Dog insurance

Need to protect your pooch? You'd be barking mad to go without pet insurance for dogs.

Between speeding cars, illnesses, poisonous wildlife and everything else, most dogs will encounter life-threatening conditions at some point. It only takes one bad day to leave you with significant vet bills. Pet insurance can save you from needing to choose between your bank balance and your furry friend.

This guide will explore the key benefits of having dog insurance in place and what to look out for when comparing policies.

Compare dog insurance quotes from Aussie companies

Featuring Guide Dogs Pet Insurance

Guide- Dog- Logo

Featuring Guide Dogs Pet Insurance

Protect your furry friend while supporting Guide Dogs Australia.

  • Get back up to 85% of eligible vet bills – as much as $20,000 per year
  • $3,200 cruciate ligament conditions benefit and up to $2,000 tick paralysis benefit
  • No maximum age limit for illness cover, unlike other insurers
  • Three levels of cover to choose from
Promoted

Why are we highlighting this product? Guide Dogs Pet Insurance offers the highest reimbursement rate, annnual benefit limit, cruciate ligament and tick paralysis benefit among the pet insurers on our site. They're also the only insurer that covers your pet for illness if it's over 9 years old. While we do get compensated by Guide Dogs Pet Insurance, this doesn't influence our recommendation.
Details Features
Comprehensive Cover
Comprehensive Cover
Price beat guarantee on current comparable policies.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0 or $100
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,500
  • Discounts: Woolworths Rewards members get 10% off 1st year
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Ultimate Care Plan
Ultimate Care Plan
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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Major Medical Cover
Major Medical Cover
Get 2 months free when you sign up.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $15,145
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0, $100 or $200
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 15% multi-pet discount
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Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Ultimate Cover (Accident & Illness)
Helps support the RSPCA.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $11,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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Premium Accident & Illness Cover
Premium Accident & Illness Cover
Pay fortnightly, monthly or yearly at no extra cost.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 10% refund after your 1st year
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 Premium Care
Premium Care
Helps support Guide Dogs Australia. Advertisement
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $20,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 85%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0 or $50
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $2,000
  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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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%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 10% multi-pet discount
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Platinum Accident and Illness
Platinum Accident and Illness
No joining fee to pay.
  • Maximum yearly benefit: $12,000
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,000
  • Discounts: No
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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
  • Reimbursement rate: 80%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $1,200
  • Discounts: 10% off for seniors
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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%
  • Eligibility: Between 8 weeks and 9 years old
  • Excess options: $0
  • Paralysis tick benefit: $500
  • Discounts: 10% off for pensioners and rescue dogs
Go to site More info

dogs running

How does pet insurance work for dogs?

A pet insurance policy for a dog works the same as any other pet insurance policy - you pay a premium each month, and in return you'll be covered for a portion of your vet bills (usually around 80%).

  • There's really only two different types of policies. You've got your accident only policy - which will cover you if your dog accidentally hurts themselves - and you've got the accident and illness policies, which will cover your pup if they develop an illness like cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, or cruciate conditions (to name a few!). The comprehensive policy is still an accident and illness policy, but you'll generally have higher limits on your cover and may also have a routine care option.
  • There's a maximum you'll be paid out each year - the higher the better. Each policy also has an annual limit, which is essentially the maximum amount you can claim in a 12-month period. The limits for cheap policies typically lies around $5,000. Mid-level policies are around $10,000, whilst high-level comprehensive policies can cover around $15,000 per year. We've even got one provider, Guide Dogs, who offers a huge annual limit of $20,000.
  • There's age limits. Most policies won't cover your pup until they're eight weeks old. For policies that include illness cover, there will often be an age cap of 9 years old. This means that if you want to get cover for illnesses, you should really be taking out cover for your dog before their ninth birthday. Missed the mark? Guide Dogs Basic Care plan still offers some illness cover to older dogs.
  • You might have to pay an excess - but you can easily avoid this. Whenever you want to make a claim, you'll need to pay an excess. Many pet insurance companies offer a $0 excess, which means that you won't have to pay out more if something bad happens to your pup.

The value of having health insurance for your dog

According to data from the Hollard Insurance Company, one of Australia’s largest pet insurance underwriters, the average cost of a foreign object ingestion claim in 2014 was $1,272. The highest recorded claim was over $16,000.

What does pet insurance for dogs cover?

Pet insurance can:

  • Pay for most of your dog’s medical and surgical costs
  • Let you access a range of treatments that might otherwise be unaffordable, and help ensure that you can give your dog a high level of care
  • Provide a way to protect your investment if you have a rare breed of dog or have plans to breed your dog in the future
  • Stop you from having to choose between money and your dog’s life

Policies are designed to help cover some of the more common conditions that dogs will encounter over time. When picking out a policy, you can mix and match cover to include accidents, illnesses and routine care costs to find a level of cover that works for you.

