Compare pet insurers in New Zealand at Canstar. Petplan, AA Pet Insurance, Pet-n-Sur and Southern Cross were compared on Overall Satisfaction, Communication, Ease of Claim, Process, Quality of Service, Speed of Response and Value For Money.
Value for money
Ease of claim
Speed of response
Quality of service
*Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order. Canstar research finalised in June 2020, published in August.
Petplan rated number one for customer satisfaction.
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Whether your choice of creature companion has fur, feathers, scales, paws, fins or hoofs – a pet is part of the family. According to the NZ Petfood Manufacturers Association, Kiwis spend $394m on cat and dog food alone!
But while food remains Kiwis’ biggest expenditure on their pets, veterinary bills are also a huge outlay.
But unlike food costs, which can be spread affordably through weekly supermarket shops, vet bills tend to come as an unwelcome hit on the family budget.
That’s why so many pet owners opt for pet insurance. The cover it affords provides welcome peace of mind should Tiddles or Rover become unwell.
However, given the number of insurance providers in the market, it can be difficult to ascertain which insurer provides the best cover.
So, as part of our mission to inform consumers of the best NZ has to offer, Canstar canvassed the opinions of 215 New Zealanders who had pet insurance and had made a claim in the past three years, across a range of categories, to measure and track their satisfaction.
To decide which pet insurer offers the best level of customer satisfaction, each was rated across the following categories:
Coming out on top is Petplan, the winner of our 2020 award for Most Satisfied Customer | Pet Insurance. As well as its 5 Star award for Overall Satisfaction, it also earned 5 Stars for Ease of Claim, Process, Quality of Service and Speed of Response.
Earning a 4 Star Overall Satisfaction rating, AA Pet Insurance is the only other pet insurance provider to win 5 Star ratings in our survey: for Communication, Process and Value for Money.
In all of our surveys, it’s always interesting to see how our respondents rank their drivers of satisfaction. In most, it’s usually a tight balance between Value for Money and Quality of Service.
However, our pet insurance respondents overwhelmingly pointed to service over cost: 50% cited Quality of Service, while only 16% nominated Value for Money. It’s a response that indicates how much we value our pets’ wellbeing, and that we’re willing to pay for quality service.
Overall, the main drivers of satisfaction:
|Drivers of satisfaction||%|
|Quality of Service||50%|
|Value for Money||16%|
|Ease of Claim||12%|
|Speed of Response||1%|
How much do we love our pets? A lot, it seems, from Canstar’s research. As part of our questionnaire into pet insurance, we probed a little deeper into pet owners’ spending habits.
Overall, our respondents paid $705 per annum in pet insurance policies. Over a third of owners (34%) said they spent more on their pet’s health than their own. Just over a quarter also said they’d happily go into debt to pay for their animal’s treatment should it become ill.
However, this is an option that doesn’t have to be an alternative to your pet’s good health. By taking out pet insurance with Petplan, you can ensure your pet’s health and happiness, as well as that of your bank balance!
Canstar surveyed 5250 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers who currently have a pet insurance policy and have made a claim in the last three years. In this case, 215 New Zealanders.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to pet insurance policy cover. Your insurance provider may use different wording and you should read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy carefully to understand what you are and are not covered for. Refer to the product disclosure statement from your provider.
Accident and Illness: An insurance policy that covers a pet for injury, sickness, illness or disease.
Accidental injury: Physical harm or injury that is caused by a single specific, unpredictable, unusual event that was unintended (an accident) and is not caused by a pre-existing condition.
Accident only: An insurance policy that only covers your pet in the event of an accidental injury.
Age limit: You can usually insure your cat or dog as soon as they are eight weeks old, while some providers will offer insurance from the age of six weeks. Some insurers will only sign up a pet for insurance if it is younger than a certain age. To make your pet eligible for lifelong cover, you should insure your pet before they reach around six years old. Pets above this age may not be eligible for certain types of cover, and may only be eligible for accident-only cover. Make sure you know about any age limits on your policy before you sign up.
