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What's the Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs in New Zealand?

We compare every dog insurance plan in New Zealand based on its suitability for older dogs. That means we pay extra attention to cost and how it increases with age, conditions covered (including pre-existing conditions), and of course the maximum age limit for new policies.
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Mason Author
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Louis Editor
Updated Jun 10 2024
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The first thing you'll need to pay attention to when buying a pet insurance policy for an older dog is the maximum age requirement. In New Zealand this commonly ranges from your dog's fifth birthday to their ninth birthday although some more basic plans have no maximum age requirement.

For many senior dog owners, cost is also a determining factor. Know that the cost of your dog insurance will increase with age due to inflation, vet bills becoming more expensive and a higher likelihood of needing treatment. This means that if you buy a new plan for an 8 year old dog, you'll be buying it at this higher price-level. 

Still though, if reducing cost is important for you then you might want to consider purchasing a less comprehensive plan. The costs factors that you can influence include the level of cover, your excess or co-payment and the company you chose. 

This means accident-only plans and plans that exclude or limit certain conditions are cheaper than full coverage plans. Similarly plans with a high excess and co-payment (the fixed amount and percentage you pay at the vet) or a low policy limit (the maximum amount you can claim) are cheaper than plans that don't require you to also contribute. Of course, a less comprehensive plan can also be more expensive in the long run if it means you're partially or not at all covered when you need to take your dog to the vet.

And finally consider any specific treatments your dog should be covered for based on its breed and lifestyle. Do some research to determine the most common conditions for dogs like yours and choose a plan accordingly. Also know that your dog's medical history can impact the cover you receive with a limited number of pet insurance plans offering cover for hereditary and pre-existing conditions, always with the caveat that your dog must be symptom free for a certain period of time (often 18 months to 3 years).

Find out more below and see which pet insurance plans in NZ our experts recommend for older dogs.

New Zealand's Best Pet Insurance Plans for Older Dogs

The 10 best older dog insurance plans in New Zealand are:
 
  1. AA Pet Insurance Plan: Max 9 years old
  2. SPCA Big Stuff Cover: No max age
  3. PD Insurance Deluxe Plan: Max 9 years old
  4. PD Insurance Accident Plan: Max 12 years
  5. Southern Cross AcciPet Plan: No max age
  6. Petnsur Surgery/Surgery Plus: Max 12 years old
  7. SPCA The Works Cover: Max 9 years old
  8. Petnsur Silver/Gold/Premium: Max 12 years old
  9. Petnsur Titanium Plan: Max 12 years old
  10. Petnsur Rhodium Plan: Max 8 years old

Our experts rate AA Pet Insurance's only dog insurance plan as the best pet insurance plan for older dogs because it has a maximum age of 9 years, and because it covers the widest range of conditions including treatments for accidents, injuries, dental, pre-existing conditions (after 18 months of no symptoms), and hereditary conditions.

SPCA's Big Stuff Cover has slightly more expensive premiums and a slightly larger excess but is better in that it has no maximum age limit. It also includes cover for accidents, illnesses and pre-existing conditions. It also only has a condition limit on emergency boarding while AA's plans have limits on consultation fees, dental, emergency boarding, cruciate ligament injuries and intervertebral disc disease.

Otherwise, PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan, our top-rated NZ dog insurance plan, is also a great choice in that it covers, among other things, accidents, illness and dental and has no co-payments, just a variable excess. Even though you save money at the vet with this plan, the premiums are a bit more expensive and there is a maximum annual condition limit of $7,500.
Note that if your dog is younger than 7 or 8 years old then we also compare the best dog insurance plans more generally in another article. Otherwise, the recommendations on that page will probably suit your needs better.

Comparison of the All Senior Dog Insurance Plans in NZ

Show 13 more plans
Note that the average cost and ratings for the older dog insurance plans listed above are taken from our general dog insurance comparison - this means the average cost is for a 6 month old Labrador and the rating is not adjusted to the needs of senior dog owners.  Instead, we have re-ordered the list to show you plans we think are the best for older dogs in New Zealand.

*The average monthly cost of dog insurance for policies listed on this page is based on quotes obtained for a female Labrador Retriever named Quoty. She's desexed and we've picked the maximum policy limit, excess and co-payment where we had the option (a moderately expensive option) because she's a good girl. We haven't selected any add-ons. Quotes were last updated in April 2024.

What's the Best Pet Insurance for 10 Year Old Dogs?

The best pet insurance for ten year old dogs is SPCA's Big Stuff Cover. This plan has no maximum age limit, covers accidental injury, illness, vet consultations, emergency boarding, parasite treatments, overseas treatments and can even cover pre-existing conditions if you have a note from your vet. It is also competitively priced, and has the highest policy limit in New Zealand of $25,000.

If your dog has reached their tenth birthday then there are only nine dog insurance plans in New Zealand that they are eligible for, the PD Insurance Accident Plan, Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy), Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans, Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans, Petnsur Titanium Plan, Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan, SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover, SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover, and the Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan.    

