Latest in Pet Insurance
Pet Insurance - August 19th
Which pet insurance providers and policies offer outstanding value in 2020?
Australia is a nation of animal lovers, and in 2019 there were around four million more pets than people in the country (29 million vs 25 million), according to figures from Animal Medicines Australia. Our furry...– Read more
Pet Insurance - August 19th
Which pet insurer has the most satisfied customers in 2020?
While value for money was the biggest driver of overall customer satisfaction among pet owners who took part in Canstar’s survey, the winner of our first ever Most Satisfied Customers - Pet Insurer Award received high...– Read more
Compare Pet Insurance
Pet insurance pays for part or the full cost of vet bills for your dog or cat (or horse, bird or any other pet) if they get sick or injured. There are different levels of cover. Comparing pet insurance will allow you to choose the correct cover for your pet.
Accident Only policies will cover the cost to visit a vet after accidental harm or injury such as car accidents, scratches from fighting with other animals, or snake bites.
Accident and Illness policies cover accidents plus the cost of seeing a vet for illnesses such as cancer, infection, hereditary conditions, and more.
Comprehensive policies should include all of the above plus cover for the cost of routine care treatments such as vaccinations, worming treatments, de-sexing, dental care, and behavioural training. Some policies will even pay you if your pet should die or be lost or stolen.
Looking for the cheapest pet insurance?
If you’re shopping around for cover for your furry friend, you might be tempted to take out the cheapest pet insurance policy you can find. It’s worth keeping in mind that the cheapest pet insurance might not offer the same level of protection that a more comprehensive but pricier policy would. For example, a cheap policy might not cover certain conditions or treatments, such as prescription medicines, and may reimburse a lower percentage of your vet fees if you make a claim compared to other policies. Ultimately, a policy that combines a high level of cover and inclusions with competitive premiums may offer better value overall than simply choosing the cheapest pet insurance option.
Author: Nina Tovey
As Canstar’s Editor-in-Chief, Nina heads up a team of talented journalists committed to helping empower consumers to take greater control of their finances. Previously Nina founded her own agency where she provided content and communications support to clients around Australia for eight years. She also spent four years as the PR Manager for American Express Australia, and has worked at a Brisbane communications agency where she supported dozens of clients, including Sunsuper and Suncorp.
Nina has ghostwritten dozens of opinion pieces for publications including The Australian and has been interviewed on finance topics by the Herald Sun and the Sydney Morning Herald. When she’s not dreaming up ways to put a fresh spin on finance, she’s taking her own advice by trying to pay her house off as quickly as possible and raising two money-savvy kids.
Nina has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature from the University of Queensland. She’s also an experienced presenter, and has hosted numerous events and YouTube series.
Pet insurance features we research and rate
Outstanding value pet insurance is about more than just price; cheap pet insurance isn’t necessarily going to be the best pet insurance for your needs. Each pet insurance product reviewed for the CANSTAR Pet Insurance Star Ratings is awarded points for its comparative pricing and for the array of positive features attached to the product.
Some of the features that CANSTAR took into account in comparing pet insurance policies were:
Specific policy conditions, including flexibilities such as the minimum and maximum entry age for cover, the waiting period that applied to certain conditions, and whether a $0 excess option was available.
Conditions or responsibilities of cover. For example, do pet owners have to commit to having a pet dental check once yearly and must pets be vaccinated against particular diseases.
Exclusions. What is excluded from cover? Examples could be pre-existing conditions, elective procedures and treatment, ambulance fees, dental procedures and regular prescription diets.
In terms of accident cover, what type of injuries resulting from an accident are covered?
In terms of illness cover, what types of illnesses are covered under the policy? (For example, cancer treatment).
In terms of routine treatment cover, what type of treatments are covered in the policy? (For example, hospitalisation).
Discounts. Are any discounts offered to pet owners? For example, a discount for additional pets, or for service dogs
Special features. Are there any special features that apply? Some example include overseas pet travel insurance, death procedures.
Claims and application process. How long do pet owners have to submit a claim against their pet insurance? Is there a late submission fee?
Application process. How can you apply for pet insurance? Does the insurer offer applications on the phone, online or by post?
Who offers pet insurance in Australia?
