We all want to keep our fur kids happy and healthy till the very end of their life but this is not always possible. The fact is that the health of all animals deteriorate later in life. It is no different for humans, nor is it for pets. These senior health implications means that you will need more medical care for your pet and often more expensive care. Pet insurers may therefore exclude pets of a certain age. These age limits may apply to policy entry or be an exclusion for a pet that is already covered.

Maximum Entry Age

The entry age is the age of your pet when you sign them up for pet insurance cover. Many pet insurers institute an age limit at this point. The maximum entry age is often around 8 years for cats and dogs. This simply means that if your pet is 8 years or older then they will not be covered under the policy. Full disclosure is important as your insurer may request documents to verify your pet’s age or even investigate further in the event of  a claim.

However, maximum entry age does not necessarily mean that your pet will be excluded for cover entirely. They may still qualify for some pet insurance benefits like emergency care or veterinary care for injuries. These are benefits that apply to eventualities that can occur with a pet of any age or is not specifically age-related. It is important to understand these more complex parts of your pet insurance policy and the pet insurer will usually explain it in detail.

Age Limit and Exclusions

Another age-related criteria to consider is whether your young pet will still be covered once they reach a certain age. This may also vary among insurers. Some pet insurers will apply certain benefit exclusions to a pet after a certain age. Others may refuse cover entirely. This is where pet insurance differs from medical aid cover which it is often compared to. South African medical schemes cannot discriminate by age and covers a person of any age although waiting periods may initially apply. Pet insurance may not apply the same rule.

As with any short term insurance product, insurers have to mitigate risk. The higher the risk, the higher the premiums or the insurer can refuse cover altogether in very high risk circumstances. Your pet’s healthcare needs will increase with advancing age and your pet insurer may not be willing to cover such a high risk pet. In the event that the cover still stands for advanced age of a pet, then the insurance premiums will rise significantly or the benefits will be minimal for your older pet.

It is always important to read and understand your pet insurance brochure before you sign up for cover. Age limits and age-related exclusions often become a point of contention between pet owners and pet insurers. However, the details are usually in the fine print which many pet owners overlook. Your older pet may not always be covered for the same benefits once they reach a certain age. Often this is when your pet needs greater medical care and you will face higher veterinary bills.