How Much Does Older Dog Insurance Cost?

In New Zealand, a comprehensive dog insurance plan for an older dog can cost anywhere between $50 and $650 per month - although this is entirely dependent on how old your senior dog is, their breed, the level of cover you choose, and your excess and co-payment.

Accident-only older dog insurance plans on the other-hand are much cheaper ranging from just over $10 to $30 per month. They are also widely available for older dogs, with more lenient age restrictions.

Different dog breeds have different health and life expectancies which impacts the cost to insure them during old age. Similarly, the more cover you want for your older dog, the more likely it is that the insurance company will have a big bill, so your monthly premiums will be higher.

There are several ways to reduce the cost of your senior dog insurance including:
 
  • Sign Up Bonuses - Many pet insurers offer discounted premiums and free months for new policy holders, but most of the time these offers are only for puppies. Consider PD Insurance where all dogs get their first month free.
  • Other discounts - Multi policy discounts, multi pet discounts, membership discounts and even discounts when you pay annually are widely available and can make a noticeable dent in your monthly costs.
  • Comparing prices before you buy - It takes about two minutes to get a quote for your dog online so pick a couple of policies you like and get a few quotes. As you'll see in the table below, some insurances are much more expensive than others.
  • Selecting a larger excess/co-payment - After you've narrowed down your options, estimate what you'd be able to pay at the vet and then pick the maximum excess and co-payment you can. A 10% increase in co-payment and $200 increase in excess can lead to up to a 50% reduction in your premiums.
  • Reducing cover - Does your older dog need third party liability cover? How about vaccinations? And emergency boarding? Try to be selective with the cover options you chose base your decisions off of your dogs medical history and breed's expected health outcomes.
If cost is a major factor for you, also be open to considering the necessity of taking out dog insurance on your older pup. Your insurance premiums will always reflect the increased likelihood of your dog needing treatments as they ages so you're no better off waiting to purchase dog insurance until your dog is older - because you'll have to pay for this increased risk.

How Does Age Affect the Cost of Dog Insurance?

Age impacts the cost of dog insurance quite significantly, but only if the insurance covers illnesses and other conditions where age plays a big role i.e. it doesn't change the cost of accident only plans very much.

As you can see in the table below, for every 2 years your dog ages, your insurance premiums will increase by about 10 to 20%. 
 
PlanCost (6 years)Cost (8 years)Cost (10 years)Cost (12 years)Cost (14 years)
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness$72.08$89.90N/AN/AN/A
Cove Pet Insurance Accident Only PlanN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Cove Pet Insurance Major PlanN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Cove Pet Insurance Major + Minor PlanN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
PD Insurance Accident Plan$27.51$32.14$32.14N/AN/A
PD Insurance Classic Plan$90.54$105.77N/AN/AN/A
PD Insurance Deluxe Plan$112.61$128.49N/AN/AN/A
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Economy)$90.88$98.60$127.30N/AN/A
Petcover Safety-net Plan (Catastrophe 1 / Catastrophe 2)$76.17 / $91.00$86.33 / $103.21N/AN/AN/A
Petcover Mid-range Plan (Core / Vital / Key)$56.77 / $64.27 / $89.72$64.26 / $72.79 / $101.76N/AN/AN/A
Petcover Superior Plans (Entry / Mid-Point / Superior)$120.31 / $135.03 / $161.51$130.61 / $146.61 / $175.42N/AN/AN/A
Petnsur Surgery / Surgery Plus Plans$26.30 / $41.20$28.69 / $44.95$31.09 / $48.69N/AN/A
Petnsur Rhodium Plan$90.01N/AN/AN/AN/A
Petnsur Silver / Gold / Platinum Plans$61.31 / $87.17 / $111.11$72.45 / $105.33 / $121.21$78.02 / $112.60 / $131.31N/AN/A
Petnsur Titanium Plan$477.04$636.05$636.05$636.05N/A
Southern Cross Pet Insurance AcciPet Plan$13.85$13.85$13.85$13.85$13.85
Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Plan$71.54N/AN/AN/AN/A
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover$91.23$98.04$104.29$130.08$185.31
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover$108.25$126.85N/AN/AN/A
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover$62.96$72.56$80.29$104.68$157.26
Tower Pet Insurance Accident Only Plan$25.61$26.59$27.91$27.91$27.91
Tower Pet Insurance Essential Plan$61.49$63.81N/AN/AN/A
Tower Pet Insurance Comprehensive Plan$73.19$75.96N/AN/AN/A

The Cheapest Pet Insurance Plans for Older Dogs in New Zealand

The cheapest pet insurance plan in New Zealand for older dogs is Southern Cross's AcciPet Plan at just $13.85 per month, no matter what age your dog is. With a $500 excess and 30% co-payment, this plan is more than 50% cheaper then the next cheapest accident-only pet insurance in New Zealand.

