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Almost three-quarters of Australian pets are not insured

  • Latest research from Compare the Market has found that 73% of pet owners do not have pet insurance.
  • Over half of all pet owners expect to dip into their savings if an unexpected vet bill comes up.
  • On average, the biggest vet bill respondents paid was $2,171.

Despite Australia being a pet-loving country with over 29 million pets living on our shores, recent research from pet insurance comparison site, Compare the Market found that 73% of pet owners don’t have pet insurance*.

This number increases to over 80% of Baby Boomers who don’t have pet insurance, while Millennials are the generation most likely to have pet insurance (33.87%).

Compare the Market’s General Manager of General Insurance and pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, spoke about the instances where pet insurance can make a difference.

“Most of us know how mischievous pets can be, especially puppies and kittens, from digging holes in your backyard to tearing into your sock drawers or finding a hidden box of treats. However, as much as some of these behaviours can be seen as cute or funny, one wrong move and your pet could become critically ill or injured,” Mr Taylor said.

“As almost three-quarters of Australian pet owners taking a gamble on their pet’s health is worrying, to say the least. Especially now that so many people are looking at every cost that’s going out of the household budget. I hate to think about the choices they would have to make if something goes awry and they need to rush to the vet.”

Compare the Market’s survey also found that the average pet owner with pet insurance surveyed pays around $71.24 a month per pet or $2.37 a day per pet for peace of mind to know that if anything happens out of the blue, a portion of their vet expenses could be covered. Surprisingly, Compare the Market’s research also showed that while Baby Boomers were the least likely generation to get pet insurance, those who have pet insurance spent the most on cover for their beloved pet at $73.04 per month.

Considering that the average survey respondent’s biggest vet bill was $2,171 the protection that pet insurance could provide for your pet, as well as the benefits of additional extras for routine care such as dental or behaviour management classes, may be well worth the investment.

“We’ve seen time and time again just how far people are willing to go to save a family pet, yet not everyone can splash thousands of dollars at the drop of a hat.” Mr Taylor said.

“This is why pet insurance is so important. It can come in and cushion the financial strain that may be holding people back from making life-saving decisions quickly. And while people may be paying just over $70 a month for peace of mind, we know that there are some great pet insurance policies that are out there for cheaper or maybe better value than their current policy.”

The data also shows that half of Australian pet owners would dip into their savings to pay for an unexpected vet bill. Additionally, if a pet fell ill or was in an accident, 7% of owners revealed that they would need to take out a loan to cover an unanticipated bill, while shockingly, another 2% of owners stated that they would have to put their pet down.

Jack the cat before his meningioma operation at the SASH Cancer Centre  

And visiting the emergency vet may be more common than people first thought, as on average, Australian pet owners took their pet to the emergency vet 1.8 times in the 12 months prior to May 2023. Again, Baby Boomers were the least likely to take their pet to the emergency vet (with an average of 0.8 times in the past year), while Millennials frequented the waiting rooms the most often, with an average of 2.6 visits to the emergency vet in the past year alone.

“Pets are an integral part of the family for many households across Australia, so it’s important to give them the same treatment as any other member of your household.” Mr Taylor said.

“Many levels of pet cover are available to suit you and your pet’s needs, ranging from basic accidental cover to more extensive coverage. If you are thinking of getting cover for your pet, it’s best to shop and look for the deal that’s worth it to you.”

Top tips when considering Pet Insurance:

1. Make sure you know what you want your pet insurance to cover. There may be additional extras that you could include in your policy, such as cover for vaccinations, however, this may increase your premium price.

2. If you are thinking of buying a pet and then pet insurance, make sure you do your research on the breed to understand any potential medical or hereditary issues that may arise. Pet insurance premiums can vary based on the breed of pet (and therefore any potential medical issues that may arise).

3. It’s better to insure your pet when it’s young. While cover for older pets may still be available with certain insurers, it may be harder to obtain as they have a greater chance of medical issues.

4. You may be able to make changes to your annual benefit limit, benefit percentage and policy excess to better suit your circumstances, as these things will impact how much you pay for your premiums and your out-of-pocket expenses should an unexpected vet bill come your way.

Source: Compare the Market surveyed 1,007 Australian pet owners aged 18 and over in April/May 2023.

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, travel and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

MEDIA RELEASE, 13th July 2023


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