Accidental injury cover.

This is the most basic level of pet insurance. It covers physical injuries caused by specific events, such as a car hitting your dog. Here are some other scenarios where your dog may be covered:

  • Motor vehicle incidents
  • Burns and electrocution
  • Allergic reactions to insect bites other than fleas and ticks
  • Bone fractures
  • Snake bites
  • Bite wounds or fight wound abscesses
  • Lacerations, cuts, abrasions and other injuries caused by external, physical forces

Accident and Illness cover.

This is the middle-tier of cover. It covers you for accidents, as well as the following conditions:

  • Cruciate ligament conditions
  • Surgical or endoscopic removal of foreign objects
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain, liver and heart conditions
  • Many other sicknesses or diseases not covered by accidental injury cover

Comprehensive cover.

This covers you for all of the above with higher limits, in addition to routine care cover. This is a useful, but optional, extra that can help cover the cost of important preventative care. Depending on the insurer and the policy, it can help cover the cost of the following:

  • Desexing, spaying or otherwise neutering
  • Dental cleaning
  • Microchipping
  • Council registration fees
  • Obedience training
  • Preventative heartworm treatments
  • Cremation or burial

What level of cover should I get?

The right insurance policy for you is one that’s affordable for you and delivers an appropriate level of cover. Unsurprisingly, the more cover you get, the more a policy will typically cost. The most comprehensive policies will naturally provide the highest level of cover, but may not always be an option. These are generally the levels of pet insurance available:

  • Accident cover. If you can’t afford a high level of cover, you can choose a basic accident-only policy to help cover the unexpected injuries your dog may suffer as a result of an accident. These policies will not cover illnesses or diseases.
  • Mid-level cover. This option balances cost and cover, providing cover for both accidents and illnesses. A mid-level policy typically has a total annual limit that falls between basic and comprehensive policies amounts. Mid-level cover limits are typically about $10,000.
  • Comprehensive cover. If price is not an object, a comprehensive policy offers the highest level of cover available. The conditions covered by these policies are often the same as those offered by mid-level cover, but with higher annual limits. With some insurers, routine care cover will only be available at this level. Pure-bred dogs can be prone to more health issues, so if you can afford it, comprehensive cover will certainly have its value.

Are there any additional benefits?

Many policies will also cover the cost of emergency boarding if you’re hospitalised and essential euthanasia1 if it’s the most humane course of action. You can also find policies that offer tick paralysis benefits to help you out if a paralysis tick bites your dog. It can also offer overseas pet health cover to cover your pet outside of Australia. These are separate additional benefits and should not be confused with routine care cover.

Is routine care worth having?

Many places will tell you that routine care cover is worth having - we're not one of them.

In most cases, your annual limit for routine care cover will be $50. Yet, some insurers still charge you around $10 a month extra for this. If you're not great at maths, this means that you're paying more for the cover than you're actually getting back.

Be sure to check each policy as this might not be the case across the board.

How much does pet insurance cost for dogs?

We already know that the breed and age of your dog can significantly affect the cost of your premiums. But what breeds are impacted most?

We've compiled a list of the average cost of insuring almost every dog breed. The following are some of our key findings:

  • The average comprehensive dog insurance policy is $803 per annum.
  • It costs more to insure pups like French Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Great Danes, and Rottweilers.
  • Some well known dog breeds that are the cheapest to insure at one years old are Cavoodles, Jack Russells, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Spoodles and Australian Shepherds - all costing an average of $634 per year.

What are the cheapest dogs to insure in Australia?

BreedAnnual Premium
Chihuahua$531
Pomeranian$531
Spoodle$531
Jack Russell Terrier$531
Australian Shepherd$531
Border Terrier$531
Schnoodle$531
Maltese Cross$531

What are the most expensive dogs to insure in Australia?

BreedAnnual Premium
Hygen Hound Cross$1,161
Formosan Mountain Dog$1,161
Italian Cane Corso$1,161
French Bulldog$1,118
Yorkshire Terrier$1,118
Boxer$1,118
Great Dane$1,118
Rottweiler$1,118

What won't your dog be covered for?

Some of the following exclusions, such as pre-existing conditions or lack of care will be found in all policies, while others such as dental problems are only sometimes present. Make sure you read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully so you know which exclusions apply to your policy.

