Should I Get Pet Insurance?

Getting a Cavoodle soon, wondering if fellow Ozb's have any recommendations on pet insurance.
That is, do I need one and if so what to look for?

Also, any recommendations on where to get toys, beds and other stuff would be greatly appreciated.

PS: Buying puppy from a registered breeder, met the parents, DNA checked etc.


  • +14

    Costs the bomb, doesn't cover much, consider putting money aside each week instead.

  • +5

    Had it … cancelled it.

    My dog had an accident - ripped half his tail open. Insurance tried to reject the claim due to his previous "unknown" medical history despite being insured with them for over 2 years. He's a rescue and I got him when he was 5 years old.

    Went to the ombudsman and after 6 months they finally paid 80% of the claim. The day the money got transferred into my account I cancelled. In the end, it would have been cheaper to pay for the surgery without having insurance.

  • -2

    inb4 why did you buy a puppy when you can adopt (a poorly bred pup with possible health issues and unknown history)

      • +5

        Yeah, they might actually want to know if the dog will receive proper care and attention.

        • Not saying they arent or shouldnt, but the waiting lists are often very long and not guarenteed!

          • +3

            @Presence: And that's reason to go to a breeder and perpetuate the breeding of dogs when there are literally hundreds of thousands killed in Australia every year because people don't want them?

            • -1

              @afoveht: You act like all breeders are irresponsible people! Many breeders have wait lists and won't even have puppies until they are almost all sold. Get off your high horse.

              • +3

                @Presence: Of course they're irresponsible. As is anyone who buys off a breeder. To repeat: there are literally hundreds of thousands of dogs killed in Australia every year because people don't want them.

                This whole industry is irresponsible; they make accessories out of sentient beings. There are dogs waiting to be picked up off death row but they're not the right model or have the right options and breeders are there to satisfy those whims.

              • @Presence: Every puppy sold by a breeder means a dog in a shelter is euthanised. There's only so many homes, if one is taken up by a bred dog there's one less home for a shelter dog

    • I hate it when people say this. Buying from a rescue is good because you are giving a doggie a home. Buying from a reputable breeder is also good because you are supporting sustainable a responsible breeders.

  • +2

    Some breeders have automatic pet insurance when you buy a pup for the first x months. Might be worth checking with the breeders.

    Our accident prone staffy has racked up over 10k of bills we've been able to claim (main one broke his knee, needed surgery). Would definitely get insurance again but know people that have never had insurance and never needed it

    Do your research on the breed. Some breads have alot of exclusions based on know medical conditions.

    One you get the pup you'll get a good vibe on its personality. If it's eating everything it shouldn't, getting into accidents, going to the vet alot might be worth it…

  • +2

    Mates dog needed its knees done, $3500… insurance paid for itself lots of times over

    As said in other threads, insurance is expensive until you need it.

    • +1

      Agree with the last line, which is what I always tell people.

      Also a friend’s cavoodle had its hips done twice (caused by injury by a bigger dog), costed thousands but they had insurance, all in the first 3 years of his life. Poor guy.

      FYI we have pet insurance and in the first 7 months, we made back our money, partly because we have a puppy that loves to pick up and eat things on the sidewalk buffet. Not that I wish it upon anyone (not fun going to the after hours vet at 5am to a vomit and explosive diarrhoea puppy). Everyone’s experiences are different. It’s there for peace of mind and when you do need it.

  • +1

    Get pet insurance for your peace of mind. Otherwise, set money aside each pay in the case you need to front a lump sum for vet bills etc.

    Also, any recommendations on where to get toys, beds and other stuff would be greatly appreciated.

    For pet supplies, I usually get the food from PetCircle as it works out cheaper than other places. Toys you can get a bunch of cheap ones from Kmart or Daiso.

  • +2

    I think it is situational, I have had a couple of major claims though since probably 2009 when I first took our insurance:

    $5k for a tiger snake bite on my cat (happened 2 weeks after I first got insurance)
    $8k for IVDD (Dachshund) for dog 1
    $4k for pancreatitis diagnosis for dog 2
    Few other smaller under $1k claims

    These are spread over 12 years over 4 animals, having dachshunds is almost a requirement to get insurance.

    I cancelled it for the cats when they turned 12/13, and probably on the borderline of cancelling it for one of my one dog who is 13ish as the cost is quickly going up.

    The dog who had IVDD will likely stay on the insurance long term as he is only 10 and as there is a chance of reoccurrence and we can never change insurers now as it will be an 'existing condition'. Just make sure you are happy with your insurer as you will likely never change from them once you make a major claim, as they will try everything to get out of paying.

