The 6 Best Dog Insurances Australia: Evaluated 2023
In the market for dog insurance in Australia? You’ve come to the right place! In this mega guide, we’ll cover everything you need about choosing the best dog insurance policy for your pooch and whether you even really need insurance. At the end, we’ll talk about some of the most highly-rated pet insurance companies in Australia to kickstart your search.
To find out everything we could from the angle of pet owners, we teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviourists and dog parents to form an independent panel of experts to research the most popular dog insurance Australia offers. After months of shopping and calling around, we came up with the most promising insurance plans and what makes them great.
HUGE disclaimer: we are not insurance brokers nor insurance experts and take no liability in your purchase of any of the insurance policies mentioned. We have cross-referenced the information here to be as factual as possible regarding insurance law in Australia in 2023 - when this article was written. However, we encourage you to do your own thorough research and consult a broker if you’re in doubt about any of the policies mentioned.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Pet Insurance Australia
- Fast turnaround time for claims
- Friendly customer service
- 3 tiers of coverage
Runner Up -
RSPCA Pet Insurance
- Covers dog up to 16 years of age
- Well reviewed
- Tick paralysis benefit included as standard
Third Choice -
Bow Wow Pet Insurance
- Reasonable premiums
- Zero excess for any policy
- Easy to process claims
- Great reviews
Australia's Best Pet Insurances Reviewed
We want to point out again that we are not insurance brokers or endorsers. We are an independent team of canine enthusiasts who spent months researching the topic. The following recommendations below are based on good reviews, well-rounded policies and expert endorsements. (4)
With that said, let’s get into the dog insurance in Australia that dog owners like you rate highly.
Pet Insurance Australia is an award-winning pet insurance provider that many patrons are happy with. They have three policies that clearly outline different levels of coverage.
The Essentials Cover package is the lowest and cheapest tier. However, the annual condition limit is only $1,000. That means that if your vet bill is over $1,000, you’ll have to cover the excess.
The Comprehensive Cover package covers up to 80% of your eligible vet bills and includes some extra benefits such as emergency boarding fees, pet travel insurance and multi-pet discounts.
The Major Medical Cover package is the highest tier. It also covers up to 80% of your eligible vet bills but has some interesting perks. For example, you have an allowance for routine care such as vaccinations and deworming procedures. You also get paralysis tick treatment cover as standard, just like our number two choice ahead.
RSPCA Insurance is another highly-rated and award-winning pet insurance company that is worth exploring.
They have the most coverage options on this list with four policies:
RSPCA General Accident & Illness Cover is the only policy that allows dogs between 9 and 16 years of age.
RSPCA Economy Accident & Illness Cover is only eligible for up to 75% reimbursement of your vet bill.
RSPCA Ultimate Accident & Illness Cover can include routine care cover and has up to 80% bill reimbursement.
RSPCA Ultimate Plus Accident & Illness Cover is the only policy that can give you an annual benefit limit of $20,000. It can also include routine care coverage.
If you’re looking for the best value pet insurance in Australia, Bow Wow Pet Insurance is often celebrated in reviews for having reasonable monthly premiums.
When it comes to dog insurance, there are three policies to choose from:
Accident only which covers accidental injuries only. The annual benefit limit is $10,000.
Peace of Mind is an accident and illness cover package that gives you an annual benefit of $15,000.
The Ultimate Care package is the highest tier. It gives you an annual benefit limit of $20,000 and includes $1000 of dental coverage and $1000 of alternative therapy coverage.
Just like with our number one and two choices, the package you pick should depend on your dog's personal information and lifestyle. However, since it doesn't provide accident and illness coverage for dogs over the age of 9, if you're like me and own a senior dog, consider our number two option instead.
Though we talk about senior dogs often on Gentle Dog Trainers, this time, we’re talking about if you are a senior citizen. Australian Seniors is an insurance company specifically for the over 50s. So you can trust that their pet insurance is made with your specific concerns in mind.
They only offer Accident & Illness coverage at three different levels.
Basic Accident & Illness Cover includes 65% cover on vet bills up to $12,000 per year.
Essential Accident & Illness Cover includes 75% cover on vet bills up to $12,000 per year.
Top Accident & Illness Cover includes 80% cover on vet bills up to $12,000 per year.
None of the policies has excess which is rare to see with insurance. They all include paralysis tick benefit too, like our number one and two options.
Poitiki is pet insurance in alliance with PetSure. It has great reviews and high ratings across the board.
People love Poitiki most because of the perks you can get as well as the helpful VetChat feature. The perks are up to $400 worth of wellness items for your dog including flea and tick treatments.
Like Pet Insurance Australia in spot number one, customer service is the highlight here as it's geared around helping you and your ailing pup.