Be aware that having a higher excess and co-payment does bring the cost of this plan down, it's $39.60 per month if you if you elect to have a $100 excess and 10% co-payment instead. 

Other cheap accident-only senior dog insurance plans plans include Tower's Accident-Only Plan ($25.61 to $27.91 per month with a 20% co-payment) and PD Insurance's Accident Plan ($27.51 to $32.14 per month with a $200 excess).

Still though, the AcciPet Plan doesn't get more expensive as your dog gets older. See prices and comparisons of the New Zealand's cheapest pet insurance plans here.

How Much Do Older Dogs Cost?

Veterinarian Dr. Suzee Camilleri estimates that, “Overall, dog owner’s should expect anywhere from a 10% to 25% increase in costs in the senior years of a dog’s life." 

This includes the costs of an "increased frequency of wellness checks," but also if, "a late stage disease is discovered, it gets incredibly costly, very fast. This is why a proactive preventative approach is best: regular wellness checks, good quality food and appropriate portions, healthy treats, routine daily exercise, and overall being aware that changes are coming and to look for them.”
Here are some common treatment costs that older dog insurance can you to cover
 
Common illnesses/accidentsAverage treatment costHighest treatment cost
Dental disease$503$1,053
Skin infection and allergies$229$2,446
Toxic ingestion$439$2,303
Insect bites/stings$223$952
Eye infection$209$2,751
Ear infection$230$1,316
Gastrointestinal$369$4,398
Lumps/cysts/tumours$486$1,617
Urinary tract infection$425$2,122
Cruciate ligament$3,400$4,587

Given these costs, it's unsurprising that older dogs cost more than younger dogs - which is why insurance premiums for older dogs can by increase by 10% to 30% depending on your dog insurance plan.

Ultimately, the increased cost of owning an older dog, and the fact some insurance plans do not allow you take out new policies for older dogs, are why we recommend taking out a full-coverage dog insurance plan before your dog reaches old age. Any conditions that they develop in their old age will be covered by your existing policy, potentially reducing your future costs by tens of thousands.

What Conditions Should Senior Dog Insurance Cover?

Many of the most common conditions that affect older dogs are covered under the umbrella of 'illness' offered by almost all comprehensive dog insurance plans. While accidents can always happen, the chance of your senior dog being affected by conditions such as those listed below, increases significantly with age.
 
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Dementia
  • Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Kidney issues
  • Liver issues
  • Arthritis and other joint issues
     
So, even though accident plans are much cheaper, we recommend older dog insurance plans like AA's Comprehensive Accident and Illness Plan, SPCA's Big Stuff Cover and PD Insurance's Deluxe Plan.

Given the prevalence of joint problems in senior dogs, paying attention to condition limits for things like cruciate ligament injury, patella luxation, hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc disease is also wise. Each plan has different limits but generally AA Pet Insurance, PD Pet Insurance, Southern Cross Pet Insurance and SPCA Pet Insurance have the most generous condition limits for these conditions (when they have condition limits at all).

The other important thing to pay attention to when you're taking it out a new pet insurance policy for your older dog is which insurance providers will cover pre-existing conditions.

Pet Insurance Plans for Older Dogs That Cover Pre Existing Conditions

There are only two older dog insurance companies whose plans cover pre-existing conditions, AA Pet Insurance and SPCA Pet Insurance.
 
PlanMaximum AgeExcess / Co-paymentAnnual Cover Limit
AA Pet Insurance Accidental Injuries + Illness Plan9 years old$0, $100, $250 or $500 excess / 20% co-payment$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Everyday Cover PlanNone30% co-payment$11,000, $2,000 per condition
SPCA Pet Insurance The Works Cover Plan9 years old20% co-payment$20,000
SPCA Pet Insurance Big Stuff Cover PlanNone$1,000 excess / 20% co-payment$25,000

These plans don't automatically cover pre-existing conditions (you need to purchase pet insurance before a condition arises to automatically get cover). Rather, you'll need to prove with a vet's not that your pet is no longer affected by a past condition. Generally there is also a time-period (eg. 18 months) where your dog must not have been treated for the condition in qustion.

Summary: Is Older Dog Insurance Worth Buying?

Yes, our experts think it is worth buying pet insurance even if you have an older dog. Not only is the actual cost of treating your dog for any significant condition likely to cost thousands of dollars, but the emotional cost of not having cover and having to make a difficult decision like euthanasia can be even tougher.

Insurance will probably only ever feel 'worth it' if you are unlucky enough to have to make a claim but given the increased likelihood of needing the vet as your dog ages, for many it saves them thousands.

Still, paying the high premiums of an older dog insurance policy might not be the right decision for every senior dog owner and this is a decision that you and your family will have to make. Seeking the professional advice of your vet may also help you to weigh the potential benefits and downsides of buying dog insurance or not.