Cheap Pet Insurance

A fluffy small dog and cat on a yellow background, expecting you to get them pet insurance.

While there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to protect our furry friends, sometimes pet insurance premiums can have us howling to the moon. And no wonder! On top of other hefty expenses that come with pet ownership, from food to vet bills to doggy day care, pet insurance can sometimes feel like a needless drain on your budget.

However, pet insurance can be a necessary product, offering financial protection in case accidental illness or injury befalls your pet. So let’s take a look at how to keep pet insurance as affordable as possible – while still getting the value you need. 

Here are the top tips and tricks to cheap pet insurance.

What makes pet insurance cheap

Cartoon cats with factors influencing their pet insurance costs in text bubbles.

Pet insurance is a kind of insurance policy covering accidental illness or injury for your pet. Typically, policies offer coverage for either cats or dogs, but sometimes reptiles get a look in, too. 

A range of factors determine how much your pet insurance premium costs, such as:

  • Your pet’s age, breed, and health history.
  • Where you live. 
  • How much cover you need. 

By comparing different levels of cover and managing your pet’s risk factors, you can usually keep your pet insurance premium down. However, compromising on price can sometimes mean compromising on quality of cover, so it’s all about balancing your budget with your needs.

Confused about what’s included in your pet insurance policy? Here’s a guide to reading the product disclosure statement (PDS).

How to find cheaper pet insurance

An assortment of cartoon dog breeds covered by pet insurance.

Comparing pet insurance quotes and policies can be an excellent way to suss out cheaper options. Different policies and tiers offer different levels of coverage, so you often won’t know how good a deal is till you see what else is out there. However, no one policy will be cheaper for everyone, so it’s vital to review options carefully. 

You can start your search by checking out winners from the 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Pet Insurance Awards recognised for their exceptional value. Our expert judges looked at a range of different covers for different types of pets in different locations, so you’ll still need to compare quotes to make sure they’re cheaper for you. However, these providers may still be worth investigating as you look for the best policy for you (and Fido).

Some of the winning providers include:

  • Pet Insurance Australia
  • Knose
  • RAC
  • RACQ
  • 1300 Insurance
  • petinsurance.com.au

Cheap dog insurance

A wiener dog wearing sunglasses while hanging out by the pool, yellow background.

No doubt we love man’s best friend, but they can come with heckin’ big price tags. So if you’re looking for cheaper dog insurance to make sure your doggo has some added financial protection, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Generally, there are three levels of dog insurance in Australia:

  • Accident-only cover. This is a basic ‘essentials’ tier that only covers the medical costs associated with treating certain accidental injuries, which can include incidents like car accidents, snake bites, burns, cuts, accidentally eating something they shouldn’t, and so forth. Not every accident will be covered, however, so it’s vital to read the PDS to determine what exclusions apply.
  • Accident and illness cover. A mid-range tier, this type of dog insurance includes some common illnesses in its cover benefits, such as tick paralysis, respiratory trauma (like near-drowning), and certain skin conditions – depending on the policy. Preexisting conditions will almost never receive cover, however, so check the PDS for a complete list of what’s included.
  • Comprehensive dog insurance cover. A maximum level of coverage. Depending on the policy, this insurance tier can include accident and illness cover as well as a range of other benefits for routine and preventative care, such as vaccinations, deworming, dental cover, some pet travel insurance, and certain surgeries like hip replacement. Preexisting conditions usually won’t receive cover at this level either, though some providers may offer the option to increase sub-limits on certain optional extras or even review the status of well-managed conditions after a certain time period. Again, reading the PDS is key to understanding what’s involved in a given pet insurance policy.

Once you decide which level of cover you’d like, comparing dog insurance quotes will give you an idea of the price range available to you. Just keep in mind that

