Aussie pets drastically uninsured

Posted: 21 February 2019 9:53 am News

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 finder.com.au. 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: finder.com.au 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.

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 Premium Care
Premium Care
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  • Maximum yearly benefit: $20,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 85%
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  • Maximum yearly benefit: $15,000
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Major Medical Cover
Major Medical Cover
Get 2 months free when you sign up.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $15,145
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
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  • Discounts: 15% multi-pet discount
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Accident and Illness Cover
Accident and Illness Cover
Your pet is covered for life.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 75% or 85%
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Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Helps support the RSPCA.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $11,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
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  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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Platinum Accident and Illness
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No joining fee to pay.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
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Premium Accident & Illness Cover
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Pay fortnightly, monthly or yearly at no extra cost.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
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Top Accident & Illness Cover
Top Accident & Illness Cover
If you're over 50 get 10% off.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
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Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover
With guaranteed renewal you can protect your pet for life.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $14,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 85%
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  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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Ultimate Care Plan
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Get a free engraved pet ID tag when you sign up.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $20,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $3,000
  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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Picture: Shutterstock

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