Aussie pets drastically uninsured

Posted: 21 February 2019 9:53 am

Young woman petting her dog

Over 8 million Aussie pets are not insured.

As a nation, we love our pets. About 62% of Australian households own a pet, with roughly 38% of households having a dog and 29% owning a cat. This all amounts to an estimated 4.8 million dogs and 3.9 million pet cats in Australia, according to the Pet Ownership in Australia report from Animal Medicines Australia.

However, only an estimated 7% of pets in Australia are insured, PetSure chief executive Alex Thomas told the Australian Financial Review (AFR). PetSure underwrites a range of pet insurance brands including RSPCA, Bow Wow Meow and Petsecure. This means that of the roughly 8.7 million pets in Australia, only about 600,000 are insured – leaving over 8 million uninsured.

And this leaves Aussie pet owners in a precarious financial situation. According to the AFR article, PetSure's highest five claim payments in 2018 ranged from $10,000 to $14,800. With a basic pet insurance policy costing about $8 a week, pet owners could end up saving a whole bunch in the long run.

Visits to the vet add up

Aussie pet owners take their four-legged friends to the vet on average once a year with the average visit costing about $200, according to research conducted by Of those who'd taken their pet to the vet in the last 12 months, the average pet owner spent $626 over three visits, the survey found. If you add those costs up over the lifetime of pet ownership, they really stack up, but with pet insurance, you're able to get about 75% to 85% of that back.

State by state

State/Territory Annual spend at the vet*
WA $746
NSW $678
QLD $603
SA $558
VIC $530
National Average $626

Source: survey of 1,248 pet owners October 2018

*excluding pet owners who have not visited the vet. NT, TAS and ACT removed due to small sample size.

Thinking about adopting a pet?

Speaking of RSPCA (it was a little way back, but I stick by the segue), this weekend is the RSPCA's annual Clear the Shelter campaign, where it aims to help see as many pets adopted over a weekend by dropping its adoption prices. So, from 22 February to 24 February, you can pick yourself up a pet for just $29. This is a real bargain considering: a) you're getting a friend for life for $29 and b) you're getting a new pet without a range of costs associated with buying one from a breeder. In preparation for adoption, the RSPCA has already covered the following:

  • Desexing (starts from $91)
  • Microchipping ($39)
  • Vaccinations (starts from $83)
  • Vet checks ($65)
  • Other health care costs that may include dental care ($250), x-rays (up to $500) and even surgery (potentially $1000s)

If you do end up adopting a pet this weekend, don't let your pet join the over 8 million pets that are not insured. If you're worried about the cost, Petsecure offers a 10% discount on your policy when you adopt a cat or dog through a rescue organisation.

Latest headlines

Updated December 15th, 2019
Name Product Maximum yearly benefit Paralysis Tick Benefit Reimbursement rate Accidental Injury Illness
Guide Dogs Premium Care
Helps support Guide Dogs Australia.
Woolworths Comprehensive Cover
Price beat promise for similar policies. T&Cs apply.
Knose Dog Cover
70%, 80% or 90%
Get cover for your pet.
Medibank Ultimate Pet Care
Get 1 month free when you buy Medibank Pet Insurance before 10 January 2020. Use promocode: FREEMONTH. T&Cs apply.
Vets Choice Elite Cover
Get a 5% discount when you insure more than one pet.
Petsy Dog Accidental Injury and Illness Cover
Enjoy 2 months free and personalised pet tag with promo code: PETSYPET. Petsy members enjoy free personalised gifts, exclusive pet discounts and perks for humans.
PIA Major Medical Cover
Get 2 months free when you sign up.
PetSecure Accident and Illness Cover
75% or 85%
Your pet is covered for life.
RSPCA Ultimate Plus Accident and Illness Cover
Up to $20,000 annual limit
Helps support the RSPCA.
Real Premium Accident & Illness Cover
Pay fortnightly, monthly or yearly at no extra cost.
Australian Seniors Top Accident & Illness Cover
If you're over 50 get 10% off.
Prime Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
With guaranteed renewal you can protect your pet for life.
Guardian Platinum Accident & Illness Cover
No joining fee to pay.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Shutterstock

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site