    With the IVDD surgery we had actually changed about 2 years beforehand, as he had no claims prior to that, they went through our vet history with a fine comb and we had to provide heaps of information to prove it was not pre-existing. In the end, the surgeon had to write a letter to substantiate this was not pre-existing or likely to have been diagnosed prior to when it happened.

    Over the life of the insurance, we probably haven't saved money necessarily, but some of the bigger events are probably close to breaking even.

    • Very detailed, thank you! How much would have been paid in premiums per pet, and do they increase every year or in age ranges or something?

  • I don't have a pet, but no, based on everything I've heard/read.

  • +1

    Got my pup and got pet insurance right away.

    1st claim = 8k - foreign body removal

    Got 80% back.

    2nd claim within 12mths = 12k - foreign body removal

    Got 80% back.

    Cancelled policy as they jacked up my premium.

    New provider and last 2 years no claims and paying ~$50 pm.

    • Wow what pet insurance was the one with the foreign body removal?

      • +1

        Pet Insurance Australia.

        Paid out without issues. He is a large breed so vets are super expensive.

        Nearly lost my pup a couple of times as they didn't give him much hope.

        I still have pet insurance in case he gets hit by a car, eats something bad or gets bitten by another dog during our walks.

  • +2


    Overwhelming likelihood is you won't need anything until the dog is old. Then the premiums will be really high. You'll end up paying more in insurance than you'll get out of it. Plus, they'll fight with you about paying claims. Personally, I'd rather have the power in my own hands and not have to worry about fighting with an insurance company while stressed about the survival of my pet and not able to make decisions when you have to consider what the insurance will cover. Also insurance doesn't cover things like desexing, vaccinations, and routine check-ups.

    By getting insurance you are making a bet that your dog will have a horrible accident or get an unusual illness early in its life.

    Just put $100 per pay into a separate account and you'll have plenty to cover whatever your dog needs.

  • +2

    Pet beds…Kmart beds are cheap enough and do the job. Cheap enough to replace rather than wash.
    Dog toys…Teddies from joke. My dog is a chewer and destroys Kmart/Big W toys in literally minutes. 3 years on and has never destroyed an Ikea teddy.
    As for Pet insurance…simple answer: avoid at all costs.

  • Thank all for your inputs thus far, any particular insurer you would recommend? along with some recommendations to shop/stores for buying puppy related stuff? we are first timers.

    • +3

      Read the fine print.
      The exclusions are masssive.
      We had it for years and did the maths you see better off putting the premium money aside and saving it for a rainy day.

      There is only two pet insurers in Australia (everyone resells one or the other)

      Honestly it’s not worth it
      You will pay a premium for years and probably never claim as your pet approaches 10 years old (the cut off to be able to get a policy for a pet) they will jack the premium so you are stuck paying a fortune when it’s needed most (older animals etc)

      The limitations are too many.
      Limits on vet visits (consultation fees)
      Limits on medications

      • Honestly it’s not worth it
        You will pay a premium for years and probably never claim

        How is this any different to not getting car insurance because "you'll probably never claim"?

        This is not how insurance works. You pay a small fee for the peace of mind that you won't have to pay a big fee in the future. That is paid service. You're benefiting from it, ergo you should expect to pay something in return. Peace of mind is not free.

        Yes you can put your own money aside every month, you can also do the same thing for car insurance. But not everyone has the financial capacity to do that. That's what insurance is for. It helps you afford things you can't normally afford.

        Average cost of pet insurance is around $600 a year. A dog lives around 10 years, so that's $6k on insurance. If you think that's a lot, wait until you get a vet bill…

        You can make that $6k back twice over just on one bad day for your dog. It's not uncommon for the entire value of a pet insurance policy to pay for itself in just the first couple of years alone.

    • +2

      I'm using Bow Wow Meow, but also heard good things about Woolworths Pet Insurance. Both are underwritten by Hollards. Greencross Pet Insurance is worth looking at too if you have a Greencross Vet near you.

      some recommendations to shop/stores for buying puppy related stuff?

      You don't need much to begin with. Toys, bowls, food, blanket, crate (if you plan on crate training which I highly recommend), treats.

      Do you have any photos and thought of a name yet?

    • If you are getting a pure bred dog you are even worse off with insurance. If there's any hint a problem with your dog comes from known problems with the breed it won't be covered. Better to get a thoroughly mixed dog and not only will it be healthier but there will be fewer excuses insurance can use to avoid paying on a claim.

