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Top 5 things to know about dog insurance

Cover for dogs of all ages

Pet insurance is available for dogs as young as six weeks old and sometimes senior animals.

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Cover for the unexpected and routine care

Comprehensive policies may cover some of your eligible costs for accidental injuries and illnesses, plus everyday healthcare with an optional routine care cover.

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Minimal to no waiting periods

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

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Protect your dog for life

You can insure your pooch for life by taking out cover before they turn nine, provided there’s no break or lapse in cover.

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Cover some or all expenses

Pet insurance can cover 70-90% of your eligible vet bills – up to an annual limit.

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Dog Insurance

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A guide to dog insurance

Last updated 14/06/2023

Written by Megan Birot

Reviewed by Adrian Taylor

Expert tips for looking at dog insurance cover

Our resident pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, has helpful tips for pet owners looking to insure their dog or those switching their cover.

Insure your pet early

Insure your dog while they’re young or before they develop health conditions that insurers may treat as pre-existing conditions excluded from coverage. At the very least, insure your furry friend before you take them home for peace of mind.

Compare cover options

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to insurance. Compare pet insurance plans to see how they stack up on their policy inclusions, annual limits, and exclusions. Is there enough coverage should your dog require multiple vet visits? Does one policy offer more benefits or features than another for the same price? Get your bang for your buck.

Increase your excess to reduce your premiums

Increasing your excess to reduce your premiums can be an effective way to save on pet insurance, especially if your dog is still relatively healthy. It may not be suitable if you have a dog prone to health issues or an older pooch, as your likelihood of claiming and having to pay a higher excess could be higher. Read your pet’s policy terms for the full details.

Find out more about pet insurance

Insure your dog while they’re young or before they develop health conditions that insurers may treat as pre-existing conditions excluded from coverage.

Accident and illness cover can help pay for a portion of the treatment costs for specified illnesses like cancer and accidental injuries.

Choosing the right pet insurance for you

What is dog insurance?

Dog insurance is just pet insurance that pays a portion of your canine’s eligible vet bills if they get sick or hurt. There are typically three levels of cover available, including:

Benefit percentage

Most pet insurance policies typically have a benefit percentage – the portion of your vet bill your insurer will pay for. This typically ranges between 70% and 90%, although reimbursement rates may be more or less depending on your cover level and insurance provider. You’ll need to pay for the remainder of the vet bill (a gap payment) after deducting your policy excess.

Benefit limits and sub-limits

Most pet insurance policies also have annual benefit limits, which is the maximum amount you can claim per policy period. Additionally, there may be sub-limits for specific conditions. For example, your policy may have an annual benefit limit of $10,000 but a $500 sub-limit for cruciate ligament conditions or tick paralysis treatment.

Policy excess

Remember you’ll typically have to pay an excess with each pet insurance claim. Some insurers will apply the policy excess before the benefit percentage is applied, while others will deduct it after. Keep in mind you can increase your excess to reduce your policy premiums, and vice versa.

How much is pet insurance for dogs?

Pet insurance for a dog can cost between $70 and $100 per month1, depending on your pet’s age, breed, and health status. The level of cover, benefit percentage, and policy excess you select will also determine the cost of your pet insurance.

Does pet insurance cover 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.

Exclusions and waiting periods

What are the exclusions of pet insurance for dogs?

Some common exclusions that apply to pet insurance policies include (but aren’t limited to):

Always read your pet insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the full details.

Can I get pet insurance for older dogs or certain breeds?

New policies are available for pets before they turn nine. Some accident-only covers may allow you to insure your dog up to 16 years of age, although this type of basic pet cover is not available from all pet insurers.

Certain dog breeds may be more expensive to insure than others due to their predispositions to specific health issues or hereditary traits. Dangerous or prohibited dog breeds cannot be covered.

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

You may not be eligible to claim on your pet insurance if your dog gets sick or injured before you’ve served your applicable waiting period. Most pet insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period for illnesses. There are usually no waiting periods for accidental injuries.

Is dog insurance worth the cost?

Are you prepared, or could you afford to pay thousands of dollars for emergency pet care? Could you do it at any time without warning? If you answered no or even hesitated to say yes, you may need pet insurance to give you peace of mind that your dog is covered should the unexpected happen.

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.

Meet our pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

As our expert on pet 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 expensive vet bills when their dog or cat gets injured or falls ill.

As the Executive General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, Adrian Taylor has over 13 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Adrian specialises in customer experience and is dedicated to helping customers better understand insurance products so they can save money on their household bills.

Want to know more about pet insurance?

1 Obtained from completed quotes on our comparison service. The cheapest quote was for a young (< 1 year old) Labrador, de-sexed, in Melbourne. The dearest quote was for an eight-old Australian cattle dog, de-sexed, in Brisbane, with the highest possible benefit percentage and highest annual limit and all options included (08 May 2023).

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