Poitiki has three levels of cover like many of the others. All of them include up to 80% reimbursement on eligible vet bills up to $20,000 each year. The main differences are:
Silver Cover is eligible for dogs up to 15 years old, whereas the other two only go up to 9 years old. It also only includes cover for cruciate ligament conditions up to $3,000.
Gold Cover includes cover for cruciate ligament conditions up to $4,000.
Platinum Cover includes dental illness cover as standard and you can increase the annual benefit to $30,000 to cover vet consultations, tick paralysis, hip joint surgery and cruciate ligament conditions.
All of these policies and tiers and minute differing conditions… Sometimes you just want one policy that is easy to choose.
Knose Pet Insurance knows what you really want! That’s why they’ve distilled their service into one neat policy that you can adjust to suit your needs and your budget.
You can apply for up to $25,000 annual coverage limit. There are no sub-limits at all. You can also add on optional extras to your liking. Examples include dental cover, behavioural problems and alternative therapies. I appreciate how customisable it is for me and my dog's needs.
If you prize simplicity above all else, Knose Pet Insurance could be a good option for you.
What Is Dog Insurance In Australia?
Dog insurance or pet insurance is a financial policy that aims to help you with any veterinary services your dog might need. The medical expenses are the main benefits but some policies will also pay out if your pet dies, or is lost or stolen.
“As with human health insurance, there is usually a deductible, which is an out-of-pocket expense before the coverage begins. Most providers will base the amount of the insurance premium on the average cost of veterinary care in the owner’s region.” - Alexandra Twin for, Investopedia (1)
The best parallel to pet insurance is health insurance. And you know what they say about health insurance! You have to read the fine print over and over as there are many loopholes and exceptions when it comes to making a claim.
More on that later. First, let’s consider how dog insurance works.
How Does Dog Insurance Work In Australia?
The cost of owning a dog rises every year, what with inflation and recessions and all of that good stuff.
But can we all agree that the biggest cost tends to be veterinary?
Reports say that on average, Australians spend over $600 on veterinary services every year. (2)
Now imagine if those costs could be lowered by having pet insurance. That’s the gift of having the foresight of a solid pet insurance policy.
How does it work?
Like most insurance products out there, you have a policy in your name that you pay monthly, quarterly or yearly premiums on to maintain.
The insurance premium – that is the amount you pay to cover your pup – depends on multiple factors:
- Where you live
This is because veterinary services fluctuate in cost depending on where you are in the country.
- Your dog’s age
An insurance policy on a senior dog may differ from a policy on a young dog.
- Your dog’s previous health conditions
If your dog has any major health conditions, it may raise the cost of your premiums.
If your pup has an emergency and needs to have a costly vet surgery, you can make a claim on your pet insurance policy to help you cover the costs.
Sometimes the company can reimburse for a high vet bill. Or sometimes you can redirect the costs straight to them.
Many policies will have an “excess”. An “excess” is the amount you need to pay for the vet bill before you can make an insurance claim. The amount you pay in excess will depend on the company and even the procedure.
Not all policies cover all surgeries or procedures. Some policies also allow you to claim in the event your dog dies.
Whatever happens, I cannot stress enough how you should read your policy documents cover to cover. If in doubt, ask customer service exactly how to make a claim and how you can receive help.
Do You Really Need Dog Insurance?
Insurance is one of those things. Everyone knows they should have it but it still somehow feels like a luxury product.
Think about travel insurance. When you embark on a big trip, you might consider getting travel insurance, but because you don’t think something will happen, you skip it.
It’s only when your luggage gets lost and redirected to China for 6 weeks that you wish you had gotten travel insurance from the start.
The same goes for dog insurance. It’s the product you hope you’ll never need, but it’s so potentially life-saving if you do need it.
For balance, let’s look at the pros and cons of getting pet insurance for your dog.
Pros of having dog insurance
Let’s start with the good stuff! Why should you bother getting dog insurance? According to our team of independent experts:
- It can cover costly health treatments for your dog
The main benefit of pet insurance is that you never have to make the painful choice between bankruptcy and your dog’s health. If something happens to your beloved four-legged friend that is going to cost the earth to solve, your insurance policy is there to cover the bulk of the cost. That means you can rest assured that you don’t have to deplete your bank account in the event of a medical emergency.
- Some dog insurance policies have other benefits
Depending on the policy, your dog insurance can go beyond just veterinary bills. Some cover the sudden death of your pet and the costs that incur any end-of-life plans. Some even have pet travel insurance and boarding fees coverage which are great for frequent flyers.
Cons of having dog insurance
Now for the cons. You’d think there wouldn’t be any valid points against getting pet insurance but you’d be surprised! Allow us to surprise you.
