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Top 5 things to know about pet insurance


Cover for dogs and cats of all ages

From as young as six weeks to nine years.

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Cover the unexpected and preventative care

Including specified accidental injuries and illnesses, plus routine care as an optional extra.

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Protect your pet for life

Take out pet insurance before your pet turns nine and maintain continuous cover with no break.


Cover some or all expenses

Pet insurance can cover between 70-90% of your eligible vet expenses. Some policies may cover less, and others may cover all your eligible expenses.

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Premiums can be reduced

Increasing your excess can reduce premiums and save you money.

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A guide to pet insurance

Updated December 11, 2023
Written by Eliza Buglar
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor

Expert tips for finding the right pet insurance for you

Our resident pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, has helpful tips for pet owners looking for a new pet insurance policy or those switching their cover.

Adrian Taylor
Executive General Manager – General Insurance

Insure your pet early

Get insurance for your furry friend while they’re young, at least within the first year, and before they develop any health issues or pre-existing conditions excluded from cover. Most common dog health problems and cat health problems can be insured if you take out cover before symptoms appear.

Increase your excess to reduce your premiums

You can get cheaper pet insurance premiums by selecting a higher policy excess. This is the sum you have to pay if you make a claim. It’s not suitable for all pet owners as increasing your excess means you’ll pay more in the event of a claim.

Review your policy terms and inclusions

Avoid nasty surprises and unexpected costs by checking exactly what you’re covered for, what percentage of your vet bills your policy will cover, how your claims will be paid, what your annual limit is and when it resets. Read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the full details.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance can cover some of your vet costs if your pet is sick, injured in an accident, or needs emergency care. Cover options typically include:

  • Accident and illness cover can help pay for a portion of the treatment costs for specified illnesses like cancer and accidental injuries. This level of cover may also offer benefits for emergency boarding if your pet needs to go to an animal hospital.
  • Routine care is an optional extra to get cover for prescribed costs like periodic vet consultations, vaccinations, de-sexing, dental illnesses, alternative therapies, etc. This comes at an additional premium as it provides more comprehensive cover.
  • Accident-only cover provides benefits for accidental injuries only, typically with no waiting periods. This may include cover for car accidents, bone fractures, reptile/spider bites, etc. It’s the most basic and cheapest level of cover.

Is there pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions?

Are there age limits for pet insurance?

Will my pet insurance let me choose which vet treats my pet?

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance requires you to pay a premium (usually monthly) to keep your cover and get reimbursed for a portion of your pet’s vet costs if they get sick or hurt. When it comes time to use your cover, you’ll generally have to pay the vet’s invoice upfront and lodge your pet insurance claim with your insurer after for reimbursement.

Benefit percentage

Benefit limits and sub-limits

Policy excess

Pet insurance exclusions

Are there waiting periods for pet insurance?

How are pet insurance premiums calculated?

There are several factors that can influence the premiums you pay for pet insurance. These include the following (but are not limited to):

  • The type of pet – cat or dog − you have
  • Your pet’s age
  • Your pet’s breed
  • Your pet’s health status/medical history
  • The annual limit you choose
  • Your benefit percentage
  • Your policy excess
  • The optional extras you include
  • Your claims history.

Premiums vary between providers and depending on whether you’re taking out a new policy or renewing the level of coverage you already have. Compare your policy options to ensure you’re happy with the cost of pet insurance.

Is pet insurance compulsory?

Pet insurance isn’t compulsory in Australia but is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Think of pet insurance as a financial safety net that can help pay for some expensive vet bills if your pet needs care. Some veterinary treatments can cost thousands of dollars, so consider taking out cover for your dog or cat as soon as possible for peace of mind.

Why compare pet insurance?

Pets aren’t usually cheap, and neither are vet bills. That’s why choosing the right pet insurance and knowing what you’re covered for is vital. That’s where we can help.

Comparing pet insurance with Compare the Market can save you time and stress. We make it easy to weigh up policies by quote, coverage, exclusions and more. So, why not see what we have to offer and compare today?

Meet our pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

As Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor knows that dogs and cats get themselves into all sorts of mischief. One part of Adrian’s work is to help empower consumers to understand how pet insurance can help save them from exorbitant vet bills when their pet gets injured or falls ill.

Adrian has over 13 years’ experience in the financial services industry. He helps review general insurance content on Compare the Market to ensure it accurately breaks down complex insurance topics.