The rates of pet insurance have increased in recent years, and as a pet owner it is an investment worth considering to help you prepare for future accidents and illnesses your new pet may experience.
As some insurers may not provide cover to pets over a certain age, it can be harder to find a company who will provide coverage if your pet is older. Taking out pet insurance when your pet is younger can mean you are covered for a number of injuries and illnesses throughout their lifetime, although the first year of a policy can be more expensive.
It’s also worth noting some policies offer a lifetime cover that offers coverage to protect your pet’s health as it gets older (as long as you don’t cancel the policy).
This article will go into more detail about getting pet insurance for puppies and kittens, including how much it costs and how much it could cost to not have it.
Pet insurance for puppies – under 1-year old
The table below displays a snapshot of accident, illness & routine care pet insurance policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) then by provider name (alphabetically). These results are based on cover for a medium-sized dog under the age of one.
Pet insurance for kittens – under 1-year old
The table below displays a snapshot of accident, illness & routine care pet insurance policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) then by provider name (alphabetically). These results are based on cover for a cat under the age of one.
Why consider pet insurance for puppies and kittens?
If your furry family member is in pain or suffering from an illness, your insurance policy could cover a significant percentage of its vet fee.
To give you an idea of how valuable pet insurance can be, the table below from Pet Insurance Australia shows the top five pet insurance claims for kittens and puppies, and how much they can cost to be treated by a vet.
|Top 5 Kitten Claims||Top 5 Puppy Claims|
|Condition||Cost To Treat||Condition||Cost To Treat|
|Diarrhea||$100 – $600||Otitis Externa (ear)||$100 – $1,500|
|Conjunctivitis||$100 – $900||Conjunctivitis||$100 – $300|
|Lethargy||$350 – $2,500||Diarrhea||$150 – $1,500|
|Foreign Object (swallowed)||$500 – $4,500||Ear Infection||$100 – $1,000|
|Eye Conditions||$100 – $350||Vomiting||$300 – $6,000|
|Source: Pet Insurance Australia|
While routine vet check-ups often aren’t too expensive, some of these common ailments can set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And if your pet experiences recurring problems, they could become recurring problems for your bank account too, as you can see in this next table:
|Approximate Cost For Top Claims If You Didn’t Have Pet Insurance|
|Gastric Dilation||$1,500 – $8,500|
|Elbow Dysplasia||$1,200 – $4,500|
|Peritonitis (inflammation of abdominal membranes)||$1,000 – $7,000|
|Cataract||$1,000 – $8,000|
|Intervertebral Disc||$1,000 – $10,000|
|Cruciate Ligament||$1,000 – $7,000|
|Gallbladder||$1,000 – $10,000|
|Adenocarcinoma Pulmonary (lung)||$1,000 – $5,000|
|Envenomation (animal bite or sting)||$1,000 – $4,000|
|Foreign Body (swallowed)||$1,000 – $12,000|
|Source: Pet Insurance Australia|
If you don’t have insurance then 100% of these costs will fall upon you as the owner, so try to ensure you find a policy that covers you for some of the more likely problems your pet may face (your pet may face exclusions, but more on this later).
The types of pet insurance: which should you get?
Depending on the depth of cover you’re after, there are three different kinds of pet insurance to consider:
- Accident and illness
- Accident, illness and routine care
- Accident only cover
As of 2018, Canstar only rates the first two types of pet insurance.
Accident and illness
Accident and illness insurance – as the name suggests – covers sickness or disease in addition to providing accident cover, usually at a higher cost than for an accident only policy. Examples of some illnesses covered can include cancer, infectious diseases, hereditary conditions, and skin conditions.
Accident, illness and routine care
Accident, illness and routine care covers not only accidents and illness as mentioned above, but also includes a component of insurance for routine care. This could include some coverage for preventative health treatments, such as vaccinations, worming treatments, de-sexing, dental care, and even behavioural therapy training classes.
This article will tell you more about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of policy.
Accident only cover
Accident only insurance covers harm or injuries caused by specific accidents and injuries and can cover common claims, such as broken bones, injuries from car accidents and snake bites, just to name a few. Accident only cover is typically the most affordable option for pet insurance and provides a basic level of cover, typically with a lower annual benefit limit than cover for accident and illness and for accident, illness and routine care cover. It is worth noting exclusions can apply, as well as benefit limits.
Canstar does not rate accident only cover anymore but it still exists as a policy, and could be worth investigating if you’re after a more affordable but basic policy.
How much does pet insurance for puppies and kittens cost?
Age is one of the biggest factors in determining the cost of pet insurance. As you can see in the graph below, on average pets under a year old are typically more expensive in their first year of cover, with the cost dropping slightly for the next two years and then increasing as the pet ages. However, this isn’t always the case so it is important to do your homework before choosing a policy.
What impacts the cost of pet insurance?
Age is just one of the factors that can affect your pet insurance premiums. The other common ones are:
- Breed and size
- Species (i.e. cat, dog, bird etc.)
- Whether they are desexed or not
According to Canstar Research, pet insurers are now also taking into account the sex of the pet as well as the age of the owner themselves, and whether they live external or internal to major metropilitan areas.
With regards to species, you can clearly see that cover for cats is much cheaper than it is or dogs overall, due to the more extensive claims history of dog owners. Size is also important – little dogs tend to be cheaper than bigger ones.
Regarding breed, some are more prone to certain pre-existing and genetic conditions, which can lead to exclusions in your policy. For example, many providers may not offer cover for respiratory surgery for pugs and bulldogs, given the way they are bred can lead to breathing problems. Other agile breeds like labs and golden retrievers are prone to arthritis as they get older too.
- Owning a banned or dangerous breed
- Illness or injury caused due to neglect
- Organ transplant or artificial limbs
- Ambulance or non-essential hospital admission and more
Whatever policy you opt for, ensure you’ve checked the terms and conditions thoroughly and ask your provider about their exclusions based on your pet. You don’t want to think you’re covered for something only to get lugged with a $1,000 bill for Fido’s leg surgery.