How much does pet insurance cost?

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A guide to pet insurance costs

Updated 21 March, 2024
Written by Eliza Buglar
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor

Why take out pet insurance?

Think of pet insurance as a financial buffer that can help you pay unexpected vet bills. Some benefits of pet insurance include:

  • You can claim a portion of your eligible vet bills up to an agreed amount per policy period. Some insurers may even cover 100% of your vet bills.
  • Get cover for accidental injuries, specified illnesses, and routine care procedures like vaccinations, worming, de-sexing, behavioural training and more. Optional extras for dental care and specialised treatments are also available.
  • New policies are available for pets as young as six weeks old, while basic policies can cover older animals.
  • Pets can be covered for life if you take out cover before they turn nine and maintain your policy coverage with no breaks.
  • Most insurance providers let you choose your own vet or clinic for treatment.

Choosing cover for your pet

There are a few key points to keep in mind when buying a pet insurance policy or switching cover.

Cover options

Benefit percentage

Benefit limits and sub-limits

Policy excess

Expert tips on how to save on pet insurance

Our resident pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, has some helpful tips to save money on your pet insurance.

Adrian Taylor
Executive General Manager – General Insurance

Compare policies before you buy

Weigh up different insurance policies to see how they compare on coverage, benefits and price. This may help you find a cheaper policy with the same level of cover as your existing policy, or you may find a policy that provides better value for the price.

Insure your pet early

Start coverage for your furry friend when they’re young before any health issues arise that insurers may deem as pre-existing conditions and exclude from cover. This would ensure your pet is covered for more health conditions (potentially saving you money at claims time) and as your furry companion ages and inevitably requires more vet care. Get cover within the first year of your pet’s life for peace of mind.

Increase your excess

You can pay less each month in insurance premiums if you elect to pay a higher policy excess. However, be prepared to pay more in the event of a claim. The excess is subtracted from your insurer’s payout; as a result, a higher excess will mean you’ll be paid less by the insurer when you make a claim. It’s not a method suitable for repeat vet visits or pet owners who visit a vet clinic more than they’d like to.

How much is pet insurance?

Pet insurance can cost between $25 and $80 per month,although premiums may be more and will vary depending on your pet, policy and insurer.

By comparison, pet owners may pay about $450 each year in vet bills depending on their pet’s health, according to Moneysmart.And, this doesn’t include other expenses like council registration fees, pet food, grooming and other related costs. The cost of pet insurance can be small compared to vet bills totalling thousands of dollars if your pet is sick or hurt.

What factors impact your pet insurance premiums?

Various factors affect how pet insurance premiums are calculated. Most will relate to information about you and your pet to ensure everyone pays a fair price for their pet insurance. The following factors may impact your pet insurance premiums:

  • Your pet’s age
  • Breed (for dogs)
  • Gender
  • Where you live
  • Whether your pet is de-sexed or not
  • The annual limit you choose
  • The benefit percentage you choose
  • Your policy excess
  • How many pets you include on your policy
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions your pet has
  • Any optional extras you include in your cover

How does dog breed impact the cost of pet insurance?

Your dog’s breed can greatly impact the cost of pet insurance. Purebreds, Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds and large, deep-chested breeds are typically more expensive to insure than smaller breeds and mixed breeds. This is because some breeds are more likely to have health issues due to genetic predispositions.

Pet insurance can cover hereditary or breed predispositions although it will likely cost more. This only applies if your policy is current, and you serve your waiting periods before your pet is diagnosed. Any illness or symptoms your pet has before you take out a policy will be treated as a pre-existing condition and might be excluded from cover. Read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for all policy inclusions and common exclusions and the insurer’s Target Market Determination to check the policy is suitable for you.

Cat vs dog insurance costs

Insuring a dog will likely cost more than insuring a cat. That’s because dogs are larger animals, tend to have more breeding-related issues and generally get more outdoor activity than felines, increasing their likelihood of injuries and mishaps. However, the price difference between pet insurance for a dog and a cat is not too different.

Meet our pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

Adrian Taylor
Executive General Manager – General Insurance

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.

Obtained from completed quotes on our comparison service. The cheapest quote was for a young (< 1 year old) Ragdoll cat, de-sexed, in Brisbane. The dearest quote was for a Labrador (> 5 year old), de-sexed, in Brisbane. Quotes featured the highest possible benefit percentage, the highest annual limit, no excess and all options included (25 May 2023).

Getting a pet. Moneysmart, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Accessed May 2023.