Canstar’s most recent pet insurance star ratings report collated more than 2,600 quotes to compare 81 policies from 19 providers to determine which ones offer outstanding value for pet owners. To be eligible to be rated, a provider had to meet the following criteria:
- Had to be available directly to the consumer through its website and not just through an affiliated organisation, e.g. pet shop.
- Had to be a standalone cover, e.g. not pet cover as an additional extra to home and contents insurance.
The following pet insurance providers were included in our 2015 pet insurance comparison.
1300 Insurance was founded in 2008 as an affordable, Australian insurance provider for individuals, families and businesses. 1300 Insurance offer Accident Only cover (Protect), Accident and Illness cover (Pet Protect), and Comprehensive Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover. All of their insurance policies are available online without hassle or paperwork. Most of their policies are simple and have low premiums, with many optional extras available so that you can choose only the protection you need, for the sake of your budget. 1300 Insurance pays up to 75% of vet bills with no excess, to an annual limit of $15,000.
Bow Wow Meow was founded in 1995 and is an Australian-owned business that began by providing personalised pet ID tags and in 2008 launched their pet health insurance policies. Bow Wow Meow offer Accident Only cover, Accident and Illness cover (Major Medical), and Comprehensive Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Care Wellness Plan). They have won multiple major awards for their pet insurance plans and these days they have more than 30,000 members. Bow Wow Meow pays 80% of your vet bill, their policies are flexible to suit your needs and budget, and they even give you a free pet ID when you join. 95% of claims to Bow Wow Meow are processed within 5-10 days.
Bupa began in the 1930s in Australia to help people cover the cost of their hospital treatment and are now present in over 190 countries. Bupa offer Accident Only cover (Basic), Accident and Illness cover (Standard), and Accident, Illness, Routine Care and Alternative Treatment cover (Ultimate). Bupa pays 80% of your vet bill, with annual limits of up to $20,000. You can even get a 10% discount if you are a Bupa health member yourself. Bupa is a global company that reinvests its profits into health services and the community.
Guardian Pet Insurance offer Accident Only cover (Silver), Accident and Illness cover (Gold), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Platinum). Guardian pays up to 80% of your vet bill with no excess, to an annual limit of $12,000 (depending on the policy you choose). Once your pet is insured with Guardian, they can be covered for life.
Guide Dogs Pet Insurance Australia was founded by Guide Dogs Australia, which began in 1950 when Arnold Cook brought the first guide dog to Perth from Britain. Guide Dogs Australia offer Accident and Illness cover (12 Months Essential, and/or Covered4Life Ultimate and Classic). Guide Dogs covers up to $20,000 of vet bills for dogs and $15,000 for cats per year. This annual vet limit is additional to other annual limits for things including advertising if your pet is lost or stolen, unexpected boarding fees, holiday cancellation and third-party liability. Pets are covered for life and there is a multi-pet discount. As befits their name, they also offer affordable pet insurance for working Guide or Assistance Dogs. A portion of the profit from every insurance policy is used by Guide Dogs Australia to train new pups into happy helpers.
HCF was founded in 1932 during the Great Depression, and is the oldest of the ‘Big Four’ Australian health funds. HCF offer Accident Only cover (Pet Essentials), Accident and Illness cover (Premium), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Premium). More than 80 years on, HCF is one of the only remaining not-for-profit funds that benefits its members directly. HCF Pet Insurance pays up to 80% of your vet bill with an annual limit of $12,000. You can get a 10% discount if you are a HCF health insurance member yourself.
Insurance Line was founded in 1999 and is Australia’s number 1 life insurance provider (for humans). Insurance Line offer Accident Only cover, Accident and Illness cover, and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover. Insurance Line pays up to 80% of vet bills, with an annual limit of $10,000.
Medibank was founded in 1976 and in 2016 they’ll celebrate their 40th birthday as a health insurer, but yes – they offer pet insurance as well. Medibank offer Accident Only cover (Bronze Paw), Accident and Illness cover (Silver Paw), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Gold Paw). Medibank pays up to 80% of vet bills, with an annual limit of up to $15,000. At time of writing, Medibank health insurance members receive a 10% discount on Medibank pet insurance premiums. The Medibank website also includes a useful Pet Health Centre with plenty of tips for keeping your beloved canine and feline friends in excellent health.
