excess, you will have to pay more towards any claim you make.

Even our Value policy has a £3,000 annual vet fee limit which is high enough to cover all sorts of illnesses and conditions your pet might experience as they get older. And because it’s a lifetime policy the £3,000 limit will refresh each year.

If your pet needs prescription medication for any age-related condition, you might save money by getting a prescription from your vet and buying it online. It’ll even be conveniently delivered to your door. 

Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.