Pet insurance for older cats

Senior cats can suffer more often from health conditions than younger felines. Getting insurance coverage will be more expensive but comprehensive cover can be found.

How senior cat insurance works

Cat age is one of the key factors that insurance companies use to determine the price you pay. Most insurers have an age threshold where cats are deemed to be senior cats – this varies between providers and can begin at aged 7 up to aged 10. When your cat reaches this age you might find that elements of cover are reduced, removed or edited and the price increases more steeply than it may have before – this happens regardless of how healthy your cat may or may not be.

Contents of this guide

Types of pet insurance is available for older cats? 

Whilst the most suitable pet insurance policy will depend upon your budget and your circumstances, there are some that will be more applicable to older pets.

  • Lifetime pet insurance: Typically this is the best policy type for your This is the most expensive type of cover you can buy, however it does provide cover for your cat against accidents and illnesses for life as long as you renew the policy each year.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance: This provides cover against accidents and illnesses upon to a maximum limit. After this limit is reached you’ll no longer be able to claim for the condition again. Because of this condition limit, it doesn’t tend to be the best choice for older cats who may have or develop chronic conditions that require ongoing treatment.
  • Time limited pet insurance: Offer accident and illness cover up to a maximum limit or for 12 months after the condition is first treated. Due to these limitations and that typically older cats have longer lasting conditions this typically represents a better option for younger cats and kittens.
  • Accident only pet insurance: As this only covers accidents this tends to be unsuitable for older cats who are more likely to need treatment for ongoing health conditions.

Why is insurance for older cats more expensive?

Cats aren’t too different to humans when it comes to insurance. Like us, the older they become the higher the likelihood is for them to suffer from illnesses and diseases which would require veterinary treatment.

Insurance is all based on risk, as the risk of making a claim increases, then so does the price of pet insurance. There’ll be some insurers who have an upper age limit but most providers will be willing to offer pet insurance quotes for older cats well into their old age, just be prepared to pay more for this. You might also find that certain elements of cover are no longer offered once a cat is classed at senior. We’ll explore these elements next.

What elements of cover can be affected?

Loss and recovery: If your cat goes missing and cannot be recovered then most insurers will cover either the full amount or a percentage of the market value of your pet or the price you paid for your pet. However, the older your cat is the lower this percentage contribution will be. So, if we use Animal Friends Prestige policy, the percentage contribution is as follows:

Age of cat at time of loss % contribution of market price or purchase price
Up to 1 year old 100%
From 1 year up to 3 years 75%
From 3 years up to 5 years 50%
From 5 years up to 8 years 35%
8 years and over 25%

Death of pet: Many policies include in their policy wording a clause that means if your cat passes away while they are over a certain age (with Bought By Many this is 9 years old) then they won’t pay out. Check the details with your chosen provider.

Coinsurance payments: You might find that some insurers enforce a compulsory co-insurance payment once your cat reaches their senior age. This payment makes you liable to pay an excess as well as a percentage (typically 20%) of the value of any claim you make.

Excess payments: Some providers, particularly those who don’t offer a co-insurance payment choose instead to increase the excess payment on each claim. Scratch & Patch for example have a £200 excess per claim on cats over the age of 10 years old.

How to lower the price of senior pet insurance

Choose a co-insurance: As previously mentioned as your pet gets older some providers will enforce a compulsory co-insurance, but if you have the chance to increase your co-insurance payment or choose to include one, then this will have the effect of lowering your premium. Bear in mind though, the older your pet the more likely a claim will be, so you’ll have to weight up whether it makes financial sense to do so given your older cat’s current health.

Remove any extras you don’t need: If there are optional extras like holiday cover and lost and found cover you may be able to remove these elements (assuming you don’t need them) and lower the price of cover.

What else to consider?

In your search for pet insurance for older cats you should be aware of the following aspects which could affect your breadth of cover.

  • Pre-existing conditions: As cats age they’ll be more susceptible to illnesses. Conditions that a cat has before they are covered are deemed as pre-existing. Pre-existing conditions are not covered under typical pet insurance policies, while you can now search for providers who will cover pre-existing conditions, your choices will be more limited.
  • Think before you cancel your policy: If you are already insured, then think carefully before deciding not to renew it. Getting insurance for your older cat can be more difficult so it might be best to continue with your existing provider.