  • +2

    I'm an advocate for it. Have it for my 2.

    6 year old Golden Retriever. Spent about $40k over the years. Got 80% back

    Staffy Cross did cruciate and has chronic skin problems. Pay 80% all back

    Bow Wow Meow.

    I'm well ahead, but I can see why some people think it's a rip off with a healthy dog or the rare accident.

  • +2

    PS: Buying puppy from a registered breeder, met the parents, DNA checked etc.

    LOL! Sounds like courting the opposite sex except you don't DNA check them.

    Cancel the dog, save yourself a bomb.

    Start a dog sitting business, you make money and get to play with dogs. Someone else picks up the bill.

    • haha thanks

    • The OZb way!

  • +1

    It has been worthwhile for my beagle. Being a beagle he eats a lot of crap and has had a few emergency visits. He's also has had his face mauled by another dog and is on ongoing medication for epilepsy. I have never had a claim rejected and get 80% back as well through the RSPCA.

    It gives me peace of mind that I don't have to skimp out on any expenses or treatment.

    • RSPCA is the only instance where you pay for what you get (or your getting what you paid for)

  • +1

    Pet Circle is just about the cheapest for everything you'll need. Have a look at their puppy bundles, too - for $49.99 you get a lot of stuff, including 2 x $20 discount vouchers for your next food order, and a $10 discount voucher off your next worming tablet order. So basically everything else that comes in the bundle is free.

    • This is a brilliant suggestion. I'll be getting the starter pack from them for sure. Any suggestions on a harness for a small cavoodle? I'm thinking a collar and lead might not be suitable for his size.

  • -2

    I love my dog as much as the next man but the first question I asked the vet at her initial visit was how much was a lethal injection. Answer was $110

    She is with me 70% of the day and is a mate in troubled times but nope to silly vet bills or insurance!

    One trick is learning how to clean out your pet and the simplest is wait 3 days and then use a regular pharmacy surpoitory made of a wax like substance. It melts and within 12 hours whatever the problem is pooed & gone. Trick 2 is 500ml warm soapy water in a makeshift enema.

    99% of your pets care is common sense & google (especially behaviour understanding) & 1% effort and patience as sometimes shits just got to work out! Beware of cooked bones. I hear horror stories and if your breed can’t chew a bone then that’s just a biblical rule.

    Small dogs can easily break small bones so take care! My Izzy was stumbled over and limped for a month. All attempts to keep her off or were futile so I just kept It bandaged and walks short. She came good and I take more care when it’s dark, getting the house!

    Purebred are nothing but trouble and if you have that sort of money then Woolworths pet insurance with 10% food shops a month is worth considering.

  • I have a lab and got top level cover for the first year figuring he'd probably eat something he shouldnt at some point.

    Well he didn't eat anything but he did wind up developing health issues that cost about $6k all up.

    Pet Insurance Australia. Have never had a claim rejected by them. Only frustration I have is they keep jacking our cover quite considerably every year, and since the dog now has a pre-existing I can't feasibly switch.

  • +2

    Check out Knose pet insurance… of the few independent ones out there. Most of the others are all underwritten by the same company.
    I've been with Woolies, Medibank and Knose.
    My biggest headache was the excess …they charge it per condition, per year… if you submit a claim with 2 X different conditions, they split it and charge excess twice. Eg….my dog needed surgery to have her toe amputated. Whilst having surgery, the vet charged me an extra $50 to cut out an annoying lump she had. The insurance company didn't see it that way and split the bill in half, charging me 2 X excesses.
    With Knose, I have elected 0 excess, so it's so much easier. Having had dogs with cancer and kidney disease, it was easier knowing I had pet insurance as I didn't have to worry about making financial decisions about what diagnostic tests to have.

    • had a look at their offer, I think I would be happy with someone like this one without sub-limits., thank you for suggestion. Puppy is not yet 8 weeks old so will wait to take the policy a day before handover.

      • 10% off offer….note: just sharing, no kickbacks for me

        You can tell your friends about Knose and they will get 10% off* the first year's premium.

        Simply forward this link to your friends

        or share the promo code: FRIENDS21

        (enjoy 10% off* their first year's premium, if they take out a Knose Pet Insurance Policy by 30 September 2021.)

