Is pet insurance worth it for puppies and kittens?

There’s a lot to think about and pay for when you bring a new puppy or kitten into your life. Should pet insurance be one of them?

Life is full of uncertainties. There’s no way to anticipate what will happen in the future. No matter how cautious pet parents are, kittens will still climb too high, and puppies will still find a rogue sock and eat it.

Accidents aren’t the only thing to consider. Though older pets are more prone to illnesses, puppies and kittens get sick too. 70% of pet insurance claims we receive are for illness, rather than accidents.

In New Zealand, human healthcare is subsidised. Pets don’t have that luxury, which is why the cost of pet healthcare can come as a shock.

How much veterinary care for your pet could cost

53% of pet parents surveyed say they can’t afford to spend more than $1000 on a single vet bill, but the cost of pet health care frequently runs much higher.1

In 2021, the most expensive claim we paid was $13,772 for a five-year-old German Shepherd needing treatment for her ears, vomiting and peritonitis.

While claims for illness are more common, treatment costs for accidental injuries are hard to plan for. Because each pet’s health needs are so different, the cost of veterinary care varies.

Let’s look at some real-life examples:

Real pet stories

Molly the Pomeranian enthusiastically leapt from her mum’s arms at the beach and landed funny. Because of her young age and small frame, her leg fractured and she needed specialist treatment. That emergency surgery – just days before Christmas – cost $5,600.

Bluey the rescue kitten loved exploring the neighbourhood as soon as he was old enough to go outside. Unfortunately, during one of his walkabouts he was shot (the perpetrator was never found). Bluey had 17 pellets in his body and required surgery costing $5,000 to remove them.

Fortunately, both Molly and Bluey recovered well, and their families had pet insurance to help cover the cost of the treatments.

Pet insurance advantages and things to consider

Pet insurance can help cover your puppy or kitten’s veterinary bills. But, as with every financial decision, there are things to consider:

The advantages of pet insurance

  • After the stand-down period ends, your puppy or kitten is covered for anything that’s included in your pet insurance policy up to your annual limit, which can be as much as $15,000.*
  • You can be more confident that you’ll be able to cover the cost of life-saving treatments.*

Things you need to consider

  • It’s important to read your pet insurance policy terms and conditions* carefully, as this tells you what you can - and can't claim for.
  • Depending on the plan you choose, if your pet was injured or sick before you got pet insurance, your pet’s condition may not be covered by your insurance.
  • Most pet insurance companies need you to pay for your vet bills up front while they process your claim.

Why you should insure your pet when they’re young

Almost all pet insurance plans don’t include cover for pre-existing conditions. These are conditions, illnesses and injuries that could impact the long-term health of your pet that began before you got pet insurance.

Getting pet insurance for a young pet, before they start to get illnesses that are common in older age, means that there’ll be fewer exclusions on your policy and your pet insurance company is more likely to pay for your vet’s bills. Phew!

There are also pet insurance plans for accidents. As we’ve seen above, puppies and kittens can get themselves in a muddle. So, it’s reassuring to know pet insurance could help cover costs for unexpected accidents and injuries.

Before you get pet insurance, it’s a good idea to do your research and carefully read all the documents – so you know exactly what you’re covered for.

How much is pet insurance for a kitten or puppy?

Here’s the good news – there are affordable pet insurance options.

Depending on the plan you choose, pet insurance for your puppy or kitten could cost as little as $1 per day. Accident-only plans are cheaper but (as the name suggests) only cover accidental injuries.

Here at Southern Cross Pet Insurance, we have two options:

AcciPet – our budget-friendly, accident-only policy covers up to $5,000 per year.

PetCare – our comprehensive plan covers accidents and illnesses up to $15,000 per year. You can tailor this plan to you, with extra options like dental care.

The monthly cost of your puppy or kitten’s pet insurance depends on factors like their age, breed and background.

If pet insurance sounds like the right option for you, take a look at our plans and give our friendly team a call if you have any questions. Or, get a quote and apply online.

1 Reference: Southern Cross research conducted by TRA, 2023

*All Southern Cross Pet Insurance policies are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions. For full information on the different policy exclusions, you can read the policy documents here.


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