Does pet insurance cover desexing?

Desexing of cats and dogs is generally encouraged in Australia to prevent such things as overbreeding and, in some parts of the country, desexing domestic cats by a certain age is mandatory. You may therefore be wondering whether you are covered for this procedure on your pet insurance policy.

If you’re thinking about getting your cat or dog desexed, then you may be able to claim back some of the costs of this procedure on pet insurance, depending on what kind of policy you have.

Does pet insurance cover desexing?

Pet insurance in Australia can cover the cost of desexing up to a limit, however it depends on your policy. In general terms, there are three types of pet insurance policies:

  • Accident-only policies, which cover the cost of vet visits if your pet suffers accidental harm or injury, in the event of a car accident, for example, or a fight with another animal.
  • Accident and illness policies, which cover the above as well as the cost of seeing a vet for illnesses such as cancer, infections, hereditary conditions and others.
  • Comprehensive policies, which cover all of the above, as well as for surgery, hospitalisation or covering the cost of medicines.

While coverage can vary from policy to policy, in general terms, most insurers will only cover partial desexing costs as an optional add-on. It’s a good idea to check the product disclosure statement for exclusions, excesses and annual limits.

Compare Pet insurance policies with desexing cover with Canstar

The table below displays a snapshot of accident, illness and routine care pet insurance policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest). These results are based on cover for a 2-3 year old medium sized dog.

Why is desexing important?

According to the RSPCA, desexing is important for several reasons, in particular, because it helps reduce unplanned breeding of domestic animals, it can curb some problem behaviours in pets and it can be good for pet health.

Reducing unplanned breeding

The RSPCA says that it takes in approximately 160,000 animals every year, many of which are the result of unplanned breeding. Desexing domestic pets such as cats and dogs can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and therefore the number of animals being sent to shelters.

Curbing problem behaviours

Greencross Vets says that desexing can curb certain problem behaviours in domestic pets. In dogs, desexing can reduce aggression, while in both dogs and cats, it can also reduce the hormonal need to wander to find a mate.

Promoting pet health

According to the RSPCA, there are several potential medical benefits to spaying (female) and neutering (male) pets. It says that doing so can reduce the risk of certain cancers and tumours in dogs and cats.

Is it mandatory to desex your pet?

In some states and territories, desexing is mandatory. Around Australia, the rules are as follows:

  • ACT: Dogs older than six months and cats older than three months must be desexed.
  • NSW: No requirement.
  • NT: No requirement.
  • QLD: No requirement.
  • SA: Dogs and cats older than six months must be desexed, with certain exceptions.
  • TAS: Cats older than six months must be desexed, with certain exceptions.
  • VIC: No requirement.
  • WA: Cats older than six months must be desexed, with certain exceptions.

Note that some councils will charge higher rates to register your pet if they are not desexed.

How much does it cost to desex a pet?

According to the RSPCA, the cost of desexing a dog can range from $200-$500, while the cost of desexing a cat can range from $115-$300, depending on the age, size and breed of the animal. The RSPCA also notes, though, that if you adopt a dog or cat from a shelter, then typically desexing will be done prior to adoption.

If your pet insurance does not cover desexing, then you might be looking at costs within this range, although it will depend on your individual animal. If you have comprehensive pet insurance that covers desexing, often up to 85% of the costs, then you would only be left with the gap and excess to pay. Also note that many insurers will not provide cover for older pets, usually over the age of eight years.

What should you look for when choosing pet insurance?

Generally, when choosing a pet insurance policy, it is important to consider price as well as features, as well as what you might be required to pay in the event of a claim. It is also important to consider whether you want a policy that covers accidents only, accident and illness, or a comprehensive cover, which may include such things as desexing.

You can compare pet insurance with Canstar, and consider some of our Award-winning pet insurance policies across all three categories.



Cover image source: Julia Zavalishina/

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