  • +1

    Having being a reg breeder and shown my dogs (now retired) l would ask why so many dogs in rescue. 1. Irresponsible owners don’t train,, care for dogs end up with behavior problems,
    health problems, irresponsible breeders and dogs surrendered due to owners illness or death.
    All dogs should have to have health certificates applicable to known health problems in their bred of dogs or dogs if cross bred not just DNA. All breeders should be testing for skeletal problems, breathing, and hearts. Yes it costs breeders about $1000 - 2000 to do testing plus more if required yearly this is ethical breeding. Pet insurance is required unless you have the cash too pay vet bills. You should get 6 weeks free ins with pup usually it is with pet plan
    If you are buying ins do it before you bring pup home and have your vet check pup after purchasing it. Their is a waiting period. Woolworths pet ins is good.

    Toys l buy lots from op shops as l help support a charity and cheap enough when dirty can throw out and replace, beds l like the round calming beds or rug like reject shop sell. Most important a crate, crate training is essential imho, unless you are going to be showing your pup a good fitting harness is best. Most important is food start with what breeder is feeding. I prefer wet food to dry, exception freeze dry which is very expensive so l use as treats.
    Raw or cooked you can buy it ready to feed and depending on where you live get it delivered.

    • thanks for tips and I will make sure to ask which brand breeder feeds the pups (breeder said she will give us a can or small bag to get started along with mom scented blanket).

      Any particular crate you recommend? Kellyville pets was selling a package of a crate but they were asking for well over $200 for it.

  • Hahahah, for what, Itchy Eye…
    Insurance is just that… its a form of gambol. Either you win by having to use it, or they win by you not.

    It's a pet, just feed toy pet properly, and exercise your pet properly. That's all they require for a healthy life.

    Stop being sucked in by all this marketing.

    • Probably shouldn't get car insurance either. Just drive properly right?

      • Car insurance is different. You could be liable for hundreds of thousands if you crash into a house or several expensive cars. And it could be worth it just to have someone chase others on your behalf if your car is damaged and you're not at fault.

        With the exception of cancer treatment there isn't much that can happen to a dog that will cost hundreds of thousands, usually just a few thousand at a time. And you always have the choice to put your dog down if a treatment will be tens of thousands with no guarantee of a few more years of happy life afterward. The owners of the Mercedes and Jaguar or the house you crashed into isn't going to let you get away with choosing not to pay.

        • +1

          Oh I totally get that and completely agree.

          I was only trying to highlight that OzHunterNSW's reasons for opposing pet insurance overlooks things outside of their own control. Saying to feed a pet properly and exercise your pet properly isn't enough to guarantee their wellbeing. Accidents can happen. Bigger unleashed dogs could attack your dog out of nowhere, or maybe your dog eats something that it shouldn't have. You mentioned cancer treatment, but also in the case for small dogs like Cavoodles, they can develop luxating patella which could be costly to fix.

          In the end, it's still insurance regardless of the amount covered. Either get it and have peace of mind knowing if anything unfortunate should happen, pet insurance would cover a percentage of it and be less of a burden on you financially, or don't get it and be prepared to pay vet bills in full. To me, car insurance is somewhat the same. The only difference is most people won't have a spare hundreds of thousands lying around to cover the damage costs if you have an at fault accident so getting car insurance is a no brainer.

  • +1

    Crates get one that is big enough when fully grown. K marts are fine no need too pay a lot.
    Puppy play pens are great k mart reject shop eBay are fine. I like the trolleys on wheels but
    they don’t fold up so no good if wanting for car. I buy a plastic crate for car a pp30/40 should
    Be big enough you can buy often off marketplace people buy for air travel just disinfect same with wire crates.

    • I would recommend dividing the crate to fit the puppy and removing it when puppy is bigger to lessen the likelihood of potty accidents in the crate.

  • also look up insurance premiums for dogs before you buy,

    some dogs are lemons

  • It was easier to check out pet insurance, say 10yrs ago, simply because there were fewer companies offering per insurance policies- And now there are so many, I don't know if any (or many) offer something like a vet version of 'bulk billing'.

    I mention this because a vet recently said to me "It's great, and it can definitely help cover costs but the thing about pet insurance is you have to pay (the vet bill) first, then make your claim to be reimbursed".

    In other words, even having reliably paid your insurance premiums over X years, if your pet needs $4000-$5000 diagnostics and treatment, for example, you still need to be able to access that $4000-$5000 within a couple of days, and then be able to wait anything from 5days to a month for the insurance co. to process, accept, and your bank to clear and make available in your account.

    I notice a lot of vet clinics are currently quite enthusiastic in promoting VetPay and ZipPay, abd their staff can give a fair spiel, as well as point you to the logos and links in the clinic's website…

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