  • Your dog’s size, age, breed, and desexed status can affect your premium. Bigger, older dogs generally incur heftier premiums than smaller, younger dogs. Some breeds are predisposed to certain preexisting conditions that won’t receive cover, either, such as respiratory or joint problems, and this can erode the value of a pet insurance policy no matter the price. Banned breeds in Australia will almost never receive coverage. Most providers will also set age limits on when you can take out a new policy, usually between 8 weeks and 9 years old (and your premium will likely increase every year, too).
  • Sub-limits and waiting periods may apply. Immediate coverage and no limits would be fantastic (but alas, a fantasy). Beware any waiting periods and caps that apply to a pet insurance policy’s benefits, as listed in the PDS.
  • Elective procedures and some alternative therapies receive varied (or no) cover. As the industry expands, the kind of pet insurance cover you can get will diversify. Until then, many alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hydrotherapy may receive highly variable, extremely limited, or no cover. Elective procedures such as cosmetic surgeries will also generally receive little to no cover, so keep this in mind when comparing policies. 
  • Adding optional extras can diversify your coverage – but increase your price tag. The ability to tailor your coverage, including opting for a higher excess in favour of a lower premium, can be one of the advantages of a good pet insurance policy. However, adding optional extras can also increase your bill – and you’ll have to cough up for a higher excess home claim time – so consider carefully the amount of cover your pet may need.
  • Rescues may be harder to cover. While it’s wonderful (and important) to give a shelter dog a new home, their uncertain health history can sometimes make pet insurance companies a little skittish. You may have to look extra hard for a policy that offers cover to rescue dogs, although sometimes certain providers offer discounts if you insure an adopted pet. Always check with the provider which pets are eligible for cover under their policies. 
  • Bundling policies or having multiple dogs on the same policy could nab you discounts. Many providers hope to stay competitive for your business, so if you bundle different kinds of insurance policies (such as home and pet insurance) from the same provider, they may offer you a discount. Having multiple dogs on the same policy can sometimes also net you extra savings, so keep an eye out for discount deals.

RELATED: Buying a dog in 2022? Read this first

Cheap cat insurance

A cool cat wearing Victorian round sunglasses on a yellow background.

Cats can be a calming, cute, and cuddly presence in our homes, so luckily, pet insurance also comes in a cat-friendly version, too. Tailored to meet your kitty’s needs, cat insurance can be a great way to keep Moggy well-looked after and lower future veterinary bills. But if you’re hoping to protect your feline on a dime, here are some things to consider. 

Cat insurance usually comes in three levels of cover:

  • Accidental injury cover. A basic option, this policy typically only covers accidental injuries your cat may acquire, which can include burns, cuts, scrapes, allergic reactions, electrocutions, broken bones, and snake bites. Preexisting conditions often won’t receive cover, however, and certain injuries won’t either (like dental breaks, repeatedly eating the wrong thing, or elbow dysplasia). Always check the PDS to get a full list of exclusions. 
  • Accidental illness and injury cover. A mid-range option, this tier combines both illness and accidental injury cover into a useful package. Some diseases will be automatically excluded, however, like Feline HIV or many forms of cat flu (even if your cat is fully vaccinated). Again, read the PDS carefully before making a decision.
  • Major medical cover. Often the most comprehensive option, this tier comes with a range of benefits and extensive coverage – but a bigger premium to match. Optional extras can also extend coverage at this level, such as dental cover, routine care like teeth cleaning, prescriptions, or grooming, and major surgeries. The PDS will have more details.  

Once you know the level of cover you’d like, comparing cat insurance quotes will show you the price range available for Tiddles. Just be aware that:

  • Your cat’s age, breed, and desexed status can affect your premium. Different breeds come with different medical histories, risks, and temperaments, so insurance companies adjust prices accordingly. Banned breeds will almost never receive coverage. Age is another big factor, as you can often only take out policies between 8 weeks and 9 years of age (though some providers allow you to continuously renew policies well beyond that limit).
  • Indoor and outdoor cats receive different kinds of cover – and premiums. Because the lifestyles of indoor cats come with a bit more inherent safety, indoor cat insurance will generally be cheaper than outdoor cat insurance. 
  • Sub-limits and waiting periods may apply. As with all insurance policies, waiting periods, exclusions, and sub-limits will apply. Carefully read the PDS so you understand when your coverage will kick and how much you could receive per claim.
  • Elective procedures and alternative therapies receive varied (or no) cover. Alas, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and even a cat massage aren’t likely to receive nearly as much cover by pet insurance – if they do at all. 
  • Rescues may be harder to cover. Giving a cat a new home can be a wonderful thing, but unfortunately unclear medical histories can sometimes make them seem risky to pet insurance providers. If you’d like to get coverage for your rescue, be sure to cast a wide net on your quote comparison search, and keep an eye out for providers who offer discounts on insurance policies for adopted pets.
  • Bundling policies or covering multiple cats could nab you a discount. Depending on the provider, you may be eligible for a discount for taking out multiple kinds of insurance with them, or covering multiple cats under the same plan. Keep an eye out for any special deals or discounts on offer. You never know what’s on the market until you look!

