Explore Pet Insurance

Many of us turn to insurance to shoulder rising healthcare costs. It’s for the same reason that we find insurance for our pets when they’re young – after all, they’re part of the family too and we want to be able to take care of them as they age with us.

So, if you’ve looked at some pet insurance policies, you might be wondering why they’re priced so differently to one another.

We’ll break down what can affect pet insurance premiums, so you know what to look for when getting cover for your four-legged friend.

What affects pet insurance premiums?

Unlike health insurance for humans – which is community rated (meaning people don’t pay more based on their health status or age) – two pets covered by similar pet insurance policies could attract starkly different premiums.

Species and breeds have varying healthcare needs, based on genetic predispositions to different conditions. It simply wouldn’t be fair to charge the same when some pets cost so little to care for, and others so much.

Pet insurance premiums are based on a number of factors:

  • age
  • breed
  • where you live
  • the percentage of vet bills that are covered
  • the level of cover chosen
  • type of animal (cat or dog)

A couple cuddling two Border Collies in the park

Beyond the factors that your furry friend brings to the mix, pet insurance premiums are heavily dependent on your choice of insurer and the policy you choose:

  • Accident & illness cover: this policy can help cover vet bills in the event your pet is injured or falls ill. Typically speaking, it’s less expensive than comprehensive cover.
  • Comprehensive cover: comprehensive pet insurance can cover higher amounts of your vet bill for injuries and illnesses. It’s the most expensive type of policy you can hold, but also often comes with the option to add a routine care package for additional benefits.
  • Routine care add-on: this is an optional extra only available in comprehensive level pet insurance policies. Routine care helps pay for a variety of ongoing costs; such as worming, microchipping, flea and tick treatment and can also cover training or council registration fees.

If you’ve made any claims on your pet insurance in the past, this can also increase the price of your premiums as well.

Excess payments explained

Other factors that may influence the price of insurance are your co-payments or excesses.

An excess is a payment owed to the insurer in the event you claim, and may be subtracted from the payout amount your insurer pays you.

You may be able to reduce your premium by choosing to increase your policy’s excess payment.

Your premium is calculated when your policy begins and when it’s renewed each year. Additionally, you can choose whether to pay fortnightly, monthly or yearly. While yearly payments are a higher upfront cost, they generally work out a little bit cheaper than if you pay monthly or fortnightly.

A woman kneeling down close to her cat.

Another factor to keep in mind is that, in most cases, the price of your pet insurance could increase a little bit every year. This is to reflect the fact that as your pet gets older, the risk that their health will deteriorate increases – which increases the likelihood of you claiming on your pet insurance.

Be mindful of out of pocket expenses

The only other cost you’ll need to concern yourself with is any out of pocket expenses you may owe, such as the portion of the vet bill that isn’t covered by your pet insurance. While out of pocket expenses don’t affect how premiums are calculated, they’re significant enough that we do need to mention them here.

Out of pocket expenses are owed when your pet’s healthcare treatment is only partially covered by your insurance policy. Your insurance policy’s benefit percentage may be 80%, which means you’ll need to pay the remaining 20%. Here is an example of how that works.

A $1,400 vet bill would result in out of pocket expenses of $280, which you would have to pay yourself. On some policies the excess, benefit limits and sub-limits may also apply. Remember to always read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know exactly how you’re covered.

When taking your pet to the vet, you might have to pay the whole bill upfront and then lodge a claim with your pet insurance, though some vets can charge your insurer directly, leaving you with the remainder of the bill to pay, as well as any excess payments.

Frequently asked questions

What should I look for in pet insurance?

When it comes to comparing pet insurance policies, you should first consider the price of the premiums, along with the following:

  • How much of the vet bill can you claim?
  • If you insure your pet will you have lifetime cover (if you maintain your policy)?
  • What are the limits and sub-limits (e.g. $20,000 a year annual limit with a $500 sub-limit for skin conditions)?
  • Will your pet be covered for recurring conditions?
  • What are the age limits on getting cover?
  • Are there any healthcare conditions excluded from the policy (i.e that you’re unable to claim on)?

Use our free pet insurance comparison service to compare pet insurance quotes by price, features and more with ease.

Do pet insurance premiums increase even if I didn’t make a claim the year before?

Yes, pet insurance premiums can increase even if you didn’t claim on your policy throughout the year. This is because the likelihood of you claiming may have increased as your pet gets older.

Lodging claims throughout the year could also mean your premiums might increase in the following year, as it’s an indication your pet may be more likely to fall ill or get injured again.

I own a registered guide dog. Does that affect my pet insurance premiums?

If your own a registered guide dog, they need additional insurance cover. A policy that covers Third Party Liability will provide financial compensation if the guide dog causes damage to someone or their belongings. This may come at additional cost to standard pet insurance cover.

Looking for pet insurance but want to compare your options? We’re here to help. Our pet insurance comparison service is free to use and collates a number of policies from different insurers in one place.

It only takes a few minutes to compare pet insurance policies by their premiums, coverage and features. And, you can apply for cover straight away, too.


Ready to look for a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

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