Pet Insurance


Compare pet insurance in New Zealand with Canstar Blue. Southern Cross Pet Insurance,  Countdown, Petplan and Pet-n-Sur (including Animates) were compared on value for money, ease of claim, process, speed of response, quality of service, communication and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers | Southern Cross

With Southern Cross Pet Insurance you don’t have to worry about the vets bills

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Southern Cross, top of pet insurance

Whether you’re a cat person, a dog person, or even a llama person, if you consider your pet as part of the family, pet insurance might be something to think about.  Having pet insurance gives animal lovers the peace of mind that if something goes wrong their fluffy friend will get the help they need. Interestingly, 76% of females said they consider their pet as part of the family, compared to only 49% of males. C’mon guys!  This year’s Canstar Blue survey has shown that Southern Cross Pet Insurance has taken the Most Satisfied Customer Award for 2018 with five stars in process, speed of response, quality of service, communication and overall satisfaction, and a respectable four stars in ease of claim and value for money.

Do New Zealanders buy in to pet insurance?

This year’s Canstar Blue survey shows that 68% of people have pet insurance for all of their pets.  For those who didn’t, 46% of owners said it is because they thought it was too expensive. And where there’s no doubt that pet insurance is an extra cost, what some pet lovers don’t realise is how much it costs to save your beloved friend if something is to go wrong.  For one New Zealander with a German Shepherd, insurance came to the rescue when her puppy had a series of seizures which eventually lead to loss of consciousness, violent leg and body spasms, temporary blindness, deafness and extreme exhaustion. An absolute nightmare for any pet owner.  The bills came to $6,000, the initial policy cost $450 and the excess was $100. When you look at it that way, pet insurance looks like a good deal.

It won’t happen to my pet!

In a recent report, a Hamilton dog swallowed up a needle and thread.  As you can imagine, the fix for something like that isn’t simple and it isn’t cheap. In fact, some veterinary procedures can cost tens of thousands of dollars, that’s when insurance can become a relief.

Ingestion related medical attention is needed more frequently than you might expect as it’s very common for animals to swallow harmful objects.  Some of the strangest things eaten by pets include:

  •         Ten-inch tent peg
  •         Star shaped Christmas decoration
  •         Man’s wig
  •         Kitchen knife
  •         Socks
  •         Fishing hook

Animals certainly have a strange idea of good things to swallow.  We can do our best to keep things out of sight and out of reach but these things do happen and it’s important to be prepared.

Five foods to be avoided if you don’t want to make an insurance claim!

  1.   Grapes and raisins.  These sweet treats can cause kidney failure in dogs, and even small amounts of the fruit can prove fatally toxic.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.
  2.   Stone fruit.  This one is relevant to pet owners too!  Fruit like peaches and plums, can cause obstructions.  Also, the stones contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans!
  3.   Onion and garlic.  The toxicity can result in diarrhoea and vomiting, and in severe cases, damage and loss of red blood cells.  It only takes a small amount to poison a cat or dog.
  4.   Any food with bones.  The bones can splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations.  Under the table drumsticks may be a deadly treat!
  5.   Lastly any type of alcohol.  Although seemingly obvious, alcohol can cause seizures or respiratory failure.  Alcohol is often hidden in places like desserts, sauces and the yeast in raw dough.

Visit our dedicated pages on cat food and dog food for more information

Things that are covered

If you’re still unsure about pet insurance and don’t know exactly what’s covered, here’s a list of things that are typically within the policy.

  • Costs for veterinary fees relating to the treatment of injuries, illnesses or accidents your pet requires. This includes surgery for broken bones, cataracts surgery, cancer treatment and unpredictable illnesses.
  • Ongoing conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy, and all relevant treatment and medication
  • Congenital and hereditary conditions if unknown at the time of taking out the policy
  • Some policies also cover losing your pet to theft or straying as well as reward money and advertising a lost pet.
  • It’s important to know that policies either have an excess (meaning you pay a pre-agreed amount of any treatment cost) or a co-payment arrangement, where you share 10-30% of the costs and the insurance covers 70-90%. You need to decide which payment option is best for you before you insure your pet, as it affects the premium you will pay.

Things that aren’t covered

It’s important to familiarise yourself with your pet insurance policy as it probably won’t cover all of your pets medical costs.  And, depending on the type, breed and age of the animal you have, there could be a fair amount that isn’t covered. Routine, preventative or elective care for your pets such as routine vet visits for injections, check-ups, worming treatments and anti-flea medicine are not covered.  You’re also not covered by insurance if your pet:

  • has a pre-existing condition (known or not)
  • has an injury due to maltreatment of your pet or failure to protect your pet
  • has experienced certain infectious diseases (e.g. flu, distemper, calicivirus, herpes, feline leukaemia, etc.) also if your pet was not vaccinated or the vaccination is out of date
  • needs treatment related to breeding
  • needs an organ transplant, joint replacement or suffers from pandemic diseases or failure to vaccinate

If you are already aware that your pet has some kind of pre-existing condition and you’re thinking ‘I better get insurance to cover the expenses’, it most likely won’t be covered.

What to consider?

These are a few things to keep in mind and consider when looking in to pet insurance:

Value for Money

You don’t want to feel like your insurance is costing you more than the treatments you are covering against and you also want to feel like the cover your getting comprehensive enough that you get the peace of mind you’re after.  That’s where value for money come in. If the balance is right, the reassurance is there.

There were no five stars awarded in this area but Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Petplan lead the pack with four stars apiece.

Quality of service

No matter what company you are dealing with, quality of service is something that just about everyone appreciates.  If you are claiming on your pet insurance, you’ve already been going through a worrying time with your pet so it can be a relief to receive nice service.

This year Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Pet-n-Sur scored five stars, Petplan received four and Countdown three stars.


When you are taking out insurance, you don’t want it to be a process that drags on, is hard to complete or is totally incomprehensible.  Quick, easy and convenient is usually what we’re all after.

Both Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Pet-n-Sur scored a maximum five stars for Process.


Communication is always important and when your are already in a stressful situation, it’s a relief when your concerns are listened to and you feel that someone is on your side.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Pet-n-sur received five stars, Petplan four, and Countdown three.

Ease of claim

If your fluffy friend does need medical attention and it is costing you a pretty penny, it’s important that it is easy to file an insurance claim.  The last thing you want is to be spending lots of time and effort just to get the support you need.

Pet-n-Sur received five stars in this category, Southern Cross Pet Insurance and Petplan received four, Countdown received three stars.

Speed of response

If something has happened and you need help and you need it now, the speed of response from your insurance provider could be very important.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance received five stars, Pet-n-Sur and Petplan received four stars and Countdown received three.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 5,000 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers who currently have a pet insurance policy and have made a claim in the last 3 years, in this case, 317 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.

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