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Pet Insurance - should I get it?

Updated: Oct 26, 2019

Should I get Pet Insurance for my dog?

What is the BEST insurance?

Whenever I see this question posted in our Bayside Dog Owners Group - and it is asked often - I say in my head "well, there is no right or wrong answer to this".

People will come on and say "the best insurance is [insert brand]" or "[insert brand] is rubbish go with [insert brand]" and they don't ask the person any details. CHOICE recently did a review (October 2019) on 86 Pet Insurance Policies and recommended NONE. You can see the article here

Now, I actually don't agree with this but this is partly what they said: "We've reviewed 86 pet insurance policies and haven't recommended any due to their their many restrictions and the lack of competition in the market. But we understand pet insurance might be useful in some scenarios."


"Pet insurance covers you for the cost of vet treatments if your cat or dog falls ill or is injured in an accident. If you don't have easy access to thousands of dollars to treat a serious condition, pet insurance can help cover those costs.

However, the industry has serious problems that means you should think twice before purchasing a policy. Older animals are locked out of many policies, while insurers rarely cover pre-existing conditions. This means it can be impossible to switch insurers and still get the same level of cover. Imagine being locked in to the same health or home insurance policy for life!"

Here is a great article written by Vet, Dr Leigh, from Your Vet Online about Pet Insurance from a Vet's point of view.

and the way I look at it is this....

I have had house and contents insurance for 30+ years. Have never made a claim (touch wood) and yet, I still see the value of having it. It makes sense that insurance is just that - an insurance against the worst happening.

So, here is a little attempt at approaching the above two questions.

Should I get Pet Insurance for my dog?


That all depends. On so many factors

Some of which you need to think about like:

Can you afford to pay a lot of dollars up front if something very serious happens? Like thousands?

Will you ACTUALLY put away $50 per month into a separate account and never touch it so that you have your own 'pet fund'? If the answer to this is yes - then do this.

What is the BEST insurance?


There is NO best insurance. What suits my dog may not suit yours. There are many mitigating factors such as breed, age and pre-existings.

My advice is not to bother with accident only cover and to look at "Accident and Illness – This is the most common coverage level, generally providing benefits for when your pet is sick or hurt." at least. If you look at comprehensive - in fact ANY level of coverage - it is best to know what it DOESN'T cover. For example, the cover I have for my two doesn't cover the following:

"2.1.3 When you are not covered

We will not pay any Vet Expenses attributable to or resulting from:

1. patella luxations (dislocating kneecap), elbow dysplasia, fractured teeth, stenotic nares, soft palate resections, CAT and MRI scans and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) under Essential Pet Care no matter how the Condition arises;

2. Treatment of the following irrespective of whether your dog or cat was vaccinated or not:

a. for dogs: infectious canine hepatitis (canine adenovirus), parvovirus, canine distemper, parainfluenza and all forms of kennel cough; or

b. for cats: panleukopaenia, chlamydia, leukaemia (FeLV), Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, herpes virus and all forms of cat flu;

3. any declared pandemic disease that causes widespread illness affecting dogs or cats;

4. more than one (1) incident of swallowing a foreign object that causes a blockage or obstruction requiring surgical or endoscopic removal per Policy Period;

5. any tick preventative treatments or measures (eg tick baths, sprays, etc) whether recommended by your Vet or not;"

What is NOT covered if far more important in my opinion and another, final thing is that I have "no excess" on my policies. After all - if you have to pay a $200 excess on each claim - that bumps up your yearly paying out - whereas - while the yearly premium is more $$ it doesn't stop me from claiming. Look at the table below from Hollard's Insurance Claims data from Petsure and it gives you a good idea of the various dollar amounts you could be looking at for each condition.

These figures come from from The Hollard Insurance Company's 2016/17 claims data via As you can see, there’s often a considerable difference between the average cost of a claim and the highest.

The following is a FANTASTIC website - put together by a guy called Mitch who asked the same question.

He says on his site, Top 10 Pet Insurance "I like to thoroughly research products before I buy them, and I when I started diving into pet insurance I found that there were more than 20 brands to choose from, each with a complex set of benefits and limitations and a wide range of prices.

I dove into the details of each plan and before I knew it, I had created a giant spreadsheet on the key points for nearly every plan.  It helped me to pick the plan that was the best fit for Lulu and me, and I shared it with a few friends, who encouraged me to put my findings online.  That started the ball rolling, and before I knew it, I’d added write-ups on every pet insurance brand I could find and heaps more." You can find his comprehensive site here

He also has a section of available discount codes which can be really handy.

Finn at the vet - grass seeds!

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1 Comment

Vipin Kumar
Vipin Kumar
Dec 24, 2019

Thank you for the post and this is really nice post.

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