Compare your pet insurance options in the Northern Territory.
Over many years, pet insurance premiums can run into thousands of dollars. On the other hand, a single vet bill might cost even more. But is pet insurance worth it in the Northern Territory?
This guide explains how pet insurance works, what to consider before taking out cover, and where you can get pet insurance in the NT.
Compare your pet insurance options in Northern Territory
How does pet insurance work?
There are two main types of cover to think about:
- Accident only. Covers treatments required for injuries following accidents.
- Accident and illness. Can cover accidental injuries, as well as illnesses.
Because accident and illness cover is considerably more comprehensive, it typically costs more. However, these types of policies may also include a range of additional benefits to help you get more value for money.
There are a few things to consider before taking out cover, and even similar looking policies might have some important differences.
- Annual limits. This is the most a policy will pay out in a single year. Comprehensive policies might cover up to $15,000 or more of vet bills per year.
- Percentage of costs covered: Pet insurance will typically not cover all vet bills, but comprehensive cover can often pay for around 80% of vet bills, with you paying the remaining 20%.
The cheapest pet insurance in the Northern Territory is probably going to be a very basic accident only policy, that covers a small percentage of bills, and has a low annual limit.
This isn’t necessarily the ideal choice, and even if the premiums are higher, comprehensive pet insurance might be better value for money in the long run.
How much does pet insurance cost in the Northern Territory?
Insurers consider a range of factors when setting your premiums. These can include:
- How old your pet is. Cover for older pets is usually more expensive.
- Breed and gender. Different breeds and genders can have very different health risks, and therefore different premiums.
- Size. Generally, larger animals cost more to insure.
- Whether your dog is desexed: Desexing or neutering your dog can be a great way to lower your premiums, since it also reduces the odds of many health risks.
Have a dog? Find out how much pet insurance costs for each breed.
Your location can also play a significant role. This is why insurers will often want to know your postcode before you take out cover.
For example, if you get pet insurance in Darwin, your dog might have a higher risk of being hit by a car at some point than a pet in regional areas. Insurers might raise premiums for this reason.
Pet insurance in regional NT might have lower premiums because of less traffic, but if there’s a higher risk of snake bite, or even something like a crocodile attack around your area, then insurers might consider this and raise premiums accordingly.
The weather and climate might also be considered. It gets hot up at the top end, and insurers might consider this too. Brachycephalic dog breeds like pugs or French bulldogs, for example, might attract higher premiums in the NT than they would further south, because they have an inherently poor ability to regulate body temperature, and might be more at risk of heat stroke and other health issues in hotter weather.
Is pet insurance worth it in the Northern Territory?
First time pet owners are often caught by surprise when they’re hit with a big vet bill. But is pet insurance worth it?
Consider the usual costs of pet insurance in the Northern Territory for different types of cover.
|Policy||Cost per week||Cost per month||Cost per year||Cost of cover over 5 years||Cost of cover over 10 years|
|Accident and illness cover||$8.08 to $12.69||$35 to $55||$420 to $660||$2,100 to $3,300||$4,200 to $6,600|
|Accident and illness cover plus routine and preventative care||$13.85+||$60+||$720+||$3,600+||$7,200+|
Now consider the cost of some common vet bills.
|Illness or injury||Total cost of treatment||Amount covered by pet insurance (80% of bill)||Remaining amount you would need to pay|
|Cruciate ligament surgery||$2,500||$2,000||$500|
|Vomiting/diarrhoea||$200 to $3,000||$160 to $2,400||$40 to $600|
|Ingesting a foreign body||$2,000||$1,600||$400|
*Disclaimer: Please note that the costs quoted in the above table are guides only. Costs can vary greatly based on severity, required treatment and how much your vet charges. For example, the quoted cost of snake bite is $2,000, but in severe cases treatment could cost well over $10,000.
Is it worth it?
You might pay thousands of dollars in premiums over the course of a decade, and during that time you might not make a single claim.
Conversely, you might have saved as much as $30,000 in vet bills during that time. It’s largely down to luck. To improve your odds, you might consider some factors specific to your pet.
- Is your pet high energy? Just like pro athletes, a high-energy pet might experience some wear and tear over time and need more medical attention, and surgery in later years. If you have a high-energy pet, it might be more likely to run into health issues in later years.
- What’s your pet’s temperament? A more aggressive dog or cat, who often fights with other animals, might be more likely to get injured at some point. A more inquisitive pet, meanwhile, might be more likely to get bitten by something venomous.
- How’s your pet’s health? If you suspect pre-existing conditions might arise, it can be well worth taking out cover ahead of time.
If you only take out pet insurance after your pet has developed chronic health issues, these might not be covered. If you get insurance while your pet is still healthy, then they can be covered for future illnesses. Age limits can also apply.
You generally can’t insure animals under 8 weeks old (so the insurer has time to see whether they might have any pre-existing conditions from birth), or over the age of 9. However, if you take out a lifetime pet insurance policy before then, you can maintain cover no matter how old your buddy is.
It can be worth remembering that pet insurance gets more expensive when the risks are higher. If the risks are high, you’re considerably more likely to need pet insurance at some point.
Are there any exclusions?
All insurance policies have exclusions, and pet insurance is no exception. In the Northern Territory, some of the conditions to watch out for as you compare pet insurance include:
- No cover for dental issues. Some policies won’t cover dental conditions.
- Infectious diseases and parasites. Specific preventable and infectious diseases might not be covered under your policy, especially if they can be prevented with vaccinations. Some policies might also require you to make sure your pet’s vaccinated in line with vet recommendations.
- Occupational use. You often won’t be covered for injuries or illnesses resulting from your pet being used as a guard dog, for hunting, or other occupational use. Guide dogs and assistance animals are exempt from this rule.
- Breeding and pregnancy. You are typically not covered for illnesses or injuries resulting from a dog being used for breeding purposes, or that happened during birth.
You are also required to obey pet ownership laws in the NT if you want to keep pets. This includes making sure you provide appropriate medical care as needed. Insurers may reserve the right to deny claims if you are found to have breached pet ownership laws.
Laws for pet owners in the Northern Territory
You are required to take proper care of your pet, including:
- Making sure it has enough of the right kind of food and water
- It has good living conditions
- It gets proper treatment if sick or injured
- It is allowed to exercise
- It is handled appropriately
- It will not be harmed by any confinement or restraints
- It is only worked, ridden or otherwise used in ways that are appropriate
- It is not abandoned
- It is not used in an organised animal fight
Some councils may also require that all dog owners get a permit, or that anyone who wants to keep more than 2 dogs on a premise gets a permit for doing so.
If you are living in the Darwin municipality, you must ensure your cat or dog is registered if:
- It’s over 3 months of age
- It’s been in Darwin for at least a month
Your pet must be microchipped in order to get registered. Registration is annual, and involves paying a fee. This fee is reduced if your pet is neutered.
What insurers can I access in the Northern Territory?
As you get pet insurance quotes in the NT, you might find some very different numbers. This is because of all the different factors they might consider.
It can be worth shopping around to make sure you've found cover that works for you.