What isn’t covered with cheap pet insurance?

An ADORABLE lil puppy in a tiny bathtub, collage, yellow background.

Cheap pet insurance policies unfortunately don’t always offer the best coverage. Whether it’s missing out on dental cover, hospital stay reimbursements, or even certain alternative therapies like behavioural training or prescription medicine, a cheap policy might not meet your needs. 

However, the most expensive pet insurance policy won’t necessarily cover everything, either, so it’s important to look for a range of benefits for a good price. (Here’s a more in depth look at pet insurance coverage).

Is cheap pet insurance a good idea?

A woman grins and cuddles her little white dog, blue background.

There aren’t hard and fast rules that apply to everyone when it comes to insurance (or any financial product, for that matter). Generally, cheap pet insurance policies won’t offer as much coverage, so while it may suit your budget, you could be left out of pocket when the worst happens. 

Some questions you can ask yourself about whether cheap pet insurance might suit you include:

  • How old is my pet?
  • What health risks are associated with their breed? 
  • Does my pet have any preexisting conditions? 
  • Can I afford to opt for a higher excess in favour of a lower premium?
  • How much wiggle room do I have in my budget?
  • Does this pet insurance policy offer good value for money?

Once you get a clearer idea of your risks and needs, you’ll know what key benefits to look out for when comparing pet insurance policies.

Who has the cheapest pet insurance?

No one provider has the cheapest insurance for every pet and person. Research is key to finding something suited to you and your pet.

However, it’s possible to find policies offering great value for money, like these best pet insurance award winners from 2022 that were noted by experts and fellow Aussies for their exceptional value. Feel free to check them out!

Collage of a woman leaping into her cheap pet insurance journey while trailing a rainbow.

FAQs

Does dog breed affect pet insurance costs?

Absolutely! Size matters when it comes to pet insurance, as some dog breeds are cheaper to insure for others. In general, the larger the dog, the more expensive your pet insurance premium, but this isn’t law of the universe. When looking for pet insurance options, compare quotes from different providers to see if you can get the best bang for your buck.

Why is pet insurance so expensive?

Insurance companies consider multiple factors when calculating pet insurance premiums, such as your pet’s age, breed, medical history, and even location. (In 2021, pet owners in Western Australia on average paid 15% more on their pet insurance policies than residents in NSW). These factors help the provider gauge the amount of risk involved with your pet and price premiums accordingly. 

However, there are plenty of strategies you could take to lower your premiums, and comparing pet insurance policies is key to sussing out good value plans for you.

Do older pets cost more to insure?

Age affects us all, unfortunately, and as your beloved pet grows older, they’ll become more expensive to insure. Many pet insurance providers also set limits on the age of the animal you can take out a new policy for, usually up to 8-9 years (sometimes 12 years on basic policies with limited cover). However, policies taken out on younger pets can often be renewed into old age so long as your coverage is uninterrupted and you pay your premiums on time. Not all age-related illnesses and conditions may receive cover, either, so read your policy’s product disclosure statement carefully. 

As a rule of thumb, insure your furbaby as early as possible and don’t just auto-renew: keep a finger on the pulse of the market and compare pet insurance policies to see if you’re getting the best deal for your pet.

How much does pet insurance cost per year?

It’s difficult to come up with an exact number, as your premium can change depending on your pet and policy. According to Moneysmart, however, pet insurance can cost between $240-$720 annually. This puts it roughly on par with a minimum yearly cost for NBN.

Comparing a range of pet insurance quotes will give you an idea of the deals on offer – and how competitive one premium is versus another.

Which type of pet insurance costs the most?

When it comes to pet insurance, different levels of cover will give you different prices. Basic tiers will be cheaper but won’t give you as much coverage (usually just liability and basic medical costs), while more comprehensive tiers will have better coverage but steeper prices. 

When comparing pet insurance policies, investigate the different levels of coverage offered by different providers to see how much value you can get. If you’re keen for maximum coverage, go for plans with a range of benefits included, such as dental, CT and MRI scans, hip surgery and replacement, vaccinations, and emergency boarding when your pet is in hospital. 

Keep in mind other factors can influence the price you get, too, such as your dog’s breed or even where you live. One policy may be more expensive for a bullmastiff in the country than it is for a pomeranian in the city. If you’re worried about the cost of your pet insurance, shop around to see if you can save by switching.