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What is dog insurance?

Dog insurance covers some of your canine buddy’s critical healthcare costs. It can reimburse some or most of the cost of serious conditions depending on your level of cover, such as a broken hip and diseases like cancer. Typically, there are no waiting periods for accidents and minimal waiting periods for illnesses (typically 30 days).

Annual benefit limits, the percentage of eligible vet bills you’ll be reimbursed for, excess or co-payments and optional extras will differ from policy to policy so remember to always check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to find out exactly how you’re covered.

What does dog insurance cover?

Depending on your level on cover, dog insurance can cover you for a range of eligible vet costs, along with treatment for injuries and illnesses. You may also choose optional routine care for services like de-sexing, micro-chipping, tick control and obedience training.

Levels of dog insurance

Accident cover

An accident-only policy is the most basic level of cover. If your dog gets into a scuffle or they’re hit by a vehicle, this policy will help cover a chunk of the vet bill.

Accident and illness cover

A mid-range level of cover that includes accidents and illness diagnosed by a vet (e.g. cancer). The amount you can receive back from vet visits ranges from 60% to 80%, and you can claim up to a maximum of $15,000 a year. However, this type of cover is only available for dogs aged eight weeks to nine years old. Adding routine care can also be available on some of these policies.

Comprehensive cover

The highest level of pet insurance you can take out, a comprehensive policy covers illnesses, accidents and provides routine care 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. Please note: you’ll 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 dog insurance?

Generally, cover can only be taken out after you dog turns eight weeks old and before it turns nine years old. Once insured, cover can be for life – if you maintain cover.

How much does dog insurance cost?

This will vary depending on the level of cover you purchase and your insurer. You can choose between different levels of cover, including;

  • accident cover. The lowest level of dog insurance.
  • accident and illness cover. A mid-level cover, which covers both accidents and illnesses; and
  • comprehensive cover. Typically, the most expensive, this policy generally has higher claim limits and covers accidents and illnesses. Additionally, it may also subsidise routine care (e.g. check-ups, vaccinations, deworming).

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.

Is dog insurance worth my money?

Are you prepared to pay thousands of dollars for emergency pet care? Could you do it at any time, without warning?

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

Just remember: a pet insurance policy is unlikely to cover all your pet care expenses. Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) so you know how much your insurance policy covers, and if you are required to pay an excess or co-payment.

What doesn’t dog insurance cover?

Typically, dog insurance excludes the following:

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

Read your pet insurance provider’s PDS for more information on what’s included and excluded from your policy.

Can I cover older pets or certain breeds?

You can cover your pet with an accident and illness or comprehensive cover, your dog will typically need to be insured from an early age because accident and illness cover may not be available if your dog is over nine years of age.

While all 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, dog insurance can cover the cost of vaccinations, although it’s typically a feature available on comprehensive policies.

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) and helps review general insurance content on Compare the Market to ensure it accurately breaks down complex insurance topics.


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