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 friends could well be outnumbering us by even more now, as pet adoption rates have reportedly skyrocketed while many Australians have been self-isolating or working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to what Aussies want from their pet insurance, a recent Canstar survey of pet owners revealed that value for money had the greatest influence on overall customer satisfaction. To help pet owners find that value for money, Canstar’s experts compared 151 pet insurance policies from 25 providers on our database as part of our 2020 Star Ratings and Awards.
Our research found, for example, that a consumer with a small dog who held an Accident and Illness policy and paid their premiums annually, could save $212 on average per year in premiums by choosing a 5-Star Rated Pet Insurance policy, compared to the market average.
Average Annual Pet Insurance Premiums across Accident & Illness and Comprehensive profiles
5-Star Products vs Market
Accident & Illness
|Market Average||5-Star Average||Difference|
|Market Average||5-Star Average||Difference|
|Based on products rated in the Accident & Illness and Comprehensive profiles of the 2020 Pet Insurance Star Ratings (August 2020). Products vary in annual benefit limit and excess levels. Average premiums include quotes from a range of ages and pet breed. The market average includes 5-Star Rated policies.|
How were pet insurance policies and providers assessed?
Canstar’s Pet Insurance Star Ratings assess pet insurance products using a methodology which takes both price and features into consideration.
A product’s price score is based on how much a policyholder would likely pay in either monthly or annual premiums, as well as what excess they’d pay in the event of a claim.
The feature score for each product is based on the ease and accessibility of the application and payment process, the product’s level of cover and inclusions, the quality of customer service, the claims process, and how easy it is to cancel the policy.
Pet insurance policies were assessed against at least one of 32 consumer profiles, which were based on a combination of factors to do with the animal being insured and the level of cover offered by the policy. These factors are outlined in the table below.
|Accident and Illness cover||Accident, Illness, and Routine Care (Comprehensive cover)|
|Pet type||Pet age||Pet type||Pet age|
|Small dog||Less than one year old||Small dog||Less than one year old|
|Medium dog||Two to three years old||Medium dog||Two to three years old|
|Large dog||Four to five years old||Large dog||Four to five years old|
|Cat||Six to seven years old||Cat||Six to seven years old|
Policies found to offer outstanding value in at least one of these 32 profiles received a 5-Star Rating. Based on these Star Ratings, Canstar Research then recognised the pet insurers found to have the most consistently strong performance overall in the Accident and Illness and Comprehensive categories as the recipients of our 2020 Pet Insurance Awards.
5-Star Rated pet insurance policies for 2020
This year, 34 policies from 15 providers received a 5-Star rating across the 32 pet profiles assessed. This diverse range of products that received a 5-Star rating was driven by policy pricing differences that exist between the age and type of pet, Canstar Research said.
This year’s Award-winning pet insurance providers
This year, three insurers won an Outstanding Value Award for their Accident and Illness cover, while two providers were recognised for their Comprehensive cover.
Outstanding Value – Accident and Illness Pet Insurance
The winners of the Outstanding Value Award for Accident and Illness cover are Coles Insurance, Petcover, and Petplan. All three providers are new to the winner’s podium, and have been recognised as offering Outstanding Value across the board when it comes to Accident and Illness cover.
Coles Insurance is a cost-effective product offering lifetime cover to policyholders and their pets, two different levels of cover, up to 100% of eligible vet bills reimbursed, and the ability to earn extra flybuys points on certain pet-related items at Coles supermarkets.
Petcover offers policyholders a range of policies with differing annual benefit options up to a maximum claim limit of $20,000, and includes an option that says it will reimburse up to 100% of eligible vet bills. Canstar Research commended Petcover for not only offering a 10% multi-pet discount, but also not placing sub-limits on a number of conditions, meaning that policyholders can claim up to the policy’s annual benefit limit for eligible conditions.
Petplan offers policyholders and their pets a range of policies with varying annual benefit limits up to $20,000, a 10% multi-pet discount, and no sub-limits on a wide range of conditions, including cruciate ligament injuries. Petplan says it insures 1.5 million pets worldwide, and offers four different levels of cover for both cats and dogs.
Outstanding Value – Comprehensive Pet Insurance
Guide Dogs Australia
Guide Dogs Australia offers an annual maximum claim limit of $20,000, a choice of a $0, $50, or $100 excess depending on your chosen level of cover, and up to 85% of eligible vet bills reimbursed. It will also put a portion of your first year’s premiums towards supporting Guide Dogs Australia.
PetMed says it is Australia’s second-longest running pet insurer, and offers pet insurance with no upper age limit, a maximum annual claim limit of $18,000, and up to 80% of eligible vet bills reimbursed.