Comprehensive: An insurance policy that covers your pet for injury and illness, and also for preventative treatments, routine check-ups, behavioural treatment and other complementary therapies.
Co-payments: Some policies require a co-payment, which means that the insurer pays a listed percentage of the cost of vet fees, usually between 65% and 85%, and you pay the remaining percentage. You are co-paying the expenses. This is sometimes known as co-share. Some policies require that you pay both a co-payment and an excess.
Excess: An amount that you pay instead of the insurer, e.g. “the first” $250 or $500 of a claim. Insurers usually have either a policy with different excess options that you choose between, or separate policies that each have a different excess amount. You can pay a lower premium if you have a higher excess, but you need to be sure that you can afford to pay the excess unexpectedly, if your pet needs emergency treatment.
Exclusions: Anything that is not covered by your policy. When a particular health condition or treatment is listed as being excluded from your policy, the insurer will not cover the expenses for treating that condition, or having that treatment. Common exclusions include behavioural problems, elective procedures, diet and nutrition, grooming, pregnancy, and pre-existing conditions (where your pet showed symptoms before you bought insurance, or during the waiting period).
Extras cover: Another name for comprehensive cover or a policy with routine care benefits. See routine care below.
Inclusions: Anything that is covered by your policy. When a particular health condition or treatment is listed as being included in your policy, the insurer will cover the whole expense or a listed percentage of the expense involved.
Lifelong cover: An insurance policy that covers your pet for as long as they live, even if they grow to a ripe old age. You must renew your policy with the same insurer every year, with no break in cover, to be eligible for lifelong cover, especially for recurring, chronic or ongoing conditions, such as cancer or arthritis.
Limit/benefit limit: Policies have an annual limit on the amount of benefits you can claim. Many policies also have sub-limits for particular types of treatment, e.g. surgery, tick prevention and treatment, or dental. Some policies also have per-incident limits, meaning they will only pay a certain amount per claim, for a particular type of treatment. Most $20,000 policies won’t let you claim $20,000 worth of treatment. Make sure you know how your chosen policy works and whether it suits your pet’s condition, or health requirements.
Optional extras: Treatment options that can be added to your policy if you pay a higher premium.
Pre-existing condition: A condition that existed in any form before you signed up for the insurance policy. This is why insurers have a waiting period for illness, so that if your pet shows symptoms of a condition during the waiting period, they do not have to cover your pet for the costs of treatment. Certain pre-existing conditions will not be covered by insurers at all.
Premium: The amount you pay your insurance provider per year, per month, or per fortnight, for your pet insurance cover. Your premium must be paid on time for your pet to be covered.
Related condition: A condition that is considered to be a pre-existing condition, because it has same the same symptoms or classification as a pre-existing condition your pet has. Related conditions are not covered by your insurance. Unlike pre-existing conditions, related conditions do not have to happen before the commencement date of the policy, or during the waiting period. For example, if your dog has arthritis in its legs and this is a pre-existing condition, and then after the waiting period it develops arthritis in its back, this will be considered a related condition.
Routine care: These are preventative healthcare treatments specified by your insurance provider as procedures they will pay for. Common examples include dental treatment, de-sexing, or emergency boarding in a kennel or cattery. See your product disclosure statement to see whether your policy includes any routine care benefits. These are also known as wellness care, wellbeing care, or extras cover benefits.
Waiting period: Once you purchase an insurance policy for your pet, accidents will usually be covered immediately, but your insurer may impose a waiting period before your pet is covered for certain conditions. For example, a 30-day waiting period may apply for illnesses, and a six-month waiting period may apply for ligament injuries, unless you can provide your insurer with a vet certificate saying your pet does not have any ligament injury. A waiting period will usually apply to hereditary conditions or congenital defects existing at birth.
Wellbeing care: See routine care.