Can You Get Pet Insurance For Older Cats?

by Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent
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Can You Get Pet Insurance For Older Cats?
Pet insurance can help owners afford health care for senior cats as they progress through age. Learn which companies offer enrollment for elderly pets.

As your cat gets older, they become more prone to age-related health issues that can be very expensive to treat. In fact, one of the largest studies conducted on elderly cats found that about 80% of felines visit the veterinary surgeon after turning 11 years old for reasons that include dental disease, renal failure, arthritis and more.1

Protect Your Cat with Pet Insurance Is Cat Insurance Worth It?

Pet insurance can minimize the financial burden of veterinary care by reimbursing a portion of covered vet services. But if you haven't enrolled in a plan yet, getting pet insurance for a senior cat could be tricky. Some insurance providers won’t cover pets over a certain age limit, while others may charge higher premium rates to offset their potential losses. So, is elderly cat insurance worth it?

For many, senior cat insurance can be a worthwhile investment, given the amount of money it can save and the peace of mind it can provide. In this article, we'll look at why pet owners get health insurance for older cats, which companies offer elderly coverage, and how to buy a senior cat insurance plan that you feel great about.

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Can I get pet insurance for an older cat?

There are several types of cat insurance your senior pet may qualify for, the most popular being Accident & Illness coverage, which offers comprehensive coverage for new illnesses and injuries.

However, each pet insurance company has different policy terms and restrictions regarding aging felines.

In addition, many pet insurance companies offer pet wellness plans that you can add to the basic pet insurance policy for coverage of routine care costs. This includes expenses for things like flea and tick preventatives, annual heartworm testing, pet wellness exams, and more.

While some providers set a maximum age limit on enrollment, others have no upper age limits and will keep covering your cat regardless of their age. For instance, if you insure your feline companion when they are a kitten, they can be covered for the rest of their life as long as you keep paying your premiums.

Is my cat too old to insure?

In terms of coverage restrictions, most insurers consider cats to be elderly at the age of 14. Most providers will cover a cat if they are insured between the ages of eight weeks and 14 years.

The best time to get pet insurance is when your feline friend is still young and healthy. The younger your cat is when you enroll, the lower your monthly premiums will be. In addition, while some providers have no upper age limits, waiting to insure your feline companion increases the chances of them acquiring pre-existing conditions that will not be covered by insurance.

How much is senior cat insurance?

Pet insurance for older cats is more expensive because, like humans, cats are more likely to have health problems as they get older and, as a result, require medical care. The fact that you could entail larger bills for the insurer usually means higher premiums for you.

However, while your cat’s age does have an influence on the price of your monthly premium, you’ll find that compared to dogs, it won't have the same effect. In some cases, insurance policies for senior dogs can be several times more expensive than for dogs under two years old.

The premium is still very likely to increase as your cat ages because the likelihood that the insurer will need to pay out for claims increases with age.

Why get pet insurance for older cats?

As cats age, they might be more prone to certain medical problems. Some of the most common health issues in senior cats include:

  • Arthritis
  • Dental disease
  • Renal (kidney) failure
  • Hyperthryroidism
  • Urinary tract conditions
  • Heart disease

Arthritis

Cat arthritis is a common degenerative disease that causes painful joints and makes moving uncomfortable. There’s no cure for arthritis, but you can take specific steps to make your pet feel better, such as medications and weight control.

Dental disease

Older cats often suffer from dental issues such as stomatitis and periodontal disease. Treatment options range from steroids or antibiotics to tooth extraction. You can prevent painful gum disease with regular tooth brushing and dental cleanings.

Heart disease

In older cats, heart disease is typically acquired (as opposed to present at birth, i.e., congenital) and can be secondary to other illnesses like heartworm in cats. Depending on the condition, management and treatment can mean a close-to-normal lifetime for your feline companion.

Chronic renal disease

Chronic renal disease, or kidney failure, typically occurs in the older cat population, with only about 10% of cases occurring in felines younger than three. Kidney failure is irreversible, but it is manageable with prescription medications, special diets, and fluid therapy. The earlier it's diagnosed, the better the prognosis can be for your cat.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism in cats is common among seniors. The condition causes the thyroid gland to overproduce hormones, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heart rate

With proper care, the condition is manageable in most felines.

Cancer

Senior cats are more likely to develop cancer. Although there are many types of cancer that affect cats, the three most common ones are lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma or skin cancer, and breast cancer.

Is it worth having pet insurance for older cats?

The value of pet insurance for senior cats will depend on several factors, most importantly, whether your cat has pre-existing conditions at the time of enrollment. Any health problems that your elderly cat may have when you sign up will be excluded from your insurance coverage. However, you could still receive insurance coverage for any future, unrelated issues that arise after the mandatory waiting period has passed and your policy goes into effect.

For cat breeds prone to health issues, be sure to check whether your policy covers those specific medical conditions in case your one were to manifest in your pet's late life, as not all pet insurance companies cover hereditary disorders. For instance, pedigree cats like the Siamese are predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy and (PRA) and hip dysplasia, while the Bengal is predisposed to patellar luxation and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCP).

Finally, to get the most value out of pet insurance plan, you should be wary of Accident-Only coverage. Alhough these plans offer the cheapest cat insurance for older pets, they do not cover the cost of treatment for acute illnesses, chronic conditions, or progressive disease — all of which elderly cats are prone to experiencing as their health deteriorates.

What is the best pet insurance for senior cats?

Some of the best pet insurance for older cats comes from the following providers:

These companies offer pet insurance to senior cats up to 14 years old.

Where to find pet insurance for older cats

With older cats being more likely to suffer from expensive health issues, pet insurance is a great decision as it can help you save money and give your feline friend the best possible care. While it is true that cat insurance is more expensive for older pets, it could still be worth the money you save in out-of-pocket vet costs.

Pawlicy Advisor’s comparison service allows you to compare plans and quotes quickly and easily to help you choose the right cat insurance policy and make sure your pet can have a long and happy life with you.

Protect Your Cat with Pet Insurance Is Cat Insurance Worth It?


Key Takeaways

  • As your cat is getting older, they are likely to need costly veterinary care that can seriously damage your bank account. Elderly cat insurance is a great way to deal with unwelcome veterinary bills if your cat has an illness or accident.
  • Some pet insurance companies have a maximum age limit on enrollment, while others will cover your cat no matter how old they are.
  • The best time to insure your cat is while they’re still young and healthy as insurance for older cats is generally more expensive than insurance for younger cats. Premiums also increase as your pet gets older.
  • There are a number of insurance providers that offer senior cat insurance with no age cap, including Pets Best, Pets First, and ASPCA. Pawlicy can help you compare cat coverage from some of the top US insurance companies and help you protect yourself against the cost of expensive veterinary treatments.

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

About the author

Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent

Customer Support - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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