- Not all health conditions are covered
Ah, exclusions. Insurance companies love exclusions and exceptions to their coverage. It’s so common for unknowing dog owners to be caught out with an astronomical vet bill, only to find that their pet insurance company refuses to help out. This can be avoided by reading the policy terms and conditions in detail. You can also contact customer service for more clarity on any of the clauses you’re confused about.
Yes, I know the terms and conditions are in the finest print, written in legal mambo-jumbo and span 47 pages, but it’s worth the thorough read!
- Plans can be expensive
It’s interesting how insurance works in terms of pricing. Many companies will have their advertised price which seems quite reasonable. Then when you get into the weeds of it all, there are added costs along the way and the total silently creeps up.
If your dog is a little older or has any diagnosed health conditions, it can be double or even triple the advertised price. If you have a complex insurance case with your dog or multiple dogs at home, it might be worth reaching out to a trusted insurance broker.
So should you get pet insurance for your dog?
Here’s the bottom line:
“If your pet is relatively healthy and you can afford the premiums, and you wouldn’t be able to afford tens of thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, you should get pet insurance.” - Kaitlyn Wells and Mark Smirniotis, Wirecutter (3)
How To Find The Right Dog Insurance To Suit Your Needs
There are loads of insurance companies out there that offer pet insurance. How do you wade through them all to find the right company and policy for you? Here are the criteria we recommend after months of researching the topic with our panel of experts.
Read the Terms and Conditions
Yes, I’m repeating myself but I cannot belabour this point enough.
Read ALL of the terms and conditions before you pay for a policy and sign the dotted line.
It’s incredibly important that you delve into the details of the policy and make sure you’re covered for the things you’re expected to be covered for.
Important things to look out for are:
On that last point, let’s talk about defining the insurance coverage you’re likely to need.
Choose how much coverage you need
Getting an insurance policy that works for you depends on your budget and your dog’s lifestyle. We’ll touch on a budget in the next point, but how can your dog’s lifestyle be such a major factor? Don’t most dogs live similar lives?
Related: Does Pet Insurance Cover Grooming & Nail Clipping?
Yes, they do. All dogs eat, sleep and poop. But the daily happenings of an individual pup will depend on a few things:
These are just a few questions I would ask myself if I were looking for dog insurance.
For example, I’m a huge traveller so pet travel insurance is quite appealing to me. I would likely pay a little extra for that bonus feature. In your case, you might be an avid hiker and would like extra coverage should anything happen to your dog on the road.
Think about the challenges you could encounter and if the insurance policy you’re reviewing can meet those challenges.
To break this down further, there are three main types of coverage on the market:
1. Accident cover
This is the most basic cover you can get. It’s for accidental injuries and the medical expenses that follow.
2. Accident and illness
This is the mid-tier of coverage when it comes to pet insurance. This will cover accidents and longer-term illness.
3. Comprehensive cover
The most coverage you can get! The inclusions will depend on the company. Some will add in financial assistance for routine check-ups and dental work for your pup.
Define your budget
So at this point, you’re likely wondering, how much is dog insurance?
As a ballpark figure, you can expect to pay $100 per month for pet insurance in Australia. Annual plans can be from $1,000 at their most basic coverage, to $2,000 at their most comprehensive. Policies vary depending on the specific coverage you need.
Of course, this is pretty high for many households, so you have to think carefully about the budget you can comfortably afford. If you can only afford accident cover at this time, you can always increase your insurance at a later date.
My Final Thoughts
So that’s a lot of information! The important thing to note when searching for the best dog insurance in Australia is to be as thorough as you can. Read policies cover to cover before you make a decision. Get in touch with customer service to see how fast and helpful they are. Comb through real-life reviews to get the best feedback on people’s experiences making claims.
We hope this article was helpful to you. Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see us cover next!
This is a sticky issue. Vets can recommend that you get insurance but they can’t personally endorse pet insurance companies to you. It is a conflict of interest and professional liability for them. The only people who can make a full professional recommendation are insurance brokers. Everyone else can give their opinion but they can’t endorse any companies.
- Twin, A. September 24, 2022. “Pet Insurance Definition”. Investopedia. Retrieved January 17, 2023. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pet-insurance.asp
- McGrath, M. “The Cost of Owning a Pet in Australia”. Budget Direct. Retrieved January 17, 2023. https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/pet-insurance/guides/real-cost-owning-pet-australia.html
- Wells, K. Smirniotis, M. August 25, 2021. “How to Shop for the Best Pet Insurance”. Wirecutter. Retrieved January 17, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-pet-insurance/
- Rosanes, M. October 15, 2022. “Australia's top pet insurance providers in 2022”. Insrance Business Mag. Retrieved January 18, 2023. https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/guides/australias-top-pet-insurance-providers-in-2022-424060.aspx