Pet Insurance Report 2020: Protect your pet with the right research

By Tara McCabe ·
Dog and cat lying on the floor.

Just like us, cats and dogs need not only love and attention but also taking care of when they get sick. So, while it’s great to see so many people adopting furry friends during the pandemic, there are a few things you might want to consider before you do the same.

In a new study, Mozo looked at how pet insurance premiums can differ dramatically for different dog breeds.

Key takeaways from our report:

  • Bullmastiffs are the most expensive dog breed to insure, costing an average $1,685 per year
  • With an average yearly cost of $668, Border Collies are the most affordable purebred dog to insure
  • Surprisingly, designer dog breeds have some of the lowest annual insurance premiums
  • Dog breeds classified as dangerous are, on average, 77% more expensive to insure than dogs that aren’t
  • Pet insurers will not provide liability cover for American Pit Bull Terriers or Japanese Tosas

Summary 

With the pandemic forcing many people in and out of lockdown, the RSPCA has reported a significant increase in pet adoptions. It is encouraging that so many are getting behind the Adopt, Don’t Shop campaign, however, there are a few things to think about before making a new pawsome pal.

Now let’s be clear, we wouldn’t want to discourage you from taking on a pet. Once you invite them into your home, they truly do become part of the family. They can enrich your life so much - but it is worth remembering that you will be responsible for their wellbeing.

With this in mind, Mozo’s 2020 pet insurance research reveals which dog breeds are more expensive to insure, which are more affordable and how a dangerous dog breed classification could affect your yearly premium.

Most expensive dog breeds to insure 

With an average yearly premium of $1,685.01, Mozo’s research team found that Bullmastiffs are the most expensive dog breed to insure. Although Bullmastiffs are often considered gentle giants who are extremely loyal to their human family, they are big dogs and insurers do consider them a higher risk.

That aside, if you do have a Bullmastiff buddy to look after, then you could still save money on pet insurance by shopping around. According to Mozo’s research, the most expensive yearly premium on offer for Bullmastiffs is $2,787.72 and the least expensive is $930.12. That’s a difference of $1,857.60!

Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont says that before rushing into a pandemic pet purchase, a little research can really pay off. 

“There are significant savings to be made on comparable pet insurance policies, and not shopping around could cost you over a thousand dollars,” says Lamont.

Other puppies with pricey insurance premiums included Mastiffs, British Bulldogs, Rottweilers and Boxers.

Graphic showing most expensive dog breeds to insure.

Most affordable purebred dog breeds to insure

On the other side of the dog park fence, our research team discovered that Border Collies are on average the most affordable purebred dog to insure.

The average yearly pet insurance premium for these highly intelligent canines came in at around $668.07. Other loveable pooches on the lower end of the pet insurance scale included the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature Schnauzer.

Graphic showing cheapest purebred dogs to insure

Pet insurance for designer dogs surprisingly low

A surprising piece of information to come out of Mozo’s research was the fact that designer dog breeds are often the cheapest dog breeds to insure.

Lamont says that despite the initial outlay, dog breeds such as Cavoodles, Goldendoodles, Toy Poodles and Labradoodles have some of the lowest average, annual premiums.

Graphic showing most affordable designer dogs to insure.

‘Dangerous’ dog breeds cost more to insure

When it comes down to it, insurance is mostly about risk and pet insurance is no different. With this in mind, pet insurers will usually charge more to insure dog breeds classified as ‘dangerous.’

In fact, on average, so-called ‘dangerous’ dog breeds will cost around 77% more to insure. This extra cost comes in the form of a risk premium, which will be added to the overall cost of the pet insurance policy.

At around $1,470, Bullmastiffs come with the highest average risk premium, followed by the German Shepherd at $458 and the Australian Cattle Dog at $430.

Graphic showing most expensive 'dangerous' dog breeds to insure

When it comes to the dangerous dog breed classification, there are some that insurers won’t even offer liability cover for. In Australia, these include the American Pitbull Terriers and the Japanese Tosa. That’s despite American Pitbull Terriers only making up 0.46% of all dog attacks in New South Wales in 2019.

“When researching the type of dog you want to bring into your family, many people look at behavioural traits and health conditions, but it might pay to look a bit closer at insurance premiums before you purchase your pet,” says Lamont. “Future pet owners should see if their dream dog breed is classified as ‘dangerous’ and if they offer liability cover, as not all breeds are covered.” 

Mozo’s tips for comparing pet insurance 

While we know your four-legged family member means the world to you, we also know how complicated pet insurance can be. For that reason we’ve come up with a few of our own top tips to help you find a policy that works best for your pet:

  • Insure your buddy when they’re young. We know it’s not polite to talk about age, but if possible it is a good idea to insure your feline friend or canine companion while they’re still young. As with all of us, the older they get the more likely they will be to develop a health condition and the higher an insurance premium will be.
  • Avoid poor quality policies. Cover to look out for in a pet insurance policy includes dental, CT and MRI scans, hip surgery and replacement, tick paralysis and emergency boarding.
  • Check out the 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Award winners for Pet Insurance! This year our research experts assessed a whopping 133 pet insurance policies from 31 different insurers, to determine which ones were worthy of either an Exceptional Quality or Exceptional Value award.

Have a read of our guide to getting pet insurance in 2020, for more information on what to look out for when insuring your cat or dog.

Tara McCabe
Tara McCabe
Money writer

Tara McCabe writes across all areas of personal finance here at Mozo from banking through to insurance. Tara is expert at practical money tips, showing readers ways to live richer and be socially conscious while doing it. She earned a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Canterbury Christ Church University.