Pet Insurance Australia (PIA). Pet Insurance Australia was founded in 2008 and is a family-owned Australian business run by pet people with 30 years of experience. PIA offer Accident Only cover, Accident and Illness cover (Comprehensive), and Accident and Illness cover (Major Medical). PIA pays up to 80% of vet bills, with specified annual limits for different types of preventative care under their Routine Care cover option. Pet Insurance Australia were rated 5 CANSTAR stars by CANSTAR Research in 2016.
Petcover is owned by a well-established travel insurance provider. Petcover offer Accident and Illness cover (Saver or Standard). Petcover pays up to 100% of vet bills with a $100 excess and an annual limit of $7,500, of which $4,000 is reserved for Tick Cover. Petcover has a 24-hour hotline for customers to locate their nearest emergency vet.
Petinsurance.com.au offer Accident Only cover (Basic), Accident and Illness cover (Premium), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Plus). Petinsurance.com.au pays up to 80% of vet bills, with an annual limit of up to $15,000. Save 10% when you buy a policy online. You can view their guide to dog and cat breeds and online guides about caring for kittens and puppies.
Petmed is Australia’s second-longest running pet insurance provider and has over 15,000 members. Petmed offer Accident Only cover (Basic 65% or Standard 80%), Accident and Illness cover (Comprehensive), and Comprehensive Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (for Senior Pets or Young Pets). Petmed pays between 65% and 80% of vet bills, with various excess options and an annual limit of up to $18,000. There are no upper age limits for their policies, so your pet can be covered for life.
Petplan was founded in the UK in 1976 and spans a number of countries; it is now the world’s largest pet insurance provider. Petplan offer Accident and Illness cover (12 Months Essential, and/or Covered4Life Ultimate or Classic), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Plus Plan). Petplan pays up to 100% of vet bills with an annual limit of up to $20,000. Petplan insures horses as well as cats and dogs, and they have a multi-pet discount. Check out their Pet Advice guides online. In 1994, the Petplan Charitable Trust was created to fundraise for animal health and welfare promotion.
Petsecure was founded in 1999. Petsecure offer Accident Only cover (75% or 85% Benefit), Accident and Illness cover (75% or 85% Benefit), and Accident, Illness and Wellness Care cover. Petsecure pays up to 85% of vet bills with no excess, to an annual limit of $12,000, covered for life, and you get a free, engraved pet ID tag when you sign up. Petsecure sponsors Pet Rescue organisations, so when you sign up to protect your pet, you’re saving the lives of many other pets as well!
Prime Pet Insurance offer Accident Only cover (Royal), Accident and Illness cover (Imperial), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Sovereign). Prime pays up to 85% of vet bills with no excess, to an annual limit of $14,000.
PROSURE Pet Insurance is known as ‘Vet’s Own Insurance’. PROSURE offer Accident Only cover (Silver), Accident and Illness cover (Gold), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Platinum). PROSURE pays up to 80% of vet bills with no excess, to an annual limit of $14,500. Your pet can be covered for life.
Real Insurance were founded in Australia in 2005 and have since won many industry awards. Real Insurance offer Accident Only cover, Accident and Illness cover (Standard or Premium), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Premium). Real Insurance pays up to 80% of vet bills with no excess, with an annual limit of $12,000.
RSPCA was founded in 1871 in Victoria as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and has grown to Australia’s most well-known animal welfare organisation. RSPCA offer Accident Only cover (Basic), Accident and Illness cover (Economy), and Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover (Ultimate). RSPCA pays up to 80% of vet bills with no excess, with an annual limit of $11,000. 85% of claims to RSPCA are paid within 5 days. A portion of premiums goes to supporting the RSPCA’s animal protection work.
Woolworths Money Insurance began business in 2011. Woolworths Money offer Accident Only cover (Basic), Accident and Illness cover (Standard), and Comprehensive Accident, Illness and Routine Care cover. Woolworths pays up to 80% of vet bills with a $0 or $100 excess, to an annual limit of $12,000. At the time of writing, you could receive a $25 Woolworths WISH gift card when you signed up.