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From the moment we hear the pitter-patter of their paws for the first time, dogs become a huge part of our families. But what happens when our fur-babies fall ill or face an accident and need medical attention?

This guide explores the benefits of pet insurance for dogs and how it can help protect man’s best friend if the worst was to happen.

What is dog insurance?

Dog insurance isn’t actually a form of insurance. Instead, you can cover your dog with pet insurance. Pet insurance can provide financial protection for some of your pup’s critical veterinary costs. Depending on your level of cover, your insurance could reimburse you a portion of the cost for serious medical treatments for conditions like a broken hip, or diseases such as cancer.

Typically, there are no waiting periods for accidents and minimal waiting periods for illnesses (usually 30 days).

Annual benefit limits, the percentage of eligible vet bills you will be reimbursed for, excess or co-payments and optional extras will differ between policies. Make sure you remember to check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to find out exactly what you’re covered for.

Dog insurance cover options

The level of cover pet insurance can offer your dog varies significantly. From cover for eligible vet costs, including treatment for injuries and serious illnesses, you could also choose optional routine care for services like de-sexing, microchipping, tick control and obedience training.

Levels of dog insurance in Australia

Accident cover

An accident-only policy is the most standard level of cover for your dog. For example, if your dog gets into a scuffle with another dog or is unfortunately hit by a vehicle, this policy could help cover a portion of the vet bills associated with the treatment.

Mid-Range Accident and illness cover

This is a mid-range level of cover for accidents and illnesses diagnosed by a vet, such as cancer. The amount you can receive back from vet visits typically ranges from 60% to 80%, and you can claim up to a maximum of $15,000 a year, depending on the provider. However, in most cases, this type of cover is only available for dogs aged between eight weeks to nine years old. Adding the routine care cover can also be available on some of these policies.

Comprehensive cover for accidents and illness

The highest level of accident and illness cover you can take out, a comprehensive policy covers illnesses, accidents and provides routine care (e.g. check-ups, vaccinations, deworming) as an optional benefit for an additional premium. The benefit rate can be up to 85%, and you can claim up to a maximum of $20,000 per year, depending on the provider. It’s important to note that you will need to insure your dog after it’s eight weeks old and before it turns nine years old.

Frequently asked questions

How does my dog’s age affect pet insurance?

Generally, cover can only be taken out after your dog turns eight weeks old and before it turns nine years old. Some basic covers may allow you to insure your dog up to 16 years of age. Once insured, pet insurance cover can cover your fur baby for life – for as long as the product is offered, provided there are no breaks in cover, and subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. How much does pet insurance for your dog cost?

The cost of pet insurance varies, depending on the level of cover you purchase and your insurance company. What’s more, the cost of your pet insurance policy may differ depending on your dog’s health, age, breed, where you live and more. Learn more about the cost of owning a dog here.

Is dog insurance worth the cost?

Are you prepared or could you pay thousands of dollars for emergency pet care? Could you do it at any time, without warning? Pet insurance for your dog gives you the peace of mind if the worst happens to your good boy/girl.

Accident and Illness cover may prevent a healthcare condition from becoming unaffordable to treat, and comprehensive cover can provide additional value.

Just remember: a pet insurance policy  usually covers a portion of your pet care expenses. Check your PDS to know how much your insurance policy covers and if you are required to pay an excess or co-payment.

What are the exclusions of pet insurance for dogs?

Typically, the following exclusions apply to pet insurance policies:

  • abuse and negligence
  • pre-existing conditions
  • preventative treatments
  • dental illness and some dental procedures
  • pregnancy
  • transplants, prosthetics and other complex treatments
  • grooming, pet accessories and food
  • ambulance costs

However, always read your pet’s policy terms for the full details of what is and isn’t included.

Can I cover older pets or certain breeds?

Your dog will typically need to be insured early on because accident and illness cover may not be available if your dog is over nine years of age.

While most dogs can be covered in some capacity, certain breeds may be more expensive to insure than others due to having a higher likelihood of certain health issues.

Does dog insurance cover the cost of my dog’s vaccinations?

Yes, pet insurance for your dog can cover a portion of the cost of vaccinations, although it’s generally an optional feature available on comprehensive policies.

What are sub-limits in dog insurance?

No matter what type of animal you’re covering with pet insurance, the sub-limit is a cap on how much you’re able to claim on the insurance policy annually for certain conditions. They’re usually applied to common dog illnesses or injuries and can vary between insurance products, so read your policy terms for the full details.

What if my dog is injured or falls ill outside of the waiting period?

To have an eligible claim on your pet insurance policy, you must have waited the applicable waiting period before the condition occurs. In most cases, there are usually no waiting periods for accidents, but some insurance providers have a 30-day waiting period for illnesses. It’s important to check your policy terms or you risk having to pay vet expenses out of pocket.

Are extras available on dog insurance policies?

Extras are available on a range of pet insurance policies, but they can vary depending on providers. In most cases, some extras will automatically be included in a plan, such as emergency boarding, euthanasia and treatment for tick paralysis.

Meanwhile, you may be able to purchase optional extras for your dog’s routine treatment. This can provide cover towards treatment costs of alternative therapies, some dental procedures, microchipping, diets and more.

Read your pet’s policy terms for the full details.

What are multi-pet insurance policies?

Multi-pet insurance policies allow you to insure more than one dog (or other pets) under one policy. This can help you reduce paperwork and some insurers even offer multi-pet discounts for additional pets you add to one policy.

The discount can vary between providers and some may not offer discounts at all. Also keep in mind that while multi-pet insurance policies can provide convenience, the majority of pet insurance options in Australia allow you to choose a different cover option per pet.

Where is pet insurance for dogs available?

Dog insurance, known as pet insurance, is available Australia-wide. Whether you live in NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, TAS, NT, ACT or WA, we can help you find a new policy. Simply enter some details about your pet in our free online tool and we’ll display a variety of plans within minutes.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Meet our pet insurance expert, Stephen Zeller

As General Manager of GI, Pet and Business Insurance, Stephen Zeller knows that man’s best friend can get into all sorts of mischief. Stephen works to empower consumers with an understanding of how pet insurance works and how it can help pay for expensive dog vet bills.

Stephen has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and is an Allied Member of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). Stephen assists in reviewing general insurance content on Compare the Market to ensure it accurately breaks down complex insurance topics.

Stephen’s tips for insuring your dog

  1. Insure your pet when it’s young. Waiting until your pet is old before buying pet insurance can make it more difficult to obtain cover.
  2. Honesty is the best policy. Always be honest when disclosing your pet’s medical history to ensure there are no surprises when it comes to claiming.
  3. Know everything that is (or isn’t) covered. Always read the PDS to understand the cover terms and conditions before you purchase.

Compare pet insurance for your dog today!

Use our free comparison tool to find an insurance policy that works for you and your pet. Once you submit your preferences, it’ll generate quotes in a convenient side-by-side view.
And if you find a policy you like, we’ll even help you with the messy paperwork – at no extra cost. Simples!

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