  • Pre-existing conditions. This is a big one. If you're pet has any pre-existing condition, get the insurer to tell you what you're not covered for in writing. There have been some instances where you wont get cover for seemingly unrelated conditions. For example, if your dog gets an injury on his right paw, some insurers won't cover any illnesses on their left paw as they could be related.
  • Negligent or deliberate acts. Injuries resulting from your own deliberate acts or negligence, or those of someone living with you.
  • Lack of care. Failing to take all reasonable steps and precautions to care for your pet, including failing to follow your vet’s recommendations.
  • Claims within waiting periods. Cruciate ligament claims, for example, will typically have a six-month waiting period. This means you can’t make a related claim within six months of taking out a policy, although many insurers will waive this if a vet has examined your dog and certified it free of symptoms.
  • Preventable diseases. Any disease that could have been prevented through vaccination.
  • Commercial purposes. Treatment for dogs being used for commercial purposes, such as greyhounds and guard dogs (guide dogs are exempt).
  • Breeding or obstetrics
  • Dental problems or oral disease
  • Pet grooming or bathing
  • Ambulance fees and non-essential hospitalisation
  • Behavioural problems
  • Training, socialisation, therapy and alternative therapies
  • Pet food, vitamins and dietary supplements
  • Elective treatments such as desexing
  • Unapproved medications
  • Organ transplant surgery
  • Prosthetics or artificial limbs
  • Cell replacement therapies

*Disclaimer: The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best', 'Top', 'Cheap' including variations, are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.

Picture: Shutterstock

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16 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TeressiaJuly 1, 2017

    Hi, I’m just wondering if the pet insurance will cover the cost of dental care?

    • finder Customer Care
      RenchJuly 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Teressia,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      It will depend on the insurer and the policy. Some insurance includes cover for dental care, e.g. dental cleaning. You may inquire this with the insurer. You can go to this page to get helpful info and compare your options. You may also click on the name of your preferred insurance to see more details then you may click on the green ‘Get Quote’ button to get a quote from their official site and get in contact with them.

      Cheers,
      Rench

  2. Default Gravatar
    PamNovember 13, 2016

    Will my dog be covered for accidental death?

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardNovember 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Pam,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Pet insurance benefits vary from brand to brand but some policies to cover death by injury or illness.

      All the best,
      Richard

  3. Default Gravatar
    DesMarch 30, 2016

    I have had my 2 dogs insured with one of the providers listed for the one for the past 7 years and the other for the past 4 years. The dogs are close in age 7 years. In the past 3 years the premiums have increased between 12% and 15% each year, this year another 15%. My question is, in your comparison data is this trend in premium increase across the board with all providers mentioned?

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardMarch 30, 2016Staff

      Hi Des,

      Thanks for your question. We don’t currently have any data related to the increases in pet insurance premiums. Unlike health insurance for people where everyone pays a similar premium despite their age or health, pet insurance is risk rated, which means your pets age and medical history can affect your premiums. You may wish to compare other cover options before your dogs turn nine, which is the maximum entry age for cover with most pet insurers.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  4. Default Gravatar
    johnJanuary 29, 2016

    My dog is currently insured, the past three years, I have heard once he turns nine years I won’t be covered any more is that so.

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardJanuary 29, 2016Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. The maximum entry age for cover with most pet insurers is nine years old. However, once your pet is insured generally cover can be kept for life. You should contact your insurance provider for the full details and conditions of your cover.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  5. Default Gravatar
    FranciscaSeptember 1, 2015

    I mainly want an insurance for liability , third party. Dog owners are liable if their pet causes an accident, and that could ruin us financially.
    Even on this website liability is not mentioned.
    I would appreciate a recommendation/advice from you.

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardSeptember 3, 2015Staff

      Hi Francisca,

      Thanks for your question. I am unaware of any pet insurance policies that cover liability for animals attacking people. However, some home insurance policies do offer cover if your dog bites someone on your own property.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  6. Default Gravatar
    SteveJuly 20, 2015

    Hi there my pug has had a ear infections do your. Insurance still cover me if that happens again.
    Thank you

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardJuly 21, 2015Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. If you already have pet insurance, your best bet is to contact your insurer directly.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  7. Default Gravatar
    MandyJanuary 28, 2015

    How many of these insurers insure senior dogs for the rest of their life from nine years of age

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardJanuary 29, 2015Staff

      Hi Mandy,

      Thanks for your question. Do you mean taking out cover from nine years old? If so, I am not aware of any pet insurers that provide cover to dogs older than nine. If you mean, is your pet covered after it reaches the age of nine, then most insurers offer lifetime cover. finder.com.au only currently have Woolworths Pet Insurance in its panel of pet insurance providers. To learn more about this policy, please have a look at the following page:
      Woolworths Pet insurance

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    • Default Gravatar
      MandyJanuary 29, 2015

      Hi Richard

      Thank you for your response, I will look into the Woolworths insurance

      Regards
      Mandy

  8. Default Gravatar
    RonJanuary 15, 2015

    are there any companies that cover a dogs teeth and how much

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